James’s Note: We join Daniel as he gets back on the track of our killer, but things don’t go according to plan.
While I finished up my chores, Damien began chain smoking. I guess he was counting on his wolverine like healing factors to prevent the cancer he was flirting with like it was a busty barista in a low cut metal band t-shirt. I took the opportunity to take a breath and enjoy the quiet, and also to finally check the test vial I had in my pocket, sure it probably had an answer for me by now.
That is the precise moment my bowels turned to water. I jerked my notebook out of my messenger bag to check the reference chart I kept in there like a good alchemist. Bugger me sideways. I’m not sure if I actually said that, or just made a desolate squeaking noise, but either way, Damien was on me in a second. “What is it, Witcher Man? Do you know what did it?” I spun, grabbing my bag and running for the Mini. “Get your ass in the car, Damien, no time to explain.”
I guess it was the sudden change in tone that cut through the bullshit, but it was several once again breakneck miles down the rode back into houston before Damien barraged me with questions. I explained to him that, yes, we were going back to the crime scene. Yes, I think I know what the culprit was. No, I wasn’t going to tell him, at least not until I double checked. After all, I was still hoping I was wrong. It could happen. I like mustard and pepper in my oatmeal and think Brad Paisley is a highly underrated artist. I’m wrong all the time.
We were well into the city proper before he gave up trying to get useful information out of me and instead called his pack leader, presumably to let him know the day hasn’t been completely wasted and that he may soon be free to flee my dubious charms. As we neared the alley behind the restaurant, the power slide that brought us to a halt was some serious Tokyo drift badassery that reminded me why I love my Mini Cooper. I said a sort of non specific prayer that may have qualified as celestial junk mail to any god that might be listening as I dug in my bag. I was looking for my shamble (it’s kind of like a cat’s cradle with a bunch of occult doodads attached) which serves as my final word in magical scanning and analysis. I finally found it at the very bottom (of course), just as a freight train hit my car and the world exploded.
The impact was apocalyptic; like a meteor hitting the earth, except I was the dinosaurs. As the car flipped, time slowed down strangely. Broken pencils, empty bottles and other car flotsam existed in a gravity free environment. A battered paperback copy of the jungle book floated ludicrously in front of my face for what seemed like an eternity. I was idoly wondering how it ended up in the car when the eternity ended and I got smashed in the face by a werewolf.
You see, I am a studious driver and always wear my seat belt. Damien apparently missed that particular safety lecture, so he become a free floating projectile. His scapula smashed into my nose at approximately mach 2. As my car continued to flip through the air in a most unnatural fashion, the trajectory suddenly changed and Damien was flung through the windshield, skull first, with the most sickening wet crunching noise I’ve ever heard.