This is a companion piece for my post “Eight Points of View – Second Person”
You’re rubbing alcohol onto the blade of your dagger – the ritual demands a clean blade – when you notice a change on the monitor hanging above your desk. The security cammeras catch three people entering the warehouse. One is Professor Ellar. You watch them weave their way across each camera’s view. Should you stop them? Maybe not. Maybe witnesses are the missing element you’ve been seeking. Either way, it’s too late for anyone to change anything.
Your three guests disappear from the monitor. They must have found the ritual chamber. You stop your work and wipe your hands on the hem of your work shirt.
Upon entering the chamber, you find Ellar’s teenage sidekick Garrett studying the array of 660 skulls a bit too closely. “Don’t touch those,” you tell him. “Old bones are awfully fragile.”
Garrett spins around. “You!” he shouts.
Behind him, you see Professor Ellar stand up. Was he admiring the summoning sigil you drew on the floor? You also see Dora – one of the town’s newer residents – tense and pale.
You walk past Garrett, unrolling the sleeves of your work shirt, and say, “Professor Ellar, I’m not surprised you’re here. Unfortunately, you’re too late.”
“Where’s Dr. Allen?” Dora asks, hysteria creeping into her voice. “What have you done to her, you monster?!”
Ellar and Garrett step in to protect her. Chivalrous. The professor says, “I know you are behind the kidnappings, Mr. Vasco. What I don’t understand is why.” You never asked to be understood. “What is this place? Why did you bring your victims here?”
Garrett jumps in with “Why are we too late? And what about these?” He motions to the skulls. “Are they your victims too? Do you keep their bones as some kind of sick trophy?” Garrett’s voice climbs higher with each question, cracking till it’s little more than a squeak.
You can’t help but chuckle. The boy’s outburst is cute, and he’s giving you too much credit. “Those people are long dead, kid,” you reply. “I simply gathered them here for tonight’s ritual. My victims, as you call them, have an important role to play.” They are the final six you need to attract the only being that can bring this town to justice.
“What kind of ritual?”
All of them would see soon enough. Why waste time divulging the details? Instead, you answer, “You’ve seen how divided this town is.” How it treats outsiders and those who don’t live up to their expectations. “How it hides its rotten soul.” You know the gossip people spread about Professor Ellar and Garrett – how they are more than friends. “That ends tonight.”
You step on a pressure plate hidden in the floor. The door at the far end of the chamber slams shut, and a metal grate falls down in front of it. Dora screams and runs to the door. Blue electricity leaps onto her, and the shock knocks her backwards. If you both survive this night, you can thank her for confirming that your security system still works.
Garrett rushes to her side. Ellar’s face hardens. “What is the meaning of this?” he demands of you. “Why are you locking us in?”
You didn’t expect to hear so simple a question from Ellar. “I can’t have you calling the police. You know too much.” You check your watch. It’s nearly time. “Excuse me. I have a lot of work to do,” you say and quickly leave the chamber, mentally reviewing the list of things you have left to prepare.