The verdict on Bruce was that he’d fainted from exhaustion and dehydration. I left him at the hospital, with him promising to deal with it.
He thought somebody had put a hex on him. I wasn’t sure. Maybe it was just exhaustion. They were keeping him in until he was fully hydrated, probably overnight, and I headed home, not in the mood for any more weirdly coincidental encounters. Or had it been? I thought I might have heard a raven.
Well, if Odin was nudging me to where my friends needed me, I wasn’t going to complain about that.
The next day, after school, I really did go to the church. Father William was in the sanctuary, talking to an elderly lady, though, so I didn’t approach him.
This left me standing awkwardly in the back. I felt as if – perhaps quite accurately – I was in somebody else’s house and not sure I had an invite. It was a disturbing and distracting thought, but I needed to check on the status. So I waited, fidgeting like a bored child, while he finished his conversation.
The woman made her way down the aisle, glanced at me and headed out. She was wearing the ugliest brooch I had ever seen, huge and ornate. I thought that it might have been some kind of family heirloom she felt obligated to wear, charitably assuming she hadn’t bought it herself.
Only once she had left and the small door within a door closed behind her did I head over to the priest.
“Jane,” he greeted, warmly.
No question of my welcome from him. It was his boss I was less sure of. Whatever entity the Christian god was, he knew what I was. That I knew. “How are…preparations?” I asked.
“All but ready.”
I nodded. “How can I help? He’s stalking around after me, so maybe I can lead him somewhere.”
“He’s probably not going to fall for it. Not after what happened to his friends.” Will frowned. “They haven’t made it back, right?”
“Not that I know of. They probably went somewhere else.” I hoped they were still hanging out in Hell, doing whatever succubi did when they weren’t harassing mortals. I was half tempted to ask Martin before we got rid of him, then decided I didn’t actually want to know. It was probably something only fun to succubi.
Or maybe they practiced on each other. “Worst case, that is.”
Will nodded. “Best case we scared them off for a while.” He stretched. “No, I think we’re going to have to go after Martin.”
“Not at school. It would…we’d be spotted for sure. And ambushing him at the gates?” A pause. “He knows what you look like, and he can probably see through disguises.”
“But if I start meeting you every day, he’ll get used to it. He’ll know you called me to keep him off, but he might…might just assume that’s all.”
I laughed. “Then everyone will think I turned into a Catholic.”
“Is that such a bad thing?”