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A Word of Caution

Welcome to the realm of the Unseelie Court. Feel free to wander and browse, but know that the content you will find here is not for the faint of heart. The visions portrayed are often darkly erotic, even disturbing, and should be traversed only by those with the appropriate character and mental age.

You have been warned.


The Book of Enoch

Chapter 15 – Disappearing Act

Taking a deep breath, Professor Manatee stood and made his way back upstairs. He somewhat expected Beth to be in the living room, and had a brief moment of panic, when he heard a noise from the landing above.

“Detective?…” He called out.

“Up here, Alvin.” Replied the woman from what must have been his kitchen. He frowned and moved quickly up the spiral staircase. She was wearing his cooking apron and was just placing a plate of food on the table. Surprised, he just blinked several times.

“Well, don’t just stand there,” she commented, going back to the kitchen area for another serving bowl. “Grab the orange juice and take a seat. The potatoes are just finishing.”

He shook his head and found the pitcher. “You… made breakfast?”

Scooping something from a pan, she laughed softly. “I may not be the poster gal for an American housewife, but I can cook you know.”

He set the juice on the table just as she added a large bowl of homefried potatoes that smelled heavenly. “Er, I didn’t mean to imply… You didn’t have any trouble with my stove?” He asked tentatively, taking his seat.

“Oh, it took a little getting used to, I suppose.” She commented as she served them both. “It’s absolutely amazing how quickly it cooks things. But, once I accepted that it was not simply ‘hotter,’ and acted as a normal stove, just sort of on… fast forward… Well, the rest was easy. I must say, your kitchen itself is a dream to work in. It’s wonderfully intuitive. Everything was exactly where I expected it to be.”


“Oh yes. Try the potatoes. I used a bit of the bacon left over from the other night.”

He did, and his face brightened. “These are really good, Beth.”

She smiled. “Coming from you, that’s a real compliment. So dig in! The way I see it, we should treat every meal as though it might be our last for a while, and there’s no reason why I can’t help out around here, guest or no. You mentioned we might have to leave in a hurry if the Watchers decide we aren’t worth keeping alive anymore. Personally, I don’t want to have to run away on an empty stomach.”

“Well, I really do hope it won’t come to that, but I do agree about the empty stomach part.” He dished himself a large portion of scrambled eggs, then reached for the juice.

“Your sister seems nice.” She commented between bites.

“Kimi is a doll. She has always been there for me,” he said and then frowned, as though remembering something unpleasant.

“Is she… like you, an anthropologist?”

The man looked up from his plate, surprised. “Oh no, not at all. I suppose it might seem that way. No, Kimi is a shaman by trade.”

“A shaman? Really?” Now it was Beth’s turn to be surprised.

“Well, more of a priestess, actually, but I’m sure she would correct me.”

“She seemed to know about the Mothers…”

It took a moment for Manatee to answer, and Beth started to feel as though he was reluctant to talk about it for some reason.

“Kimi deals in all things spiritual. She would say that she’s… ‘connected.’ Whether she has had actual conversations with the group, I couldn’t say, but you’re right, she did seem emotionally put off when you mentioned the killings.” His face took on a look of sadness.

They ate in relative silence for a bit, each in their own world, when Beth’s cell phone rang down in the living room. She looked up at the Professor.

“That’ll be Patrick!” She said, quickly scooting her chair back and then dashing from the table. She caught it on the fourth ring.

“What have you got for me, Pat?”

“I hope I’m not calling too early?” Said the man on the other end of the line.

She chuckled. “Not at all. We tend to sleep during the day around here. What time is it anyway? I haven’t looked at a clock for a while.”

“About a quarter to seven.”

Beth blinked several times. “Shit… Really?”

“You want me to call back later?”

“No! I mean, I’m up. My sleep schedule is just really whacked right now. Come to think of it, you don’t usually get in this early…”

There was a brief silence. “Uh, well actually I never left.”

“What?! Patrick why?”

“Are you near that laptop?”

“I can be, hold on… Professor!” She called out with her hand over the face of the phone. “We need the computer. Meet me downstairs?”

“I’ll throw the leftovers in the fridge and join you in a moment.”

Beth was already on her way down to the ground floor, the sight of the abdicates making her blush again. She tapped the spacebar on the laptop sitting next to Manatee’s workbench and started up the video conferencing.

“Okay, I’m there, Pat.”

A second later his connection rang through and his face appeared on the screen so she hung up the phone.

“Well, you were right about checking missing persons. We had four hits.”

“Damn,” she said, frowning slightly.

“I thought you’d be happy. You called it, Beth.”

She sighed. “Each of those people are as good as dead, Pat.”

“Oh… Well, each of them is also within twenty miles of you…”

“Wait, what?! You mean those aren’t for the dead nuns?!”

He was shaking his head. “That’s why I was up all night. I did the local search first and caught these four, but the real shocker hit when I cross checked the nuns. In each case, there were no less than two missing persons within ten miles of the incident. Some had more, but always at least two. About eighty percent female.”

“Oh my god…”

“It gets better. Of all those missing persons, forty-two total, only three have been listed as possible homicides. The rest are ten fifty-six.”

“Suicides? Pat, the odds…”

“I know. I’m sending you a file right now with the details, but there’s more. This was well beyond the realm of chance, so I decided to see if there might be any other crime incidents that coincided with the nuns, and wouldn’t you know it, I got another match.”

“Go on.”

“Beth, in all but two of the cases, there were reported burglaries, usually at grocery stores, all within hours of the missing persons report. That in itself might not be so weird, but in every case the reports state that nothing of any real value was taken, just food and sometimes clothing, even when there was money in the register.”

She noticed Alvin out of the corner of her eye.

“Hold on a moment, Pat…” She hit the ‘mute’ button. “Did you catch that?”

He nodded. “You suspect these people are being possessed? That would tie in well with the grocery store break-ins. When a person is taken in this manner, it usually causes a massive energy drain. They would need large amounts of high carbohydrate food as soon as possible just to keep the host conscious.”

Beth un-muted the connection.

“Pat, did you include a list of the specific items taken by any chance?”

“It’s in there. I knew you would ask, so let me save you the trouble… Junk food. Chips, some baked goods, cookies… Beth, who the hell risks breaking into a place for crap like that?”

She had gone pale.

“Were there corresponding break-ins for the four missing persons locally?”

Her partner smiled. “Give the lady a cigar! But are you ready for the real surprise?”

“Another? Now you’re bucking for my job, Pat.”

“You know it! I got curious about that little coincidence and how far the connections went, so I started checking for just the weird break-ins. Turns out there’s a pattern. Similar incidents have been occurring all the way up from West Virginia, same M.O., like a lighted garden path. Strange thing though, your four are behind. Mostly they occur in little towns, and only occasionally in the big cities. I was able to track the most current hits all the way to Cooperstown… You know, Baseball Hall of Fame? Anyway, that’s where the trail ends. There are two missing person reports there, but they haven’t been made official cases yet because they’re not yet seventy-two hours old, just like your four. So it would seem that there are two separate groups…”

“Wait, what did you say?”

“Whoever, or er… whatever is causing these missing persons, I now think it’s two separate groups, one moving up toward Maine, and the one locally.”

“No, you said the latest happened less than three days ago…”

“Right, just like the four local to you.”

Beth’s heart began to race, and she knew the moment she turned to look at Alvin that her fear was more than justified.

“Oh my god…”

“Did I say something wrong?” Asked the man on the other end of the connection.

“We need to get out of here right now, Beth,” said the Professor sternly.

“Is that Manatee?”

“Patrick, listen. We’re not safe here anymore. I’ll contact you as soon as I can, okay?” She started to reach for the disconnect, but the Professor stopped her and then stepped in front of the screen.

“Detective Fennel?”

“Professor Manatee… What’s going on?!”

“There’s no time to explain. Beth mentioned that you were Catholic.”

There was a slight pause. “Well, yeah, but…”

“Do you have a Saint Benedict Medal?”

“Uh, sure… Somewhere.”

“Is it silver?”

“Yeah, I believe it is. What’s this all about?”

“Go find it, Detective, as soon as we hang up. Find it and wear it… all the time, even while sleeping, maybe especially so.”

“I suppose I could…”

“Do as he says, Pat,” Beth added. “Do it right now. Promise me you will!”

“Okay, okay…. I promise.”

Beth looked a little more relieved. “I’ll contact you when I can, but we need to go.”


“Anywhere but here, Pat.”

“Beth…” Urged the Professor, as he gathered a few things into a bag.

“Stay safe, and do as Manatee says!”

She clicked the disconnect.

“They’re coming, aren’t they?” She looked down at her hands, which were shaking slightly.

“In all likelihood, yes. Just a few things here, then we’ll go upstairs and…” The Professor noticed her frozen stance.


“Alvin, I’m scared…”

He sighed, realizing that he’d greatly underestimated her emotional state. “Of course you are,” he replied, gently. “But you’re not alone this time, Detective, nor unprepared.”

She nodded her head once.

Five minutes later they were each carrying several bags back down to Alvin’s workshop. In one hand, Beth had a large picnic basket, which they had quickly stuffed with whatever food they could find that wouldn’t spoil too quickly. It was a lovely basket that she quietly wished she could have made use of in a less stressful situation.

The Professor briefly set one of his bags on his workbench and gave a low whistle. A number of the black, spider-like helpers emerged from the shadows and quickly scampered up and into the partially open duffle. For some reason, the idea that the little mechanical automatons were coming with them gave her some comfort. Once they were inside, he zipped the bag closed.

“It’s over here,” he said, leading her to the very back corner of the workspace. There was a shelf unit stacked with bins full of a thousand different kinds of junk, and she was about to say something when Manatee reached up into the shadows in the corner and pressed something. There was a click, and the whole bookcase swung forward like a door.

Her brows raised in surprise, Beth followed the man into a low hallway just beyond. Lights along the ceiling illuminated their way.

“A secret escape tunnel, Alvin?”

“While demons are extremely powerful, they are not omniscient. They are no doubt watching the house even now, and would follow us if we left normally. I own a building two doors down under a different name.” He pressed a small switch just inside and the bookcase closed behind them. “There is another car there. I’m afraid it’s not quite as… er, equipped as the one that brought you here, but it is warded and should serve our purposes. If we can just get away from the area unnoticed, we should be safe.”

“Did you expect to have to make a quick getaway someday? I mean, most people don’t build-in this sort of… um, feature, unless they’re up to no good. Drug dealers, terrorists… That sort. Is there anything you need to tell me, Professor?”

She was kidding, but the man suddenly stopped and turned. His face was hard and a little sad.

“Beth,” he replied, softly. “I built this tunnel with the sole intent that it would someday be used exactly as we are doing so now, to escape an attack by the Watchers, and no other purpose. Despite my knowledge and appearances, I have lived in fear of them for… a very long time. Now, knowing what I do about the relic you carry in that bag, I would gladly face them, and even give my life to protect you and help get the Gatekeeper stone to the Lock.”

She didn’t know what to say, but the seriousness of their situation suddenly settled in on her. Tears formed in the corners of her eyes.

“Damn…” He sighed, seeing that she was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. He placed his large hands on her shoulders. “I won’t let them get that stone… or you. I promise.”

She nodded and took a deep breath.

With a final squeeze of her shoulders, they traveled the rest of the tunnel in silence until they arrived at a large door. There were a number of strange symbols and lines etched or painted on its surface, but Beth didn’t have time to ponder them.

“On the other side of this door is a garage. My car will be about ten feet away and unlocked. Go straight there and get in. Just drop the bags by the door and I’ll put them in the boot. You’ll be safe inside the vehicle.”

“What about you?”

He smiled. “It’s unlikely they have any interest in me directly. I’m also bristling with enough protection that I would be very surprised indeed if they tried to attack me, but hopefully, they won’t even know we’re here. Oh, I almost forgot…”

He reached into his pocket and placed something in her hand. At first, she thought it was a Saint Benedict Medal as it had many of the same features and text, but holding it closer she could see that it was much more. The detail was astoundingly intricate.

“Put it on.”

She did so. “Is this a, what did you call it… a ward?”

“It is. Now, are you ready? The longer we delay, the less our chances are of getting away unnoticed.”

She took one more long breath, letting it out slowly with her stress. “I’m ready.”

The door opened smoothly, and Beth walked briskly into the garage, her steps echoing in the otherwise empty space. The Professor was already opening the car door for her as she approached. Suddenly she stopped, her mouth dropping open.

“Alvin… You… You have a 1956 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible?! It’s beautiful!” She exclaimed, as she gingerly settled into the passenger seat.

The man quickly skipped around to the back, tossed their bags into the trunk, then jogged to the other side and climbed in behind the wheel. “I don’t drive it much. It stays within the garage most of the time.”

“That’s a shame. It looks wonderfully restored, practically mint condition,” she commented as she admired the vehicle. “Black and grey makes total sense for you.”

“Restored?” He asked in confusion as he tapped a garage door opener on the visor.

She turned and looked at the man, searching his face, but when she saw only seriousness, she quickly leaned over and checked the odometer.

“Oh my god!”

“What?” He asked, looking somewhat alarmed as the large garage door slowly rose in front of them.

“Alvin! This car has less than a hundred miles on it!”

He seemed embarrassed. “Er… Well, like I said, I don’t really use it for anything day to day. In fact I only take it out to keep it running. But I’m familiar enough with it’s operation that I feel comfortable…”

She laughed aloud.

“Is something wrong?” He asked, looking a little perturbed.

“Do you have any idea what this is worth?!”

He was quiet for a moment. “Well, I suppose it’s appreciated a bit since I purchased it.”

“A bit.” She agreed, smiling. “Whew! Well, so much for not drawing attention to ourselves…”

“I don’t understand. Is there something wrong with my car?” He turned the key and it started at once, smooth as silk, its deep idle filling the empty garage like the purr of a large cat.

She shook her head. “You really don’t understand, do you?”

He just glanced over at her as he waited for the engine to warm up.

Sighing, she placed her hands on the smooth, red dashboard, caressing the flawless finish. “Just drive carefully, okay…”

“Of course.” He replied, as he eased the car out of the garage.

He had her slouch down as they entered the street, and she was reminded of the precariousness of their situation. She half expected lightning bolts to start blasting out of the sky at them, or possibly random gale-force winds. But there was nothing, just the heavy, rolling power of the engine, as they turned and accelerated down the street, away from the safety of the Professor’s home. She had to correct herself there. The man’s beautiful loft was no longer a safe haven. A tinge of sadness crossed her face as she looked up at him while he drove them away. She fervently hoped that their evacuation wasn’t permanent. He’d be giving up an awful lot just to protect her… But then, it wasn’t just her, not anymore. Now they had another purpose.

“I think we’re safe,” he said a few minutes later. “You can sit up now.”

She pulled herself upright and noticed they were on the tollway going north.

“So where are we headed, Professor?” She asked, clipping the belt over her lap and adjusting the seat.

“Short term, anywhere that puts a few miles between us and the Watchers.”

“And long term?”

“We still need to find the Lock before they do.”

She frowned slightly. “Right. So… Won’t they come after us once they realize we gave ‘em the slip?”

“Perhaps, but as I mentioned before, they are not omniscient. Although they can move very quickly, they still have to find us, and that is not so easy to do.”

“So we’re safe?” She asked, brightening.

“For the moment, though I would hesitate to let our guard down too much. I want to get a bit further away before we relax.”

“Alvin, you mentioned that the Watchers could bypass your wards if they possessed someone…”

“Hmmm… Bypass is perhaps the wrong word. They are … less affected, by them.”

Beth held the intricate medallion that he had given her. The tiny lines and symbols glittered like mercury in the sun.

“So this is useless against them?”

“Not quite. It would certainly have less effect on a corporal demon, but remember, when in corporal form, they are just as limited by the laws of physics as we are. To travel, they would have to get in a car or plane. For an entity that can normally move dimensionally nearly at will, that’s incredibly restrictive. But you need to understand the various ways that a human can be possessed. Full possession is not our greatest threat…”

“Why do I feel like I am about to get completely creeped out?”

“It is not my intent to expose you to more than you can handle, Detective. If you would rather we talk about this at a later time…”

“No. I need to know what we’re up against. Please… continue.”

“Very well. There are two primary forms of possession, ‘corporal’ and ‘attached’. In corporal possession, the demon’s essence or soul literally inhabits the body of the host. The demon has complete control, and the host is subjugated. Wards and other protections will have limited effect, and the demon is very hard to detect externally. They are also next to impossible to remove. However, it is also limiting to the demon. They are unable to use most of their power while in corporal form, but because they don’t care what happens to the host, they can make use of certain strengths that humans normally only experience in extreme conditions.”

“What, like super strength or something?”

“Perhaps. They can release adrenaline at will, and push the body beyond its normal limits.”

“I’m not sure I understand…” She said as she enjoyed the sun on her face after being indoors for so long. She’d always wanted a convertible.

He thought for a moment. “When you run too fast, do you sometimes get a side ache and have to stop?”

“Sure, who doesn’t?”

“A corporally possessed human could override this and continue.”

“Wouldn’t that hurt?” She asked, watching the tree-lined road ahead of them.

“Oh yes. But remember, demons don’t feel things the way we do. We place positive feedback on pleasure, and negative feedback on pain. To a demon, they are simply different feelings, they hold no value. For them, the satisfaction is in the experience of emotion, pleasure or pain. It’s for this reason that they burn out hosts so quickly. It’s also why your partner was able to track the possessions in the manner he did. It takes a huge amount of energy to possess and stay within a host corporally. Directly after possession, the human would be ravenous.”

“I think I get it. And the other kind of possession?”

“Attached possession is more common. This is when the demon uses the host like a puppet. They do not need to fully inhabit the host to control them, but rather they send out tendrils of themselves and manipulate the host the same way you or I would cause a toy to move. They have limited access to the hosts memories, and can’t override their normal bodily functions, but they won’t burn them out either. In many cases the host may not even be aware they have been possessed. Sleepwalking is common. The disadvantage for the demon is that they are still detectable and vulnerable to wards, though less so than simply being out in the open. This type of possession is especially dangerous to us because it can be performed quickly and very nearly without a trace. It can also be done at a short distance, even through building materials.”

“Shit, so they can reach right through a wall and snag me?”

He tilted his head. “Well, technically, but not a warded wall.”

She let his words soak in for a few minutes, all of it filling her with dread, but it was better than not knowing at all.

“Okay,” she said, at last. “What’s the next step? Obviously we can’t go back to your loft. You said we need to find the Lock…”

“Yes. It is imperative that we find them before the Watchers. The demons will hunt us because we have the Gatekeeper relic, but… killing the Lock will buy them time.”

“Your sister mentioned that the relic could be used to help find the Lock. How?”

“Unfortunately, I have no idea,” he replied. “She’s hopeful that the wrappings might contain that information, but it could be some time before she has a translation.”

Suddenly, Beth brightened. “Wait, we don’t need to know that, at least not yet.”

Frowning, the Professor looked over at her. “I don’t follow.”

“The robberies! Remember what Patrick told us… The break-ins? The demons are possessing people as they make their way north. He said the trail ended in Cooperstown!”

The man considered this. “I suppose… But we have no proof that those demons are the ones going after the Lock.”

“Two groups, he said… One is following the relic, which we have, and the other is hunting the Lock. What else would they be doing?”

“Maybe. So what?”

“Cooperstown is a little over two hours from here. If I’m right, then we’ll be two hours closer to finding the Lock, yes?”

“Sure, and also two hours closer to another group of Watchers… which we would very much like to avoid, remember?”

She sighed. “That’s true. I wonder… What if they only know the general direction? Suppose the Lock isn’t actually in Cooperstown, but somewhere north along the path? Maybe we could get ahead of them? Do you have a map?”

“In the glove compartment,” he answered, pointing.

There were a half dozen maps for the entire eastern United States carefully folded within the space and she glanced over at the man.


“You wouldn’t have happened to have been a boy scout in your youth by any chance?”

“A what?”

She shook her head, grinning. “Never mind. Okay, here we go…” she exclaimed, selecting one that showed New York and everything down to West Virginia, then she spread it out on her legs. “I wish I had your laptop…”

“We do. It’s in the boot. Should I stop and get it?”

She blinked at him in surprise. “You really are prepared. No, don’t bother. I don’t have a way to tether to the net anyway. I’ll just have to do this the old fashioned way.”


“…Connect my phone to the computer so that it has a data connection to the internet. Here it is,” she said, pointing to a spot on the map. “I think I remember most of the other case sites. Do you have a pencil?… Right… glove box. Okay, yes… Charleston, Sand Fork, hard to forget that one… Then Somerset. I remember a hit at Pennsylvania State University, then Binghamton. Finally there are the ones at Cooperstown. Um, I need a straight-edge… Um, I’ll use another map. Okay, then if we lay this down along the points… Damn this wind!”

“Sorry. I would have to stop to put the top up…” He interjected.

“No, keep going. I can get this… There!”

The Professor made a low whistle. “Would you look at that! That’s nearly a perfect line all the way back to Charleston.”

“Yup. They are definitely following a direction, which means that the next hit along the way will be… Cherry Valley!”

“Okay, now we have a destination. Now how about a plan?”

“We’ll take 23 West out to 145…”

“No, I mean what we’re going to do once we get there. You might want to consider that Cherry Valley doesn’t look too far from Cooperstown. What makes you think the Watchers haven’t already moved on?”

Beth made a slightly twisted face as she tapped the pencil on her forehead. “Maybe, but Pat will call me if there are any other missing person reports. If we go directly there, we can be in Cherry Valley by noon. That will give us time to survey the town and find a place to hole up and check in. Maybe by then your sister will have some information that will help us locate the Lock. Either way, I want a better look at the case files Patrick sent to me.”

“Very well,” he conceded. “I just want to be sure about your commitment here. We’re putting ourselves awfully close to danger. Remember, we know they still want to keep the relic out of the Lock’s hands, which is almost certainly why they are after us.”

“I know,” she replied, growing serious. “But this is our only chance to send these bastards back to hell. If we run, we could be safer, there’ll be nothing to prevent them from killing the Lock and ensuring at least another seventy years of free reign. I don’t know if demons hold a grudge or not, but I don’t like the idea of spending the rest of my life dodging supernatural beings with a taste for rape.”

“I see your point. We’re coming up on the 145 exchange…”

She was quiet for a moment.

“Alvin, I… I just want you to know, that I’m really glad to have you with me.”

“The feeling is mutual, Detective.” He replied, smiling over at her.