The cops were useless, of course. Maybe I was a little too frantic when I called or maybe I said a little too much, but they said I was crazy and hung up.
So I called Steve. I told him everything that had happened, about how Eli and Dr. Gabor think Sonja is possessed by a demon, but she’s just sick, and they’re going to do some creepy ass ritual and is probably in major danger.
“I knew that guy Eli was a creep,” Steve said, “Meet me at 9pm tonight and we’ll get Sonja out of there. I’ll bring the firepower.”
I was surprised he didn’t hesitate to help me, maybe he was just trying to get back into my pants (not that I’d mind at that point), but I think he was actually a better guy than I gave him credit for. He was never there for the small things, but when it’s really important he always came through. It’s easy to forget that because he was such a pain in the ass.
I picked Steve up with Eli’s Mercedes and he presented me with a pair of ancient looking revolvers. He slapped one into my hand.
“I thought you were bringing metaphorical firepower,” I said. “Does this thing even work? And where did you even get it?”
“My dad has a collection of antique weapons. He has so many of these Smith and Wessons I doubt he’ll even miss them,” Steve said, “I’m pretty sure they’ll work. I even have the original ammo.”
We parked around the corner from Eli’s mansion in a discreet location. I knew the doors and windows would be locked and the alarm would be set, but I was pretty sure he wouldn’t expect me to actually show up. At least we had that advantage.
We snuck up to the front door—it was locked, and all the windows were shuttered just like I thought. I realized that we didn’t actually take the time to think of a plan. This was off to a great start.
“Look,” Steve said as he poked me with his elbow.
He pointed to the Widow’s walk that Eli showed me when he first gave me a tour of his mansion. It was open on all sides, and maybe the door below its staircase would be unlocked.
“What about up there?” Steve asked.
“That’s three stories up!”
“Do you have a better idea?”
It turns out that Victorians aren’t that difficult to scale. All the ledges, edges and ornate decorations make for some excellent handholds. And I was a lot stronger than I thought I’d be, I guess hauling around books all day gives you some serious muscles. Serious book muscles. Badass.
We reached the Widow’s walk with surprisingly no close calls, and I prayed the door wouldn’t be locked from the inside. It wasn’t. We were in.
We creeped down the stairs, and paused when we heard some shuffling around the corner in the hallway. We turned the corner and pointed our guns toward the noise.
It was just three of those white kittens that get into everything.
We tried to shoo them away but they followed us to the ritual room. I could hear the goat baah-ing and some cheesy New Age music playing. It sounded like there was chanting too. Steve didn’t hesitate—he shot the lock off the door, just like in the movies. And I’d never been more attracted to him.
We burst through the door with our guns drawn, followed by a small stampede of kittens. Eli and Dr. Gabor turned around to face us. The light from the hallway briefly exposed how ridiculous they looked in the black cloaks they wore.
The door slammed shut behind us and their garb became more menacing, now lit by the red overhead light and the circle of candles that surrounded a pentagram painted on the floor. Sonja was chained inside of it. Dr. Gabor held a sacrificial knife. It was as cheesy as it was terrifying. These guys were nuts.
“Freeze!” I said as I pointed the gun at Eli. I’ve secretly always wanted to say that.
“Kendra, put the gun down. Saturn is about to trine Uranus, and we’re going to end all this.”
“End all this? What the fuck does that mean? What are those knives for?”
“Kendra! Help me!” cried Sonja.
“Drop the knife,” said Steve. He grabbed Dr. Gabor’s shoulder and put the gun to the doc’s head. Gabor dropped the knife with a clank that made the goat softly bleat. “You’re making a big mistake.”
“Don’t speak and don’t move,” said Steve.
I trained my gun on Eli. “Give me the keys to her shackles.”
“Kendra, I can’t.”
I stepped to Eli slowly and reached into his pocket and awkwardly fumbled around in it—it felt like forever—until I finally got the keys out. When I put down my gun and undid Sonja’s shackles she embraced me tightly, wrapping her hands around my back and lacing her fingers in my hair, whispering “Thank you, thank you, thank you”.
Sonja released the embrace and put her hand on mine. She looked me in the eyes as she lifted my hand up to her necklace and closed it into a fist around the hexagram pendant. “Now, I just need you to take this necklace off for me. Take it off, Kendra.”
Her hand on mine wavered, as if she was trying to pull it down with all of her strength, but being stopped by some unknown force. The kittens let out hisses and adorable high pitched growls.
“Don’t do it Kendra,” Eli said, “You’re going to kill us all.”
Dr. Gabor wrestled out of Steve’s grasp and lunged towards me. Steve shot him in the leg and he fell to the floor, freaking out the kittens and sending them scrambling towards non-existent hiding places. “I said don’t move!”
I looked at Steve in horror, until Sonja moved my face to meet hers with her other hand. She stared at me with her mesmerizing green eyes. “Take it off, Kendra. Take off the necklace. It’s killing me.”