Lahash smugly led both Caticus and Pandora away from the mysterious place. He held his head high and was well dressed in his long leather jacket and a burgundy shirt that fit loosely from his body. Lahash kept his hands behind his back as he swayed.
Pandora briskly walked up and grabbed him by the shoulder. “What was that place?”
Lahash carefully removed her hand off his shoulder and said, “Have you ever heard humans fighting?”
Pandora snarled, “Well, of course, what does that have anything to do with my question?”
“Well,” Lahash said as he continued to walk, “When they scream out at each other, ‘if there is a hell, there is a special place for you,’ ever heard it? Remember what I told you before?”
Pandora’s voice was agitated. “Yes, so what?”
“Well, you were in a special place. That is where we take those goody-goodies who profess to be devout Christians or priests or some otherworldly good deed doer, so to speak. When they pass, they get a little detour to the special place. It is their most narcissistic deep conscious brings them. At first, they believe they are in heaven, or wherever they think is their good place. Nirvana, another life.... you get the picture. Anyway, after we allow them some time to live out what they believed they are owed, we swoop in. And take everything they know and love and use it on them and show them where they truly are. You should understand this already.”
Caticus walked with a peculiar pep in his step and a smile getting to hear a demon secret. “So basically, that is the room for a special kind of hypocrite?”
Lahash snorted and smiled at the peppy fairy. “Yes, you sure do catch on quick.”
Caticus continued his conversation with Lahash as they strolled out of the dark realm, where he was about to create a portal to let them out. “So, all those humans who pretend to be so good, like going to church and all. Well, that makes sense, who would think the loathsome and evil humans would be found in a church, or temple.” Caticus shrugged his shoulders and smiled when he looked to Pandora, who seemed mildly nauseated.
“Lahash, please excuse my friend here. He has a fascination of sorts for a certain caliber of males, so to speak. When he sees an attractive demon, spirit guide, or whoever, he tends to become giddy. Especially if they have a fashion sense.” Pandora rolled her eyes at Caticus, who was smitten with Lahash.
Lahash flashed his eyebrows. “Yes, I see that. Caticus, you dress interesting yourself. I do like your ankle knickers. Is that what that is?” Lahash pointed to Caticus’s striped pink and black pants. “Very charming,” Lahash said with a raised eyebrow.
Caticus cheeks flushed red giving his face a cherry-colored glow. He gave a light brush of his hand across Lahash’s arm. “Oh stop, you are embarrassing me, Lahash.” He leaned forward toward Pandora so that Lahash couldn’t see his face while he mouthed the words, “He is so cute.” He flashed his eyes. Pandora, who was getting aggravated with his lofty newfound fascination for Lahash, stood with her arms crossed, and her nose crinkled in disgust.
Lahash created a portal for them to return. As he waved his arm in a circle, the portal opened up in such a deep red that the aura was nearly a violet in color. “Here now you can go back to Earth. Do what you need too.”
Pandora stopped at the portal and said, “What was all this about? What am I to do on Earth now?”
Lahash smirked and said, “You have what is within you to face your mother and return to the fairy realm. Give her what she wants, and you will rise once again to the powerful necromancer fairy you once were. Then you may find yourself in the arms of Naberious.”
Once on the other side of the portal, they both found themselves back in Salem, conveniently located in front of Nevoc. They walked into the busy bar where the patrons all sat at the tables, drinking away the day into the evening hours. The mystics could be counted on to be the majority as the ones with their tarot cards out giving one another readings. A newly installed side room sat across the bar entrance where interested patrons could have a private reading done for them by a psychic that Raina allowed to rent a space.
Many of them were there to share their paranormal stories with one another. Some were there to enjoy a day off work to discuss the universal themes of the occult world.
The atmosphere was dim with minimal light coming in through the one window by the front door and with what little light reflected even less with the dark wood walls and high wooden ceiling. A mix of old wood and liquor lingered along with the scent of dragon’s blood incense burning behind the bar.
Caticus shuffled his feet across the floor with his arms crossed with discomfort as he stared at the patrons of Raina’s bar.
“Wow, these people give me the creeps, this place gives me the creeps. I would rather be at the cemetery meeting Moloch if that tells you anything.” Caticus said.
She minimally shrugged her shoulders and said, “These people make you uncomfortable, but you are smitten with Lahash? Really? Why did you have to pick him of all demons? Can’t you find a fairy? The female fairies could hardly ever get one of you to look at us and you stole each other. Is that the way of it still?”
Caticus shrugged his shoulders nonchalantly and rolled his eyes. “Pandora I can’t help it if we are all better looking than the female fairies. You all are scary anyway, to us. You overpower us with your tempestuous ways and bullying type of behavior.”
Pandora stopped and put her hands on her hips and narrowed her eyes downward at Caticus, who was just a couple of inches shorter. “What do you mean! Scary? Tempestuous?” She put her finger in front of his face. “You really should be nicer to me; I am not in the mood.”
Caticus snorted, “That’s what she said! See what I mean? The lot of you are so cranky, bossy, and just well, not in the mood for anything? Not even a little nooky.”
Pandora dropped her hands from her hips and tilted her head back, and she looked to the old wooden ceiling and said, “Maybe if you didn’t call it that word, nooky...we would be more interested.” She snapped her head forward and smiled. “Don’t ever say that word again. I don’t like it.”
As she turned to resume her march to Raina’s office, Caticus continued his usual vernacular, “Nooky...nooky, nooky, nooky, nooky. There I said it again. What are you going to do about it?” Caticus’ face brightened up as he smiled, and just as Pandora turned to give him another warning, she stopped and looked into his deep brown eyes.
“I can’t stay mad at you for long.” She dropped her head as she was about to walk through Raina’s office door. “I’m glad you are here.”
Caticus put his hand on her shoulder. “We will have our good times again, I promise. If you get Naberious back, then you will have all the well...nooky, you please.”
Pandora snapped her head around and said, “Don’t push it!”
She turned and led Caticus into the vacant messy office. Caticus walked, and his eyes immediately surveyed the room. “Wow she is clean. This witch, this is her place? She freed you?”
Pandora nodded as she walked back over to the place where Raina set her free. “This is it here. I emerged here. From the underworld. I don’t know where she would have gone.”
“Well my guess is she is looking for you. I would be. So, the underworld. You never told me what it was like. What happened to you?” Caticus asked while he shuffled through the papers on Raina’s desk.
Pandora sighed and burrowed her steely eyes into her best friend. “I hardly want to talk about it. But I guess it would help if I did. It is hard to explain. It isn’t what I imagined when my mother told me the tales of the underworld. I always imagined it some dark cave where some crypt keeper stayed and watched over wicked fairies. It was more like a state of mind or being. I saw others who were there, stuck, but it wasn’t as though everyone there knew that there were others. Some of them acted as though they didn’t realize where they were until they were taken.”
Caticus abruptly stopped what he was doing and said, “Taken?”
To the dark place as I called it. The darkest place that I ever experienced. I never want to go back. I can’t go back! I have to find her!” Pandora began frantically searching through Raina’s things for a hint to where she may be.
Caticus said, “Calm down. You will be okay; I won’t let that happen to you. We will find her. She will turn up soon.”
“I know, but my powers, my strength, I don’t know how much time I have before it wears off again. I don’t understand this game Lahash plays. He sure wants his place in the dark realm secure. What a scum bag.”
Caticus said, “At least he is honest about who he is.”
Suddenly there was a pounding at the door, and the conversation stopped.
The fairy pair stood frozen as if they were seen by any other humans. Once again, the pounding at the door continued. Pandora jumped and grabbed Caticus, who rolled his eyes.
“Please, Pandora. They can’t see us. Who would it be anyway? Well, wait, I will just go look.” Caticus walked through the wall and was gone for just a few moments before he returned. “I have no clue. It is human girls.”
Pandora walked through the wall and then returned. “I have no idea. It isn’t Raina or her friend.”
After a few more times of pounding the door, the three girls outside gave up and walked away. Caticus observed Pandora while she looked for her box.
“Pandora? So now what?”
“We wait. We will just have to wait,” she said.
Hours went by, and the bar shut down. Caticus and Pandora remained in the office for some time without leaving hoping to see Raina walk through the door. Audible chimes of the door keys showed their return. When the door swung open, and there stood Raina, Amelia, and Gabe.