I found a back door to the church, knowing that thing had been some kind of demon and knowing there were more of them out there.
Lots more. I just hadn’t noticed them before. Would Thea call it a demon? What would she call it? It hadn’t been corporeal, though. Not even in the way the fairy was. And certainly not in the way Thea and her “motorbike” were. I still had my suspicions about that bike.
But I had another immediate problem to deal with. I’d made it about halfway home when I realized Mr Gun was following me again.
And this time, he’d brought friends. Yet another thing I couldn’t lead back to my fixed address. Maybe this was all a good reason not to have one. That’s what they said in England, apparently. No fixed address. It was more picturesque than “homeless, but it also sounded more voluntary somehow.
Four men with guns, tailing me, looking for a place with no witnesses. At least, I assumed they had guns.
And there it was again. Dang it. I thought my cut through the church had lost it, but it was on one side of me, they were on the other.
I’d rather have the mortal enemy and I cut back towards them. The worst they could do was kill me. I wasn’t sure what that shadow could do, but I had a feeling it was far, far worse. Or maybe not. It had pulled back from my anger, which still smoldered, threatening to rise again. If it did, then somebody was going to end up dead.
“Watch out. There’s worse behind me,” I called as I reached them.
One of the men said, quietly, “She’s right. There’s something out of Muspellsheimr right behind her. A hunting dog.”
Looking for me. And that made, suddenly, more sense than demon. “It doesn’t want to hurt me. But if it’s a hound, it’s under orders.”
“And we don’t want to…”
“Truce!” I snapped. “You want to chase me down, do it later. Do you know how to send that thing back to Muspellsheimr?
Burnt tobacco. Sulfur. Heat. And I knew suddenly. The realm of fire. It was not a demon. It was an elemental, and somebody had set it on me.
I shook my head. “I don’t know how.” Why would he think I could? I wasn’t going to worry about that right now.
Something right out of the realm of fire might be vulnerable to…water? Maybe we could try putting it out. It hadn’t wanted to go through the church – but neither had I, particularly. I had felt like I was trespassing in somebody else’s house. “Water?”
They were closing around their leader, but I found myself stepping into the formation. Any of them could have stuck a knife in me.
“You guys could just leave. It seems to be me it’s after and we aren’t exactly friends.”
“Truce.” He sounded reluctant. “Help us get rid of it.”
“Just tell me what you need me to do.”