When she cast her spell to find the magic bone of vampire boning it seemed to me indistinguishable from the mumbling of a homeless person. I was expecting magic to involve more pizazz, a lot more arm waving for sure, maybe some sparks or a rainbow. Something. After a minute she just opened her eyes and started driving again.
We were back in Kansas City. I was paying close attention this time, looking for a flash or a magic tunnel or something to indicate that we have magically traveled hundreds (thousands?) of miles. There was nothing. One moment were in Tunisia (or maybe Australia, or maybe somewhere else) and the next we were on Cheyenne Ave. No wavy lines or shimmering or anything like that, we were just somewhere else.
We pulled up to a meat locker. I think. It wasn’t a process plant, but was just a big cold room with dead animals hanging in it. Is that were meat goes before it goes to the packing plant? I admit that I don’t have the full supply chain of meat down pat. It would be kind of weird if I did.
Once we were stopped she leaned over and started rummaging around in the trunks and containers in the backseat, which apparently is the sum total all her earthly possessions. I couldn’t help but notice (okay I could have helped it but I didn’t) that she was wearing SpongeBob boxer shorts. I don’t think it was to be quirky, I think they were probably just on sale.
She handed me a pump action shotgun that appeared to be gold plated or made of gold adorned with various other precious metals and studded with jewels here and there. It was engraved with everything from prayers and to angelic scriptures to the flames you would see on the side of a hot rod and very crude stick-figure scenes of demons being killed by someone I think was supposed to be Jack Black. There was a little crucifix hanging from the butt and the sight was a Star of David I think. Along one side it was carven with the word CRUSADER and on the other HOPE.
I dropped it in my lap because it was heavier than it looked “What the hell is this?”
“A magic gun” she said, sitting back down “you know anything about guns?”
“Uh, I shot a rifle a few times on the farm. It’s been years. I never learned how to reload or anything, my dad always took care of that.”
She was scanning the building “That’s good actually, all you have to do is point and shoot, there is no safety or slide or anything like that and you have to worry about reloading.”
I examined it as best I could with all the gewgaws and gimcracks on it “Seems like it should have a safety. This can kill vampires?”
“Probably” she said far too casually “it’s enchanted to kill unholy beings, it works on most monsters and also on people that have premarital sex if I understand how religion works. If it doesn’t kill him it should at least hurt him bad enough that we can figure out what to do while he’s down.”
I turned it over in my hands, it looked insane “Where did you get this?”
“A witch hunter who tried to kill me had it.”
I looked her in the face “What happened to them?
“He failed” she said coolly.
“Why did he try to kill you?”
She expression remained bland “Because he thought I was a witch.”
I halfway handed it back to her “You’re the expert, shouldn’t you have it?”
She pushed it back into my chest “Nah, I’ll be fine. I’m like Batman I don’t use guns. Also like Batman I never skip leg day. You said this guy can shadowwalk? So the first thing I’ll do when we get in there is I’ll cast a light spell so he can’t get away or attack us from weird angles. Then you shoot him. If that doesn’t work we’ll improvise, I’ll try to rip his head off I guess.”
I raised an eyebrow “You can do that?”
“Yeah, I have a spell that gives me the strength of uh . . . Ach-something . . . Achelous I think is the name, he’s an old river god. He really wanted to marry a woman they called man-destroyer so he wasn’t very smart but he was strong as river, a big one. A friend of mine taught me that spell, she’s dead now. Let’s go.”
She jumped out of the car like she was suddenly in a big hurry. I don’t think she actually changed size, but it seemed like she unfolded somehow, like I was just seeing for the first time what a brick she was. Or a tank, whatever the kids say about people like that. I scrambled out after her feeling like I had no choice, which was dumb because I had plenty of choices. Plenty.
I don’t know how strong Achelous was but at least strong enough to rip the door open at a meat . . . whatever place. That’s what she did, just ripped the door open like it was nothing. Looked like a sturdy door. Her power made me feel confident in our non-plan. The blast of cold air made me nip out like crazy, like they were pointing the way to my revenge.
The blast of bullets that hit my new friend in the chest did something entirely different to my confidence level.