Into the Spotlight
GIL HIT IVAN with a flying tackle as the bullet hit the onstage mirror, shattering it, and a cloud of noxious smoke billowed out (Karine would later swear she had seen the face of Satan in the grey cloud) as Zoe fell to her knees, choking on the pungent odour of brimstone, Fleur rushing to her side and pressing a towel against the stab wound, as Ivan was jumped from all directions and wrestled right out of his jacket as they pinned him down ...
... the pentagrams starting to fade ...
... as Ivan blinked, shaking his head and staring up blankly into a sea of angry faces with the wonder of a patient waking from a long coma -
- and at Caveat Emptor, the grandfather clock which had started ticking at ten thirty-one
(tenth month; thirty-first day; tonight: Halloween)
And as the Devil’s brands vanished into unblemished skin, an unfocused sense of relief settled upon everyone in the auditorium –
- as if to say that something horrible had happened, something they did not understand but had somehow (perhaps miraculously) survived, and from which they instinctively now knew they were safe -
- until a moment later, when they heard the gift-wrapped bomb go off in the foyer, felt the building start to shake, and screamed as glass and plaster rained down.