Natalie left Mayor Goldberg lying in front of the Channel 4 News Station like a newborn kitten at someone’s doorstep. She felt drained. Needing to rest. Speeding back to the church was a bad idea at this point. After her Times Square ambush, her car must’ve been impounded. She made one last dash to the Manhattan Tow Pound Facility and paid to get it out. The West Side Highway was empty. She should get back to the Bronx in no time. For the first time this week, before hearing the news of Martha’s murder, Natalie had a chance to enjoy the peace. Have a moment to breathe. Cat Strutter is no more. She got her revenge after all. However, it haunted her to realize that another demon worse than Strutter will rear its ugly heads sooner than later.
A half-hour later, Natalie got to the church with no problem. No tailing cops or inner-city traffic to worry about. What alarmed her though was seeing
no burned streaks on the pavement in front of the church. Gina has yet to arrive. Already doubts were boarding on her train of thought. Be it that Gina’s skills were more advanced, she should’ve been here by now.
Natalie entered the church, hoping to see her fellow Angelite plopped in one of the pews, saying how she took a cab back to get some rest. Disappointedly,
she spotted Pastor Goode sitting by the pulpit, alone. His demeanor wasn’t as humble as usual, carrying a troublesome vibe that she could feel by the entranceway. “Have you heard from Gina?” she asked while walking to the pulpit.
“It’s hard for me to say,” Goode responded. “I know she’s alive, but I can’t
say that she’s on her way or -”
“What do you mean you know she’s alive? If I made it back, then she should’ve been here hours ago. How could you not know what happened to her?”
“Let me explain. I can sense the Spirits of both Gina and Alexandra, but I’m having trouble pinpointing their location. Physically. It’s like sensing there’s a burglar in the house, but you don’t know where they’re hiding.”
“How is that possible?”
“Honestly, I don’t know. Perhaps their spirituality somehow got separated from their physicality, leaving them specters wandering around the planet, maybe even dimensions.”
“Kind of like astral projection?”
“Somewhat. Angels have been combing every trace of this plain but have yet to find a trace of either one of them. Knowing Gina’s tenacity as I do, I’m confident it’s only a matter of time before we pinpoint their location.”
Natalie looked concerned. “I don’t understand how they can find their way back if they’re wandering Spirits? Maybe I should go out there and help with the search party.”
“This is when the power of faith comes in, Ms. Mercedes. Have you already forgotten how Gina’s manifestation has rapidly advanced to higher levels? She’s capable of returning to us eventually. Having both of you gone is just the opportunity the Clucifix will seize and use to attack. Without an Angelite to fend them off, humanity will be doomed.”
“Which is why we can’t sit here and do nothing! I’m going out there.”
“You’ll be searching for hours, which will completely drain you. Not only do you need to recharge, but the Clucifix knows you’re the only Angelite able to fight. We need you at full strength. Therefore, I strongly urge you to remain patient.”
“I can’t do that! What if Gina dies out there because I chose to wait? When I
could’ve done something to save her life...like she saved mine. I’ll never forgive
myself. Say a prayer for me, Pastor, because I’m going to search for my friend.”
“No…” he hollered, overcome with a terrible feeling. “You have another friend who needs your help…I…just don’t know who.”
Natalie didn’t have many friends left. The first people who came to mind were her staff and - “Memphis?!” Without hearing the details, she bolted out of the church and zoomed over land and sea to find him. She concentrated on
pinpointing his location like a map app. Energies had drawn her toward Staten Island. Not knowing his exact address, she searched several neighborhoods, tracking his trail like a bloodhound. Ultimately winding up in Tottenville, she was led to a modest two-story house with a white picket fence. ‘Knox’ plated on the mailbox. She found his home. “Maybe it was a premonition,” she guessed, seeing their parking space was empty. “Should’ve asked before I ran over here.”
Walking across the lawn, she saw no signs of a break-in. Lights were off inside. The front door still intact. It had to be a premonition that Pastor Goode came across. She was brought here to foil another Clucifix plot before it even started. But then, she heard a stumble come from upstairs. She slowly opened the front door and crept through the living room. Clear. Making her way to the kitchen, she found a neon pink Post-it on the stove that read: “I’m at Mother’s. Call me. Naomi.”
Natalie blew a sigh of relief knowing that one of her friends was safe. She closed her eyes and focused on changing her vision to X-ray mode. Miraculously, she looked through the ceiling. Looking past the support beams, sheetrock and multiple styles of furniture, she spotted two bodies - one heading toward the window while the other lied on the floor. She rocketed up the stairs and smashed the bedroom door to pieces.
Entering the room, she nearly slipped on the blood leaking across the hardwood floor. All coming from one source. “Memphis!” she gasped, finding him curled in the corner, bleeding from a huge gash that stretched diagonally across his midsection. The perpetrator fled the scene but left his footprint on the window ledge. Dropping next to her friend, she generated heat through
her fingers, becoming scolding hot. Memphis yelled in agony as she stroked them along his chest to cauterize the wound. She cradled him in her arms while getting on her phone to dial 911. With the little strength he had left, Memphis pointed at the wall behind his bed. Natalie was horrified at the sight of smudged bloody letters that spelled out one word: RICOCHETTI.
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