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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Close Call

Storm Chapter 11 - It's raining here in Northern California, thank God and my Nissan Quest part has not come in for my automotive blog topic. Today, Word-Press wouldn't let me comment on two of my favorite blogs for some reason. For those of you following Storm's adventures this is one of my favorite chapters. :)

Fifteen minutes later Carmela Eager entered Spelling’s office behind his secretary. Eager, dressed head to toe in black, with black painted fingernails, lips, and eye shadow, looked from Spelling to Janet belligerently. Janet noticed even the girl’s hair had been dyed black, hanging limp and straight down her back.

“Sit down, Carmela,” Spelling requested, indicating the seat next to Janet. “Call in Ms. Blake ten minutes from now, Jen.”

The secretary nodded her head and closed the door. Eager sat down, popping her gum nervously. Janet had noted the look of recognition and uneasiness after hearing Blake’s name.

“What’s this all about?” Eager asked, her tone louder than necessary.

“I’ll list a few things we know first,” Janet said, showing the girl her FBI identification. “You joined a cult called the Temple of Set along with a number of your fellow students and faculty. You were seduced first by Kevin McGraff and then June Grable. Five young girls died hideously right in front of your eyes and…”

Eager launched out of her seat to make a break for the door. Janet had anticipated her actions. Grabbing Eager’s wrist before Eager could clear the chair, Janet twisted it roughly up behind the girl’s back expertly, pressing her hand and forefinger into an unbreakable finger lock.

“Where do you think you’re going, Goldilocks?”

“Let…let me go!” Eager pleaded, looking back over her shoulder at Janet, terror plain on her face. “Grable will kill us all if she finds out you have me up here.”

“Well then, let’s not tell her,” Janet advised, sitting the girl down roughly. “Don’t try that again. I’ll put you in cuffs next time and the take down will be rough. We’re going to put you and your other cohort Blake on ice in police custody, where we can have you watched for the time being.”

Ted walked into the room as Janet finished calming the girl down.

“This is my partner, Ted Holloway,” Janet told Spelling. “He’ll be escorting the Meyers twins, Blake, and Eager off campus.”

“None of this will be enough,” Eager mumbled, head down. “That thing she sends out will rip us to pieces.”

“What thing?” Spelling asked.

“It’s hard to explain, Sir,” Ted answered. “The explanation would be far too strange for you at this time. Once this ends, we’ll be able to tell you more, although you probably won’t believe it then either. As to your fear, Carmela, Grable’s planning to kill all of you anyway. We’re your only hope. Now you have a way out. Kevin’s already taken the out.”

“Kev…Kevin is helping you?” Eager asked.

“Yes,” Ted replied, handing her the cell-phone he had carried in, already connected.

“Hello?” Eager listened. Tears began to stream down her cheeks as she sobbed in relief, handing the phone back to Ted.

“Sit quietly while we gather Blake and the Meyers twins,” Janet told her, handing Eager some Kleenex out of her handbag.

Cynthia Blake walked into Spelling’s office, smiling questioningly at Spelling. Her smile disappeared when she saw Carmela. Her shoulders sagged in resignation. Janet showed Blake her identification quickly and explained the situation. Resignation turned to fear when Janet explained what they had in mind. Even adding McGraff to the conversation via cell-phone did nothing to allay Blake’s obvious horror at the prospect of Grable becoming aware her acolytes had helped the FBI.

“Shoot me!” Blake pleaded, falling to her knees and causing Carmela to begin sobbing once more. “I’m afraid to commit suicide. I’ll end up doomed to the same hell that bitch Grable conjured her demon from!”

“Demon?” Spelling mouthed in shock as he endured the unfolding horror story and innuendo, without benefit of physical reference illuminating his thoughts. “What…what is…”

“Please, Sir,” Ted urged, “keep an open mind. We’ll need your cooperation to continue this small deception through the day.”

“Get up, Blake,” Janet nudged the terrified teacher with her foot. “It’s a little past time for divine intervention or a bullet in the head. We’re your only hope. I won’t tell you anymore about what we have planned. Be assured we know we’re up against a hell of a lot more than some human whacko killing off kids.”

When Blake stayed where she was, Janet grabbed her by the hair roughly, evoking a startled gasp from the kneeling teacher.

“Five kids are dead - in part because of what you’ve done,” Janet hissed out angrily. “I’m responsible for another bunch of kids in danger trying to help me stop what did it. Get your ass in that chair before I kick the livin’ shit out of you!”

Blake scrambled meekly to her feet, sitting as directed. She clasped her hands in front of her in a death grip, nodding in compliance. “I…I’ll do whatever you say if…if you can keep that thing from getting me.”

“We’ll do what we can,” Ted promised. “But we’re flying in the dark here too. One thing’s for sure - like my partner said, we’re your only hope. No one else will believe your story. Grable plans to put you exactly where you fear you’ll end up.”

The phone rang and Spelling answered it. He looked expectantly at the FBI agents.

“The Meyers twins are here.”

“Have them come in,” Ted directed. “You two stay silent unless we cue you in.”

Chuck and Marty walked into the office hesitantly as Ted moved over next to the door and closed it once the twins were in. They almost seemed relieved seeing Blake and Eager in the room. The FBI agents identified themselves. Ted called McGraff once again to enlist his aid in explaining the situation to the two boys.

“What kind of protection do you have?” Chuck asked. “If you know what’s really doing this, you know shooting it ain’t going to stop it.”

“Ted will take you bunch over to our safe house,” Janet replied. “We should cuff you all and let the police deal with the details, but we don’t want them in on this for obvious reasons. Your buddy McGraff can explain a little more in detail why you’ll be safe where we take you.”

“What about the Amadors?” Marty asked.

“We have to leave them alone for now,” Ted answered. “We can’t take a chance Commissioner Amador won’t start screaming the moment we pick him up, even though it’s for his protection as well as his son’s. Grable knows Dave Amador was suspended. Besides, we plan on giving her a lot more to think about than the Amadors.”

“Let’s get this bunch out of here before the period ends and we’re in the midst of a stampede,” Janet counseled, gesturing for the others to get up.

* * * *

Grable blinked tensely as Carol, Nancy, and Chris walked into her first period English class. They immediately sat down in the last row of desks near the door and studiously ignored Grable. The three took out their books and papers as other students filed into the classroom. It was possible they were not told about Storm Crandall’s death, Grable thought. She grinned slightly, planning to reacquaint herself with the three girls after class. Grable taught the rest of the period with an upbeat anticipation. When the class ended, Grable called out to the three, but they immediately left the room without stopping. The rest of the class looked on in some confusion as a smiling Grable practically jogged toward the classroom door. The three girls were standing only ten feet from the classroom door, huddled closely together.

“What’s the hurry, girls?” Grable asked laughingly. She paused only a few feet from them. “None of you were in a hurry last night at my house when you paid me a surprise visit.”

Carol, Nancy, and Chris stayed silent, watching the rest of their classmates maneuver out of the doorway around Grable.

“Answer me, you little shits!” Grable hissed out in a hushed voice as she moved closer to the girls. She had expected them to run down the hallway, but instead they stood their ground. “My little friend would like to play with you girls. Maybe tonight?”

“They were waiting for me,” Storm said from Grable’s left.

Grable spun back toward her class with an involuntary harsh intake of air. Storm walked over to stand between the girls and Grable with Logan and Tracy next to her.

“Did you really think your ass kisser McGraff could finish me?” Storm asked grimly. “He didn’t do so well. Why don’t you try it yourself tonight, Zelda?”

“This isn’t over… not by a long shot,” Grable warned, backing away from the group and toward her classroom.

“It will be soon,” Storm promised ominously.

“Not the way you think,” Grable replied, regaining some of her composure. “Maybe you’re right. If you want something done right, it’s best to do it yourself.”

Grable turned abruptly and strode into her classroom without a backward glance.

“Oh…my…God, that woman’s a freak,” Chris whispered, breathing in short rapid gulps of air. “If the Goth has any blood pumping it was flowing toward her feet.”

“You got her good, Storm,” Carol added. “Do you think it was enough to throw her off until you get done with what you have in mind?”

“I’d at least like to hang on to that happy thought for the time being,” Storm answered truthfully. It’s a long way until midnight.”

“Now that she knows you’re still alive won’t Grable try to kill you while you’re away from the protection spell on the house?” Tracy asked.

“Probably, but I took precautions against it,” Storm said, taking an ugly white-tan, squat root from a small leather bag. “This is called an Angelica root. I anointed it with holy water. It protects with the proper spell. I brought each of you one.”

Storm gave a root bag to each of the girls.

“Where did you get this stuff, you freak?” Chris made a face at her root bag.

“From under your bed,” Storm quipped, evoking a sudden burst of laughter from the group. “I brought a few things with me from Columbus. Let’s get to Chem class. See you in History, Logan.”

“Watch your backs,” Logan said by way of goodbye.

Storm squeezed Logan’s hand before releasing him to walk toward his next class.

“At least we’re ready for Chem,” Tracy said. “Where are you this period, Chris?”

“I have History,” Chris answered, walking away. “I never thought I’d be wishing to be in Chemistry. See you all at lunch.”

The others said goodbye and hurried toward Deemer’s Chemistry class, each clutching their root bag tightly to them.

* * * *

“I’m going to stop by the bathroom and then dump some books at my locker,” Storm told Logan as they walked out of History class later. “You save us a table in the cafeteria for our meeting.”

“I don’t like leaving you alone,” Logan replied, taking Storm’s arm. “Let the rest of them find each other and a table.”

“When you put it like that I’m tempted to take you with me,” Storm said huskily, leaning into Logan provocatively. “But the other girls in the bathroom might object.”

“I’m serious, Willow,” Logan retorted. “Don’t make light of this.”

“Hey, ease up,” Storm reached up and stroked Logan’s scarred side. “Go on now and get the table. I’ll be right there.”

Storm walked away quickly, feeling Logan’s gaze burning a hole in her back. She turned and gave him a little wave. Logan shook his head in defeat. He turned toward the cafeteria. After making a brief stop in the bathroom nearest her locker, Storm hurried to put her excess books away, noticing the uncharacteristic emptiness of the hall. The closer she came to her locker, the fewer students she saw. Storm looked around her carefully, the hair on the back of her head standing up at the nape of her neck. When the air around her began to fog slightly, Storm knew she was in trouble. Clutching her Angelica Root pouch, Storm felt something shift. The heaviness of the air eased somewhat as she approached her locker.

Methodically glancing in all directions, Storm took a deep breath and undid the combination lock. She quickly jerked open the locker door, and took off her backpack. After stuffing her prior period’s books in the locker, Storm closed the locker door and put the combination lock back in place. When she turned after putting on her backpack she was facing Grable.

“Hello, girlie,” Grable said in a voice like small ball bearings grating together. “I’m glad I caught you before lunch. You advised me to take matters into my own hands. Well, here I am.”

Storm had swallowed a scream erupting from the base of her being. She clenched her teeth together in an attempt to forestall the icy fear racing up her spine. She noticed Grable had her right hand held behind her back. Grable began edging nearer when Storm turned fully from the locker. Grable laughed suddenly, a sound so devoid of humor, Storm edged sideways. Grable slowly drew the knife out from behind her back. It was the same one Storm had drawn blood with and given to Kevin.

“I hope you don’t think you’re going anywhere, you know-it-all bitch!” Grable hissed out at Storm from her drawn in mouth. “You can scream all you want. I’ve cast a cloaking spell so you and I can have our talk. How the hell did a useless little shit like you pull off a healing spell of the magnitude required to bring your sorry ass back from the dead?”

“I could tell you, Zelda, but then I’d have to kill you,” Storm answered with a confidence she neither had nor felt. “You’re taking an awful chance slicing me up here in the school.”

“Slicing your throat open will…”

Grable felt a hand lock over her knife wielding wrist as something hard, cold, and metallic pressed against her right temple.

“If you do anything other than drop the knife on the floor,” Janet’s hard edged voice stated close to Grable’s ear, “I will empty my fourteen round clip in your head, bitch!”

Grable chuckled, tensing. “Who are you kidding? You won’t shoot me.”

“Oh yeah, please move,” Janet said happily. “You’re a fraction of a pull from being over the rainbow. Drop the knife now or die!”

Grable dropped her knife. Janet kicked the back of Grable’s right leg with her shoe directly at the knee joint. Grable cried out in pain. Her leg buckled and Janet drove Grable forward onto her face. Storm watched Janet wrench Grable’s hand behind her back as she stepped forward and kicked the knife away. The FBI agent handcuffed the writhing Grable skillfully in the next few seconds. Straightening, Janet hulled the sobbing Grable to her feet.

“You broke my knee!” Grable twisted toward Janet accusingly.

“Shut your pie hole!” Janet ordered roughly, looking Storm over. “You okay?”

“Yeah, thanks to you,” Storm replied gratefully. “How’d you get past her cloaking spell?”

“I watched her work it. I kept hold of the bag you gave me and stayed within her aura. It worked because she was so focused on slicing and dicing you, she couldn’t be bothered with pesky FBI agents.” Janet shrugged and took a bag kit out of her coat pocket. “Take this kit. Use the glove inside to pick the knife up carefully and bag it. Then put it back into my pocket. I’m not looking away from Zelda for even a second.”

Storm did as Janet asked. Grable continued to moan in pain, hobbling to keep her balance without putting weight on the leg Janet had kicked. Storm turned, glancing at the surrounding lockers and hallway. She noticed the area around them had lost the graininess it had a moment ago.

“It’s wearing off,” Storm told Janet.

“Well, Zelda here is going to jail. I’ll have her held there for the immediate future,” Janet replied. She grinned at Storm. “How much you want to bet I can get her into a straight-jacket for the duration?”

Storm nodded her head in consideration. “That would be very nice.”

“Her prints are all over the knife and you’re wounded. The knife has your blood on it still,” Janet added. “I won’t have any trouble getting Zee here locked down until further notice.”

Janet looked around suddenly, her face alight with a new prospect. Grabbing Grable more solidly with her right hand, Janet began raising her weapon up again.

“Take off Storm. I need a moment.”

“Don’t do it, Janet!” Storm pleaded, moving closer. “I need her alive. We don’t know if Grable’s death will actually free the thing to go wherever it wants. It’s limited as long as she’s alive. C’mon, Sculley, don’t do this.”

Janet met Storm’s gaze harshly, her jaw taut with having already made the decision to kill Grable. To Storm’s relief, Janet lowered her weapon.

“I hope you don’t regret this, Wendy,” Janet said, pulling Grable toward the office. “C’mon Zee, let’s see about getting you a nice room for the night at taxpayer’s expense. Hey, Wendy, where’s Logan? I thought he was sticking with you all day today.”

“I…I sent him ahead to the cafeteria,” Storm admitted, trudging along next to Janet, as traffic in the hallway began to pick up again.

“Shrewd,” Janet chuckled. “I didn’t even know where Zee was headed. If you’d had Logan with you, Grable would probably be on the hallway floor waiting to have the knife extracted from her ass. My advise: keep him with you at all times.”

“I think I’ll take a nap when I get home, so…”

“Don’t make me have to hurt you, Wendy,” Janet cut her off. “One more word twist, and… and… shit, I can’t even threaten you with the way things are now. Get out of my face, Wendy, before I do something I’ll regret.”

“Okay, Scully,” Storm replied with a small salute. “Hey Jan, thanks.”

Janet shrugged. “It’s what I do. We have Blake, Eager, and the Meyers twins. I haven’t heard about the Amadors yet. I’ll let you know when Ted hears they’ve been rounded up.”

“You’ll both be dead, and your souls ripped…” Grable began.

Janet launched a short right hand fist into Grable’s kidney area, cutting off the threat, and evoking a short scream of misery from the lurching Grable. Janet pulled her along, supporting Grable as they were getting curious stares from the passing students. Janet leaned into Grable with Storm trying to stifle laughter.

“You talk again without my permission, Zee,” Janet whispered next to Grable’s ear, “and I’ll show you worse things than a bullet in your head. Do you understand me?”

Grable nodded her head fearfully, still cringing and favoring her injured side.

“You’re sort of the Xena Warrior Princess of FBI agents, Jan,” Storm giggled.

“Yeah, and don’t forget it either, Wendy.”

“Okay, see you at home,” Storm said, veering off toward the cafeteria. “Keep your root bag close. She’s still dangerous.”

“I will,” Janet agreed, steering Grable roughly into the office.


raine said...

I think you're right. Maybe second only to the tree chapter, this may be one of the best. :)

“I’m going to stop by the bathroom and then dump some books at my locker,” Storm told Logan...

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Surely these kids have seen all of the teenage horror movies! You NEVER go off by yourself. NEVER! :D

BernardL said...

I admit it, Raine. I needed a reason to separate Storm and Logan, give Janet an ass kicking moment because she was screaming in my head for one, and have a legitimate reason for them to lock Grable up. Answer: Storm has a senior moment. :)

Beth Partin said...


you should get Janet together with cops Ellie and Connor (hope those are the right names).

This was fun to read.

BernardL said...

She would fit right in with them, Beth. Thank you. :)

Virginia Lady said...

Very nice piece for Janet to shine in. Nice work.

BernardL said...

Janet does have a good day in this scene, VL. Thanks. :)