Once Grace had broken the ritual magic that held their attackers and then healed them, it was time to debrief. The three of them worked at a customer service center in Galesburg. All they knew for sure was that they had been asked to work a later shift than usual and when they got there, their boss told them they may have been exposed to some kind of cleaning chemical the janitorial staff used that was potentially dangerous and they needed to go get checked out.
The bossman, being a nice guy, took them to a clinic himself and then things go wiggy. Their memories of what they had been doing as zombies were fuzzy. They said it was like they were dreaming – strange images and snippets that were hard to remember. And you thought your boss was a dick.
They all said that he seemed like a nice old man until he took them to have their free will ripped away with black magic. That soured them on him. They couldn’t agree on if his first name was Chester or Arthur, but they knew his last name was Larochelle – because it was on the door of his office.
They had a lot of questions. Grace did her best to answer them but essentially she gave the same response many times in different wording “Magic is real. If you can forget that, maybe you can live life without going insane. If not, you should probably try some kind of therapy”. When they asked her why this happened she said “Well, your boss is infested with a monster that has no physical form that looks kind of like an insect and I guess he needed you guys as helpers because, you see, he’s trying to turn everyone in the world into bug-monsters.”
It’s a tough pill to swallow. She gave them all her number if they ever wanted to talk, while admitting that “I’m shit at talking to people”. She’s learned from experience that none of them will ever call. No one ever does.
The Town Car was too wrecked to drive, but they were able to push the Spark back out into the parking lot and get it running. The three former zombies got in and drove away and that was that. Christie and Grace watched the taillights disappear, leaning against his more than a little worse for wear Malibu.
Grace kicked at the old bucket “We probably should have made sure this was going to run before we let them strand us here.”
“What do you think is going to happen to them?”
Grace looked off in the direction their car had disappeared “How has your life been going since you learned about magic?”
Christie spat on the ground “It’s been a fucking nightmare.”
“Well there you go.”
“What are we going to do now?”
“What we’re going to do is cast a finding spell on Franz Kafka and follow him so you can tongue-kiss the bad juju out of him.”
Christie’s face fell “Franz? Is he German? Is this guy a fucking Nazi!?”
Grace was mildly amused “Would you be more afraid of a Nazi than an insect spirit possessed necromancer?”
His face was pale as milk “I’m sure as fuck more afraid of a NAZI insect spirit possessed necromancer.”
“He’s probably not a Nazi, I was just saying, you know, Franz Kafka, the Metamorphosis – guy turns into a roach?”
Christie had a desperate look in his eyes “What the fuck are you talking about?!”
Grace shook her head “Forget about it. Tell me this, do you have to suck on the mouth or would any other hole work as well?”
He glared at her “You’re a foul woman, you know that?”
“I meant like the ear or something, you’re the one with your fucking mind in the gutter. Now come over here, I need your help with this spell.”
His eyebrows shot up “What do you need my help for?” He gestured “Look what you did here.”
“Exactly, I just did a fuckton of magic, Gary. I’m about out of juice, I need your help.”
“Gary? Who the fuck is Gary?”
Grace shook her head quickly “Never mind, slip of the tongue. You remind me of someone I traveled with for a while. Kind of similar circumstances.”
“And how did things work out with Gary?”
Grace was silent for a long moment “Bad.”