Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word on: November 30th
"One time! One time, and you didn't even pay half! Anyway, Matthew lives alone and barely leaves his house. He afraid of something out here?"
"Probably. He thinks so at least. He overplays it, I'm sure."
They got out of the car and made their way into the complex. The courtyard was just as uncared for as ever. Some might mistake the dead grass and shoddy walkways as a result of another brutal upstate New York winter, but residents knew better. Blake and John entered a building and John pressed a button for an elevator. They waited a few minutes as the elevator slowly made their way down.
"Why don't we take the stairs?" John asked.
"It's a dozen flights," Blake said "Do I look like I exercise enough for that?"
The elevator arrived and the two men took a cramped ride up to the 14th floor and walked to room 13. Blake began knocking as John took notice of some of the carvings on the doorframe. "Some of these are new," he said as Blake shrugged. "Apparently spells and protections can ware off," Blake said as he knocked again louder.
"I heard you the first time!" someone inside called. Several locks and chains were undone before the door cracked open to reveal Matthew peeking out. "Oh goodie," he said sarcastically "Blake is here." He opened the door and invited the two inside. John attempted an awkward greeting to which Matthew replied in kind. "Anyone want tea?" he asked, referring to a tray with several cups and a kettle. Before John could say anything, Blake immediately advised him otherwise on it.
"So, what pleasure brings you to my humble abode today?" Matthew asked.
"Need a little help on a case," Blake said "Something's messing with a little girl. John's got all the details for you."
"And you think I'd be able to assist you, because...?" Matthew asked.
"You know all about things like this," Blake quipped "The obscure creatures most people ever hear about, and the others people try to forget. You get off on knowing."
"Knowing of certain things and being able to recall exactly what you need to know about at the drop of a dime are two entirely different concepts."
"I said John has the details."
"Why would I even want to help? This is your case, what am I getting out of it?"
"There's a little girl whose life may hang in the balance."
"You mentioned the girl. Too bad that won't sway me like you hope."
"Because I don't think it's a unique situation. And I know you love crazy stuff like that no one else seems to catch in time."
"Something about the family history on the mother's side smells funny. It's not exact to what's happening now, but it might fit. Some supernatural force plaguing the family maybe, but I've no idea what, and I figure we'd save time by going right to you to start."
"Interesting," Matthew said while stroking his goatee.
"Peaked your interest, didn't I?"
"Maybe," Matthew admitted "But I can't just drop everything to help you. Not for free."
"Well...money has been tight lately."
"With you, Blake, it always seems to be. But no, money isn't an issue. I'm doing you this favor, so you can do one for me."
"That depends on the favor."
"I need someone to look into a situation."
John, despite what Blake said, wandered over near the tea tray and had helped himself to a glass. After a short sip, he coughed it up, causing Matthew and Blake to look over at him. "What, uh, what situation are you referring to?" he asked, trying to get the men back on track, and back to ignoring him.
"Out near Albany, there's been a huge influx of abnormal energies," Matthew stated "Espers are feeling things all over the map and psychics in the area say something terrible is happening."
"So what is it?" Blake asked.
"That's the tricky thing," Matthew said "Anyone looking close into it come up empty. No foreign or supernatural powers are at work, just energy generated by humans. It's queer to say the least."
"So no one has actually investigated?"
"What's to investigate. The circles we operate in don't deal with incidents of the normal kind. There's no demons, angels, or creatures of any particular realms or supernatural origin at work. Just people emitting a strange vibe."
"Maybe it's a cover to something more sinister."
"No. Even the most subtle outside influence can't hide itself from a energy surge we're experiencing."
"Are you sure it's just human energy?"
"Let me put it this way. During the Holocaust, the energy output generated by the levels of human misery were so high and concentrated (no pun intended) that espers all over Europe and some in the Americas were convinced that the devil himself was tearing his way into our world."
"I didn't know regular humans can make that kind of unique energy, or whatever it is they do," Blake said, barely able to grasp the conversation.
"That's why I'd like you to at least look into Albany. At best, it's some sort of terrible murderer, probably torturing his victims or something equally horrendous. That sort of thing is best left to police, but I know how much you love to meddle."
"I do," Blake admitted "That's the best case scenario? What's the worst?"
"Worst case?" Matthew said "Worst case is this turns out to be something we've never seen before, probably with world altering consequences."
"You seem so optimistic about that one."
"Chicago turned out to be something like that. So you can understand why I'm so keen to have someone look into it for me, just to be safe."
"Whatever," Blake said waving his hand in the air to disregard the idea of a Chicago situation happening again "Deal. We'll look into it while you find the boogeyman in our case."
Blake and Matthew shook hands on the matter as a mock sealant to their agreement. Details were exchanged and soon Blake and John were on their way home to prepare for their trip to Albany. Once they were back in the car, John had a question that had been bugging him.
"If espers can detect energy or whatever, wouldn't they be able to detect what's attacking Lizzie?" he asked "That might save us some hassle."
"Nah," Blake responded as he pulled out a cigarette and contemplated it "They only detect large scale energy or some crap like that."
"We going right over to Albany?"
"We'll go tomorrow. It's a favor, not a case. The end of the world isn't at stake."
"You don't wanna prepare? Even a little?"
"I'll make a couple calls. I also wanna go out, get drunk and make some questionable decisions before I take this little trip."
"Getting drunk? Sold. Saving the world can wait."