DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would like to dedicate this story to the memory of Lee Thompson Young.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To wellred666[at]yahoo.co.uk
The Unholy Alliance
"That was the wonderful Julie Andrews as the squeaky clean nun, Maria from The Sound of Music."
"Oh shut your Von Trapp," Homicide Detective Jane Rizzoli mumbled, irritated at the music and such a jovial voice first thing on a rainy Boston morning. She hugged the covers unwilling to get out of bed.
The radio DJ wasn't finished. "Let us help you to start your day right. Only three days to go before St Valentine's Day. Love is the answer."
"Yeah," she mumbled. "Well it must have been a stupid question."
"Call us now to win a vacation to the romance capital of the world, Paris, France," DJ cheerful soul said. "Just answer the question: 'who was Joan of Arc?' and you're in with a chance. Was she: a) a medieval transvestite b) a medieval builder of the Arc de Triumph or c) the Maid of Orleans?"
"What a difficult question," Jane muttered. "Is a vegetable: a) a chicken b) a fish or c) a cheerful DJ?"
The DJ wasn't finished. "Terms and conditions apply. To find out more go to our website www.Magic104.8
.com. After the news every other song will have a French flavour so stay tuned. Coming up is Celine Dion and My Heart Will Go On."
"Why not, you're voice does," Jane whined in a French accent as she turned over in bed and tried not to think about driving Maura to the airport that very day. As if that wasn't depressing enough why did he have to bring up Paris, the very city Maura would be jetting off too?
"You're listening to Magic 104.8 in downtown Boston, easy listening for an easy life.'
"Ma, stop retuning the radio!" Her annoyance was waking her up. "Where's Rock FM when you need it?" She climbed out of bed and sang a little of Santana's Black Magic Woman as she adjusted her baggy pyjama pants; "'got a black magic woman, got a black magic woman and she's trying to make a devil out of me....she's got me so blind I can't see...'" She glanced at the alarm clock; it was only seven-thirty. She had until the afternoon before Maura had to be on a plane heading to France. Maybe the radio was an omen that Maura should not go? How to convince the fact-based Maura that she had received a premonition? What premonition? That Paris was a place where Maura might fall in love with a hot Frenchwoman. That was so devilishly evil that Jane could barely bring herself to think about it. A portent was a flimsy strategy to try and stop Maura from fulfilling a dream. Although how cutting up corpses could be a 'dream come true' was bizarre and yet strangely comforting. Anyway, Maura was a classic left-brain thinker. The very idea that Maura would believe in supernatural messages was ridiculous.
Jane wanted to be the one to take her best friend Chief Medical Officer Dr Maura Isles to the airport even though it would be upsetting. She was already feeling lost without her and she hadn't even left. She had been feeling weird for a couple of weeks. She felt a distant and disconnected but she put it down to her anxiety about Maura's impending trip. She considered life without Maura. The dread that she might undergo a domestic lobotomy struck fear into her soul. The monotony goblin would creep up on her at night and weaken her no frills sense of self. Her zest for life would ebb away with every commercial advertising cleaning products. It worried her that by the time Maura got back she would have turned into an advertising cliché. She really scared herself when she imagined dancing around a pink girlie apartment wearing nothing more than a feather duster and a smile; it could become a fetish. Heaven forbid, but she could see herself watching repeats of Friends without feeling queasy.
"You'll be late," her mother said entering her bedroom. She smiled as she placed a cup of coffee on the bedside table.
"Holy crap!" Jane exclaimed as she clutched her chest in surprise.
"Don't you ever knock? I could have killed you."
"Not with your gun in the closet hanging under your jacket."
Jane stood with her hands on her hips wondering if the day could get any more annoying. "How'd you know it was there? What did you do get it out and polish it for me?"
Her mother remained silent.
Jane let it pass. "Either give me my keys back or call me so I can prepare for these kinds of encounters. Make noise, vacuum the couch and crash around in the kitchen."
"I couldn't make so much noise this early in the morning."
"You manage to do it on my days off."
Her mother waved her words away. "Oh don't be so uptight. You're father was just as tightly wound. You really should relax more. You need a little holiday, go shopping, treat yourself."
"Yeah, well at the moment I need a shower and then I need to go collect Maura."
At that moment Maura walked in and grinned. "Hey."
"Maura's here," her mother said, stating the obvious.
Jane threw up her hands, exasperated. "Who next? Can I expect Korsak and Frost or maybe the entire homicide squad?"
Maura frowned. "Why would they be in your bedroom?"
"It's too early," she said wearily as she headed to the shower. "After my ablutions I want a word with you," Jane said pointing at Maura.
"Good," Maura said; "because I want a word with you."
"Airport," Maura said levelly. "I tried calling but your cell phone is off. We're going to be late. Do you want me to take a cab?"
"No! What do you mean late, it's only a quarter to eight?" Jane said, pointing at the alarm clock.
Angela looked at her daughter sheepishly. "I meant to tell you I think it's not working properly."
Jane scowled at her mother and put her finger on her chin and looked momentarily at the ceiling. "Hmm, not working properly," she focussed on her mother, "what's another way of putting not working properly? Oh yeah, broken."
"I knocked it off the table when I dusted," Angela explained trying to look innocent. "It seemed to be working when I put it back but the alarm sounded funny."
At that point the alarm went off and made a muffled dying noise.
Maura grinned and pointed at Jane's attire. "Nice. Don't tell me, it's comfortable to sleep in?"
Jane looked down at her baggy pants and tugged at her t-shirt. "What's wrong with being comfortable? Not everyone can afford to or wants to sleep in silk pyjamas. You could end up sliding out of bed all night long."
"Come on, Maura," Jane's mother guided her out of the bedroom, "she got out on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Maybe she'll be nicer after a shower." Her mother cast a hostile glance in Jane's direction. "Y'know," she said warmly to Maura. "I love the bread you brought over this morning. What is it?"
"Irish soda bread," Maura said in her pleased voice. "I don't want you forgetting me."
"We won't forget you," Angela was saying. "The months will fly by and then you'll be home. I wish I was going to Paris."
"So do I," whispered Jane under her breath.
"It is work, Angela," Maura said through the open bedroom door. "I will be studying under one of the greatest pathologists in Europe."
Jane slouched off to the shower whispering. "You can study under me anytime," she sighed. She was a little alarmed at how her thoughts were jumping around her brain. Where, she thought, did that come from? Probably a brain glitch because she was sex-starved; if she were any more sex deficient she could join her aunt and become a nun-in-training. Sister Jane? Not impressive enough. She climbed into the shower and let the warm water run over her face and down her neck. She began to lather her hair with shampoo.
She thought about a 'Cheech and Chong' album in her father's collection from a bygone era when he had a sense of humour. She remembered the seventies sketch about Sister Mary Elephant and laughed out loud. The mistake had been to tilt her head upwards and laugh with her mouth open. It was not long before she was choking on the water and blinded by the shampoo. To add insult to injury the shower gel bottle fell off the hook and she trod on as she groped for the towel. It was going to be a tough day.
"Here," Jane's mother said to them as they were leaving. "Maura, you take it." She held out a small package wrapped in foil. "What?" she said to Jane who was giving her an exasperated look, "don't you eat any more? It's breakfast."
"We're going to the airport. They have food. We're not going to darkest Africa," Jane said sarcastically.
Maura went to take it but Jane snatched it. "We'll eat it on the way." She glanced at her wrist watch. Her bedside clock had been an hour behind.
Angela hugged Maura tightly and kissed her cheek. "You be careful in Europe. I heard about how horrible the austerity measures are over there, people are very angry, rightly so. I hear it's especially bad in Greece and Spain and Italy," she thought for a moment before adding; "and Cyprus. People are dying unnecessarily. You could have a lot of work," Angela added a positive spin on personal tragedies.
"She'll miss out on all that 'work' because she's going to France," Jane explained irately.
"Thank you for your concern, Angela," Maura said affectionately. "I will really miss you. Promise me you'll take care of Bass?"
"So long as he doesn't tick or buzz he'll be fine," Jane huffed.
Angela scowled at Jane before turning to Maura. "You go, Maura," she said. "I promise I will care for your tortoise. You've left instructions so what could go wrong?" All three of them were momentarily quiet and anxious.
"Come on, Maura," Jane said grabbing Maura's hand luggage. She frowned. "What have you got in here, a collapsible gurney or have you been told to bring your own corpse?"
Maura pursed her lips in disapproval. "My bag has up to date papers, written by those I will be studying alongside. I need something to read. It's a long trip."
"Why can't you watch a crappy movie like the rest of us?" Jane mocked.
"We'd better go," Maura said gathering her thoughts and looking a little upset. She gave Angela a final peck on the cheek. "Goodbye, Angela."
"See you in September, honey. Don't worry you'll be fine."
"'Bye, Ma," Jane gave her mother a peck on the cheek. "Sorry if I'm a little off. I'm feeling tense."
"I know," Angela said lovingly, "but Maura will be home in no time at all. It'll fly by and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about." She rubbed her daughter's arm affectionately. "Take your coats. There is going to be a big storm and it could last a while." As she spoke they heard thunder rumble across the sky. As if by synchronicity Jane's radio came on in the bedroom and the Doors song, Riders on the Storm, wafted out.
"Weird," Maura said.
"Don't worry, I'll go unplug it," Angela said. "What with all that lightening we don't want it burning the place down."
Maura and Jane said their goodbyes on last time.
"Why are your eyes red?" Angela shouted after Jane "Sweetheart, you can talk to me about anything. We'll talk when you get home."
Jane put the luggage in the trunk.
"Are you okay?" Maura asked glancing at Jane as the car joined the traffic flow heading towards the Boston airport. "Your eyes do look red. It makes you look Satanic," she grinned.
"Thanks for caring. My eyes are red due to the satanic shampoo I used this morning," Jane said testily as she kept her stinging eyes on the road. She wound down her window to clear her head.
"You're not supposed to shampoo your eyes, it will make them sore," Maura said jokingly.
"Really? Stupid me," she shook her head. "With diagnostic skills like that you should be a doctor."
"At the very least I thought satanic shampoo would give you horns."
"No that's more of a feeling and ends with a y," Jane joked, "and relief."
Maura grinned and opened the foil covering Angela's sandwiches. "Irish potato bread, that is so sweet of Angela. It's packed with carbohydrates that release slowly and will keep you going until lunchtime and beyond."
"Why are they shamrock-shaped?" Jane asked glancing at the thick doorstops of bread.
"Your mother is thoughtful that's all. I assume it's because she thinks it will bring me good luck on my travels."
Jane took them from the foil and threw them out of the open window. "Make a wish."
"I already have," Maura said enigmatically.
"What did you wish for?"
"Not telling. Can you close the window it's getting chilly?"
There was an awkward silence until Maura turned on the car radio and then turned it off again.
"Nothing to suit your taste, Ma'am?"
"I prefer Classic FM to..." she paused, "to the music you like."
"Well, while you're gone I will educate myself by listening to Mozart's magic flop or some orchestral piece that goes on for so long you lose the will to live. Thank god Beethoven didn't finish his symphony."
"I am not going to take to the bait," Maura said, "if you want to be in a bad mood that's up to you."
Jane shrugged. "Well," she said, finally. "I don't want you to go, I will miss you," she admitted. "I don't know why you're going anyway. There are just as many good pathologists in America as in Europe. Dead people live here, too. You didn't have to go so far and for so long." She pretended to look out of the window as her emotions threatened to spill over into tears. There was an awkward silence.
Maura touched Jane's hand momentarily. "I am going to miss you, too," she said softly. "It's just I have the chance to learn something new and it's a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Jane nodded. "I know," she said in a deflated tone. She distracted herself by turning on the radio. "I just like you being here with me. And I know you won't believe me but I feel that you may be in danger over there. I keep getting a creepy feeling. Call it edginess if you like but I feel that something horrible is on its way."
"You shouldn't be concerned, I am sure everything will be fine," Maura said, confidently. "I understand your anxiety, it's quite normal."
"Okay," she had tried to get through to the left-brainer and it was a no-brainer.
"It's a real honour to be selected to study with Professor Jean Michel Piaf." Maura explained.
"A singing pathologist?"
"That's Edith Piaf and she's dead," Maura explained.
"Really?" Jane smiled. "That was a joke, Maura."
"Oh. I'll bring you back something nice."
"Make it blonde and breathing," Jane mocked and punched the radio buttons until out came Classic FM. If she was trying not to show her nausea she failed.
"Don't you like it?"
"Not really but I'll listen to it, if it's what you like."
"What don't you like about it, it's captivating."
Jane gave a clipped laugh. "No, Maura it's not captivating. It sounds like a wasp caught in a jar."
"That would be the violin."
"That's the sound of a violin?"
"It's actually the Flight of the bumble bee by Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov."
"I feel like I've got Tinnitus," she shook her head. "Do you think old Nikolai is related to Korsak-ov?"
Maura actually considered it before she realised it was a joke. She got back on familiar ground. "He wrote it as an orchestral interlude for his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan." Maura punched the buttons and out came Rock FM Santana singing Black Magic Woman.
Jane turned the radio off. "Will you do me a favour?"
"If I can."
"Will you call me everyday?"
"Sure. The East Coast is six hours behind Paris."
Jane visibly cheered up. "That'd be great. It's just that I need to know you're okay." Even as she said it a feeling for unease was creeping up her spine.
They sat in the public area of the airport and waited for Maura's flight to be called. "So your mother will be meeting you in Paris, right?" Jane asked even though she already knew the answer, she just needed to hear it again.
"Yes. I'll be staying with her while I'm there. I'll call you when I get settled."
"Day or night, I don't care," Jane insisted.
Maura smiled affectionately. "You worry too much. It's only until September."
"Maura, that's months away."
"You have a longer memory than a goldfish don't you? You will remember me," Maura assured her. "If you're very good I may even find a way to invite you over for a holiday before I come back. Maybe we could go to Venice?"
"Can we go somewhere that isn't Italian?" Jane asked. "How about we go to Norway?"
Maura thought about it. "I don't think so," she said giving it a final thought, "not with all that blue-eyed blonde competition."
"Competition?" Jane quizzed, sensing that she was on the verge of a relationship breakthrough; maybe it would finally be more than a friendship. She was about to say something loving to Maura when they heard Maura's flight being called. Instead the loving feeling turned into a sinking feeling.
"I have something for you before I go." Maura retrieved a small box from her pocket. "If you don't like you don't have to wear it."
Jane opened the box to see a gold ring.
"It's a Claddagh ring," Maura explained. "It's an Irish custom and is given as a token of love, loyalty and friendship." She watched Jane trying it on each finger trying for the best fit. "It is a seventeenth century tradition and is said to have originated in the village of Claddagh
The ring fit perfectly on Jane's wedding finger. "Wow, Maura, it fits me like a glove, well like a ring," she laughed. "And on my wedding finger, that's romantic and kind of unnerving."
Maura blushed. "I didn't know it would fit that finger. I asked your mother to get me your ring size while she was cleaning your apartment."
"You mean snooping around my apartment."
"If you don't like it..."
Jane pulled her hand away from Maura. "You can't have it back now. It's beautiful," she said and hugged Maura. "Thank you. God, Maura I'm going to miss you so much," she whispered.
Maura pulled away. "I have to go," she said in a weak voice.
Jane was trying not to cry. "I know. Call me when you get to your mom's place?"
"I will," she gave a weak smile as she gathered her belonging together. "Look after yourself and don't do anything dangerous while I'm gone."
"I won't," Jane said softly. "Take care." What she really wanted to say was, "I love you."
They hugged one last time before Maura headed to the departure lounge to board the plane.
"When I get back I have something I want to ask you," Maura said in a raised voice as her ticket was being checked and her bag scanned. "I think I have conquered my fear of commitorum metus."
"Okay," Jane frowned and waved as airport security groped Maura. "What the hell is that?"
"Fear of commitment," a young woman said as she waited for her turn to be molested. "What next," she said to Jane as they watched Maura get frisked. "The last time I was groped that intimately I was lying down and I wanted it."
"I mean really," the young woman said. "What a choice? Either get groped by Frau TSA Nazi or go through an X-ray machine that renders you naked and shreds your DNA. And," she said as she picked up her bag, "they save the images, it's the new porn." With that she went to be groped by a complete stranger wearing latex gloves and a uniform that looked like it was from Wal-Mart.
Jane had to admit that in any other arena than airport security it would be considered sexual assault. She wasn't sure about giving up any more of her freedom to this shadowy catchall called Terrorism. What was terrorism? She wasn't sure, but she knew that it conveniently morphed into whatever the government wanted it to be in order to erode yet more freedoms and destroy the right to privacy. When, she thought, does homeland security become so prevalent and intrusive that it turns into state tyranny?
Would she collude with the overreaching federal government in oppressing the American people? No. The Constitution might have to be fought for and she would help to fight and defend it. America really was the last bastion of world freedom. It was one of the few places in the world where you could be yourself: God Bless America.
And where was Maura headed? To Paris the capital of France. What had the French given the world? Revolution, the guillotine, liberty, fraternity and equality; Danse Apache; the four musketeers; cheese, wine and Catherine Deneuve. Vive la France! Then she remembered that the French had also brought the world modern mime, amphibious and mollusc cuisine and the 'economy car,' the Citroën 2CV which looked like a frog on wheels. Her joie de vivre was lost and she was proud to be an American again; home of hotdogs and the Celtics basketball team.
She watched Maura disappear before she headed back to the parking lot. She felt depressed and low and wondered how she would cope without the woman she loved. She had resigned herself to spending time alone with nothing but Bass, Maura's a giant tortoise for company. She glanced at the ring Maura had given her and wanted to spend the months that Maura was away sleeping in her expensive designer clothes. She smiled to herself and could imagine Maura's wrath at the crumpled mess she returned to but at least it would be a fashionable mess.
The rain had stopped by the time Jane left the airport. She glanced at the dark clouds which seemed to be regrouping ready for the main assault on Boston. She climbed into the car and followed the traffic leaving the airport. It seemed unnaturally dark for mid-afternoon. There was something in the air, something menacing. Somewhere in the distance she heard thunder rolling across the sky; the storm was approaching.
She wanted to get to the precinct before the deluge. She watched the red taillights of the cars in front as she crawled into the traffic lane that would take her back to the City. She stopped as the driver in front applied the brakes and their lights lit up. Suddenly, she felt her body jolt forward as someone hit her car from behind.
"Goddamn it!" she said angrily and thumped the steering wheel. It was the last thing she needed. She got out of the car and looked behind her at the damage done. The fender was dented and a rear light was broken. She was furious as she looked at the offending car. It was a black Mercedes and its headlight was broken. The side windows of the car were tinted so she could not see who was inside. She stood, fuming, with her hands on her hips.
Slowly the Mercedes driver's door opened and a female leg emerged. Jane began to calm down. The rest of the body of the driver followed. As she saw who it was her anger fled along with the peel of thunder.
Standing before her was the most beautiful woman Jane had ever seen. The vision of beauty was wearing an expensive dark grey trouser suit and a white blouse. Everything about her said style and class. Her skin was very pale and her blonde hair looked natural. Jane also noticed she had pale blue eyes and that she was a little taller than herself. She could smell the fragrance of the stranger's perfume.
"I am so sorry," the female said sincerely. "It was entirely my fault, I didn't realise you'd stopped."
Her admission of guilt deflated Jane. "Okay," she said flatly. "Give me your details and we can get our insurance to sort it all out."
"If you don't mind I would like to keep my insurance company out of this." She gave a disarming grin. "I am more than willing to pay for any damage." She leaned into her car and retrieved her purse. "Here," she said after fumbling around inside it. "Here's my card and my address."
"You're not American, right?" Jane could tell that it definitely was not a Bostonian accent and it didn't sound like any American accent she had ever heard.
There was that disarming grin again. "Irish, but please don't hold that against me."
She gave a resigned sigh. "No, I won't hold it against you. I will though if you're thinking of taking off back to Ireland before this is sorted out."
"I'm living here at the moment," the woman said as a spot of rain splashed on to Jane's head.
"Hey ladies, move it!" someone shouted. "I'd like to get home before St Patrick's Day."
The blonde grinned. "I do believe we're in the way." She extended her hand. "My name is Camilla Le Fanu."
"Jane Rizzoli," they shook hands. "We need to move."
"Come on before we get any more of that lightening," someone said. "Is it lightening or thunder first?"
The woman turned to address the speaker. "Actually lightning and thunder occur at the same time. It is just that sound travels slower than light."
Jane wondered what was going on and why this woman seemed to have Maura's over-informed affliction.
"I don't give a shit if Zeus is flinging lightening rods around up there, move your beautiful ass!" Someone else yelled.
Camilla turned back to Jane. "Please, let me give you my cell phone number," she glanced at Jane seductively. "You can always reach me if you want to. Call me when you get an estimate for the damage?"
"Sure." Jane said and gave Camilla her card.
"A homicide detective," the woman said as their eyes met, "how exciting."
"Yeah, a jolt to the electrodes every day," Jane said dismissively.
"You know you have very pretty eyes," Camilla said as she climbed back into her car. As the door slammed Jane heard Nina Simone's song, I Put a Spell on You wafting from the interior.
Jane climbed back into her car and began to pull off. She glanced in the rear view mirror and caught sight of the woman's face. She was suddenly overcome by the weirdest feeling, as though she'd just met an irresistible force. She watched the woman's car turn left and speed off. She shook herself inwardly trying to get a grip on her feelings. The more she tried to think of her love for Maura the more it seemed to ebb away. No matter how hard she tried she couldn't stop seeing the woman's face. All thoughts of Maura were being pushed into the background and all she could think about was the gorgeous Camilla.
The rain began to fall in earnest now with large drops obscuring the car in front. Eventually it came down so fast she could see nothing clearly.
"Hi Frankie," Maura kissed him on the cheek and they hugged.
"Hey Maura, how was your flight?" He took charge of the airport trolley containing Maura's luggage.
"The flight was fine it was getting on it that was the problem. Thanks for meeting me," she looked around. "I had hoped Jane would be with you."
"Jane, yeah," he seemed awkward, "things have been weird."
"I got a bizarre text from your mother about Satanism and Devil Worship and someone she referred to as the Whore of Baby. I think she must have pressed send before she'd finished with the predictive text. I think she meant the Whore of Babylon. What on earth is going on?"
"Maura, you wouldn't believe it. I don't know what the hell's going on. It's Jane, she's acting weird. Maybe you can talk some sense into her."
"The last time I heard from her things were a little strained between us and then the spontaneous people's revolution in every major city in Europe happened. All communications were cut," she said matter-of-factly. "It took me weeks to get out of Europe. I thought I'd be home at the end of September and here we are in October."
"Yeah, I can't believe Europe's gone up like that. I suppose people are pissed at losing everything they've worked for," he said sadly.
Maura shook her head. "They didn't lose everything it was, and still is, being stolen by the banks who are committing massive fraud. It's the biggest transfer of public money into private hands in the history of the world," she explained. "Europeans are hanging effigies of bankers and politicians from lampposts."
"Wow, that's a little harsh," Frankie mocked.
"So is daylight robbery." Maura was a little annoyed. "They should copy Iceland and arrest bankers and politicians."
"Well we got our Constitution so the bankers and any politicians who don't like it can go to hell," he said heatedly.
"I am sure the American people will do what is necessary. I just hope they wake up before it's too late."
He glanced at her as he continued to direct the luggage trolley which steered to the left. "Glad you got out in one piece."
"Me, too," she said enjoying the familiarity of home. "I almost didn't make it, though. I was stuck in Amsterdam for days. I was lucky to get one of the last flights out."
"Amsterdam," Frankie said. "It must have been tough what with women, beer and those cafés that legally sell drugs."
"Frankie! I was in my hotel room the entire time worrying about Jane and reading about the new technique for eviscerating corpses."
Frankie smiled at her. "And that, Maura, is why you'll probably out live us all." They arrived at Frankie's car. He put Maura's luggage in the trunk while she climbed into the passenger seat.
"Aside from revolution in Europe how did your trip go?" He followed the cars leaving the parking lot.
Maura smiled. "It was fabulous," she beamed. "I got to try out some innovative techniques in the pathology world. And between work and study I managed to visit all the exclusive fashion stores in Paris. The dresses and shoes I've brought back...it was tres bon."
He nodded but his mind was on a more serious subject.
Maura suddenly became serious. "Tell me, what's going on. Where is Jane?"
He took a deep breath. "Jane began to unravel almost as soon as you left. We're worried sick."
"Jane is very lucky to have such a loving brother," Maura said affectionately.
"Tell her that," he was visibly offended. "Ma has run out of ideas. She really wanted to talk to you but, well, you weren't available."
"So why is she acting so strange? Did Jane get shot or stabbed or a concussion?"
Frankie gave a clipped laugh. "God Maura, that would be understandable but this?" He shook his head. "Y'know she's suspended from work?"
Maura was shocked. "What? Why?"
He nodded. "She failed to turn up to work for three days and didn't tell anyone where she was, not even Ma. When she finally showed up Lieutenant Detective Cavanaugh told her to go home."
"That doesn't sound like Jane." Maura was taken aback. "So where was she?"
Frankie shrugged. "We don't know but we think she was with that woman." He looked embarrassed.
"The Whore of Babylon, her new girlfriend, she's come out, finally." He said and gave an embarrassed cough. "I mean we all knew but hey, we were hoping she'd take up with you, Maura. But this woman, this gorgeous blue-eyed blonde is a real stunner and she has money." He realised what he had said. "Mind you, she's not as good-looking as you, no way. In fact, she's kind of ugly when I think about it. And you have money, right?" he suggested loyally.
Maura was devastated. "She has a female lover?"
He knew he had said too much. "Look Maura, I think I'd better let Ma explain it to you," as though he truly believed that someone who sent a text slamming the Whore of Baby would be capable of explaining the situation rationally.
"What does this woman do?"
"She does Jane."
"No," Maura tried not to imagine Jane having sex with another woman. She very nearly demanded that Frankie take him to Jane immediately. "What job does she do?"
"Oh," he said as if it was the first time he'd thought about it. "I don't know. Weird or what? I thought I knew but just can't think of it."
Later, when Maura had distributed the gifts she brought back from France and was sitting nursing a wounded ego and a cup of tea, Angela took the floor.
"Maura, Jane's wearing an upside down cross around her neck!" Angela said, still in shock.
"Yeah, it even has a little man upside down on it!" Lydia said as she fed Tommy's baby, T.J.
"Jesus Christ," Frankie said in exasperation as he looked at Lydia.
"Yes, that's right Frankie, Jesus Christ is the little man on the cross," Angela said and looked knowingly at her son. "She can't help it, she's not religious."
Frankie gave up on Lydia.
"Maura, that woman is a devil worshipper!" Angela was saying as she clutched her coffee cup and crossed herself. "I swear to God that woman has put a spell on Jane. She's turned her to the dark side."
"Yeah," Tommy interjected. "A beautiful sexy woman with charm and sophistication and money has Jane under a spell. Hey, put me under the spell, too. Bewitch me now, I can handle it." His mother glared at him. He raised his hands and laughed. "I mean come on, how do you know that Jane just isn't in love? She's all grown up so why does she have to be under a spell or voodoo curse or something? Can't she just be infatuated and in love?"
"That was very understanding of you and tender and lovely and shows you have a good heart," Maura admitted.
Angela spoke to Maura and ignored Tommy. "Maura, she took Jane from you!" She almost sobbed. "If I had to have a companion for Jane..."
"Companion, Angela no," Maura said adamantly. "I am not a dog."
Tommy grinned. "No, Maura you definitely ain't a dog."
Angela was not finished. "You know what I mean. If my daughter is a y'know then I'd rather you were my daughter-in-law and not that she-witch."
"If your daughter is a 'y'know?'" Frankie said wide-eyed. "Why don't you use the right word? What your daughter wants is another les...'
"...less than male partner," Angela said and dared Frankie to oppose her. "Oh Maura," Angela all but swooned. "Jane is in danger. I feel it as only a mother can."
"Whatever is wrong with Jane, Satanism or drugs or lust, we think that she is in some kind of trouble but she won't listen to any of us," Frankie said sensibly.
"Does the Babylonian strumpet have a name?" Maura asked suddenly feeling the jetlag kick in.
"Strumpet?" Angela quizzed.
"Does my rival have a name?" Maura explained in a tired voice.
"Camilla," Angela said.
"Just like the British royal familyPrince Charles' wife," Tommy added. "People think she's a she-wolf."
"And look what happened to poor Princess Diana," Angela said and blew her nose. "She died tragically under the nuff nuff bridge in Paris."
"Nuff nuff bridge?" Maura frowned. "Do you mean the pont de l'alma bridge?"
Angela giggled insecurely. "You know what I mean. My French isn't very good."
"Your French just isn't, Ma," Frankie smiled.
"What would you like me to do?" Maura finally asked.
Angela took a deep breath. "Go and rescue my daughter. Show her that her true love¯you have returned triumphant from dismembering corpses in Paris. Maura! Take her from that blonde troll in heels."
"And if she wants to be with her troll?" Tommy said. "Anyway trolls..."
"...live under Billy goats gruff gruff bridges," Frankie joked.
Angela stamped her foot. "Please, my baby is in grave danger. Maura," she said looking at Maura all wild-eyed. "She is not herself, I am telling you now that she's possessed. I've seen it before," she turned to the boys, "your uncle Giuseppe was possessed for six months and Father Francis had to excommunicate him."
"Don't you mean exorcise him?" Tommy corrected.
"No, excommunicate him because he became possessed by another she-wolf who was a Protestant. He ended up marrying and converting. You can't get more possessed by demons than becoming a Protestant."
"Angela," Maura began. "I have listened to what you said on Skype before the riots in Europe and before U.S. and EU governments used the Internet kill switch. I have just listened to what you have said now and I still don't know if Jane is possessed. All I can say is that she is a grown woman and ultimately I cannot make her do anything she does not want to do. I will go and see her and report back to you." She finished her tea before continuing. "I know very little about the dark forces so I am meeting with a professor from Redford University who happens to be coming to Boston. He is an expert on Satanism. He has agreed to come with me when I go to see Jane and to tell me if he thinks she is in the thralls of love," Maura momentarily faltered, "or whether it is something more sinister."
"What can your friend do?" Angela said, her eyes as red as Jane's were when Maura was leaving for Paris.
"I'm not sure but he is an expert on all matters dark and evil. If Jane is possessed by dark forces he will be able to tell and we can take it from there. He's due in tomorrow evening. I'm sorry but I feel jetlagged at the moment and need to rest. Maybe things will be a little clearer tomorrow. You said that Jane is not at her apartment?"
Angela had calmed down a little. "No she lives with that woman just out of town in a mansion. It's an evil looking place."
Maura nodded. She was exhausted and heartbroken. The idea that the one woman in the world that she would have gone to hell and back had dropped her the minute she went away was a disappointment. It was tragic. She had not realised that Jane was so shallow. In her heart she didn't believe Jane was superficial which meant that she was in trouble. It then occurred to her that if Jane was indeed in trouble with Satanists she might just be required to go into hell to get her back.
Maura awoke the next day feeling depressed and deflated. The radio alarm crackled into life. "That was the wicked sound of AC/DC and You Shook Me All Night Long. Hey honey, you know you did. All right you rockers, stay with us and after the break we have Alice Cooper's Poison."
"My ears certainly have been," Maura mumbled, irritated at the dreadful music first thing on an overcast Boston morning. She hugged the covers unwilling to get out of bed.
The radio DJ wasn't finished. "Let us help you to start your day rocking. Only one week to Halloween and the unholy Sabbath." He used a scary voice. "On the day of the Grand Sabbath we will have nothing," he continued in a lower register, "nothing, but dark tunes. Listen if you dare."
"Dare," she huffed. "Not without a box of codeine and an ear syringe."
"Call us now to win a chilling vacation to the witch capital of the world, Pendle in Lancashire, England ," DJ wicked soul said. "Just answer the question: 'who was Mother Demdike?' and you're in with a chance. Was she: a) an all comers brothel owner b) a Dutch builder who is famed for having her finger in a dike or c) the witch leader of a satanic coven in 1620s England?"
"What a difficult question," Maura muttered. "Is rock music: a) the devil's music b) a cacophony of noise c) the musical equivalent of haemorrhoids?"
The DJ wasn't finished. "Terms and conditions apply. To find out more go to our website www.Deff105.8
.com. After the news every other song will have a dark flavour; coming up is Bring Your Daughter to the Slaughter by Iron Maiden."
"Why would you?" Maura quizzed. It made no sense to her to take you daughter to such an awful event. "Who has been at this radio?" she asked, thinking aloud. Her annoyance was waking her up. "Where's Classical FM when you need it?"She stumbled out of bed and hummed Vivaldi's Autumn as she adjusted her silk pyjama pants. She glanced at the alarm clock; it was only nine-thirty. Her body clock was out but she had until the following week to adjust before she had to be back at work. She thought about Jane and how she would have to confront her sooner rather than later. She wanted to know what was happening and why Jane had suddenly abandoned her. Jane had been worried that Maura would find someone else overseas. It had never occurred to Maura that Jane would find a gorgeous blonde while she was away.
She worried that she would never get Jane back. What would she do if Jane went off into the sunset with this woman, this troll in heels? It scared her to think she would pine away watching medical documentaries and have no one to talk to but her tortoise Bass.
"How are you feeling now, Maura," Angela said as she entered her bedroom. She smiled as she placed a cup of herbal tea on the bedside table.
"Mon Dieu!" Maura exclaimed as she clutched her chest in surprise.
Angela thought about saying 'don't curse' but wasn't sure what Maura had said so remained silent.
"Don't you ever knock? "
"Not really," she admitted. "I miss walking in on Jane so thought you might not mind."
Maura stood with her hands in front of her, covering her mons pubis. "Did you change the station on my radio?"
"It reminds me of Jane. I didn't think you'd mind I only listened to it while I polished your tortoise."
Maura looked surprised. "You polished Bass?"
"Only the shell."
Maura let it pass. "I either need my keys back or I need you to call me so I can prepare for these kinds of encounters."
"Should I smash pots and pans together and vacuum?"
"No Angela," Maura thought that would be like listening to rock music. "You could just knock on my bedroom door."
"Bass wouldn't let me," Angela said in a worried tone. "He's very protective of you."
She opened the door and Bass was in front of the open door staring at them. He looked unusually shiny.
"He's like a guard dog," Angela noted, "only slower."
"Okay, Angela," Maura felt tired just listening to her explanation. "I will take a shower and decide on how to fill the day. What do you intend to do today?"
"Lydia is taking me to get my hair done. The hairdresser always scalds my head when she washes my hair. It'll take my mind off of Jane," Angela said. "I'll let you get dressed and see you later."
"Yes, thanks for the tea, Angela."
Maura went to take a shower. She had hoped for a happier welcome home. She had fantasized that she would tell Jane how she really felt and Jane would be thrilled and they would be together. Her plan seemed to have gone the way of Europe; up in an unexpected puff of smoke. She decided there was nothing for it but retail therapy. She would hit all the expensive stores around town and treat herself to a new pair of shoes; perhaps Christian Louboutin or Manolo Blahnik. Maybe a new dress or something beautiful by Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, or Dior? In fact just thinking about some new clothes made her feel better.
It was close to lunch-time when she walked into La Beauty Call on Newbury Street. It was a new store that had sprung up while she was away. They had stores in Paris but they didn't have the dress she wanted in her size. It was a beautiful rich orange and would go well with the highlights in her hair. She needed to try it on just to make sure she didn't look like a Cheetos in heels. She hoped they would have it in her size - la femme extra large. It was a little depressing shopping in haute couture stores because unless you were the thickness of a pipe cleaner you were considered fat.
She began to flick through the clothes when the store assistant accosted her ."Can I help you Ma'am?"
Maura explained the style and color of the dress she was looking for. The French assistant looked like she'd sucked on a lemon and said to Maura, "I will see if we have it in your size." Now she knew why her mother called it haughty culture. "If you American women will eat," the French assistant whispered as she disappeared behind a curtain.
Maura looked around and spotted a familiar shape sitting on a chair within easy reach of the changing room. The woman was dark-haired and wore a red dress and pumps with two inch heels. It suddenly dawned on her that she was looking at Jane. It took her a few minutes to register that it was Jane because of the location and the clothes. Why would Jane be in a place that she found as nauseating as watching a romantic movie? Jane considered shopping for clothes an unnecessary evil. Maura glanced around, looking for the Whore of Babylon otherwise known as Camilla. She was nowhere to be seen.
"Jane?" Maura said to the woman who was sitting down. She walked around the chair so that she was facing the woman.
"Maura," Jane looked embarrassed. She got to her feet and her heels made her tower over Maura. She was wearing heavy makeup; it was a shock. Jane had become a lipstick lesbian. A woman who eight months previously refused to contemplate a purse now resembled Cher on a bad day.
"Wow, Jane you look...different."
"How was your trip?"
Maura would have hugged Jane but she made no move towards her. Maura stifled the urge to giggle nervously. She was so happy to see her. "It was good. I was hoping you would meet me at the airport on my return. I was surprised to hear that you were too busy."
"Yeah, well things change, y'know?" she tutted and threw her head back dramatically.
Maura shrugged. "Not really, I don't know, elucidate." She wanted to say the femme look didn't suit her but bit her tongue.
"Lucy isn't her name," Jane said absent-mindedly.
"I didn't ask you if you were on date with Lucy, I asked you to elucidate, to explain why you didn't meet me. And while we're at it you could explain what is going on and why your mother is so traumatised."
"No, I can't explain," Jane looked confused. "Honestly Maura, I'm not sure myself. One minute I love you the next I'm infatuated with Camilla." She tugged at her dress, irritated. "I feel like I've been vacuum packed."
"You love me?" Maura said feeling emotionally vulnerable and angry at the same time.
"Maura," Jane said, sidling up to her."I don't feel like me anymore. I feel all wrong inside but every time I see Camilla I just have this surge of desire." She tugged at her dress again. "This goddamn thong is so uncomfortable. And this makeup, for god's sake how do women wear so much of it all the time? And these false eyelashes I can barely lift my eyelids." She took the shoes off and she was suddenly Jane again. "Fucking shoes," she smiled and looked at the heels angrily. "I'm walking on goddamn chopsticks. A sadistic shoe designer is sitting in his shoe-shaped mansion laughing his ass off that we'd wear this uncomfortable shit."
"It's the new Chinese foot-binding program the male fashion industry has designed for women." Maura caught a glimpse of the Jane she knew and loved.
"Yeah, it's foot homicide."
There was no necklace with an upside down cross hanging from Jane's neck. However, the Claddagh ring she had given Jane was missing. "You're not wearing the ring I gave you."
She looked down at her hands. "No, Camilla didn't want me to."
"And where is," she managed to stop herself from saying, the 'Whore of Babylon,' "where is Camilla?"
"She's trying on some stuff. Apparently a sweatshirt is fashion suicide." She grinned weakly. "Maura, it wouldn't look good for me to be seen with you."
Maura frowned. "Why not?" She touched Jane on the arm tenderly. "I need you Jane."
"God, Maura, I don't know what to do, I'm so confused. I'm losing myself."
"I will help you."
As she spoke Maura's nemesis appeared from the changing room. She was taller than Maura, blonde and imposing. She handed the sales assistant a dress and the minion went off to wrap it.
Jane sat down and put her shoes back on.
The blonde approached quickly. "Jane, aren't you going to introduce me to your friend?" The blonde's icy blue eyes didn't stray from Maura's gaze.
Jane stood up. "Camilla this is Maura," she said without looking at either of them.
Camilla did not attempt to shake hands with Maura. "I have heard so much about you."
"I've heard quite a lot about you," Maura said before adding, "None of it good."
Jane looked intimidated, something Maura never thought she would see in such a strong woman.
Camilla threw her head back dramatically as Jane had just done, before staring at Maura coldly. "Well, why would it be good when her tedious family prefers someone as clinically sterile as you Maria."
"It's Maura, Carmina," Maura said with equal chill.
"Jane, darling," Camilla said in a stern voice. "Will you wait for me in the car?"
Jane nodded obediently.
"Take the bags with you," Camilla commanded without even looking at Jane.
"Goodbye Jane," Maura said but Jane did not answer.
"Let me be blunt," Camilla began when Jane had left the store. "Jane is in love with me so you might as well leave her alone." She patted down the front of her dress. "I live an extravagant and luxurious lifestyle. I can give Jane all the things you can't exotic places, experiences she's never had and...real pleasure. Her curly c is mine," she said slyly.
"Don't forget syphilis," Maura added as she fumed inside, but only inside. "It is statistically proven that excessive sexual encounters are unhealthy and lead to disease."
"Jane lives with me and eats only with me," she said mysteriously.
"If there's always cookies in the jar where's the fun in cookies," Maura said with equal obscurity. Maura thought she was doing quite well because she had no idea what Camilla was talking about. "I think Jane is old enough to eat with who she wants to, don't you?" She continued. "If she doesn't want to eat with me she can tell me herself." Maura wasn't sure but thought the food metaphor was about sex.
"No, she won't tell you herself because she is weak."
Damn, thought Maura, she's gone off metaphor or maybe she's about to start on ripe fruits? "May I be equally as blunt?"
"You have made Jane an exotic sex slave, I can respect that, but Camilla," she looked at Camilla's attire from her neck to her shoes, "a silk and muslin mix, in October?"
Camilla openly fumed. "It's fashionable!"
"In early summer in Timbuktu, possibly, but is has never been fashionable here." Maura was surprised at herself. It seemed that where Jane was concerned she could be as bitchy as the best vicious harpy. She smiled insincerely and looked shocked. "Why whatever next, a Himalayan collection replete with yak earrings? Will we see you wearing Crocs in December?"
At that moment the assistant approached with Camilla's dress, professionally wrapped and presented. She snatched it from the assistant. "Put it on my platinum account." She turned towards the door. "We will meet again," she said to Maura. "And you won't be quite as amused."
Camilla was about to make a grand exit when another assistant called after her. "What about your little Chihuahua?"
Maura smiled again. "I believe you want the salon, Vajazzling Designs for that and don't let them use anything but the best wax and Swarovski crystals. And while you're there get them to do your mono-brow and upper lip. I noticed they need attention," she said helpfully.
Camilla grabbed her little dog and headed out of the door without looking back.
"Now," Maura smiled at the assistant who looked shell-shocked. "To my dress." The assistant did have it in her size after all. "We're rivals," Maura explained. "We both like the same hot dish." Maura felt good, she was in with a fighting chance having discovered that Jane still loved her.
At precisely eight o'clock that evening Maura was waiting for Professor Adrian Stephen Pope at a small select restaurant. She ordered a glass of wine and kept glancing at her watch and then at the door waiting for a face she hadn't seen in ten years.
"Do you read me?" she leaned forward and whispered into the small floral centrepiece.
"Sure," Korsak said through her earpiece.
She looked around judiciously and saw Korsak and Frost seated at a table in the corner. She waved discretely.
"Maura, don't do that," Frost said, "we're undercover."
"Sorry," she whispered. "It's so exciting I feel like a spy." She pretended to wipe crumbs off the table cloth as she spoke. "Remember what I said, listen only. I need your objective opinion. Blend in with the other diners."
"You won't know we're here," Kosak hiccupped.
"Thanks guys," Maura said to the table cloth, discretely placing her hand over her mouth. "It's good to have friends with me."
Maura spoke to the small floral table display again. "I said, it's nice to have friends."
"Sure, Maura," Korsak said. She heard him glug his beer.
"Please, Korsak, you're swallowing is deafening me." She watched Korsak wipe his mouth in a genteel fashion.
They were so loud she could hear Korsak and Frost talking to each other without the earpiece. "You need to be quieter," Maura whispered.
Frost looked disapprovingly at Korsak. "Should you be drinking and taking medication?"
"What are you, my mother?"
"Okay, it's just that last time you were on that stuff and drank you became aggressive."
"I did not," Korsak said, aggressively.
A distinguished looking man entered the restaurant and talk with the maitre'd. He spotted Maura and gave a slight grin as he was led to her table. She got up to greet him and they exchanged awkward pecks on the cheeks.
"It's good to see you Maura, you look stunning as always." He said with a smooth mellifluous voice. He waited for her to sit before he followed suit. His hazel eyes met her eyes and he gave a mischievous smile. The waiter came over and he ordered whatever Maura was drinking.
"It's good to see you too, Adrian," she said looking at his handsome face.
"Did you enjoy Paris?" he asked.
"Damn it," Korsak interjected into Maura's earpiece and hiccupped, again. "Frighten me, Frost. I need to get rid of these goddamn hiccups."
Frost held up the menu. "Look at the prices and be afraid, be very afraid."
"You know I've been to Paris?" Maura said to her brother.
"Of course, Maura, I like to keep up with what the family is doing. I understand that you made contact with our biological mother, Hope?" He grinned. "We really did live in hope didn't we?"
"He's her brother?" Frost whispered to Korsak who was busy holding his breath and turning puce.
"I did see her, but that is not why I have asked you here tonight." Maura said ignoring his joke.
"Ah yes, Jane Rizzoli a woman in jeopardy."
"You know all about her, too?"
"Maura, it pays me to know about everything of interest to me," he said, staring at her covetously. The waiter brought a bottle of wine and fresh glasses. Maura waited until Adrian had gone through the preliminaries of tasting the wine before the waiter poured a little into each glass and withdrew. "Jane's quite a catch," he smirked. "Dark and handsome and vulnerable."
"As you seem to know my predicament I am assuming that is why you have agreed to help?"
"My darling sister, the dark arts are my forte," he gave a short quiet laugh and sipped his wine. "Although I haven't agreed to help, not yet."
"That short-assed dweeb is her brother?" Korsak said as he forcefully emptied his lungs of air.
"I already said that and Maura can hear you." Frost glanced in Maura's direction.
"I think I got those hiccups," Korsak said as he thumped his chest. "Hey," he scowled at Frost. "Maura asked for my opinion, so I'm giving it."
Frost glanced over, embarrassed. "Sorry, Maura."
"That's okay," she said to the flowers before she could stop herself.
"What's okay?" Adrian asked.
"Nothing, just going over things in my head," Maura said realising the earpiece had been a mistake. "Will you help me?" She said, unwilling to indulge Adrian in pleasantries.
"If you'll help me," Adrian said.
"He's holding out. You want us to come over and bust his dark arty farty head?" Korsak asked Maura as he lifted up the centrepiece and used it like a microphone.
Maura pretended to cough and shook her head.
Adrian looked at her kindly and quizzically for a moment. "You know my price. It is what it has always been. If you say yes then I will move heaven and hell to help you, well hell anyway," he smiled warmly.
She clutched her wine glass tightly. "I can't do that, Adrian and it's not fair to ask me."
"Life is not fair, Maura." He gently to wiped the moustache on his upper lip and automatically ran his hand over his neat goatee beard. "'Oh, do not despise the advice of the wise, just listen to those who are older. And don't try for things that are out of your reach, that's what the girl told the soldier'." He grinned.
Korsak laughed loud enough through the earpiece to flick up Maura's hair. "Geez, that was funny."
"Kipling?" Maura acknowledged, scowling at Korsak. "What's your point, Adrian?" She wondered how to get the earpiece out without alerting her brother.
"I am wiser than you in these matters and I can go where you cannot. In return all I ask is that you do what you have been avoiding and denying me all these years." He leaned forward. "Maura, for me and those I serve the time is approaching. If we fail it is another ten years before it can be attempted again. Your help is all I ask and in return I will do whatever is necessary to rescue your girlfriend."
Maura no longer looked shocked as he seemed to know more than she did about her life. "Do you think she is in danger?"
"I do. If what you have told me is true her very life and soul are in peril."
"Because," he began, "your partner appears to have been selected for a blood ritual at the most potent time of the year in the satanic calendar. We have until 31st of October, four days from now, to rescue her or she will be lost to you forever. Or so my initial inquiries indicate," he added quickly. "Of course, I would need to see her to be able to give you a definite answer on whether she has agreed of her own free will to enter on to the Left Hand Path or whether she has been, shall we say, mesmerized." His eyes, exactly the same color and shape as Maura's, lingered on his sister's face.
"You mean hypnotised to do something against her will?"
"Not hypnotised, more infiltrated," he corrected. "We see it all the time. People are influenced by advertising that feeds their addiction. All you need is a victim with a burning desire and unrequited lust and you subvert it to your agenda. How do you think they sold so many Justin Bieber records?" He sniggered. "The human mind is easily fooled."
"Unrequited lust?" She said, trying not to focus on Korsak slurping his beer and flirting with the waitress.
"She craves that which she has touched," Adrian smiled knowingly, "but cannot taste. Jane has a need and Camilla merely fed it and twisted it to her advantage."
Maura stared at him. "What is Jane's need?"
"You, my dear sister," he said. "Jane wants to be with you. She may be aware of her needs and desires or they may be lodged in her subconscious. She wants you and you are withholding from her and so," he raised his hands momentarily. "It was easy for Camilla to mirror you, to draw Jane's energy around herself and plant in it the seed of love between them." He could see that she was still unconvinced. "All is energy. When you touch someone you are susceptible to the law of contagion."
"Did she give her a disease?"
He laughed. "Not physically. She mingled her energies with Jane. She physically touched her and so created a energy link. We do it all the time. When you live with someone for a long time you become part of their energy matrix and they part your energy. A sorcerer merely speeds up the process."
"What the fuck," Korsak chuckled. "What is your opinion, Frost? Is this guy the real deal or are we talking Disney's Sorcerer's Apprentice? "
"I'm thinking more Aladdin's Jafar," Frost said seriously.
Adrian was still talking. "Have you met someone and it was like a jolt of electricity, did sparks fly? Have you ever felt like you were on the same wavelength as someone? Or how about referring to a person as magnetic? Is Jane magnetic or does she cause sparkage?"
Maura thought about Jane and she felt a surge of energy. Jane was definitely a woman who caused sparks to fly.
"They are expressions attempting to explain energy." He looked at her.
"What will happen to Jane?"
"She may end up on your autopsy table. I would put nothing past her captor and his disciples," he said coldly. "However, it's possible that she will be initiated into the dark sisterhood. She will become a bride of Lilith. You will never get the old Jane back and she will become evil."
Maura could not believe what she was hearing. It seemed that Angela was right, Jane had been possessed. "So Camilla, or the Whore of Babylon as Jane's mother calls her, is working for someone else and has bewitched Jane for this someone else? Who is he?"
He thought carefully before choosing his words. "Let me just say that Camilla Le Fanu is undoubtedly a wicked and powerful Satanist in her own right. She is also very charming and Jane wouldn't need too much persuading as Camilla's good in the bedroom," he added.
Maura sulked. "Well she would be wouldn't she, it's her bedroom." She was becoming angry. "Who is this man?"
He grinned at his sister before moving on. "Camilla's co-conspirator is a man called Anton de Richelieu, one of France's most potent and diabolical exports. Together they are virtually unstoppable. Indeed, they have contributed to all manner of misfortunes that have befallen America of late. Who asked them to perpetrate these abominations against the American people is up for debate. The alpha predators are never who you imagine," he joked. "And I should also tell you that de Richelieu likes to kill."
He leaned forward. "They focussed on Jane because of you."
"And me," he added. "There is a war going on in the satanic world. We are all after the same prize. It is a prize that can only be obtained when certain planets and cosmic forces are aligned. The window of opportunity is brief but I will be able to make the project a success with your help. Needless to say they don't want me to succeed.
"It would seem that, despite my name change in an effort to hide my past, they have discovered that you are my sister. Your closeness to Jane has put her in danger. They are letting me know what they can do if my plans go ahead. They don't want to threaten you directly, not yet. They do so love to taunt and tease," he smiled sadistically. "What they really want is to stop me and they are using you to get to me. Diabolical and cruel and yet, interesting. They are wondering if I will sacrifice you or if I will show compassion and abandon my plans to save your girlfriend and thereby make you happy. What they don't know is just how crucial you are to my success or they would have gone straight for you."
She wasn't entirely convinced. "So they want you because you are a Satanist who has taken against them in the quest for this unspecified prize. Or do they want you because you are still working on all manner of evil and disturbing projects for this criminal cabal called the American government?"
He smiled fondly at his sister. "Both," he sipped at his wine. "As I have mentioned, they want to prevent me from achieving my ultimate aim. They want power for themselves but they won't get it." He glanced at Maura. "As for the American government, most Americans are totally unaware that it doesn't exist. They don't realise that their government has been hijacked by the global elite. Corporatism rules America, not democracy." He looked at her seriously. "It's the same all over Europe. We all work for the highest bidder, even if it is a piece of shit walking around in a silk suit."
Maura looked disgusted.
He sighed. "Ah, Maura, you have integrity, it could prove fatal."
"I think you grossly underestimate the spirit of the American people."
"Really? Just show them a bargain and watch the stampede."
"The elite you work for may get a rude awakening when they realise the people are stampeding towards a second American Revolution," Maura commented and noticed for the first time that Adrian looked worried.
"Maura," Korsak said to the flowers on his table. "You're brother could send a glass eye to sleep."
Maura glared across the room at Korsak.
Adrian regained his composure. "I am glad you have faith, Maura because that's what I need for my plan to succeed. You are one who does good deeds it's natural for you. And that is why I need you, because of your empathy. You are the virtue to my iniquity and together I can achieve greatness. Camilla and de Richelieu, as usual, have underestimated my powers. The truth of the matter is," he said glancing at her, "your only chance of saving Jane is by helping me. If you help me then I will destroy them." He played with his empty wine glass.
"Why don't they just kill you?" Maura asked.
He smiled enigmatically. "Let's just say I have protection."
"Is there an off switch?" Korsak slurred. "I'm not sure I can take much more of this verbal abuse. I hope to Christ he isn't this boring in bed. He sounds British. I bet he doesn't ask his girlfriend if she's come, I bet he asks her if she's arrived."
Frost took Korsak's beer. "I think you've had enough beer for one night."
Korsak pointed at Frost's plate with his fork. "Stop complaining and eat that expensive green stuff that smells like cat sick."
"At these prices I hope it's pedigree puke," Frost commented.
"So you want me to help you achieve great evil," Maura said matter-of-factly to her brother. "What happens when you die and you have to face what you have done?"
"I will not have to account for my conduct," he said firmly. "I will escape karmic judgment in spirit just as those who are truly evil always escape worldly justice."
"Everyone has to answer to the light, God if you will, at some point," Maura said with equal coldness. "You need to deal with your theophobia."
"Let's not get too serious, Maura," he laughed.
"What the fuck is theophobia?" Korsak's slurred voice came through the earpiece. "Fear of theories? Or fear of missing Oprah; 'the'O'phobia?'"
Maura wanted to explain what it was to Korsak; the desire to talk to the floral display was almost overwhelming but she stifled it. "Can't you help me get Jane back and work your plans without me?"
"That's not going to happen," he said flatly.
Maura huffed. "I keep forgetting your role as professor is a façade and that really you're a black budget operative."
He remained unfathomable. " If you decide to help me we can discuss the details. For now, I am here to save Jane if you want my help."
"So you're one of the good guys?" she grinned.
"Sometimes one has to fight fire with fire." He watched as the waiters made their way over with their food. "I know I do not need to convince you that good and evil exists in the world. Nor do I have to offer you a long and tedious sermon about the nature of the universe and the forces therein."
"Too late, pal, you just did." Korsak hissed.
Adrian's eyes seemed to darken. "We can work magic together. You know that, don't you?"
Food was placed on the table and the waiter left them alone.
"I know what I can do for you," she admitted. "What if you can get Jane back, so what? What's to stop them from taking her again or attacking me to punish you if you are successful?"
"Nothing will stop them unless you agree to do as I ask. If your answer is yes I will make sure they are spiritually redundant. As unproductive as a desert and as threatening as a kitten. They will never, ever touch you or Jane again. I guarantee it. I will take care of them. You get the love of your life back and I get what I want."
He looked down at his plate of food. "This looks lovely," he picked at it but did not eat a morsel. "So what is it to be?" he said without looking at her. "Death for Jane or spiritual darkness for Jane or are you to be her light-bearer in shining armour?"
"If I agree?"
He looked at her his eyes bright; he could feel that victory was within his grasp. "Once you have helped me you need never hear from me again."
She didn't trust him, never had. Nor did she believe his story but she had no choice but to go along with it for the time being. "Okay, I'll help you."
He touched her hand, momentarily and smiled. "Maura, thank you. I can promise that once you help me I will leave you alone for this lifetime," he chuckled quietly. "But we both know that twins have an eternal bond." He smiled at her. "We are cosmically bound, our bodies, our minds..."
Korsak sniggered into the flowers and Maura couldn't help but listen. "We are cosmically bound," he mocked. "We are, 'a body, a mind...
"...a soul," Frost laughed.
"He is not an asshole," Maura whispered, angrily at the flowers.
"Nothing Adrian," Maura waved her hand dismissively. "Internal dialogue."
Maura was wondering how to cut short this family get together when Jane walked in with Camilla and two men. She glanced at Adrian who was staring venomously at the short bald man with a goatee beard, He wore all black and his ears seemed unnaturally pointed.
"Talk of the devil and he's sure to appear," Adrian muttered.
Korsak giggled and a fork fell off the table. "Rumplemintz has just walked in. One hundred per cent weirdo."
"There's nothing wrong with being strange," Frost countered. "You're not exactly your average Joe. We all have our foibles."
"True and I think mine are caught in my crotch seam," Korsak said shifting his weight.
Following the bald man was another man, he was as tall as the bald man was short. Maura's heart skipped a beat at the sight of Jane; definitely sparks.
They sat at a table next to Frost and Korsak. They looked at Jane and she ignored them. Camilla spotted Maura and began to make a fuss of Jane, touching her a little too often and lingering on her arm.
Maura was incensed and was about to get up out of her chair and pour the jug of water she spotted on their table over Camilla's head. Her brother gripped her arm.
"Revenge is a dish best served cold."
Maura took a couple of deep breathes. "She really is unpleasant," she said as she watched the waiter take their order.
"Why don't you get the two cowboy detectives sitting next to them to accidentally spill beer down Camilla's back?"
Maura looked at him and he grinned as he glanced at Korsak and Frost who looked embarrassed.
"Maura, they look out of place in an upmarket restaurant because they have no class."
"Hey," Maura heard Korsak yell down the microphone, nearly deafening her as it blasted her earpiece. "How'd he like to feel my unpolished shoe connecting with his upwardly mobile ass?"
"Hi Jane," Frost said as they were leaving. "Frost," he said, "your work colleague?"
"Oh hey, Frost," Jane seemed distracted.
"Who's the chubby one?" the small bald man said mockingly.
"It's muscle, only I'm relaxing," Korsak said, angrily. "Jane what are you doing with these people?"
Jane looked confused.
"She's trying to have a civilised meal," Camilla said dismissively. "Only it's difficult with unsavoury types around."
"That's good," Korsak nodded and grinned at Camilla. "Shouldn't you in your candy covered cottage in the woods waiting for unsuspecting children?"
Frost nodded. "Are you okay, Jane?"
"Who the hell are you people?" Korsak asked in a disgusted tone.
"If you must know I am Anton de Richelieu," the bald man said caustically. "You may have heard of me."
"No," Frost shook his head. "Do you do children's parties?"
Korsak mused and put his forefinger to his chin. "I was going to have a go at guessing your name but it's too late now. So what do you do Mr de Richelieu?" Korsak swayed slightly. He pointed up and down at the bald man's attire. "What's the look you're going for? I mean you look like a mix between Spock, a vampire and a little man who dances around in the woods.What were you thinking, Rumpelstiltskin? Did you know he's responsible for RumpleMintz schnapps? He was high on peppermint at the time or was it catnip?" Korsak sighed. "A word of advice de Rump, buddy, the look, it ain't working for you."
Anton de Richelieu grabbed Korsak's tie but let go immediately. "If you don't shut up I will have my colleague here rip your arms off." He gestured to the giant.
"Come on, Korsak," Frost said as he saw the management approaching.
"Another time, Rump," Korsak said as the management threatened them with the police. "No need for that!" Korsak said loudly, "We are the police."
"We should leave, too," Maura suggested realising that the only way Korsak and Frost could have been less circumspect is if they had been naked. "Why are they here?" Maura whispered.
"Anton wishes to taunt us," Adrian said and paid the bill.
As they headed for the door Maura looked at Jane for signs of recognition but none came. It was as if she had a veil over her eyes and all she could see was what Camilla wanted her to see; it was upsetting. She watched Camilla take out her perfume bottle and spray it on her neck. Some of the perfume fanned out and Jane was suddenly starry-eyed and swooned over Camilla like a love struck teenager.
"Interesting," Maura whispered to herself.
"Adrian," Anton nodded as they were leaving. "Sleeping well?"
"Anton," Adrian nodded back. "I always sleep very well."
"Give it time," Anton mocked. "I have summoned demons from the depth to visit you."
Adrian shook his head mockingly. "Any fool can summon demons but will they answer when called?"
"You will be defeated," Anton said in a menacing tone.
Adrian grinned and glanced from Anton to Jane. "Still playing with your food, I see."
Anton ignored Adrian. His face suddenly changed and gone was the thunderous expression to be replaced by a look of sunshine. He got out of his seat. "Ah, this must be your lovely sister?" Anton went to shake her hand but Adrian stood in front of her.
"It's not a good idea to shake hands with the Devil," he said to Maura. "You wouldn't want to contaminate my sister would you? Goodbye, Anton for I doubt we will meet again on the side of the veil."
Outside in the cool night air Korsak and Frost were waiting in the car. "I see you have a ride home." Adrian said. "And so, having observed Jane, your lady in peril I would say she is being slowly possessed and poisoned. We have a deal, yes?"
Maura nodded. After seeing Jane in such a state she felt she had no choice.
"Good. Then we shall meet tomorrow night and I will give you instructions on how to win back your beloved." He gave her a peck on the cheek and walked off down the street.
Maura climbed into the back of the unmarked police car.
"Maura," Frost started to say.
"Please don't. I ask you to do one simple thing for me and you embarrass me." She looked at Korsak disappointedly. His face glistened. "Korsak, I expected more from you."
"Why?" he asked.
She was surprised."What do you mean why? You're seasoned in surveillance what on earth were you doing tonight?"
"I swear to God, Maura, I don't know what came over me."
"Try four beers on top of medication," Frost offered.
"No, it was more than that," he said. "It was like I was in a red mist, a rage and all I wanted to do was curve that bald assholes pointy ears."
Maura wasn't sure what was real and what was imaginary. "Okay, let's go home."
"Maura, calm down," Korsak said suddenly sobering up. "It was all an act."
Maura looked confused as Korsak got an evidence bag and a pair of scissors and snipped off his tie.
"My new love interest is into amateur dramatics and I am in a play with her next week. I play her drunk husband and I wanted to test out my acting ability."
"Did you know about this?" Maura looked at Frost.
"Yes, but we had to play it for real, sorry Maura."
Maura was shocked. "Well you certainly fooled me."
"Good," Korsak sealed the evidence bag. "We learned a little from that encounter. I had hoped Mr de Richelieu would grab my tie. Now we have the Mintz' fingerprints," he said to Maura, holding up the evidence bag. "The tie is plastic."
"You wore a plastic tie to a fancy restaurant?" Frost quizzed. "I didn't know about that," he said to Maura.
"Sure my partner, Barb, works in a plastics factory. She gets stuff that's slightly damaged for free. Great for fingerprints."
"So what's the plan?" Maura asked.
"Well, we heard your brother mention that this Frenchman liked to kill. I'll lift his prints and check him out."
"Well done, Korsak," Maura was impressed.
"Anything else we can do?" Frost asked.
"No," Maura said in a tired voice. "I did appreciate your help tonight, thank you," Maura said sincerely. "I would, at least for the time being, ask that you don't mention that I have a twin brother."
"Sure Maura, whatever you say."
They drove Maura home. She climbed into bed feeling depressed and cornered. She would have to do as Adrian asked or risk losing Jane.
Maura thought about the encounter with Jane and Camilla. She didn't know what had been done to her but the woman sitting at the table with those Satanists was not the Jane she knew and loved.
The encounter with her twin brother had brought back all manner of memories she would rather forget. She was not like him, she wanted to help others. Part of her job as a forensic pathologist was to help the bereaved come to terms with what had happened to their loved ones. She knew that she would have to deal with Adrian once and for all and it would be messy. She did not trust him. On countless occasions he had proved himself duplicitous .
It was the night of Jane's rescue. They had decided that if they got Jane and kept her until after Halloween then Camilla and de Richelieu's plans would be ruined. Adrian could then deal with the satanic duo as he wished.
They intended to go to the address Angela had given them and get Jane back, whether she liked it or not. If what Adrian said was true then Jane was in grave danger.
Adrian turned up at Jane's place for eight o'clock. Angela was staying at Jane's in the hope that she would return. It was an hour's drive to the mansion Angela had mentioned. Maura was glad that Frankie was coming along. He was taller and broader than Adrian and he could handle himself if it came to blows.
"Nice to meet you Professor Pope," Angela said as she shook hands with Adrian. "Thank you so much for doing this for my family."
"Call me Adrian, Mrs Rizzoli," he beamed. "It is my pleasure to be of help. Maura has told me about you, all of you," he said looking around the room.
"You seem familiar," Tommy was saying to Adrian. "I can't quite put my finger on it."
"I have one of those faces," he said, having agreed with Maura not to admit biological association.
"Do you think she'll come home tonight?" Angela said with desire in her voice.
Adrian grabbed Angela's hand and looked into her eyes. "If God will's it," he said slowly and glanced upwards.
Of course, Maura mused bitterly. Satanists do so like to tease.
Angela calmed down.
Frankie came out of the spare room dressed in a suit.
"Wow, don't you look handsome?" Maura said.
"Good, you will fit in well," Adrian said inspecting him. "If I am correct then tonight will be a soiree before Camilla and Anton get down to more serious matter tomorrow night on Halloween. If we are lucky we will thwart their endeavours."
"See what education can do for you?" Angela looked at her two sons disapprovingly. "You learn words like soiree."
"Ma, I don't need an education to clean windows. I need a bucket, water and a ladder," Tommy said jovially.
"Don't forget a sponge," Frankie added and smirked.
"Indeed," Adrian agreed. "If everyone was educated who would serve us in restaurants? We need people who don't clutter up their minds with culture." He gave Angela a mocking smile.
"Shall we go?" Maura said hoping that no one would ponder on the thinly veiled odious remarks her brother had just made.
Frankie looked at his watch. "Yep, it's time. Let's go get Jane." He adjusted his tie and turned to Tommy. "Does this pink tie make my neck look fat?"
"No, it's your fat neck that makes your neck look fat. The tie just makes you look pink."
"Thanks, bro," Frankie said, unfazed by the comment as he joined Adrian.
"Maura," Angela said to her calling her back as the two men went on ahead. "One thing I learned early on in my life was that it pays to pretend to be stupider than you are, y'know?" she grinned knowingly. "Of course you don't know, you have intellectual Tourettes," she said matter-of-factly. "But it does pay to be seen as dumb, people let their guard down when they think you aren't competition in the brain department."
"Angela you are not unintelligent. Anyway," she added looking at the open door, "in terms of emotional intelligence you are way ahead of some people."
"Who is this professor really?"
Maura looked shocked. "What do you mean?"
Angela looked at her suspiciously. "That is not his real name, is it?" she said cautiously, "I was very good at Latin in school. I won awards." She gave Maura a worried look. "Adrian Stephen Pope. Hadrianus Stephanus Papa. Maura, it translates as Dark Crown Pope which means he is a Satanist." She crossed herself. "He might even be the Devil's emissary on earth; the black pope. Maura, be careful. I don't like it."
Maura looked at her and smiled reassuringly. "I will be careful," she patted Angela's arm. "Really, Angela, I don't think he's as bad as that."
"Mrs R," Lydia yelled as Maura was leaving. "TJ has just puked on your knitting."
"Lydia! I told you to watch were you point the baby. I am knitting a surprise for Jane."
"Ma," Tommy complained. "She ain't looking for the direction of Mecca. If the baby has to puke he has to puke. Anyway, it's only breast milk. Maybe when Jane gets a whiff of it she'll get all broody for a baby of her own."
"Honey, do you think so?" Lydia asked.
"Sure, she'll get all gooey for a baby," Tommy cooed.
"I'm not so sure," Lydia said.
"Why not?" Angela asked.
"She asked me what it was like to have a baby and I think I put her off."
"What did you tell her it was like, babe?" Tommy said, anticipating an answer that expressed a sublime maternal joy.
"I told her it was like shitting a pumpkin."
"Dear God," Angela said as she retreated to her milky knitting.
Lydia tried to salvage the situation. "Jane did tell me a funny joke about babies before she went all weird. 'Why do doctors slap babies as soon as they're born? To knock the penises off the smart ones.'"
Maura was apprehensive as they approached the large mansion situated on one of those wide street with the houses hidden way back behind walls and thick hedges. They were all gated and most of the gates were closed. Adrian spotted a driveway on the left with the gates open. Maura noted as they turned into it that the place was called Libor House.
As they turned a bend in the driveway they caught sight of the mansion. Lights were blazing from almost every window. Cars, most of them very expensive, were parked along the crescent shaped drive at the front of the house. It looked like a lot of people were attending the function.
Adrian turned the car so that they were facing back the way they had just come. Maura expected that they might need to make a speedy exit.
"Whose house is this?" Maura asked Adrian.
"It belongs to a musician. A man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. He is so befuddled by money and sex that he is easily manipulated. When they have used him as much as they want to he will die tragically."
"Only after he's had a baby with his girlfriend and named it something like, 'This Way Up' or 'Potato,'" Frankie mused.
"How unfortunate," Maura said sadly. "Let's hope if it's a girl she doesn't decide to keep her name and marry a man called Mr Head." She thought it was the kind of thing Jane would say.
"Mrs Potato Head," Frankie said, "it has a familiarity to it."
"That will be from the film Toy Story," Adrian explained.
"You two should be brother and sister," Frankie noted. "You can both kill a joke dead."
Maura gave an uncomfortable grin. "Talking of dead," Maura said to Adrian deflecting Frankie's comment. "You said that he will die tragically?"
"Probably suicide by murder," Adrian noted.
"Who would do such a horrible thing?" Maura asked.
"The same people I spoke of at the restaurant, the true overlords of this world. The alpha predators, the global elite. The shadowy hoarders; a group of absurdly rich men and ridiculously wealthy families. Between them they decide when wars are to be fought and when the world economy is to be crashed. They decide which celebrities will rise and which will fall. They set the agenda. They are the ones filling the sky with Chemtrailsthe toxic white lines criss-crossing our skies 24/7. Watch for a rise in respiratory diseases and Alzheimer's thanks to the aluminium in the plumes. They are the ones poisoning the food with aspartame, E-additives and removing any nutritional value. They are the ones pushing genetically modified Frankenfood."
"Is that why you didn't touch your meal at the restaurant?" Maura asked.
"I thought those white trails were part of geo-engineering to help fight climate change," Frankie commented.
Adrian laughed at the naiveté.
"What you're saying is crazy, no way are they poisoning us," Frankie shook his head in disbelief. "Why would they want to? What's the point?"
"The Great Cull," Adrian said expertly. "According to the global elite, 95% of the world population is due for extermination."
"That's crap," Frankie said angrily.
"Don't let me influence you," Adrian said coolly. "Check out the Georgia Guidestones and read UN Agenda 21. Check out the Internet. Read Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars and do some research. Trust your gut reaction and you'll soon begin to see the truth. Everything is hidden in plain sight you just have to look for it and stop being distracted by entertainment."
"You're talking about the New World Order, right?" Frankie asked and grinned. "Are you a conspiracy nut or what?"
"Ridicule and ignorance will not save you," Adrian said seriously.
"However, enlightenment and spreading the word just might help. The more people know of their plans the better the survival rate," Maura commented jovially.
"If they want to kill us why would they tell us?" Frankie said resentfully.
"It's part of their malevolent belief system."
"Are the elite Satanists too, like those assholes in there?" Frankie said, pointing to the house.
"No," Adrian said. "The elite make the assholes in there look like amateurs. Most of the elite are way beyond satanic."
"What is, beyond satanic?" Frankie mocked.
Adrian stared at him coldly. "Pure evilno compassion, no love, no humanityonly a burning desire to consume and destroy."
Frankie sulked. "Give me names and I might believe you."
"I cannot do that, too risky, but all you have to do is follow the trail of blood money ," Adrian admitted. "As for whether you believe me or not, that's your choice. Just don't say you weren't warned."
Frankie stared at him. "So how come you know so much? Are you a real Satanist or a professor studying the subject?" He glanced at Maura.
"Let's just say I have studied the subject thoroughly and along the way I've made myself indispensible to certain powerful people," he grinned mischievously at his sister.
"I've been so blind to what's really going on in the world," Maura whispered.
"No, you haven't," Adrian said reassuringly. "The entire global media is geared to hiding what's going on. The mainstream media is frightened of it's own shadow."
"So why are you telling us if it's such a big scary secret?" Frankie asked suspiciously.
He shrugged. "I had a twinge of conscience, it happens every so often."
Maura touched his arm. "You could be a good man."
He gave her a weak smile. "Maura, if I did that I'd be found dead in a burning car."
"Okay, this is way too serious, time to lighten up," Frankie said. "Let's go rescue my sister."
Adrian went to the trunk and retrieved three masks and three black capes. "You'll need these," he said and handed Frankie and Maura a mask and cloak. "Many of the people here tonight are from the entertainment industry; others are bankers and politicians. It's a veritable list of the rich and famous and they will not want their identity compromised. Should anyone ask you are a guest of Frater Perdurabo, it is a magical motto chosen after initiation."
"Hey," Frankie joked as tried on his cloak. "I seen the film Eyes Wide Shut. Didn't get what all the fuss was about. A load of sad rich people fucking each other. Yawn."
"How can they have their eye's wide shut?" Maura quizzed. "Don't they mean wide open?"
Frankie put his arm around Maura and pulled her close. "Maura," he sighed, "Maura, it's a special film and Tom Cruise is in it, need I say more?" He let her go.
"Oh," she said, thinking about it. "You mean like the film Mission Impossible only it wasn't possible because in reality they would have all died?"
"That's it," Frankie said swinging his cape and imitating the Phantom of the Opera.
Adrian said nothing but continued to adjust his cloak and put on his crocodile mask.
Maura's mask was a raven.
"Hey, why is my mask a donkey?" Frankie complained.
"Don't whine," Adrian said. "The masks represent our bestial natures."
"Yeah, well you be a friggin donkey and let me be the crocodile."
"Frankie," Maura said through her mask. "Donkey's are usually well hung," she nodded knowingly.
He thought about it as he put on the mask. "Yeah, you're right Maura," he said through the mouthpiece. "I can live with being a well hung donkey." He looked at Adrian's mask. "You never hear anyone say, 'he was hung like a crocodile.'"
They approached the outer door of the house and rang the bell. The door was quickly answered by a man servant. He said nothing but led them into a sumptuous hallway with gold and red walls. Elaborate tapestries hung on either side of the hallway. They were led to a large oak door and the servant knocked three times. A man wearing a hawk mask answered, eyed up the three of them and allowed them to pass. Once through a thick black curtain they found themselves in a large ballroom.
The room was full of people laughing and talking. Some of the guests were dancing. Drinks were being served by waiters in plain white masks. There was strange discordant music in the air. They agreed to stick together and try to find Jane. It seemed like a hopeless task as there were so many mask wearing people; which one would Jane have chosen?
On a stage at the far end of the room young naked women were dancing.
Maura had to nudge Frankie who was all but dribbling. "Pay attention. We're here for Jane. Not to watch incorrect ergonomic posturing."
"Heehaw," he said to Maura. "Do you know what Jane will be wearing or if she will be wearing anything?" Frankie whispered to Adrian.
Before Adrian could answer the music stopped and the people parted like the Red Sea had done for Moses.
A man was sitting in the center of the room on an ornate chair which itself was on a dais. The man wore a white robe. His mask was a black owl. Behind him was a dark-haired woman wearing a panther mask. She was naked save for the studded collar around her neck which was linked to a chain being held by a blonde woman.
"Jane?" Maura whispered.
"Frankie pull your mask down over your eyes," Adrian ordered in a moment of prudishness.
"That's not Jane," Maura whispered with relief. "It sounds like you're developing morals," she whispered to Adrian without turning her head.
"You're bad for my evil persona," Adrian whispered back.
The man on the dais spoke. "We must ask the newcomer's for the password."
He meant Maura, Frankie and Adrian. All eyes were on them. It made Maura feel as uncomfortable as she did when she had to perform her first autopsy in front of a room full of students. She ended up dropping the poor dead man's heart on the floor where it rolled between her shoes. The humiliation wasn't over for her because as she had stepped back to pick it up she slipped on a few droplets of blood and inadvertently trod on it. The residual blood in the heart sprayed over her professor's white coat.
"Choose your word carefully," the man in white said, "because to be wrong will have severe consequences." His mask was rigid and cold. "Who speaks for you all?"
Adrian stepped forward. "I do."
"And the password?"
"In flagrante delicto."
At which point the audience erupted into howls of laughter.
"Welcome brothers and sister," the man said. "You may avail yourself of anything or anyone you find on the ground floor. You are forbidden to ascend to the second floor."
Adrian bowed and retreated. The sea of people that had momentarily parted filled the floor again and the debauchery began in earnest.
"The second floor?" Frankie asked Adrian.
They edged out of the room and into another grand hallway. A stairway was to their left.
"There's nothing for it," Adrian said. "We need to split up. Meet back here in half an hour. Frankie go back into the room and let them see your mask. Hopefully they'll think we're mingling with the brethren."
Adrian looked at Maura and pointed upwards. He went in one direction and Maura in the other.
It wasn't long before Maura heard voices, female voices. She hid behind a long curtain covering a door. Two near naked women walked by giggling.
She waited until they were gone. It was time for Maura to use her secret weapon. She had been experimenting in her laboratory on various scents. She was almost certain that one of the reasons Camilla had Jane in her clutches was down to odour. She was sure the perfume Camilla sprayed over herself at the restaurant had contained a combination of dopamine and pheromones; potent chemicals that promote pleasure and sexual arousal. Maura felt that if she could spray some over herself then it would even the playing field.
She took out a bottle of her chemical concoction designed to induce lust and sprayed her neck and wrists. She was about to emerge from behind her curtain when she heard voices.
The two women who walked past her earlier were on their way back.
"Can you smell something?" one said. "Phew."
They paused to sniff the air. "Has something died?"
Maura was taken aback: died? Wasn't it the most attractive, stimulating 'come hither' smell that only a eunuch or asexual would be able to resist? She sniffed. It was morphing into something a little on the ripe side.
"I bet a cat caught a rat and dumped it around here."
"Or Anton de Richelieu has farted again," they both fell into hysterics as they headed downstairs.
Maura got the bottle out and looked disappointed. She cursed her lack of perfume skills. She pulled the stopper out of the bottle and smelled it again. She pulled her nose away in disgust. "Phew, I know what you mean," she said to herself. "What's wrong?" She considered the possibilities and came to the conclusion that the batch of synthetic chemicals had a very short shelf life. Natural was always best but she couldn't get hold of any natural compounds at such short notice.
At that moment Camilla came out of a room off to the right. She smelled the air and screwed up her nose.
"What the hell is that smell?" She said to herself. She put her purse down on a table and opened a window.
"Where are you going, babe?" Jane yelled from inside the room.
"To powder my nose,"
It certainly needs it, thought Maura.
Maura watched Camilla go into the bathroom without her purse. It was now or never. She dashed out from behind her curtain and opened Camilla's purse. She retrieved the small bottle of perfume or pheromones as Maura had come to think of it. She was thrilled to notice that she had made her potion almost the same color. She poured her attempt at 'love potion number 9' into a small empty vase and poured Camilla's stuff into her now empty bottle. She heard Camilla finishing off in the bathroom and quickly poured some of her synthetic 'skunk potion' into Camilla's bottle. Maura had just enough time to switch things around and get back behind her curtain before Camilla emerged.
Camilla frowned. "What is that awful stench?"
"Hurry up, hot stuff," Jane yelled.
"Yeah, just a minute," she said and reached into her purse. She sprayed herself liberally with 'eau de rancid meat'; it seemed to have many smellsall of them bad. Maura watched her go into the bedroom. "Here I am darling!"
Maura sprayed herself with Camilla's perfume and waited for the screaming to start. It didn't take long.
"My God," Camilla was yelling, "what is wrong with me...I smell like homeless ass."
"Yeah, you do," Jane admitted.
"I need a shower, wait for me." Camilla ran out of the room and along the hallway.
Maura grinned and confidently entered the bedroom. Jane sat on the bed looking confused.
"Maura?" Jane said, surprised.
"Thrilled to see me?" Maura asked seductively, leaning on the doorframe for effect. She had seen it done in the movies.
"Wow, Maura, you look, different. Have you changed your hair?"
Maura could tell that Jane was interested. "Come with me now, Jane. Let me take you away from all this," she'd heard them speak like it on the movies and as romance wasn't her field of expertise she was relying on the movies to help her out. "Come my darling, let us be gone...with the wind."
Jane smiled and came close to Maura, she sniffed her and groaned with pleasure. She kissed her neck. "Why, Maura, you lady killer."
"Acquitted," Maura was momentarily confused. "No wait, that's from the Addam's Family, I don't think that is appropriate."
"What?" Jane whispered only half-listening. Jane's pupils were dilated. She was ready for bed but Maura wasn't. "Jane," Maura hurriedly explained. "You're not yourself. We're leaving here so that you can become yourself again."
"You're one hot lady," Jane said trying to nuzzle into Maura's neck again.
"Yes, Jane, I want you too but not here. Get your things we're leaving," Maura grabbed what she could see of Jane's belongings and grabbed Jane. She was more than willing to go.
"Where are we going?" Jane slurred and slouched. "Are you gonna make an honest woman of me, finally?"
"You were never a criminal."
Jane rolled her head in frustration. "That's not what I meant."
"Oh," Maura decided to play along. "Yes, honey, baby doll," she tried to think of a romantic film but couldn't so she used what she'd got. "Grab your coat toots, you've pulled." A useful song came to mind. "'Everything I do, I do it for you,'" she said and silently thanked Bryan Adams.
"What?" Jane was even more confused.
Maura spotted Adrian on the landing. He nodded and led them down the stairs.
"Where's Frankie?" Maura asked as they reached the bottom of the stairs.
"Put you're mask back on," Adrian said to Maura. He knocked on a cupboard under the stairs. "Frankie, we are leaving. You have two minutes."
"Frankie, hurry up," Maura was anxious that Camilla would start to smell better.
"It'll take less than two minutes; I'm coming!" Frankie yelled in a strained voice. They heard him moan with pleasure.
After the two minutes Adrian opened the door. "Make yourself presentable," he said impatiently.
When Frankie appeared he was tucking his shirt back into his pants. His face was red from the exertion.
Two scantily clad girls stepped out of the cupboard. Frankie smiled at them.
"Twins, Mary and Anna," he said and kissed each goodbye. "See you again girls."
"Frankie, hey," Jane hugged him.
Maura and Adrian looked at each other knowingly for a moment; the universe was sending signs.
Frankie retrieved his mask and cape from the cupboard.
As they were leaving the house they heard a commotion upstairs.
"Maura," Frankie said sniffing the air and looking at her amorously. "You're looking mighty fine tonight. Did you do something with your hair?"
"Your sister has already used that line," Maura stated flatly. "I can see two unsightly hickeys."
"No need to talk about the twins like that," Frankie giggled.
"Let's get out of here, quickly, I think they've noticed Jane is gone." Adrian didn't bother to take his cape or mask off as he started the car and sped out of the driveway.
Maura and Jane were back at Maura's apartment that same evening. Maura called Angela and explained that Jane was safe and that she should go to bed and they would see her in the morning. She didn't tell her where they were just in case Angela decided to turn up and ruin things.
Maura didn't know how to explain to Jane that she was in danger because of her brother's Satanism. She didn't know how to approach the supernatural with a left-brain thinker like Jane. One of the reasons Maura treated the bodies she performed autopsies on with so much care was because their souls might still be lingering around. Many people who undergo a sudden death don't immediately realise they have passed over. She always placed a large bunch of flower in her office with the aim of helping the dead use the energy from the flowers to move into the realm of the spirit. Quite a few people had commented over the years that her flowers seemed to wilt faster than normal.
"What a good tortoise," Maura said to Bass. "Good guarding." Maura stroked the giant tortoise's shell affectionately and stepped over him.
"Hi Bass," Jane tapped his shell.
Maura took off her coat and helped Jane out of hers. "Adrian said this would happen."
"What would happen, and who the hell is Adrian?"
Maura looked at Jane. "You have been," she thought for the right word, "poisoned."
"Poisoned?" Jane looked alarmed.
"Perhaps not poisoned, enchanted."
"What, Disney enchanted?"
"X-rated. I believe Camilla has managed to design a perfume that contains pheromones. Pheromone is Greek; pheren 'to travel' and hormone 'to stimulate.'"
Jane yawned, "How Princess Charming."
"The sex pheromone is a very powerful hormone that changes the response and behaviour of an individual's physiology. Camilla blinded you with science."
"That travelling hormonal bitch," Jane mocked. "Play your cards right, Maura and I'll let you stimulate me. You might even make me go cross-eyed."
Maura thought about it. "Jane, I would not stoop so low as to use chemicals to induce a reaction in order to encourage you to want to have sex with me."
"Well use something," she pleaded. "Flutter your eyelids, lick your lips, what the hell, cough."
"Pheromones can be unicellular prokaryotes or multi-cellular eukaryotes," she said to herself as she thought of a way to neutralise the perfume chemically; she couldn't think of one.
"Geez, really?" Jane tutted sarcastically. "Spray me again quick, my hormones are plummeting."
"No, it's okay," Maura said calmly. "I have the antidote. If we have sex it should restore your hormonal balance and bring you back to normal."
"Really," Jane smiled, "you make it sound so romantic."
Maura locked the door and turned on a small table lamp. She thought it only fitting that she keep the mood. "You are in the mood aren't you?" She said suddenly doubting herself.
"I'm in a mood."
According to Adrian the only way to mitigate the influence Camilla had on Jane was to make love to her, after all it was what Jane really wanted.
"Jane," Maura pulled her close. "Do you love me?"
"Yes, of course," Jane said tenderly.
"Then come and take a shower with me and we can make love. That's what you want isn't it?"
"Sure, if you do."
Maura smiled at the dark-eyed beauty. "I've never wanted anything more." Maura thought for a moment before adding, "a shower should wash off the residue perfume. Of course, if it's in your blood stream we'll have to deal with it another way."
"Anything to help your science project," Jane beamed.
She led Jane to the bathroom and put the bottle of perfume in the bathroom cabinet. She wanted Jane without having to chemically encourage her and Jane wanted her and that was enough.
They took each other's clothes off and, still entwined in each other's arms, managed to step into the shower. The warm water, the kissing and touching, sent waves of ecstasy and energy shooting between them. After the shower they took their lovemaking to the bedroom. Here they discovered each other until dawn. Their lovemaking was like an electrical storm with energy rushing through and around them. Adrian had been right, people exchanged energy all time but when love is involved in the exchange it is heightened and potent. When they were both completely satisfied and spent they curled up and fell asleep within easy reach of each other.
"Well don't you look a picture?" Korsak smiled as Jane and Maura turned up at the precinct. "Did either of you sleep last night?" He mused. "God, I'd love to be a fly on your bedroom wall." He looked at the frowning Maura. "What? I'm an insensitive man, what do you expect?"
"If you were on the wall you'd get sprayed with fly killer," Jane said. "There you would be, laying on your buzzing wings with your legs flailing in the air, just before my Sports Illustrated squashed you flat."She looked around for Lieutenant Detective Cavanaugh.
"Not the swimsuit edition, that would be cruel," Korsak mocked.
"Welcome back, Jane" Frost said. "Nice to see you in your clothes."
"Yeah, girlie clothes are so uncomfortable and the makeup, the maintenance, the boredom and the shoes of torture. It wasn't a walk in the park, y'know?"
Korsak glanced from Jane to Maura and grinned. "Did you two party until early morning?"
Jane scowled at him. "You know why it's called your private life don't you? You should take care of your own romantic business," she put her hands on her hips. "Really, your girl Barb, she's seeing someone else."
Korsak looked shocked. "Who?"
"A man made for her. I think his name is Ken and he, too, is in plastic."
Korsak sighed with relief. "Ha-ha. Welcome back Jane."
Maura put up her hand like she was at school. "Oh, while we're all here I might as well explain that Jane's temporary insanity..."
"Maura," Jane interrupted, "I was never insane, just a little distracted."
Maura nodded. "Jane's temporary distraction."
Korsak smirked. "Nice word for lust, distraction, I like it," he turned to Frost, "I get distracted all the time."
"I think you need a healthy dose of redheaded woman," Frost offered as Maura stared at him. "What? I'm only repeating a Bruce Springsteen song."
"They 'sure can get that job done,'" Jane added and smirked.
"Please, if I may continue?" Maura said, irritated. "As I was saying, I discovered that Camilla was using a perfume distilled with dopamine and pheromones. It is a highly skilled job," she said thinking of her own attempt, 'eau de wet dog'. "When sprayed in sufficient quantities it renders the wearer irresistible. It works by stimulating the olfactory nerves."
"Maura, you had us with stimulates and irresistible then you have to bring in old factories," Korsak tutted.
"Olfactory¯smell nerves," Jane stared at him condescendingly and sighed. "She's not talking about an old factory."
"Nah," Frost shook his head, "old factories are not irresistible."
"Maura," Korsak said, unperturbed, "please, carry on."
"Basically, what she's trying to say," Jane took over and cut to the chase, "is that Camilla has discovered a way of making anyone who dabs this stuff behind their ears irresistible to the target person especially in close proximity."
Maura corrected, "no, only irresistible to someone in the proximity who is sexually frustrated and has heightened desires."
Jane glared at Maura.
Maura looked confused. "What did I say? Well you're not frustrated now are you?" She looked perplexed. "You couldn't possibly be after last night."
Jane raised her eyes to heaven. "I'm going to see Cavanaugh. If you have anything else to say tell them about my sex life or lack of one tell them before I get back." She stomped off.
"What did I say?" Maura asked.
"You said, sexually frustrated," Frost explained, "and pinned the words on Jane like a name plate."
"Oh, yes, I see," Maura said self-consciously. "Well I may as well carry with my little talk. As Camilla holds such a powerful weapon I think whenever we see her we should wear these." She pulled out of her pocket nose plugs and handed one each to Korsak and Frost.
Frost gave her a bewildered look. "Are you serious?"
"I expect her to turn up at any moment to try to get Jane back," Maura said. "When she does, we will be immune." She clipped her nose plug on and continued to talk."I think you'll find it works well." She said through her blocked nose.
"Ingenious," Korsak said trying his on. "Nope, no old factory stimulation at all."
"Okay, Maura, we'll do this for you but I feel ridiculous," Frost stated.
Maura removed her nose plug to explain. "Human beings rely on visual stimulation and on smell before sexual interest," she said. "It is difficult to tell how much of a role smell plays in sexual interest due to our desire for cleanliness. However, it is thought that smell plays a big part in our sociosexual behaviour. In humans, as we are mammals, the pheromones can be detected via the vomeronasal organ. It is situated between the nose and the mouth. It is here in this first stage of the olfactory system that we choose our mate."
"And here's me thinking it was breasts," Korsak joked.
"Maybe Barb has great smelling breasts," Frost said.
"They smell of plastic," Korsak and looked stunned as he realised what he had said. "I don't mean she's not a real woman, she is, really."
Frost frowned. "So how come we've never seen her? Is she too delicate to carry into the office? Or do you deflate her in the mornings?"
"Here," Korsak said nervously as he showed Frost a picture on his cell phone. "Barb, a real woman."
"If you say so bro," Frost said sitting at his desk.
As he spoke they saw Camilla entering the corridor.
"Nose plugs at the ready gentlemen," Maura said as Camilla entered the room.
Camilla walked straight up to Maura. "Where is Jane?"
Maura put on her nose plug. "She doesn't want to see you."
"What are you doing? You look ridiculous."
"We know your little game," Korsak said, stepping forward wearing his nose plug. "We know how you caught Jane."
Camilla moved a step closer to Korsak and Frost stepped in front of him. "We know you use perfume as a weapon of choice." His nose plug fell off and he made a swift retreat.
"Jane is not interested in you now that the pheromone-laced perfume has washed off," Maura said heatedly.
"We shall see," Camilla said as she looked around for Jane. "I want her back by three o'clock this afternoon or else."
"She'll be having a late lunch with her mother by then at 'Soup du Jour,'" Korsak said before turning to Frost. "Don't you think it weird that a restaurant with that name doesn't sell soup?"
Frost and Maura stared a him.
Camilla plotted. "Thanks for letting me know."
Korsak shrugged. "Look, Camilla," he said in a bored voice, "do yourself a favour and spray some perfume at that French guy," he pretended to think, "Ah yeah, Pepé le Pew."
At that moment Jane came into the room. She stopped in her tracks when she saw Camilla. Maura watched her gather her strength and walk up to them. "What do you want?" she asked Camilla.
Maura thrust a nose plug at her. "You might want this."
Jane took it, glanced at it and gave Maura a bewildered look as she noticed Maura's nose plug. "Why are you wearing that?" She shook her head. "Never mind."
Camilla turned on the charm. "Come back to me my love, I miss you."
"Yeah, too bad 'cos I don't miss you," Jane said angrily. "Now leave." She watched as Maura demonstrated the nose plug. She put her nose plug on. "Go on, leave," she waved her out. "Go, and take your smell with you."
Camilla looked at Maura. "You have until afternoon to return Jane to me or..."
Korsak stepped forward bravely, "Or what?"
"I won't come for you again," she smiled sadistically at Jane, "but something will."
"What will?" Maura said annoyed by Camilla's lack of clarification.
Jane grabbed Maura as she tried to follow Camilla. "She means something supernatural will come for me." She took off her nose plug. "Some kind of demon. That's it, I'm fucked."
"You will be if you to go with her," Korsak said nasally.
Cavanaugh walked past and stared at them.
"Testing out a new theory on the smelly murders," Korsak said, waving his nose plug. When Cavanaugh had walked out of the office he turned to Maura. "I think it's time to call your brother, the Satanist."
Jane watched Cavanaugh meet her mother, Angela. They looked very friendly.
"Aren't you supposed to be meeting your mother later?" Maura asked.
"She just sent a text asking if we could reschedule it for next week," Jane explained as she watched her mother and her boss. "Cavanaugh won't give me my job back without going through hoops with Internal Affairs," she said in a depressed voice and then suddenly tuned into what Korsak had said. She looked at Maura. "Brother, Satanist?"
"I can explain," Maura said nervously as Jane grabbed Maura's nose plug and pulled it off roughly.
"I hope so or else this will be used somewhere much more sensitive."
Korsak and Frost automatically put their hands in front of their genitals.
"Well, before you do anything you might regret," Frost said, "can we let you know about the prints? The fingerprints we lifted off Korsak's plastic tie," Frost explained. "The prints from Anton de Richelieu," he added.
"Yeah?" Jane waited.
"We ran them through a few databases and came up with a man wanted for suspected homicides in France," Korsak explained. "Only there he's known as the Versailles vampire. Which is presumably why he wears those dumbass clothes."
"He bleeds his victims dry," Frost added. "His MO is to use a syringe on his victims to draw blood. He then does his ritual crap and punctures the victims throat with his own prosthetic fangs and finally slits the victims throat."
"He's wanted for questioning over the murder of six women," Korsak added.
"How do you know it's ritual?" Maura asked.
"He leaves the magic circle up and the victim in the middle of it, spread-eagled," Korsak confirmed.
"But what is real interesting," Frost added, "is that he has links to the intelligence agencies. We think that is why he keeps getting away with his crimes."
Maura looked worried. "How do you know?"
"We got a visit from two FBI agents warning us off any further investigations," Frost said.
"This is getting dangerous," Jane admitted.
"So we need to nail these Satanists and make sure de Richelieu can't hurt anyone else," Frost said. "We need to find out where his little group are hiding and arrest hiim before he tries to hurt you, Jane."
"Yeah, fuck the FBI," Korsak said angrily. "If it's one of our own or a goddamn satanic asset it'll be his ass on his way to hell not yours."
"Yeah, I sure hope my ass isn't going to hell." She gave Korsak a bemused look. "I mean, you expect your boobs to go south after sixty, but really, my ass I'm too young to sag."
"Glad you're taking your imminent danger seriously," Maura noted.
"Maura, I am taking my danger seriously but I'm also trying not to be a nervous wreck," Jane said tenderly.
The atmosphere was tense.
Korsak changed the subject. He was busy looking over the daily newspaper. "Hey, can you believe it?" he said as he scanned the page. "Some guys coming out of a bar last night swear they saw a crocodile driving a car." He laughed.
"Another urban myth in the making," Frost noted.
"So let me get this straight," Jane said as she perched on her precinct desk. "Camilla Le Fanu sought me out, seduced me like one of Pavlov's dogs; she sprays and I salivate," she looked embarrassed, "and she did it all because of your brother? Because your brother's enemy, Anton de Richelieu wants him dead? That de Richelieu is a murdering Satanist who works for the intelligence agencies and who knows who else? That he wants to prevent your brother from doing some unspecified top secret government project? A project de Richelieu wants for himself and, in order to try to stop your brother Adrian, he's fucking with us?"
"Pretty much," Maura said. She had explained as much as she felt necessary to Jane about her family earlier, on the way to work. "You're the first line of attack. If he doesn't abandon the project I will be next."
"Must be one hell of a project," Frost commented.
Jane shook her head. "I can't believe you have a brother who works in black ops."
"The last I heard he used to be a very good remote viewer," Maura added.
"You believe all this psychic shit?" Kosak asked Maura. "I mean it's all pretend and make believe, right? Satanists are nothing but naughty boys and girls using it as a way to get their rocks off."
Maura shook her head. "There is sufficient evidence to suggest, if not conclusively prove, that occult magic is real and that the manipulation of energy does cause change to occur in what we call reality."
"You believe in the supernatural?" Jane asked in a surprised tone. "You, the original left-brain thinker?"
Maura nodded. "I do, but from a scientific perspective. Our mind is not contained in the brain it goes far beyond. There are many examples of people who died on the operating table and yet saw everything that was done by the medical staff who resuscitated them."
"Who are you and where is Maura?" Jane quizzed.
"Really Jane, you should open your mind up to the fact that this is not all there is but merely a small part of life. Matter, you and me and the planets and everything we know about physical reality comprises of 0.004% of the universe."
"Wow," Korsak sighed. "And to think there may be other materials like plastic out there waiting to make life miserable."
Maura smiled. "There may even be another you out there on another habitable planet."
"Yeah, I heard that," Frost said. "That when one atom appears another is instantly created somewhere else in the universe."
"I don't want my twin anywhere near me, it might be British and like cricket," Korsak said. "That would be pure evil."
"You okay?" Jane asked Maura.
"Adrian," she began, "is my evil twin."
"What?" Jane seemed confused.
"He's my twin brother." Maura repeated.
"He's your twin brother?" Jane repeated. "He is you..?"
"With balls," Korsak noted.
Maura looked offended.
"Why don't they just take you, why wait?" Korsak asked. "After all you're his sister so surely they'd want you as leverage, not Jane."
"They think I'm a powerful Satanist and daren't go against both of us."
"Who's the oldest?" Frost asked.
"I am by two minutes."
"Maura explained to me that there is going to be a ritual which is why Camilla wants me. This ritual will either make me a Satanist or kill me," Jane said.
"When?" Frost asked.
"Tonight, Halloween, which is presumably why Camilla wants to get Jane back this afternoon," Maura added.
"Do we know where it's going to be held?" Korsak asked.
"No," Maura explained.
"We'll just have to keep you safe until after tomorrow morning," Korsak said to Jane.
"Do we know what the ritual will be about?" Frost asked.
"No. My brother said something about the Ragnarook portal. All I really know is that it will either turn Jane to darkness or they will use her in the ritual and use her blood, all of it. We can't afford to underestimate these people. If they get Jane again it could prove fatal." Maura looked worried.
"They won't get me," Jane gave a reassuring smile.
Korsak frowned. "What the hell is a Ragnarook?"
"Sounds like a heavy metal band," Jane commented.
"Creating a hell on earth, three chords at a time," Frost mused. "What's your brother doing to help?"
"He's got people out trying to locate the place of the ritual," Maura acknowledged. "I think he's hoping that all those against him will be in one place before the FBI can makes arrests. He said it's important to get them together in order to save Jane."
"Your brother can do that?" Jane seemed shocked. "He'd do that for you?"
"Yes," Maura said. She hadn't told anyone, not even Jane about the agreement to help her brother in his project. "Which of course means that Anton de Richelieu has just become a liability to the intelligence community."
"We need a plan," Jane mused.
"Preferably one that doesn't involve plastic," Korsak moaned.
Frost stared at him. "What is it about you and plastic?"
Korsak pulled open his desk drawer and took out a pair of black plastic pants. "Barb bought them for me. She would like to see me in them but I can't bring myself to wear them. I'd look ridiculous at my age. I looked ridiculous in plastic pants in my twenties."
Jane smiled. "If you loved Barb you'd do it. I know Ken would give it a try."
"Ken's a goddamn plastic doll he has no choice," Korsak snapped.
At that moment a chubby man of about Korsak's age entered the office. He was wearing tight crimson plastic pants and a red suede jacket.
"Here's Ken," Frost joked.
"Dear God," Jane said under her breath. "What a fashion statement, he looks like a blood blister."
Maura was spellbound. "It is truly frightening," she finally whispered. "I've never seen a total fashion malfunction."
"Hi," the blister said. "I'm looking for Vince Korsak?"
"I have a message from Barb," he said. "She won't be able to make lunch."
"Who are you?" Korsak said defensively.
"I'm a friend."
"Why can't she call me?" Korsak asked suspiciously.
"Her cell phone got crushed in a mould machine this morning. I was coming out this way and said I'd deliver the message. She said she will see you tonight. She has something to tell you," he gave a vicious grin.
Korsak was watching the man leave, sending him hate thoughts. The blister's pants made that odd plastic noise somewhere between a squeak and an aborted slide.
Jane gave him an amused grin. "It's the universe talking to you, Korsak. It's synchronicity at work and what is it saying?"
"Wear the plastic pants, you have competition," Frost said in a spooky voice.
Korsak reached into the desk drawer. "No flabby middle-aged man dressed like a maraschino cherry is going to take my woman away from me."
"Fighting talk," Frost said as Korsak went to change his pants. "Wear them with pride and strong underwear."
"What do we do?" Jane asked.
"Research," Maura said. "And keep you out of harm's way."
The day had dragged on. It was close to six o'clock and the precinct was winding down for a change of shift. Maura wanted to go home but she and Jane had to stay in the precinct until the following morning when the time of the ritual would have passed.
Maura stretched and took a walk down the corridor to see how Jane and the guys were doing. Maura's cell phone rang. It was Adrian with good news. She beamed as the finished the call.
"Adrian's got de Richelieu and his crew," Maura said in a relieved tone.
"Thank god," Jane said.
"We can all breathe easy." Maura was elated. "It means we can go home and relax."
"So what's Adrian going to do now?" Korsak asked as he adjusted his tight PVC pants.
"He'll be in touch," was all Maura said.
"Okay, you ready to head home?" Jane asked as she grabbed her jacket.
"Sure," Maura said. "I'll just get my purse. Bass will be so pleased to see us."
"Yes, I'm sure he will," Jane mocked. "He'll rush to the door and jump up at us wagging his tail."
"I'm ignoring you," Maura said to Jane. "Thanks for all your help," she said to Frost and Korsak as they left.
"I hate these goddamn pants. I swear when they get hot they start to melt," Korsak said pulling at the plastic. "I'm worried that things will weld together. If it gets any hotter I'll need something for the swelling."
"Take them off until you need to wear them," Frost suggested. "No point in living in torment until it's necessary."
It was dark when Jane and Maura got outside; dark and cold.
They were immediately surrounded by four people. "Get into the car," one of them said.
"Any calls for help or attempts to escape and I'll shoot you." A stocky male said and showed them his gun just to let them know he meant business.
They did as they were told and the car sped off.
It had already occurred to Maura that they weren't being blindfolded which did not bode well because they could identify the people and the place.
They drove for a while until they ended up in a run down industrial part of town. Some of the old factories were scheduled for demolition.
"Out," one of the men said.
They were taken into one of the derelict buildings.
The door was locked behind them.
They could see that the roof was missing in parts and the night sky clearly visible.
Maura recognised Anton de Richelieu in full satanic costume, right down to the inverted gold cross on a chain that hung around his neck.
Maura watched Jane who had spotted Camilla. She, too, wore a black ceremonial robe.
Their eyes grew more accustomed to the light. The large empty space was lit by lots of candles both large and small. On the floor were two large circles one within the other and between the two were symbols and strange words written in chalk.
Standing motionless but watching every move Anton made was the huge man Maura had seen at the restaurant.
Most ominous of all was a huge metallic clock whose face had a bronze sheen. Intricate patterns and letters were around the edge of the face. The clock seemed to be made out of three or more interlocking cogs and three hands pointing at various points around the dial.
Anton approached them and smiled. He was wearing his fangs.
"Welcome," he said in a French accent. "Welcome to ma' hell."
"Where's Adrian?" Maura asked angrily assuming that they were working together and that she had been betrayed.
"Ah," he said, "the voice you heard? It was done using a machine. The voice is accurate, n'est-ce pas?"
"Yes, it was most convincing," Maura admitted. She perked up to think that Adrian was not among the unholy brethren.
"Don't encourage him," Jane hissed.
"Adrian," Anton waved his name away like a bad smell. "He is no match for my cunning."
"Cunning is not the word I would use, but its close," Jane said nastily.
"Enough of chin the wag," Anton said.
Jane raised her eyebrows in a bored fashion and sighed. "It's chin wag."
"Why don't you do something that isn't devilish? Why not try something less aggressive that might make you happy?" Maura suggested as she watched his minions splashing what looked like blood around the inner circle.
"What is 'appiness?" He said in his thick French accent.
"I think you'll find the first consonant is vital," Maura said bluntly, "or it sounds like you're saying 'what is a penis' and not 'what is happiness.'"
"I know what I said," he pushed his fangs back into his mouth and leaned into Maura menacingly. "I don't like you. You're just like your brother. He is always correcting people; com ci com ca," he said flapped his hand one way and then the other. Suddenly he clapped his hands together. It startled her. "It is time my fellow Satanists." He turned to address Maura. "We'll see how happy you are when the demon I summon eats you. It will drain you dry of energy."
"Too late buddy, I did that to her last night," Jane mocked.
"His version doesn't sound quite as pleasurable," Maura noted.
Jane shrugged. "Don't worry, you can't have much energy left after what we did last night. I'm pretty sure it won't be enough for his demon."
"Bilbo J," Anton waved the large man over to him and they both stood just outside the circle.
"Bilbo J?" Jane mocked. "That is the biggest Hobbit I have ever seen."
Camilla came over and stood by Jane. Anton walked over and gave Camilla a peck on the cheek. "A useful woman to have around. A confirmed daughter of the Abyss who likes sinister sex; a sister who sups from the furry cup," he licked his fangs. "A formidable she-wolf."
"See this," Jane pulled a face. "That was my revolted expression."
Camilla smiled. "Don't tell me you didn't enjoy our time together."
Jane thought about it. "Okay, I'll admit that I did." She looked upset. "How can you be involved in this crap? I mean a woman with your..." she felt Maura's glare. "A woman with your intelligence."
Before Camilla could answer Anton was back in charge.
"Enough chit and chat," he said and waved over his minions. "Tie her up and place her on the edge of the circle. Tie her and place her inside the circle," he said pointing at Jane and Maura respectively.
They led Jane and Maura away.
"What are you doing, you fools," Anton cuffed one of them around the head. "In chairs, what do you want them to do, run around like 'eadless chickans and try to run the way? Merde."
Maura noticed the black candles at the four cardinal points as she was tied to a chair next to the Ragnarook clock. "All these candles and no one's watching them. It's a fire hazard."
"I think dying in a fire is the least of our worries," Jane commented as they tied her to a chair on the edge of the circle.
"Is that blood?" Maura asked one of the robed men as he daubed what looked like blood on a brush all over the clock face.
He ignored Maura.
"What are you doing?" Jane asked and started to struggle as her left sleeve was rolled up and a tourniquet tied around her upper arm.
Anton looked at Jane longingly. "Not long now ma friend. You're blood will 'elp summon the demon."
"Let her go," Maura said angrily.
Anton laughed. And despite his appalling pronunciation Maura was well aware that he was capable of the most sadistic acts of butchery.
"I thought there was a possibility of turning Jane evil?" Maura said thinking of ways to save her life.
"No," Anton said and looked disgusted. "She has, what do you call them?" He thought, "morals. I cannot have somebody with scraples in my group."
"Scruples," Jane corrected. "If I were you I'd get my money back from the 'Spuk Englush in 12 Essay Layssons.'"
Maura addressed Anton with a sinking feeling. "What do you intend to do?"
Anton answered. "I will summon the demon Choronzon from the Abyss. It will open the Ragnarook portal and out will come Ballick, a demon. It will be extremely powerful and do my bidding once I have used her blood to feed it and your blood as an offering," he pointed at Maura.
"Ball-lick," Jane said. "Sounds about right."
Anton de Richelieu slapped her across the face.
"Hey!" Maura looked alarmed.
He stared at Jane. "You will die, it is an unfortunate side effect of being bled dry."
Jane gave Anton a contemptuous look. "Are you from the Satanic Order of Banalities?"
Anton de Richelieu slapped her, again.
"Hey," Maura said angrily. "Stop that!" She knew why Jane was doing what she was doing. She figured if they were going to die might as well try to goad their attacker into killing them before he got his pints of blood and hour of pleasure.
"We have already done most of the preliminaries for the ritual. This is the main thrust of the ceremony. By dawn you will be dead and I will be all powerful." Anton smirked.
"Not with that accent," Jane mocked.
Anton de Richelieu hit her again. "Next time I'll break your nose." He looked at the circle and then at his minions. "Places. We begin the final phase."
Everyone took their places and the ritual began. Anton stood opposite the Ragnarook clock and began an evocation to Choronzon.
He raised his arms in the air. "Eko Babylon; Eko the rider on the storm. Come forth..."
"We need to break his concentration," Maura yelled to Jane.
"I don't know," Maura suggested.
"Hey, Anton," Jane yelled. "I hope Satan loves you because everyone else thinks your an asshole."
One of Anton's minions gagged Jane. He grabbed a syringe, jammed it into Jane's arm and drew a vial of blood. She winced.
"Choronzon rise from the Abyss," Anton said as the minion handed him the vial and he poured it into the circle. He went on to recite something neither Jane nor Maura understood.
Camilla stood next to Jane.
The atmosphere in the derelict building began to change; it was growing colder and there was a definite menace in the air. Anton was in full incantation now and Maura was feeling as hot and dry as the others were in the building were feeling cold and wet. The clock's hands began to move, a click at a time, but the inner cogs were beginning to turn.
Anton stepped up his chant and thrusting his hands outwards and upwards over and over, commanding something no one could see to come forth.
The minion took another vial of Jane's blood.
While the men were distracted Camilla cut Jane's bonds. She looked at Jane and then at the door. She was giving her the chance to escape but Jane wasn't going anywhere without Maura.
A sudden breeze stirred inside the circle and within seconds became a strong wind. There was a scream and howling in the air. The Ragnarook clock hands were turning wildly.
"I need more blood," Anton yelled and turned towards Jane. His face had taken on an altogether more menacing and cruel expression. He approached Jane and along the way he selected a large knife and a bucket. "Get out of ma way," he shoved his disciple aside. "No point in taking the amount of the teaspoon, we'll be here until morning."
As he approached, Jane stood up and caught him with a right hook under the chin. He went stumbling backwards, momentarily stunned. She pulled off the gag.
The giant Bilbo J went to grab Jane but Camilla jumped on to his back. He threw himself from side to side trying to shake her off. Anton's minions grabbed Camilla and pulled her to the floor.
Anton was back on his feet. He wagged his finger at Camilla. "You treacherous bitch! Bilbo J kill her."
"Now would be a good time," Camilla yelled to no one in particular.
Jane tackled Anton and they both fell into the circle. The Ragnarook clock's cogs and hands were rotating ever faster. The wind was turning into its own mini tornado and Anton was trying his best to thrust Jane's head into the clock, thereby removing it from her shoulders. She kneed him in the groin and he collapsed onto the floor.
Jane ran across the elaborate esoteric circle and dragged Maura, chair and all, out of the way of the infernal machine.
"No!" Anton screamed, getting to his feet, suddenly realising that he was in the circle and therefore the offering to the demon Choronzon. "Bilbo J!" He pleaded for help.
The giant Hobbit stood watching, unwilling to go into the circle.
A gun went off and Jane and Maura watched FBI officers swarming into the building.
"Everyone stay where you are," a voice yelled.
Maura saw Frost and Korsak enter the building wearing bulletproof vests.
Jane began to untie Maura.
Anton, realising the game was up, grabbed the knife he had recently dropped and ran at Jane with a view to plunging it into her back.
"Jane!" Camilla called out.
Jane turned as Anton raised the knife ready to strike. It seemed inevitable that he would stick the knife deep into Jane's chest before anyone could tackle him.
A shot rang out and a bullet struck Anton's right temple and exploded out of his left side, taking blood, bone and brain with it. He collapsed to the floor with a thud. Jane looked at who had fired the shot and saw Adrian holding the smoking gun.
Maura grabbed Jane and hugged her. "I nearly lost you," she whispered and kept her eyes on her brother who gave her a dark look before turning to his staff. He yelled directions to them and they began handcuffing those involved in the sordid affair.
"The clock," Camilla said pointing frantically. "Something's coming through."
She was right, something was coming through the clock face. The clock was heating up to an infernal red and rotating so fast it was becoming a portal. They could see what looked like the beginning of a massive red hoof coming through.
"What can we do?" Maura yelled as the hoof was accompanied by what sounded like growling.
"I thought Rudolph only had a red nose?" Jane stared at the thing emerging from the portal.
"We have to stop the clock from turning and close the portal before all of it gets through," Camilla explained.
Korsak and Frost approached.
"We need to find something to jam in the clock," Maura said.
"What?" Frost said scanning the floor. He found a large plank of wood and threw it at the machine but it just chewed it up.
"There's only one thing for it," Korsak reached into his jacket pocket and retrieved his rolled up PVC trousers. He scrunched them up and threw them at the clock. They immediately began to melt and seized up the cogs. The hoof disappeared and the noise abated.
"That was the best use of those pants, ever," Frost beamed. "Won't Barb be mad?" he added.
"We broke up about two hours ago," Korsak said. "Apparently Chuck, Mr Tomato, works with her and they hit it off. I was so mad I rolled up the pants and was taking them to see Chuck and shove them where the sun don't shine. It was the first time in a relationship where I was glad not to be the one wearing the trousers." He shook his head.
"You're definitely better off without her," Frost commiserated.
Korsak nodded as he looked at the circle and altar. "I seem to worship at the altar of crap girlfriends. Maybe I should become a Satanist."
"Nah," Frost said, "You'd have to wear those dresses," he pointed to Anton's minions dressed in black monk's habits. "And behave like a jerk, it's not your style."
"Yeah, those dresses are as bad as plastic pants."
"Thanks for saving my life," Jane said to Adrian as they looked at the bloody mess of Anton.
"No problem," he exchanged a knowing look with his sister, Maura.
Camilla came up and whispered in Adrian's ear.
Jane frowned. "You know each other?"
Adrian said something to Camilla and she went off to talk with a group of men wearing FBI jackets.
"We work together on government projects," Adrian said, without giving anything away.
"So she's not a Satanist?" Jane said looking at Camilla's curves.
"Oh she is a Satanist," he confirmed, "a very good one. It's just that she doesn't usually stoop so low as to work with the likes of Anton de Richelieu. It was a necessary task to get him off of the streets. He is what is known as a Diabolic rather than Satanist."
"What's the difference?" Maura asked, trying to attract Jane's attention away from staring at Camilla's ass.
"Indiscrete murder," Adrian said bluntly.
Jane had finished her viewing session. "So you commit discrete murder? What's that, where the victim disappears and is then slaughtered?"
Adrian gave a sly grin. "You have no idea how deep the satanic rabbit hole goes." One of the FBI men approached and whispered something to him. "Call in the clean up boys," he instructed. He turned back to them. "As far as we're concerned this matter is closed. The Europeans will be notified and Anton's body returned to them. Your precinct will have no paperwork. In fact, it will be as if this event never took place. Your colleagues will be debriefed."
"And if Jane had been killed?" Maura asked.
" We would have had to invent an unfortunate and fatal accident," he said casually. "As her heart is still beating that will not be necessary."
"Can he do that?" Jane asked as Adrian walked off. "Does he have that much power?"
"Evidently," Maura said. "I can't see any other police officers other than you, Frost and Korsak."
"You're right," Jane said looking at all the FBI uniforms.
Maura saw a broken wand laying next to Anton. "He broke his wand."
"How sad," Jane mocked. "I bet every woman in France will be relieved to know that Anton's wand waving days are over."
Korsak came up to them and slapped Jane's arm playfully. "Okay?"
Maura looked concerned. "Would you like me to take a look?"
"Maybe later," Jane said encouragingly.
"Okay people," an FBI officer said in a raised voice. "All none FBI and special operations people are requested to leave. Thank you for your cooperation."
"That's it?" Korsak said. "No autopsy and no case?"
"Anton's dead," Frost noted. "He killed women and now he's been killed. You heard what Adrian said and he seems to be the boss. We should forget it."
"'Those who live by the sword die by the sword,'" Maura said.
"Okay. There isn't much we can do about it. They want us gone," Korsak said as they watched Anton being placed in a body bag.
"I suppose. Let's get out of here." Jane turned to Korsak and Frost. "How did you guys know we were here?"
"Maura's brother called just after you left. We figured the fake caller was Anton so we just followed the GPS device Maura used on you." Frost said.
Jane looked at Maura, expectantly.
She gave her an innocent look. "Nanotechnology: Stardust, it's quite brilliant and smaller than a pinhead. You can put it in drinks or in hair or on the skin. It means you can discretely track the person without them knowing."
"Where did you shove my stardust?" Jane asked.
Frost and Korsak looked at the ground and mumbled about heading to the car.
"Can we get a lift with you guys?" Maura asked trying to diffuse the situation.
They nodded. "We'll wait in the car."
"I think the FBI want a little chat," Jane said as the FBI officers stood by the unmarked police vehicle.
Camilla approached Maura and Jane.
"Goodbye Jane," Camilla said. "No hard feelings?"
"Nothing hard," she said. "Although I seem to have lost all sensation in my nipples and my sense of smell is shot to hell," Jane said playfully. "Other than that I'm fine. Goodbye, Camilla."
"Until we meet again."
Jane smiled. "Hopefully without your perfume."
"Hopefully never," Maura added.
Camilla smiled that disarming smile again and went to join her colleagues.
Jane winced and clutched her arm.
"Would you like me to rub it?" Maura asked.
"My arm isn't what I want you to rub," Jane said as they headed towards Korsak and Frost.
"I'll massage, stroke, rub or even polish whatever you want so long as you don't pretend I'm Camilla."
"I'm with who I want to be with so I don't need fantasies." Jane was adamant.
Maura smiled and then worried that she was too uninteresting to be a fantasy.
"How are you handling almost getting killed?" Jane asked linking arms with her.
"It's beginning to happen so often I am becoming quiet blasé about it." Maura was glad they were both safe. "I am just worried about how casually you take the possibility of death."
"We're all heading in that direction," Jane said philosophically.
"Yes, but I don't want it to be for at least another fifty years," Maura noted and then wondered how long she'd live once she was in her brother's clutches.
"Let's go to your place," Jane said as they reached the car.
"It's only just past midnight," Maura said, relieved. "I can take a look at your arm."
"Maura, just my arm?"
"I am exhausted," Jane said as she fell onto Maura's couch, lay back and put her feet up on Bass's shell.
"Jane! Not on Bass."
"Sorry." She moved her feet and tapped Bass's shell. "Sorry buddy, forgot my manners."
"Would you like a drink before bed?" Maura asked.
"A coffee would be good."
Jane closed her eyes, put her head back and smirked. "You said you'd do whatever I wanted when we got back."
"You have a filthy mind."
"Voulez vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?"
"So you do know French."
"Courtesy of LaBelle's hit song, 'Lady Marmalade.'" Maura handed her a coffee. "Y'know Maura, your brother looks just like you. I don't know why I didn't see it. He's even got a weird job and weird hobby."
"My job's not weird," she said and noticed Jane's provocative look. "Okay, it's a little unusual, but someone has to do it."
"And your hobby?" Jane mused. "I bet you'd love to do an alien autopsy wouldn't you?"
Maura's expression gave her away.
"You're a strange and yet loveable woman," Jane smiled.
Maura stroked Jane's leg and avoided looking directly at her. "There's nothing unusual about being interested in UFOlogy. People associate extraterrestrials with the subject but all it means is a flying object is unidentified."
"Well I can identify a stationary bed. Shall we go to bed?" Jane suggested.
At that moment they heard the key in the front door turn and in walked Angela. "Hi, Maura, hi, Jane. I can't live with Tommy and Lydia for a while, so I'm back," she explained. "I've had a lovely evening with Sean."
"Who?" Jane asked.
"Sean, your boss," she smiled. "We had a little chat and you can go back to work tomorrow as if nothing happened."
"Really?" Jane frowned suspiciously. "How did that happen?"
"He was in a really good mood," Angela said. She got a perfume bottle out of her purse; it was almost empty. "I don't know what this perfume is, Maura," she seemed overexcited, "but it's great. I hope you don't mind me borrowing some." She sprayed the last of it on the insides of her wrists and sniffed. "I found it in your bathroom cabinet."
"It's not the kind of perfume you can replace," Maura said, exasperated.
"Ma, you had some?" Jane took the bottle that contained Camilla's magical scent and shook it. "It's empty."
Angela seemed distracted. "I ran out of mine this morning and put some on in a hurry. I've been using it all day. I have never had so much attention. Whatever is in it did the trick because Sean just needed a little push."
"Push or thrust," Jane asked caustically.
"You've got your job back, what more do you want? I am a grown woman," Angela said and threw her coat over a chair. "It was wonderful." She sighed. " I need to get some sleep. What a day it was with all that attention. I even got complements from Sean's secretary." She looked at them both. "Nice looking woman, short and blonde. She's often met from work by a polite young woman." She returned to her dream date. "Sean is a wonderful man. He wined and dined me. We went to a vegetarian restaurant. It's very modern and the tables are between raised beds that are full of vegetables. My friend Theresa goes on Thursdays. She said she often sits amongst the cabbages and peas."
"Don't they have restrooms?" Jane asked.
Angela swooned. "We went back to Sean's place for coffee. The evening was just enchanting."
"Just enchanting?" Jane asked acerbically. "That's an improvement from all your other evenings with men. You usually describe them as being straight out of a fairy tale¯grim." She noticed that Maura was distracted.
Maura stared at Angela for longer than usual. "Angela, may I say how lovely you're looking at this time of the morning? Did you do something with your hair?"
"Why thank you, Maura."
"Ma, go to bednow," Jane grabbed Maura by the arm as Angela went off to bed. "What are you doing?"
"Merely complimenting your mother on how radiant she looks."
"It's the perfume talking. Stop it."
"Let's go to bed."
"Do you mean sex or sleep?" Maura quizzed.
Jane stared at her. "Even under the influence of the biggest pheromone boost on the planet you manage to ask passion killing questions."
She led Maura into the bedroom. "I merely desire clarification," she said as Jane closed the door.
"I'm surprised you don't give me marks out of ten for the intensity of orgasm." Jane looked into Maura's eyes. "Please, tell me you weren't doing that."
"I was curious about the level of arousal and how it relates to duration and intensity of orgasm."
"You can write a paper on it," Jane offered as she unbuttoned Maura's shirt. "You could call it, Counting on your Fingers."
"Good title. I was going for I've got Your Number."
Jane laughed. "That's pretty good." She slid her hands behind Maura's back and unclipped her bra. "Let's experiment with orgasms. Afterwards we can go into Ma's bedroom, take her a coffee, maybe vacuum and even send in the over-polished Bass to crush her alarm clock."
Maura giggled. "Maybe even change her radio station to something unsuitable and very simple. It must have hand-clapping and be nauseatingly repetitive."
"Maura, that would be diabolical."
They made love until midday when they fell asleep in each other's arms.
When Maura was sure Jane was asleep she slid out of bed and took a quick shower. She checked her cell phone; her brother had sent a message on where she was to meet him later that day. She quietly grabbed some clothes and stuffed them into a small suitcase. She hastily wrote a note to Jane explaining that she had something she must do and not to try to find her. She hoped to return within five days. Love letters were not her strong point and so she briefly told Jane that she loved her and she would see her soon. She didn't know if the last part was true. She did a P.S. and asked her to feed Bass and to please not use him as a foot stool.
She grabbed her jacket, the suitcase and her purse and left Jane sleeping.
She took a cab to Boston airport and caught a flight that would take her to Las Vegas. She got there by early evening and was met at the airport by a man and a woman wearing regulation government clothes and dark sunglasses. She got in the car with them.
They drove her along Nevada Highway 375, also known as the Extraterrestrial Highway. They pulled into a small town called Rachel and left her at outside the restaurant and bar called the Little A'Le Inn. She looked at her watch, it half past eleven. The stars were clear and bright and the desert was cold.
She glanced at the inn. The Halloween pumpkin from the night before lingered unlit in the restaurant window and looked as wilted and alone as she felt.
She wasn't sure it had been a good decision to wear high heels and a pencil skirt in a desert environment. She had been flustered at the time and all she could think about was being forced to leave Jane. She tugged at the flimsy jacket and wished she had dressed warmer.
She imagined by now that Jane had woken up and read her note. She would already be making moves to find her. It broke her heart to think she might never see Jane again. She reached for her cell phone and switched it on. She had made a promise to herself that she wouldn't look at it to see if Jane had called. Now the desire to reach out to someone she loved was overwhelming. She looked at the screen and was elated to see that there were numerous missed calls and texts from Jane. She desperately wanted to contact her just to let her know she was alive and well but knew that would be risky. She turned the cell phone off and almost wept. She wanted to abandon this place and run back to Jane but she knew Adrian would be good on his threat. She had to push Jane to the back of her mind.
She stood next to the Little A'Le Inn with her small suitcase and purse and waited. Rachel was a small town of fifty-four souls and a hotspot for alien hunters. She was apprehensive and yet excited at the same time. It held the possibility of another opportunity of a lifetime¯to think that she might just get to do an alien autopsy. With any luck she might get to see a UFO. Although she suspected that 90% of UFOs were advanced black technology crafts and had little to do with off-world entities. She considered it highly suspicious that the day before 9/11 the Pentagon had announced that there was a two trillion dollar black hole in its finances; no doubt for the black budget. To suggest that they just didn't know where it had gone was absurd, it wasn't like it was loose change. It was unlikely that it could have fallen down the back of the cushions on the couch.
She made herself smile at how easy it was to be sucked into the enthusiasm of UFOlogists with very little evidence and a good deal of forgery. However, she was a scientist and she would think like one while she was in Nevada. If she couldn't take physical notes she would be making plenty of mental notes. She felt positive, making plans for the future was a good sign. She pushed all thoughts of never seeing Jane again out of her mind and began to think of this as necessary assignment.
She waited and listened to the sounds of the night and hoped those meeting her would not be long as she was tired, cold and hungry. In the distance she heard a vehicle approaching.
A jeep came into sight and pulled up alongside Maura. There were two women, one driving the other sitting in the passenger seat. Both were in army fatigues. One had sergeant stripes on her arm and the other was a captain.
The captain spoke to her. "Dr Maura Isles?"
She stepped out of the Jeep and helped Maura put her small case into the back. "There isn't much room but if you could get in please, Ma'am."
Maura did as requested and the jeep drove out of town into the desert and past a sign that said the unofficial speed limit of town was 'Warp 7.' There was no conversation. The lights of the small town faded from view. All around them was desert and the beautiful night sky. The stars were glorious, luminous and inviting. She saw a shooting star and made a wish.
The jeep slowed down momentarily and Maura saw the signs telling people to keep out of the restricted area. Deadly force was authorized. She knew of the 1950 McCorran Internal Security Act that allowed for the shadow government to keep secrets. If the government could watch the people then who was watching the government? No one, and that was how they had been allowed to slide towards despotism.
They had headed North-West and Maura knew that they were approximately 83 miles from Las Vegas. The jeep was entering Area 51.
Her brother, the Satanist, would be waiting. He had made himself very clear about what would happen to Jane if she reneged on her promise. Her fate would be sealed and she would be taken to a black Ops prison that wasn't on any map. Maura would never see Jane again. She could not let that happen to her lover. Was Jane worth it? Yes, for without love life was merely existence.
Maura sought comfort in the fact that the darker the night the brighter the light. Her love for Jane was her light in what was likely to be the darkest days of her life. It occurred to Maura that her brother, Adrian could have set the whole thing up, from Camilla to Anton. She was reminded that Satanists do so love to tease. Maybe this had been a game to him? Maybe she was an amusing way to get rid of Anton who was becoming a liability to the intelligence agencies? Anton de Richelieu had been so indiscreet that he was on a number of European databases as a murder suspect.
Maura knew that Adrian was clever enough to orchestrate the whole escapade and knew it would ensure her compliance. After all these years he had finally found her weak spotJane.
Maura was suddenly filled with rage. She knew that Adrian was depending on her goodness of heart to balance his darkness. She knew what she must do and that was to become temporarily evil. She was determined to thwart his plans. She would not be made a laughing stock or used for his nasty little games. When she thought of how his plotting had almost got Jane killed she was beyond livid. It was time to deal with him once and for all, family or not, he had to be neutralized.
She wondered what Adrian had in mind. He had not really told her anything other than to come to Nevada. She supposed she would find out very soon. She had to go through with it for Jane's sake. She tried to maintain a sense of controlled anger as the jeep drove deep into Area 51. It didn't last long and began to dissipate when amusing thoughts started to pop into her head. She recalled an American Vice President who considered himself an astronaut despite never have trained as one. His quotes were legendary and they began to tumble through her mind.
'It's time for the human race to enter the solar system.' She grinned.
'For NASA, space is still a high priority.' She suppressed a giggle.
'Mars is essentially in the same orbit . . . Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.' A laugh erupted.
'Space is very nearly infinite.' She was in danger of a belly laugh and the army women glanced at her suspiciously.
She decided that the only way to maintain her dignity was to treat the whole process as one big joke. She could not function when she was consumed by negative thoughts. Focussing on what might happen to Jane would make her vulnerable. She made herself a promise that she would see Jane again and focussed on the positive. When this was all over she would take Jane on a lengthy vacation to Europe.
The only way she could thwart Adrian was to view game of subterfuge as puerile. He was dangerous but she hoped his plans would ultimately prove futile. After all, she was two minutes older than him and she hoped it was a portend that she would always be ahead of his little games.
If the intellectual dexterity of politicians was anything to go by Maura felt she could run planetary rings around the top brass of Area 51.
In a moment of unguarded joy she discretely turned on her cell phone and texted Jane. 'I love you,' was all she said before hitting the send button.
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