Authors: K. A. Lange
Biting my tongue I resisted the urge to say things I shouldn’t before waving and moving across the room to the polished hardwood double wide stairwell on the north wall. About three quarters of the way up I saw the gleaming cherry hardwood floors spill across the second floor and the thankfully empty oversized desk belonging to Kira, my second. Her highly ornate antique mahogany desk sat just outside my office on the furthest side of my office door, which currently stood ajar. On the opposite side of the room was an empty waiting area with six empty heavy wooden chairs. I started scanning the room looking for Kira. I know that she was lurking somewhere and would be upon me without warning if I weren’t careful.
No sooner had my foot hit the landing I heard the click, click, click of Kira’s high heeled shoes storming towards me. She emerged out of the office with a head full of steam. Kira who had recently turned twenty eight, towered over most people at six foot four with a whole lot of lean muscle mass. Her dark brown eyes flashed with annoyance as she made a little hmmp noise at me.
Knowing that nothing I said would appease her, I gave her my best smile as I nodded. She wore a smart navy blue business suit, the cut of it accentuating her height. She was never one to be self conscious about it, and had commented on several occasions that it made meeting girls much easier, especially out in the clubs. She was the epitome of the perfect lipstick lesbian.
She looked down at me giving me a half sarcastic smile as she held in her perfectly manicured hands a fist full of paperwork which she shook at me. “So was that really necessary?”
Her tone caught me by surprise as it was raw and gravelly. “I take it you were snooping again and watching things you shouldn’t.” I strode past her into my office and she quickly followed me in.
She rolled her eyes as she gave me one of those big ‘eat shit and die’ smiles. “If by snooping and watching things I shouldn’t you actually mean doing my fucking job by watching your back and trying to minimize the damage you do? Then, yes I was snooping and watching stuff I shouldn’t!”
“I didn’t give you access to the courts video surveillance system so you could spy on private meetings.” I retorted, stepping around my desk and pulling the chair out to sit.
She stopped suddenly and stomped her heel of one of her overly priced stilettos in frustration into my nice hardwood floor as she spoke. Damn that was sure to leave a divot.
“Since I installed that system you hardly ‘gave me’ access!” She placed one hand on her hip while pointing the other accusingly. “I was simply trying to save time by having the Delta team receive the briefing along with the courts.”
God bless it! How the hell can she be so damn practical when it comes to business and need so much help in the rest of her life? “How did that work out for them?” Its really hard to sound indignant when the other person is making so much damn sense.
“They got what they needed.” Turning she closed the door before giving me her full attention once more. “They were wise enough to vacate the room when things got personal.” No matter how hard she tried she wasn’t able to keep the mirth out of her voice. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“You act like it was my fault.” Throwing my hands up in disgust. She knew that there was bad blood between me and Leonard for as long as we had known each other. “Don’t you have something better to do than sit here and lecture me about things you don’t understand?” She hated the guy too, so I was at a loss as to why we were still discussing the matter.
“Oh, like I don’t understand that you feel the need to randomly piss off the Gatekeeper as often as possible.” Turning loose of the paperwork she sat down and slid it across the desk too me pointing at it. “For the life of me, I don’t know how you think you can fix this!” Taking the opportunity to distract myself as she ranted I grabbed the file and opened it. “You may have pushed things too far and Comus will have little choice but to throw you out on your ass!” All the mirth and joy left her as she spoke. “As you can see Leonard is doing his best to tie up the court’s resources with useless and time consuming jobs outside the city limits.”
To be honest not a bad plan on his behalf I thought as I shrugged and said “It wasn’t as if I actually expected them to fall in line and help in the matter.” Waving off the situation dismissively as I slid the file across the desk. “I was reporting to them out of duty, not out of respect or need.”
“There is that, and the fact you couldn’t help yourself by insulting the Gatekeeper.” She sighed and she looked worried. “You may not need the courts protection but others do.” She looked at me with genuine concern in her eyes. “What will happen to them if Comus finds them guilty of assisting you?”
That made me feel like a complete asshat. “I admit the fact that I do relish the opportunity to insult the little shit.” I looked up at her reassuringly. “I doubt Comus would side with Leonard.” I closed my eyes and leaned back in my chair as I thought about the situation. If I had to guess a decision would have to be made concerning Leonard when Comus arrived on King’s day.
She sat back in her chair satisfied she’d made her point. “I have word from Rex, Zulu and the Muses that they want to meet with you as soon they are able to tear themselves away from Leonard’s riveting lectures about how things will proceed from here on out.” She rolled her eyes in disgust, loathing the man perhaps even more than I. “He is very intent on having Comus formally remove you from the courts.” She leaned forward as she lost herself in thought. “And having you put in chains afterward or exiled from the city at the very least.” She shook her head as she smiled sweetly at me. “You should count yourself lucky that Comus only shows up once a year, or he might throw you out just to shut Leonard up!”
Her phone chirped alerting her to a new message and saving me from more of her lecture. As she read it she lit up like the cat who ate the canary. Pushing herself out of her chair she moved toward the door. “One last thing, Rex has sent word that there has been some unusual inquiries about a certain Francisco Galvez M.D.”
My curiosity peaked as I completely forgot about Leonard and the MCC. “Do we have anything else on the man?” I honestly hadn’t expected for anyone to have a lead for me this fast.
“We will know more shortly. I’ll let you know when something pops.” She shrugged once more and as an afterthought looked back. “In the future when you plan on pissing off the Gatekeeper please give me a heads up so I don’t have to scramble.”
Chuckling at the comment I gave her a quick thumbs up. It isn’t as if I go in there with a plan to piss the guy off. “I am sure that my continued existence is a thorn in his side. So rest assured, for future reference if he see’s that I still draw breath he is going to be pissed off!”
She rolled her eyes as she flipped me the bird. “God, I know how the man feels on a daily basis.” She shut the door before I had a chance to say something else annoying, or as I see it, funny and incredibly witty. I sat down at the desk and started reviewing the twenty year old notes of the previous encounter. About five minutes later my door opened and without lifting my gaze from my tablet I reminded her, “And you think I’m funny and incredibly handsome too.”
That actually got a smile out of her. “In your dreams, but back here in reality we have some information on Dr. Galvez.”
That shut me up as I quickly looked up from my reading. “Tell me! From the tone of your voice it would appear you have something interesting for me.”
She glanced at her tablet as she spoke. “I just sent you the file. Mr. Galvez is a native of Puerto Rico who moved to the states in the early seventies. After arriving he attended medical school at Tulane here in New Orleans.” She walked around and took her seat once more before continuing. “He specializes in geriatric psychiatric care and this is truly an odd combination, renal failure.” She looked up at me as if she were expecting me to say something. Seeing no reaction from me she continued. “Dr. Galvez owns a facility on the Lakefront out in the East on Hayne Blvd. The place has a clean track record according to the state inspections.”
My hopes were quickly being dashed with each word she spoke. “I don’t see anything special about that in the least. I think you might be losing your touch...” She rolled her eyes and cut me off before I had a chance to finish a zinger I had been waiting to use for weeks.
She pointed at her tablet. “If you were reading the file that I sent to you a couple of minutes ago you would have already found the coup de gras!” But since you are waiting for me to spoon feed you I guess I should continue.” I bowed at her magnanimous gesture and waved for her to continue. “You should note I never said he always practiced here in the city. In the early 80’s he had a satellite office in Maine which didn’t close down until 1993.”
That caught my attention, hitting me like a ton of bricks. This man was possibly one of the five cult members that got away. The scumbag always had ties to the very city I lived in and I never caught wind of it. Maybe I was the one losing my touch. “Kira can you pull all the records for both the city in Maine and New Orleans to see if we have any other people in common? You may have found the common thread that has always eluded us till now.”
Kira beamed at my praise. “It is already underway. It will take a bit longer than normal since the records in Maine may be hard to acquire. It would seem that someone burned most of the city to the ground. For the life of me I don’t have a clue who that could have been. You wouldn’t happen to have any ideas, do you?”
I squirmed uncomfortably as I thought about the possibility of losing our best lead due to something I did twenty years ago. “Those were trying times. I admit that I might have gotten a little carried away in my haste to eliminate the enemy.”
She was clearly enjoying my discomfort as she chuckled at how I was trying to downplay my zealous pursuit of the enemy. “ You think?” She held her side as she laughed. “You? You would never get carried away in your haste to it eliminate the enemy.”
As much as I hated to admit it she had a point. “What are you trying to say?”
“I dunno?” She giggled. “You’re trigger happy? Perhaps even a bit of a firebug at times.” She was nearly in tears at this point. “You make the term shoot first and ask questions later feel inadequate on a good day.”
I waved her off. “Like you have any room to talk.”
She smirked. “Where do you think I learned it?” As she pointed at me.
“Fine I surrender.” Throwing my hands up I conceded her point. “Just find something we can use and all kidding aside thanks, you did a great job.”
Something in my voice must have alerted Kira as she looked at me for a moment, her expression turning somber. “Are you feeling alright?”
I shrugged. “I’ve been having trouble sleeping. The dream is back but this time there are more details in it.”
Kira leaned forward in her seat, as her full of pain and worry. “Like what?”
“There’s fire and smoke and I swear I think I hear someone calling to me.” The words left me as a mere whisper and I wasn’t about to tell her what I heard.
Her forehead furrowed slightly as she spoke softly. “You don’t think it’s the “other thing” do you?”
Leaning against my forearms I drew strength from feeling something solid underneath me. “Nah that hasn’t changed. That’s just an open frequency with a repeating signal of some sort every two weeks.”
“At least it’s consistent I suppose. You will let me know if anything changes right?” Kira inquired.
Holding up three fingers on my right hand like one of those scouts I gave her my most serious look. “I promise.”
Let me explain. About a year ago I started hearing something strange that no one else could hear. I couldn't figure out what it was on my own so I had my firm's staff doctor run an MRI. I am not exactly partial to lending my body to the local medical facilities for several reasons, privacy being among them. Since the staff doctor is also my assistant Kira, I was fairly secure in the fact that whatever was going on wouldn’t be leaked. What she found was a tiny gemstone no larger than the head of a pin embedded deep in my ear canal.
Without being too intrusive she was able to discern the stones composition. We both recognized it as a miniscule version of a gem I kept safely tucked away at home. After calibrating the machine to a more sensitive level to perform a full body scan and several hours later we had our results. There were hundreds of millions of microscopic crystalline stones throughout my entire body. They coalesced and pulsated throughout my entire being as if they were alive, and we theorized that something must have recently activated the crystals higher functions triggering new abilities in me. Without too much effort we determined that they were the source of my shields and possibly much more. Since their activation I have been able to tap into data streams, access and control computers or even cell phones after touching them once. It was as if I was suddenly hardwired into the internet. Most of the time I now used tablets or phones merely for show or habit since I more or less absorbed the knowledge I needed.
Due to the information overload that I received the first two weeks nearly killed me and now Kira and I were wary of how this would affect me long term. There was also something more worrisome that I had kept to myself. There was old information stored inside of me, information I felt I should recognize but when I tried to access it, it slipped out of reach of my minds eye. The one thing I had told her about and regretted almost immediately was the fact that there was some sort of open frequency with a repeating pattern transmitting every few weeks, like some sort of SOS.