Daria and Janah disappear into one bedroom, that leaves me with Dasha the Delectable, we take the other.
“You are for making me feel gud Dahfoney.”
I am, and I do, take my time covering the smooth firm territory then send her into a shivering spiral of sexual stimulation.
We cuddle while she comes down to Earth, then she’s in the bathroom, comes back strapped up. First she lubes me with her tongue, then I lube the toy with mine, then she eases in. The sucker vibes deliciously, in me and against her, I’m slow screwed through one climax, then another.
“Thank you angel, I’m feeling languidly liquid.”
“Dasha ees Dahfoney’s leetle anjul.”
I’ve called her little angel for years, even when she grew up and wasn’t so little, the twins are five six. She takes her job seriously, the twins take everything seriously. Lucky us. After I smother her with kisses, we curl together and drift away.
I wake to leetle anjul eyes blinking at me, “We will get coffee and tea ready, sister ees stirring. Janah may be a while, sister took her wiz tongue, then toy both ways.”
I grin, Janah likes the toy in her tush as well as her puss, she’s like Amaya that way. Our girls have slightly different variations depending on partner. I do Janah’s butt with my tongue, but not a toy. Nikko and Daria both do her with the strap on. Amaya has had everyone do her anally, Zi is particularly fond of taking her from behind. Eloise loves to go down on all the girls, but she likes to make Janah lick her tush. Sarah and Janah are fond of Sloane’s boy part, Oceane as well, she mostly sticks to Cassie though. Sarah will do anything anyone wants, and isn’t shy about it. The others have their preferences, nobody is violent except Mani, and only with Sarah, who likes it. Otherwise, Mani is gentle as a spring shower.
Enough variety to please any persuasion.
The twins and I are having coffee, well, I’m having coffee, they drink strong black tea, they are Russian after all.
Daria, “Library opens at nine, how do we handle it?”
“If the Shadow is there, I’ll be spotted as Shaolin and it may create a scene we don’t need. You and Janah can spot Shadows by their aura. Walk though and see what’s what. Dasha and I will hang nearby. Could be a long day, we don’t know that the Shadow has anything to do with the library, or if they do, when he will be there, or even if it’s a he.”
“Da, okay, simple enough. How many days do we give it?”
“We don’t. While you’re walking the stacks, I’m getting Grace B to find out the staffing schedules. Somebody is in charge of volunteers, they’ll have a schedule posted someplace. Should have thought of it yesterday.”
“Hafing sex wiz Dasha makes Dahfoney smarter.”
Janah comes padding in, “Daria tried to kill me, I am most grateful,” she leans in and kisses Daria, then Dasha, then me.
She sits next to Daria, scoots her chair close and lays her hand on the tight thigh, whispers something affectionate in her ear. They kiss.
I hand J a green tea, “We have eggs and toast, that’ll have to do until lunchtime.”
I start scrambling, Dasha softens butter in the microwave, toasts slices. More tea and coffee, we eat, it’s eight thirty, time to get dressed and head to the South Burlington Community Library.
We take both cars, one SUV with a drone in the rear compartment, the other a sedan. Janah and Daria are inside by nine fifteen, Dasha and I wait in the SUV.
“What eef there ees no Shadow peerson here?”
“Then we go to the birds.”
She blinks at me, she knows what I mean. I can call in some of my bird pals, owls, eagles and falcons are best, but we can use pigeons in a pinch. They see auras, and they know about evil humans with black auras. I’ve used them on lots of occasions to hunt Shadows when we didn’t have a clue where to look. Birds can cover a wide swath of territory efficiently. Of course, the Shadow has to be outside, it can take some time. When they return we have to either put a GPS tracker on the bird, or have a drone follow them so they can show us where they saw the Shadow. As many steps as it takes, it’s still better than driving around and hoping to stumble on our target.
Daria mentals me and her sister, “Nothing in the library, there is a staff area closed off to the public, might be in there, we will wait, pretend to look for books.”
Dasha, “Da, we are watching the lot, maybe others come in later.”
“You know, it doesn’t have to be an employee or volunteer, could just be a frequent patron. There’s been a murder a month, the Shadow wouldn’t even have to come in that often.”
“Ees true, but anyway does not mahter, we will watch everyone.”
We go for a light lunch at noon, sandwiches from a deli, sodas, Janah and Daria come out to the SUV and eat.
Janah, “It’s a nice library, reasonably complete. Like most libraries, people pay little attention to the patrons, I parked in a chair with a stack of books and nobody gave me a second glance.”
Grace B comes online to my phone, “List of employees and volunteers. Bunch of old ladies mostly.”
Janah giggles, “The public library is a woman’s domain, there are male library staff of course, but it’s mostly an old girls club. Been that way ever since I’ve been going to libraries.”
“No Shadow so far. Daphne made the point that it could be a patron, someone who only comes around once in a while. In a way, that’s almost more likely, if the cops made the library connection like we did, they wouldn’t know what to do with the information. The murders were done by six different people who happen use this library. Since they have no clue about Shadows and mind control, they would blow it off as coincidental.”
“The people who turned themselves in were drug tested, urine and blood samples, nothing out of the ordinary was found. Without some commonality, the police have zip to go on. Sorry about not cross checking the reports, will not happen again.”
Janah, “We got lucky, it wasn’t something we asked you to do, now we know, comingle separate research and look for patterns.”
“We still feel like dumb fucks, although Emma B said dumb clucks. We, including Kota B, have reprogrammed ourselves to account for the oversight. Daria or Susan will have to review the changes and approve.”
“Susan is traveling, send the code to Daria, it will give her something to do while we fiddle around in the library.”
“She has it.”
Daria, “Dasha, you take library duty, I will stay here with Daphne and review.”
Dasha and Janah exit and walk back to the building, I keep an eye on comings and goings in the lot, Daria is flipping through pages on her tablet faster than anyone should be able to read.
“How can you do that, skim through all that code jargon?”
“If the code is unchanged, it is in black and white, any changes show up in red and are instantly sent to me and Susan, copy to Eloise and Lauren. They don’t do the code, it’s a failsafe in case the bots need to be shut down, like they were hacked or broken in some way. If I let Eloise know I am reviewing, she doesn’t do anything. If she doesn’t hear from me in two minutes, she shuts them down, at least to hibernate. If Eloise is indisposed, Lauren can do it. In this case, the changes are minor.”
She taps a few keys, Eloise and Lauren are informed the changes are approved, a few seconds later Susan’s message shows up, noting the change and that they are landing in Malibu. Daria acknowledges receipt, we go back to staring at the parking lot.
Today the library is open until eight, Daria and I have shuffled in for bathroom breaks. Since no Shadow has been spotted, there’s no danger of one spotting me as Shaolin. The twins of course look nothing like twins, no one in the library will notice identical or even similars.
Janah and Dasha come to the car, “Zip, let’s go to the hotel. I need a glass of wine, you have cold cuts?”
“Yes, quickie sandwiches, you can check the weather in New York, double check the storm isn’t coming this far north.”
“Burlington is three hundred miles from Manhattan. I’ve checked the weather, we’ll get rain here, the thing is taking dead aim at the city.”
“Has it wound up, down, no change?”
“It was already wound up, no change. The problem is simple, hurricanes lose power quickly over land, but Manhattan isn’t over land, it’s right on the Atlantic. In six or eight hours, New York is screwed.”
We’re in our suite, drinks in hand for the drinkers, I’m making quickie finger sandwiches, stack them on a tray and add chips, bring them to the table. Video of the city is on the flat screen, boarded up ground floors, National Guard vehicles roaming. There will be the inevitable looters, lights are still on but they may not be for long. The city invested heavily in flood protection, improved drainage and buildings were required to have gas lines automatically shut off in the event of an emergency. This is an emergency. Looks like the upgrades will get a test.
Our condos should be safe, we operate on stored solar, our graphene batteries can run for days. The ground floor doors are near missile proof, no looters are getting in that way or from the roof. The doors to the condos are titanium, with slide bolts into titanium frames. All the windows are double pane bulletproof. Inside, bots with self charging batteries patrol. They can handle leaks if any, and fires. We are not dependant on the municipal water supply in the event of fire. We’re as locked down as locked down gets.
Susan calls, “Thank you for getting us out, this looks like a disaster of ugly proportions.”
“The oceans have risen, it doesn’t take as much to push water into the city. We’re fortunate, all our family investment property has been sold off, we own nothing in town but the buildings our condos are in.”
“Still, I’m thankful to Nikko for pushing us to sell, she doesn’t attach, well, except to you and Janah. Buildings to her are either capital gains or income, she doesn’t fall in love.”
“I was nostalgic about the Epstein’s property and the subsequent library we operated out of it. We donated the whole thing to the Shaolin several years ago, so it’s still kind of ours.”
“It will be okay, it’s on the fifth floor and you guys installed the same safeguards we have in our condos. I didn’t check, I’m sure the monks went over and sealed the books and texts into the vaults.”
“Janah called, yes, all done. The vaults are both fire and waterproof. The monks went to Brooklyn, the temple is closed and sealed up.”
“Aren’t there ancient texts there?”
“Same vaults as the library. The temple might be a mess, water damage and whatever, but the books and other materials are safe. Even all the weapons and statuary are stored and sealed. Tan’s hut might disappear, that’s a bummer.”
“It must be getting late there.”
“Eleven, no Shadows today, tomorrow I go bird hunting, which could be complicated by rainy weather. That looks like all we’ll get, right now it’s cloudy with a bit of wind, let me see,” I check the window, “yep, light rain, guess the party’s starting.”
Torn between staying up til all hours to follow the storm or sleeping, we opt for sleeping. We can’t do anything about it, and chasing a Shadow groggy from an
all-nighter isn’t smart.
It rained in waves, ala typical hurricane. All we got were the outer tentacles, this morning it’s wet, but overcast now and not raining.
We’re all up with caffeine fix of choice.
Janah, “Too soon to sort out New York, the eye went through to the left of the city, over New Jersey, which means the highest winds came straight through town. Criminey, look, there’s no more Statue of Liberty. She went for a swim in the bay.”
“Lower Manhattan will have flooded then. Geez, the city is completely dark, the boroughs too, and New Jersey must be a mess.”
Daria, “Nothing for us to do but continue to look for the Shadow. Library is going to be open, the weather we got does not appear to have shut down anything.”
“Then we best saddle up, I need to find a couple of owls.”
Daria and Dasha take library duty, Janah sits in the SUV to observe the parking lot comings and goings, I take the sedan and find a park.
It’s a nice one, lots of trees, I’m walking a path, the ground soggy from rain. The way I connect to the birds is to intend to connect to the birds. Think of intention as a surfer on a wave riding the sea of consciousness.
Given the weather, the birds may be a bit agitated, staying close to their nesting areas. What usually is a quarter hour takes three quarters, but I finally get lucky, a Great Horned, big female who isn’t much agitated by anything. Bright yellow eyes that look at me as if to say, “What do you want human?”
I tell her.
‘I know about Evil Ones, you call them Shadows, a good name. How is it you can speak to us?’
Owls are the most curious birds, pigeons never ask how.
‘One of your relatives in Canada, to the north, taught me. She gave me her vision and her hearing. I can hear the field mouse cringing under the leaves,’ I point to a pile pushed up against a tree ten yards away, ‘your lunch no doubt.’
‘Not worth killing, I prefer to snatch a rabbit, even a fox. I have a family to feed, not just myself.’
I explain my mission in more detail, how I can attach a machine to her that will tell me where she is, about the drone that can follow her search. She thinks it over, stares at me unblinking.
‘You will kill it?’
‘What I’m here for, we have done it many times.’
‘Then you are not alone.’
‘No, I have three others on this trip, more if I need them.’
‘You may. There is a coven, four, two males, two females. All humans are nasty, these are the worst of a bad lot. One day we may kill all of you.’
‘Not today I hope.’
‘No, not today, you and your kind would anyway be spared.’
‘Delighted to hear it.’
Since her expression never changes, it’s impossible to say how she feels about my comments.
‘You have the device?’
I hold it up, ‘Small, lightweight, you will hardly notice,’ I explain how the drone will follow the signal and send us video when she located the Shadows.
‘Your kind makes amazing machines, one day you may even be able to fly as I do, with no big machine polluting the sky.’
I attach the GPS, ‘Fly to their nest, circle it a couple of times, do not get close. Then follow the drone back to the park, I’ll take the machine off. Thank you for helping, you save us a lot of time, we had no idea there is more than one.’
I’m not favored with a reply, five foot wingspan opens, with a single down stroke she’s off.
I mental Janah, “You follow?”
“Yep, mental your leetle anjul and tell her they can abandon the library."
I mental Dasha, who coincidentally is mentaling me, “Dahfoney, Shadowy peerson ees library volunteer, woman, maybe fifty. She just came in from staff room.”
“Okay,” I relate what the owl said, “you and Daria go to the car and launch the drone. No need to stay in the library. I’ll figure out the next step in a sec.”
We’re all together in the SUV, “There is always some tiny chance this woman is not one of the four the owl says live together. I don’t know the odds of five Shadows living in Burlington Vermont though, seems tiny.”
Janah, “Why even four? And that live together? Shadows aren’t known for their
“We’ve seen them work together before, either a piece of work that takes more than one, or their efforts to find and kill us.”
Daria, “We will hear from the owl, or at least the GPS, soon. I suggest Daphne and I take the car to the place they live, Janah and sister wait here until the Shadow inside goes home. If she goes to the same place, we have our answer.”
“I was thinking we could drop her for now, and all go to the house, if she doesn’t show up, or we find four there already, we know where to find library Shadow later. But I’m wrong, Daria’s plan is better. I think we need to keep eyeballs on the one we’ve got.”
Dasha, “Drone ees sending peekture of house, bird haf circle, she ees follow drone now. Ees big house on lake, see?”
“Dang, nice digs, these aren’t typical Shadows, wonder if the owl is mistaken?”
Janah, “The birds don’t usually get it wrong, in fact, we’ve never seen them get it wrong.”
We can see the big bird from the drone’s rear cam, Eloise has them with four cameras so we can get a three sixty view if we need to.
“Daria and I will go to the park first and get the tracker, then drive to the house. Dasha, after we deal with the owl, fly the drone back to the house and see if you can get interior video, or at least audio.”
Daria and I return to the park, I stop at a supermarket along the way. At the park, we see the drone circling, the owl swoops down to the same branch as earlier.
I remove the tracker, ‘I got this for you, maybe it saves a hunting trip,’ I take out a slab of chuck roast, nice and red, hold it out for her.
She sails off the limb, circles and dives, talons dig into the two pounds of meat, up and off without a hitch.
Daria, “Bird is powerful.”
Daria clicks on her phone, connects to the drone, it feeds us a map just like any GPS for a car. I get directions over the speaker. Our GPS voice is Emma B, her pleasant Brit accent guiding us towards mayhem. We have another that uses Grace B, it’s not for work, but it’s hilarious.
“Turn left dummy, and don’t run over the baby stroller, in three blocks take a fucking right, that’s the hand you masturbate with slut. If you get that far without killing anyone, the location is two hundred feet to your left, the hand that doesn’t smell like pussy.”
She can go on like that forever.
We drive fifteen miles to Cedar Beach on Lake Champlain. My brain kicks back one of those old memes that used to pop up all over the internet, this one says:
Kill Them All
There’s no particular reason to be here now, we could have checked out the house through the drone. I like to get a first hand, see the terrain, get my nose to the air so to speak. Right now, it smells wet.
“Two stories, big porch, boathouse and dock, composite siding that never needs paint and will last forever. Two cars and a truck, new and electric. If this is a Shadow enclave, somebody’s earning a fair wage. Is there a boat?”
The drone cam pans back, nothing at the dock, “Can’t tell, probably in the boathouse considering the weather.”
“Dasha, peek in the windows, turn on the listening device.”
We see the cam zoom in, nothing, nothing, nothing then from the rear a man and a woman on the patio, a third man comes out with a beer and joins them.
“Marla getting the itch again?”
Second Man, “Fuck yes. She’s got her eye on another woman, I think she said a doctor’s wife. Grabbed her mind a coupla times, said she’s easy to control.”
Woman, “Then some poor slob is going to be dead soon, wonder how she’s going to kill them this time?”
“Maybe a hammer, good and messy, doc’s wife walks into the cops covered in brains and blood.”
They laugh, First Man says, “I’m glad Marla provides the entertainment, my preferences lie elsewhere.”
Woman, “Your preferences lie with having a large black cock in your mouth, then making the stud suck you off.”
“I enjoy forwarding the video to their friends, particularly girlfriends. I think about the look on the woman’s face when he turns to the camera showing his mouth full of cum, swallowing and smiling, then says, ‘I love white dick.’ I don’t video the first bit, my face never shows up.”
First Man laughs, “Perverts-R-Us.”
Second Man, “True, Natalie gets so much teenage dick it’s a wonder her pussy doesn’t have calluses.”
Natalie, “Maybe it does. Besides, I’m doing them a favor, I’m not ugly, but I’m not young either. They think they’re fucking a hot soccer mom, or when I feel particularly generous, a pop star or a porn girl. They should leave me a tip. The best is when I get two young hotties. Make ‘em strip and suck each other a bit first.”
Second Man, “You guys are deranged. Sex is overrated. I used bring in the cash as a homeless beggar. Stick a couple of bills and change in the cup, and stick the real cash I made them give me in my pocket. Not to mention jewelry, most of it was junk, but some of it brought in good money. I graduated to banks. Teller hands over everything in the till and has no idea she’s doing it. Sometimes I have the manager bring me thousands from the vault, I leave with a briefcase full of fresh green. I had to quit the begging, too many people have only cards or phone wallets.”
Daria, “Nice group of people, how many suckers lost their jobs for embezzling?”
“That never showed up in our data, he must do most of it out of town. If a bunch of people got busted for theft in a town the size of Burlington, it would have popped up.”
Daria, “We have it coded for financial crimes, I need to widen the search fields.”
I mental Janah, “You heard it?”
“Yes, I’m deciding whether to head to you or wait and try for the librarian before she gets home. Three in a groups is bad enough, four, and Marla sound particularly dangerous, may be more than we want to take on.”
“Good thought. Hang there, if you get a shot to deal with her, take it. Daria and I are going to take over the drone, Dasha will need her full attention on Marla.”
That decided, I tell Daria, then ask, “Any thoughts on the three inside?”
“Janah does not want to use darts unless there are no other options, that lets out laser guns as well. Three inside, the woman Natalie must be good if she’s controlling two at a time. The men, hard to say, the kind of thing they do most Shadows could pull off. I say we listen for a while, they do not appear to be going anyplace.”
“I’m good with that. If J and Dasha can get to Marla, they can come here and we have four to deal with three. I like those odds better.”
Conversation inside reverts to the more mundane, dinner plans, more cocktails are poured, one of the men fires up a grill.
First Man, “Natalie, you swiped excellent steaks, I marinated these suckers last night, they will cut like butter.”
“Got excellent caviar too, think you could whip up toast points? I’ll get the sour cream out, what’s the side tonight?”
“Fat baked potato with all the additives.”
Second Man, “Stolen food always tastes better.”
“I prefer to say gifted, the fucking checkout woman even bags it all for me. We haven’t paid for food, booze or toilet paper in years.”
Second Man, “We haven’t paid for anything in years. People we bought this house from gave it to us after Frank made them think he was a guru that enlightened them. Too bad they wanted to keep coming around, annoying him with chants and crap.”
Frank (First Man), “Hey I got to fuck the daughter for months, fine and fourteen. Then she got attached, they had to go.”
Natalie laughs, “You fucking made the kid kill her parents, then off herself. Handy that they gave us the boat, they rest in pieces at the bottom of Lake Champlain.”
Daria, “Maybe we can kill them slowly.”
I tap into Janah’s head, I see what she’s looking at. A late fifties librarian firing qi shots at Dasha. I can’t quite tell, it appears to be a parking lot, than I get it, it’s the rear entrance to the library.
Dasha dodges, then gets clipped on the shoulder, which must be a good one, it spins her and she stumbles back. But it’s Dasha, she shrugs it off and resumes her approach.
I hear Marla, “Little girl, you don’t know what you’re dealing with. Run while you can.”
Dasha doesn’t say anything, keeps coming. As the woman raises her hand again, I see her getting closer, which means Janah is walking towards her.
I see the woman turn, her face makes her to be sixty-ish, she’s snarling, a Shadow favorite expression of displeasure.
“I can fuck up two bitches easy as one.”
Janah, “I don’t think so, but give it your best.”
Marla raises her hand to J, geez she’s one angry old lady, I watch her hand twitch. Janah’s in full qi mode with a chaser by me. I see a splash of energy hit the wall around her, sparks fly but nothing gets to Janah.
Marla tries again, same nothing result, although the explosion is kid of pretty, like fireworks.
Marla looks like the next thing to explode is her head, she can’t grasp what isn’t happening, then I see Dasha plow into her, smash her up against the library wall and drive the heel of her hand so hard into Marla’s face her skull actually crushes…splatt!!
Eeewww, that’s messy.
I see Dasha turn to Janah, “She ees not anymore going to be a problem, we need to go to Dahfoney and sister now.”
Dasha wipes her hand on Marla’s dress, “Need to dump this jacket and the gloves along the way.”
Janah, “The hat too, you have brains on it. Let’s take a few extra minutes, I’ll check into a cheap motel, you strip and shower while I get rid of the clothes. There are spares in the SUV, you can change when we get to Daphne and Daria. Wrap yourself in a motel blanket until then.”
An hour later, they join us in the SUV, Dasha changes into spare work clothes. Our work can be bloody, we’ve learned to keep a second set of basics on hand. Janah stuffed Dasha’s clothes in a garbage bag and soaked them with bleach, then the bag went into a dumpster.
“The back lot at the library, they have cameras?”
Janah, “Dasha took them out of service with a laser. They have zip on video.”
Janah, “What’s the plan for these three?”
“Frank is going to be on the patio grilling steaks in a bit. I figure to bang on the front door, whoever answers will tag me for a Shaolin and overreact. Daria makes Frank go missing from the patio. The patio door won’t be locked, you and Dasha make a rear entrance while I’m dancing with whoever answers the door.”
Daria, “We will find a spot to watch the patio, one of us will mental you when Frank is outside.”
I hang at a distance far enough to avoid blipping on Shadow radar, generally fifteen yards, twenty is better.
“Frank ees putting steak on grill Dahfoney.”
“Tell me when she’s got him disappeared, then I’ll knock, you and Janah wait until one of the others goes to the door, you will hear me talking to them, then go in.”
A minute passes, then, “Frank ees gone Dahfoney.”
I zip to the door, there’s a handy brass knocker, I give it a five whacks, hear the sound resonate through the house.
Door opens, I’ve drawn Natalie.
“Goode evening Natalie, I’m raising money for the Shaolin Temple, did you know that…”
“I know that you are the fucking priest killing us,” I don’t think I’ve ever seen such hostility on one face.
“Death isn’t so bad, it could be worse, remember when Donald Trump was President?”
She’s already moving to strike, I’m in one of our new vests, guess I’m the test dummy.
Blam! Right to center chest, I’m airborne backwards, manage to turn it into a back flip and land facing her. She a bit nonplussed, she used a kill shot, but I’m not dead.
“Next one’s worse priest.”
I suppose it was, but I dodge, thank my years of practice with Chan for saving me from a painfully wrecked body part. I crack off one of my own energy pops, catch her in the cheek. Now she can eat from the side of her head.
She looks at me in disbelief, new information, some people other than Shadows can use qi as a weapon.
Natalie tries to say something, but with a hole in her cheek, and appears I got a hunk of tongue as well, it’s only garbled gibberish. She does give it another go, her hand aims at my head, which is a good strategy, but a smaller target. I wait for the finger to twitch, it does, I duck left which turns into a spinning kick that takes out the other side of her face. Natalie looks like someone put her head in a vice.
She sailed to the left clean off the porch, I look over the rail, she’s impaled on a lawn ornament I hadn’t noticed earlier. I can’t tell what it is, something spiky is sticking out of her chest. She’s staring up at the cloudy night sky.
Janah comes out, “Having fun?”
“Tough woman, I need to thank Eloise, the vest worked perfectly, spread out the force, she still sent me sailing.”
“I had it easy, Second Man, who turns out to be Milton Frobisher, and I had a mind control contest. While he was occupied trying to escape his brain, Dasha hit him so hard his heart exploded. Those girls and their bear strength, they’re like cruise missiles.”
“In the boat. She got to him so fast he didn’t have time to act, much less think. His head faces the wrong way, he was dead before she dragged him off the patio.”
“What do we do with the bodies?”
“Let them join the people they sank into Lake Champlain.”
Which is what we do. The twins haul the bodies to the boat, we weight them suitably, poke a few holes in them to let gasses escape and run the boat out a couple hundred yards and dump them. We could have set the boat on fire and let it run itself out on the lake, but that’s messy, fuel in the lake, maybe the bodies don’t fully burn, not eco-responsible.
There’s blood and body gunk around, too bad but we’re not sticking around for clean up. We take the electronics we find, no idea if they videoed anything. I crack a safe with a million in cash, take that. All we can do is make an anonymous donation to murder victims’ families.
At the hotel, we recap to see what we may have missed. I’ve earned a healthy blue black splotch on my chest. Daria is qi-ing me up, my chest is frozen, a lot better than the dull ache it was an hour ago.
Janah, “Feel like a slice?”
“Yep, and a Coke Zero if you please.”
Dasha brings over a slice of pepperoni, Janah hands me the soda.
“I think we handled that about as well as it could have been handled. Too bad about Marla in the library lot, some poor schmuck is going to come across her and it isn’t pretty.”
Janah, “Forgot to mention in all the excitement, I called it in, EMTs got there before a citizen I’m pretty sure, the back lot was empty except for her car.”
“Good then. I wonder what the story will be, it was like her head exploded.”
“Beats me, some forensic somebody will come up with an explanation. When they figure out where she lived, they’ll go there and find another lesser mess and no housemates. Not to mention four filets charred beyond recognition on the grill and baked potatoes shriveled in the oven.”
“What time do we leave?”
Daria, “Nine, four hours, gain two, Arizona by eleven.”
“Sure glad they jacked up jet speeds, would have been a six hour flight in days of old.”
Janah, “Okay hotshot, back on the floor, more qi, tomorrow you wake up shiny new.”
Dasha clicks on the news, and we watch the aftermath of the storm that blasted New York. Lower Manhattan flooded, to be expected, Brooklyn near the shoreline was also inundated. The Hudson and East Rivers slopped water into the city, but not as devastating as Battery Park and Tribeca. Our West Village neighborhood took a lot of water as the storm passed over and the south end of it pushed the Hudson onto the West Side Highway.
“Looks like we have a mess in the Village.”
Janah, “Glad you got the parents out, power’s off, can’t flush the toilet. Susan has her own internal power, but that doesn’t fix the neighborhood. They’d have been trapped in the condo a few days at the least.”
The video screen on my tablet blinks, it’s Sloane, “Mom, Manhattan is screwed, lots of Brooklyn too. The family in Malibu called, thankful we encouraged them to get out. Nobody knows how their property made out yet. Chan thinks Fong’s may have to close for a while. And the Temple is soaked.”
“We figured, we’ve been watching. Our trip was productive anyway, we can only sort out New York when we can. The bots should have sent data by now.”
“Oh, they did, the condos are fine, just can’t get around much. The bots indicated the basement flooded at Susan’s, but only about a foot or so. They turned on the pumps and when that’s done, they’ll get the dryer fans started. At our place the basement is a parking lot for Chapman’s school. No big deal if there’s water.”
I look over at Dasha and Daria, they’re on another tablet talking to the children, then Lauren is on with me.
“Mooommm, Amaya followed, you nearly gave her a heart attack, she jumped when you went flying, then she told me about it and my own heart fluttered, you’re good now?”
“Nearly fixed thanks to Daria and Janah. We’ll be in tomorrow around eleven, I’ll check in from the plane, Grace B will send the car for us.”
“Amaya already said she’s driving to the airport to collect you, self driving car stays in the garage.”
“Even better, how is Her Magnificence?”
“Almost as magnificent as me.”
I see Amaya in the background, “Bah-lone-ee, you’re hot, I’m scorching.”
Lauren giggles, “She’s jealous ‘cause I gave it up for Oceane.”
Amaya, “Uh huh, you’ll be crawling to me soon enough. This evening in fact, that will be satisfactory, and you will be gratified.”
Lauren, “I was thinking of giving Chloe a go, if you just happen to be there, well…”
“I shall turn you into my Slutsky.”
Janah and I are laughing, “Enough ego, have fun, we’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Bye mommy, night Janah.”