Did you know that when Grace is not doing magic stuff she’s a pro wrestler? She actually does that a lot more than she does magic stuff. Crazy huh? It doesn’t pay well but at least it’s really bad for you.
Wrestlers who are any good develop two very strange skills. One is selling. Not like Glengarry Glen Ross ABC selling, but acting like you’re hurt when you aren’t. They don’t call it acting though, they call it selling. The flip side of selling is that they also learn how to act like they’re not hurt when they are. When you’re really hurt you need to act like you’re not.
The good doctor, or the bug in control of him maybe, was able to fool Grace with his words – it’s not hard to do that, truth be told – but he couldn’t fool her with his body. As she was “helping” him out of the hospital to meet up with Christie, she realized he was faking being all weak and drained. And he, or the bug in control of him, was a good faker. But not good enough to fool her finely honed weird wrestler instincts.
Grace had asked where they could go for some privacy for the anti-bug magic spectacular. And if they had gone there, the doctor had another ambush waiting for them – one with shotguns and automatic weapons. And that probably would have been the end for old Grace. Magic or not, an ambush and a bullet to the head are hard to defend against.
But since she was onto him, instead when they reached the car, she got him in a choke hold. Christie, being pretty frazzled at this point with yet another change in the plan, exclaimed “What are you doing, I thought you said he needed help!”
Grace grunted as the doctor’s arm turned into a freaky bug-scythe and impaled her through the thigh “I am helping him.”
Grace wasn’t sure if you could choke out a bug spirit possessed person. Would the bug spirit keep the body animated even if the host was unconscious? Turns out no. Thankfully. Grace dropped/shoved/threw the old man into the back of Christie’s Malibu and fell/slumped/lurched into the passenger seat herself.
Christie leapt into the driver’s seat trying to staunch the copiously bleeding wound in her gnarled leg with crumped and soiled Burger King bags “Jesus, heal yourself, you’re getting blood all over my car!”
Grace tried to take a deep breath but was having trouble pulling in air so it sounded more like a reverse hiccup “I can’t heal myself, Gary, because I’m running low on magic over here.”
“Who the fuck is Gary?! I’m Christie Lane, damn it!”
Grace laughed hysterically “All the boys love Christie Lane.”
Christie scowled so hard his face almost slid off “What are you talking about!? What are you ever talking about?!
Grace waved her hand tiredly “Just drive to someplace secluded, somewhere where no one will you see you making out with an unconscious old man.”
Someplace secluded was a tourist trap-type scenic bluff overlooking the city lights at night. It was called Holding Hands Peak in the fifties, then Make-out Point for many years, then Third Base Cliff for a while, in the 80s it was briefly known as Murder Point, some folks called it the Bone Zone after that, then it was called No Seriously Three People Got Murdered Up There for a couple years, before finally settling into its current nickname of “that place where people illegally dump trash”.
Grace had just enough magic to keep herself from bleeding to death on the way. Not healing so much as just slowing down the inevitable. Once they rolled to a stop, Christie saw she was as pale as the whitened teeth of a smarmy car salesman.
“Are you fucking dying?!”
Grace couldn’t open her eyes “Yes. Give me the old man.”
“What do you mean, give him to you?”
Grace wanted to shout but barely managed a loud whisper “Put his hand in my hand. I’ve never done this before so if it doesn’t work and I die, I just want you to know that you’re a horrible person and I hope you get rectal cancer.”
Christie slapped the limp hand of the unconscious man into Grace’s barely livelier hand. No one ever wants to do magic with Grace. Which is a shame because she’s actually really good at communal spellcasting. Royale and Obalyuane both trained her that way and despite her lack of magic friends, she’s got a real knack for it. Taking the magic from someone rather than having them give it to you isn’t the same, but it’s close enough. Bleeding to death is a good motivator.
Grace pulled magic energy from the doctor. It was like nothing she had ever felt before. It was like an enema of ice-cold water. It was like suddenly being able to feel your organs – and knowing that some of them don’t like you. It was something alien and vast and ugly.
But it did the trick. She was able to heal her leg. And she was able to pass through enough energy to Christie for him to work his magic and remove the spiritual bug infestation from the doctor. Grace was sitting in the car, exhausted and slick with sweat and Christie was puking noisily into the bushes when the doctor came around in the back seat and sat up.
“Where am I?”
“The sign says Snell Scenic Overlook. I mostly see bags of garbage. Doesn’t seem very scenic.”