"We've got to get moving,Reez!" LeRoy said before stepping to the truck bed,grabbing the clipboard and asking,"Now
where are we going and what are we doing?"
Reez tucked his dessicator under one arm and began hurridly unscrewing the cap on the pipe cartridge while saying,"LeRoy,,before
we even think about it,,we need to hide our minds." which got an arched eyebrow response from his friend who then asked,"And
how do you suggest we do that,Zeke?'
"Like this." replied Reez as he palmed the cap and pinched out a small amount
of the powder from the cartridge."Take just a small pinch.Just a little now,,and sniff it up your nose." then did as he himself
Eyeing him warily LeRoy reached out to take some from the canister Reez held out to him while asking,"You
do know what this is made from don't you Reez?" Watching as his friend got a bit Reez replied with a little sigh "Yes.I do,LeRoy.Yet,,unlike
the filthy bastardized form of this stuff that folks ignorantly destroy their minds with,,this has other ingredients which
negate those deleterious effects." then added "A little less,LeRoy."
After adjusting the pinch according to Reez's direction LeRoy snuffed the powder up one nostril quickly then asked,"Will
it have any effect on my thought processes?"
Reez replied with "A little euphoria perhaps but a feeling of quiet,
calm confidence is most common.It does boost physical abilities a bit but that's primarily due to the calm,,yet does decrease
fatigue and drastically improves visual acuity,,night vision in particular.In most folks,,the euphoria diminishes with repeated
use." as he screwed the cartridge onto his dessicator.
"How long does it take for the shielding effect to occur?"
Reez looked his friend in the eyes and said,"About the same time you first feel the euphoria,,which should be about,,"
he paused until right before the hazel eyes behind the glass lenses he was looking into turned a light shade of greenish brown
then said ",,now." with a smile on his face.
LeRoy blinked rapidly a few times before saying with a lopsided grin,"That's all?phh,a double shot of Unks best
chased by an Original Coca-Cola has more kick than that." then holding up the clipboard with his sketched map he asked,"Now,,what
do you think?"
"Ha!Bertand!If there weren't so many I would say lets just walk right up to them and turn them into dust with your
ingenious invention.But as it is we need to draw them away and destroy as many as we can so I can find the grave and do what
I need to do before being tore to shreds."
They stepped to the truck where they laid the dessicators down then pored over the map in the allmost dark surrounding
them until Reez asked,"This is the canals right?" , "Yes." , "Any idea how deep they are right now?" , "At least a foot or
two.Why?We don't have a boat." , "Ahh,,no,,but,," said Reez smilingly while tapping his coat pocket ",,I do have a scooter
"You still have that wave runner?" , "Not that one.But I do have one so we can utilize
the canal to out manuever them quickly by leaving one truck by the bridge north of us and lead them away to this point south
where Oslo bridges this one.I can dress and stuff Schlomo once we get there and wait with his hold open until we see them
coming." , "Do you think if we stage it right at that spot we could take a few out?" , "God willing we can.Even with your
dessicators and the powder we are in danger of being killed.These Os Hommes are apparently well soaked so they are going to
come after us fast and furious Bertrand.And if even a few are Brethren they will be exceedingly viscious as well."
realize that,Reez.I have a thought.There is a county water marker dock right about here.The banks are steep and high but it
has a ladder so it makes a bottle neck where it would be easier to get rid of more at this point than under the bridge where
the bank is sloped.Or at least allow me to hold them off longer so you can have more lead time.We can park the truck there."
thinking.Okay,,so we need to get to it and quickly."
After they had both quickly climbed into their trucks,cranked them and drove the short distance to the dirt road
just south of the canal and turned west LeRoy pulled off the road about five hundred feet from Dixie.Reez pulled up next to
him and asked,"Which one are we leaving here?"
"Yours,,I have some stuff in mine we can use.Turn it around and throw
your stuff in mine."
As he did that LeRoy left the engine running,grabbed a flashlight from behind his truck seat, fished a tackle box
from the duffle in the truck bed then sprinted to the stairs leading down to the dock.Taking them two at a time in the now
solid dark he quickly got down the twenty or so feet to the bottom,sprinted to the end where the ladder was and set the tacklebox
down in the opposite corner against the toe rail.
Pausing for a moment he looked down into the blackness of the canal
then leaned over the rail on the end of the dock as if to peer at the water level marker on the left hand post.
barely audible "Amazing!" came from his lips right before he popped on his flaslight and aimed the bright beam down to where
the pole stuck up out of the tea colored water about twenty feet below him which neatly bisected the white of the metal marker
right on the two foot mark as Reez came clomping down the steps,onto the pier and up behind him where he stopped and said,"Unless
there is something of importance to do here,,we need to go.They could be homing in on us right now and I for one do not want
to die before Schlomo gets locked up."
"You need to see it before hand.God willing this is where the ones that keep
up with us will get obliterated Reez."
Shining his light west he said,"We'll be coming from that way." then pointed
back down with it to illuminate the marker and the canal bottom."The water will be about this deep every where except for
some spots like where culverts dump storm runoff." Pointing his light some thirty feet east and upwards to where a corrugated
culvert stuck out of the north canal face about ten feet below the lip he said,"Like over there.Now that one in particular
does empty into a hole about fifteen feet deep that they dug into a heavy sandstone shist deposit,,see the cliff like banks,,"
as he shone his light on those then panned downward to the near side about twenty feet away ",,and that big stone,,to protect
the stone foundation they laid in order to build this level plateu here.It's seems to me that that deposit is pretty much
why they put this marker station here.
But there can be odd holes just as deep here and there in any canal dug in
Florida.Heck,I've seen springs bubbling up in some places and water draining into holes in others.They both appear and disappear
so there's no doubt in my mind that they sometimes cut into high laying areas of the limestone and breech the aquifer which
generally starts about fifty to sixty feet down all along this ridge but is known to vary upwards as much as twenty feet or
even more.As a matter of fact,I think there could be one that's rather permanent in that hole."
for the geology lesson LeRoy.I've seen the layout.Now,,can we go?"
"Yes sir,we can." LeRoy replied then tapped his
toe on the tackle box "I just needed to place an ace in the hole for insurance when we come back through here." before clicking
off his light and heading for the steps while saying,"Wow!No adjustment time at all.Reez,,you weren't joking about the night
sight improvement at all.I probally didn't need the light at all just now did I?"
"No,Bright Raven,,I wasn't and
you didn't." Reez mumbled and hit the stairs at a pace that matched his friends rapid ascent.
Hurridly getting into the truck LeRoy popped it into gear and took off amid flying sand and gravel before either
he or Reez had closed their doors.
"Should I drive right by or what?" asked LeRoy as his and Reezes door clanked
closed."Yes,,give me a moment of silence and I can cloak us a bit from scrying." Reez replied calmly.
"Got it." LeRoy
said as he shifted into second then remained silent as he drove along the dirt road ahead of a cloud of dust he could see
rising behind them in his rear view.Getting to the stop sign he ony pushed his clutch in to slow down a bit,downshift,then
rolled out onto Dixie when he didn't see any vehicles coming from either direction.
A moment after shifting back
into second he suddenly reached down to pull the headlight switch on.Smiling wide he glanced over at Reez who had a look of
concentrated effort on his closed eye face then turned back to driving down the now headlight lit two lane road.
the time they were half way to the entrance of Whispering Palms Reez had finished and he looked up to say,"Speed up,,the faster
we go by,the better.As we get abreast of their location we will probally be too close to miss,,but only momentarily.I hope
it just confuses them and that we will be out of range before they get a good bearing on us."
"Can do." LeRoy said
has he pressed on the accelerator which produced a sudden and drastic increase in the trucks speed that had them doing a bit
more than sixty miles per hour as they passed the church and approached the cemetery when LeRoy shifted into third gear.
Reez stared intently at the dark graveyard and lightless pastors house untill after they had whizzed by then he
faced forward and said,"I counted thirteen with two,,maybe three naturals. Probally all three are ridden.And it felt like
at least seven were sorcerors with a couple of them possessing quite some power."
"Do you think they got a whiff
of us?" LeRoy asked as he braked,then down shifted to steer safely into the beginning of the curve as a set of headlights
popped into view before a car passed by.
Reez replied "No.I'm fairly certain that with the powder plus the shield
I built they have absolutely no clue at this time." while putting his hand out to brace himself as LeRoy worked the clutches
drag on the motor for braking effect while concentrating on navigating the sharpest part of the curve.LeRoy said nothing as
he pushed the clutch all the way down to swoosh out of it while the trucks tires let out an unsharp set of squeels and Reez
visibly flinched at two oak trees flanking a drive that briefly seemed to be directly in their path before they whipped away
to the right of the two mens view.LeRoy then hit the brake to bring the trucks speed down enough to safely turn west onto
After turning the corner LeRoy gave it gas and let out on the clutch,smiled lopsidedly at the barks of his rear
tires then asked."Reez,,"You do remember that I know how to operate a wave runner, don't you?" , "Yes,,I remember.And that
you can use one rather well."
"Thanks.,uh,,but anyway,,I may have a better plan of action for us." he then handed
Reez the clipboard with the crudely sketched map before shifing into third as they topped the hill.
He then asked,"See
that storm drainage that cuts east and runs a bit up the boulevard there?" , "Yes." , "Well,,as long as they do not see you
at all and you take that storm drain east while they chase me north to the east west canal then you can get to the cemetery
before I even get to that water marker."
"But,,,that would leave you alone to face them all!" Reez exclaimed.LeRoy
laughed and said,"Yet on the other hand,Zeke,you can get to the cemetery safely and get that horrible being locked down.That's
a bit more important than I am right now,,isn't it?"
Reez said nothing as LeRoy began braking and down shifting in
order to turn off Oslo before asking,"You still have to make the decoy box don't you?" , "Yes,I'll make it before I deal with
Schlomo.It won't take very long at all." Reez replied as LeRoy steered his truck through the short sandy trail that lead off
Oslo to the bridge and then north along the canal bank.
Stopping near the bridge he asked,"Can they tell exactly
where Schlomo is when you open the box?" , "Yes,,they are compelled to come with great haste as soon as he calls." , "So,if
you were under the bridge they would just come 'to' the bridge?" , "Rather more like which direction and how far as opposed
to exactly what kind of structure or conveyance he may be in." , "They can sense movement?" , "Most assuredly."
you think they would come down that cut to get to this point here at the bridge?"
Raven.I suppose that would depend on whether or not I was moving in that direction and if any of them knew such an intercepting
path was available."
"So,,how's this sound?After you get done,hide under the bridge and I'll wait a ways to the north
on the wave runner so they can see me when they get here.After they chase me up the canal you follow along behind them until
you get to the cut and head east."
As they both opened their doors and started getting out Reez responded with,"Maybe
I should get a head start toward the cut as soon as I finish stuffing and decorating him right here in the back of the truck."
LeRoy got out and turned to open the duffle bag in the drivers side front corner of the truck bed while saying,"That
does sound better Reez.I can stand right out here where you can see me from up that way.You could drive the truck down untill
you can barely see me and then tuck it off in the woods somewhere while I wait for them to see me with the decoy.Uh,,can they
see in the dark well enough to spot the decoy and recognize it?" , "They can see without eyes,Bright Raven.Darkness means
nothing to them." , "Oh,yeah,,that's right.I knew that.Then as soon as you see me bail off the canal bank you get to steppin'
Reez replied,"That seems like a plan worth sticking to." and quickly pulled the scooter des mer from his pocket,tossed
it to his friend then began setting up to make a copy of the hold while LeRoy tucked it under his arm before pulling a .380
from the duffle,slide it into his waistband then put the folded fabric inside.
He then stood silent while watching Reez carefully select a particular stick of chalk then draw two diagrams,a
large one and a smaller one about six inches from the first,on the truck bed then take the hold and slide it into a bag into
which he then tossed powders taken from multiple vials and set it in the larger one.He then lit a small bunsen burner that
burned with an odd purplish green flame and set it within the smaller of the two.
After saying "Dieu le Père, au
nom de ton Fils, je vous prie,, S'il vous plaît souriez sur notre task.Protect et nous fortifier assez pour réussir." he laid
his left hand on the bag covered box,doused it and the bag with a noxious smelling liquid,then held his right hand palm up
and closed his eyes while begining to hum a weird tune.
After a few very brief moments the bag covering the hold
began to glow with a dull brown gleem as the bunsen's purpley green flame seemed to grow like a swelling puffball mushroom
untill it got about as big as a basketball then suddenly burst silently into a million little flashes of red sparks that Reez
snatched the now sparkling bag through on his way to placing it in his right hand where it began sizzling,cracking and throwing
off a dense cloud of slightly yellowish smoke which rapidly vanished to reveal a box exactly as the one still sitting inside
the bag in the middle of the first diagram.
Ceasing his humming he looked over at LeRoys stunned expression
and said,"Alchemy and focused will,,not sorcery." before handing the decoy to the amazed man.
"Wow.Can you do that
with anything?" , "Almost.Now,,I would prefer if you were at least ten paces away when I open Schlomo's hold.There's no reason
for him to know there is more than one person present."
"Uh,,yeah,,okay." replied LeRoy as he slung his duffle over
a shoulder ,picked up his dessicator then stepped quickly away toward the canal.
Reez watched him for a moment untill he stopped about ten feet from the canal lip,dropped the duffle on the ground
and began to rummage through it then quickly stowed away the paraphanaelia he had out and quickly pulled out the powder filled
tin LeRoy gave him.Setting it down he wiped away the previous diagram with a ball of feathers,drew a new one with a different
chalk stick then opened it and poured it into a bowl with iridescent silver markings around it's inside and outside before
setting it in the middle.
Once again humming he poured a vial of sticky fluid into the powder filled bowl,brought
out a small metal bell which he held left handed over the bowls now simmering contents along with his other hand,rang it twice
then a third time while simultaneously snapping his fingers with his right and exhaling with a loud 'ha'.
ceased and a light vermillion haze wafted over the surface of the bowl then flicked out.
He then reached over
and took out the concotion he had made earlier an ivory looking inkwell,a gold measuring spoon and a small silver funnel which
he used to carelly ladle a precise amount of his preparation into the inkwell.
Picking up a hum occasionally punctuated
by half formed words he then stoppered it back up and began shaking it vigorously while taking an odd looking brush that appeared
to have an intricately carved bone handle and small delicate feathers as well as bristle of two different colors forming it's
Setting the inkwell down he reached out beside him and grasp the heavy bladed 20 inch long single edge
knife's handle that appeared in his grabbing hand,deftly sliced his right hands thumb ball,let go of the knife and swabbed
the brush tip into the blood welling out.
Changing hands with the brush he dipped it into the inkwell before using
his left to pull the hold box out of the bag,quickly triggered it open and swiftly removed Schlomo.
His humming half
drowned out the sibilant sounds emanating from the tortoise shell abomination as he began drawing symbols,shapes and words
that became a shimmering set of slightly steaming lines enveloping the dark form by the time he had covered every section
of the noisy relic.
As soon as the last line he laid connected with the first line the sibilant hissing rose to a
shrill keening which ceased abruptly after Reez dropped the brush,snatched the bowl out of it's diagram and pored about two
thirds into the open end of the reptile shell.
Setting the bowl down briefly he used his bloody right thumb to tamp
the powder firmly down before doing the same two more times and then placing Schlomo back into his prison with a loudly exhaled
"HA!" as he closed the lid and sealed it.
"I'm done,Roy!" he said loudly as he placed the box back in the
bag.His friends voice came from the other side of the truck saying,"Time to go then Reez!" as he capped the inkwell.Quickly
replacing his paraphanaelia in the tackle box he then picked up the hold and ran around to the drivers side to dive in while
saying,,"God be with you,Bright Raven!!"
"And with you old friend!Don't forget to open the valves on the dessicator.Now,hurry
up so you can hide my truck good before they get here."
Cranking the engine,Reez popped the clutch and took off kicking twin rooster tails of white sugar sand while LeRoy
Driving along side the canal on the rough sandy trail left by the dredging crane Reez tried
to go as fast as he could untill he could see where the cut began after which he backed off the accelerator and looked for
a suitable place to hide the truck in what would be pitch dark Florida pine scrub woods for anyone else to his right.
before he decided to just steer into a lightly bushed area he seen a barely discernable path open up under the low hanging
branches of one of the occasional yet not rare bluejack oaks that dotted the area.Hitting the brake he whipped in and stopped
about fifteen feet in near the bole then hopped out with the bag containing Schlomo and ran back out into the sandy trail
to look south.
After spotting LeRoy standing near the canal banks edge with the decoy held in his left hand,the
duffle slung around his neck,his dessicator hanging from his right shoulder and a bundle of some sort in his right hand he
stepped back a little so the short brush along the trails edge hid him a bit more.
Within a very short time that
seemed a week long the sound of speeding vehicles coming over the hills ridge reached his ears as a greasy green ball of flame
appeared about twenty feet in front of LeRoy which coalesced into a slowly fading glowing humanoid form in the exact spot
the truck had occupied.