“They’re brothers,” Artemis said. She gripped the warm coffee mug. “He was wearing a demonic mask, now it makes sense.”
“Well now,” Agent Beaky said. He watched a lady at a nearby table stabbing her fork into her bland breakfast. “How on earth did you find this out?”
Artemis pondered the situation for several minutes. She thought about the fact Satan had revealed itself to her. And most importantly, a little girl’s life was in danger. She needed to get Agent Beaky’s help.
“You’re right,” Artemis said. “I’m clairvoyant, but, I have stronger than normal abilities. And I’m ambidextrous.”
Agent Beaky had been in the FBI for many years. He could see Artemis’ expression was clear, and focused. It was the reflection from here eyes. His instincts told him she was quite powerful, and well-trained.
“I suspected,” Agent Beaky said. He pushed his coffee mug forward. “Military? Kill with either hand?”
“Recruited me from college, the company,” Artemis said. “My scores where off the charts, plus, I was a loner. I was perfect for what they wanted to train me to do, they loaned me to the military. I get files assigned that are related to medical malpractice. But they point me at a societal problem, I clean up the mess.”
“The company?” Agent Beaky said. He gripped his nose, and looked down at the table top. “My clearance is not up there, not sure what you are allowed to tell me.”
“I just don’t lie well,” Artemis said. “It’s against my inner code. These people are dangerous. I can’t manage this alone. They’re the worst kind of criminal.”
“All right,” Agent Beaky said. “Where did you learn about, I guess we’ll call them going forward the Demetrius brothers?”
Artemis leaned forward and kept her gaze on Agent Beaky. She could smell fresh coffee brewing nearby. She paused as a man trudged past them for a second helping of starch and cholesterol.
“I went hiking back up into the mountains,” Artemis said.
“Alone?” Agent Beaky asked. “Now that takes some stones.”
“I’m well-trained; I’m not scared,” Artemis said. She gave Agent Beaky a death like stare. “I can communicate and see dead humans, and animals lost in limbo, you know, trapped spirits. I’ve been able since I was a kid.”
Agent Beaky coughed with his fist over his mouth. He leaned in closer to Artemis.
“Let me guess,” Agent Beaky said. “Murdered?”
“Yes,” Artemis said. “And little girls were hiding behind them, that hospital over there has pure evil roaming inside it.”
Agent Beaky’s jaw line clenched down, and from his throat he almost growled. He paused.
“From the beginning, before I drove into Selene,” Agent Beaky said. “I was tasked with protecting Jerome, and his family. It was the reason I wear this FBI jacket, it’s in part as a warning sign, not to mess with Jerome.”
“Yeah,” Artemis said. “You did seem to be a walking, talking cliché, what do you have for me?”
“Interesting development,” Agent Beaky said. He pointed upward toward the hotel breakfast area ceiling. “Got me a drone, hovered outside of eyesight, took some film and pictures behind the hospital.”
“Trucks?” Artemis asked.
“There you go,” Agent Beaky said. “We watched them load box after box into unmarked shipping containers, or smaller box trucks. They appear to move the cargo constantly, without any worries.”
“They sound efficient,” Artemis said. “And rather greedy, right?”
“They are,” Agent Beaky said. He huffed. “They are all suited up with what looked like hazmat suits, nice, clean and none of the workers stopped to be lazy about, all on point, all with a prearranged purpose.”
“What’s in the boxes?” Artemis asked.
“We can’t tell,” Agent Beaky said. “We’re told by an insider, mushrooms and freeze dried things they called, ah, sorry.”
Agent Beaky started to pat down his pockets in search of his smartphone that he had set on the breakfast table in front of him.
“Mycelia?” Artemis asked. She pushed the smartphone back over toward Agent Beaky. “This what you’re looking for?”
“Oh, thanks, can’t function without these things,” Agent Beaky said. He shrugged. “Ah, yes, I do believe that’s what they said.”
“I Googled it,” Artemis said. “I think that’s what we saw that night, out there, when they fed that lamb to the tree. They have a monster out there, they feed woman and children to it, I’m certain of it.”
“Is that what you were told,” Agent Beaky said. “By, those unfortunate ones?”
“Yes, but then they ran away,” Artemis said.
“What now, a boogie man?” Agent Beaky asked.
“You can say that,” Artemis said. “Worse than any boogie man I’ve ever come across.”
Agent Beaky sat back. His blue eyes held their gaze as he contemplated Artemis’ statement.
“Well now,” Agent Beaky said. “Where’s this going?”
Artemis leaned her head back, she looked up, and ruefully shook her head. She opened her hands and arms.
“It was Satan,” Artemis said, coldly. “I hope you don’t think me a fool, and need to get me in a psych ward. It knows what I just told you, no reason to hide that anymore.”
Agent Beaky appeared as if he’d been stung in the neck by a colony of bumble bees. He curiously looked back over at Artemis. He started to speak, but then he stopped.
“I’m not sure,” Agent Beaky said. He stammered as his lips pursed. “You’re certain?”
“I’m certain, I’ve seen demons, you know that sort of thing,” Artemis said. “When I first arrived here, I went out to a local cemetery. I figured I would see what I might see. After all in my line of work, the dead only speak the truth.”
“All right,” Agent Beaky said, hesitantly. “I ah, suppose.”
“They have nothing more to hide,” Artemis said. “It’s one of my investigation techniques. If a serious death case is filed, they send me out. I clean up messes.”
“Same as the company?” Agent Beaky asked. “If I may ask, as it were.”
“No,” Artemis said. “I was imbedded years ago, healthcare, they watch it quite closely. I’ll leave it at that for our purposes.”
“Bloody hell, I think you’re serious,” Agent Beaky said. “Don’t mind saying I feel a bit wobbly, never, never thought.”
“Nor did I,” Artemis said.
“Why you?” Agent Beaky asked.
“I don’t know, Satan just appeared, made a big show for me,” Artemis said. She pushed the coffee mug in a small semi-circle pattern. “First time I was scared. But then I realized, it wanted something.”
“What did it look like?” Agent Beaky asked. He hunched down, looked side to side and the normal everyday hotel activity.
“Oh, I stood there crying waiting to be killed,” Artemis said. “It changed forms, big snake, black blob, and then this handsome man. It just toyed with me. But it was real, I pinched my cheek to be sure I wasn’t seeing things.”
They sat across from each other for a few minutes. They heard the busy guest traffic eating breakfast, people discussing important business, or the rat-ta-tat from them trudging their suitcases across the square tiled floor and over toward the checkout counter.
“Demonic rituals,” Agent Beaky said. “Makes sense, sacrifices, woman and children.”
“No, boys or men,” Artemis said. “Little girls, woman from the group, they said they were chosen at random.”
“Satan,” Agent Beaky said in a whispered tone. “You’re certain, sorry, my mind’s in a cloud.”
Artemis considered her next moves.
“Our friend, Virgil,” Artemis said.
“Ah yes, he’s a sad man,” Agent Beaky said. “Drinker.”
“He’s more than a convenient guide,” Artemis said. “When I was out there, before we went up into the mountain. I saw an American Indian, he was a spirit, dressed in full on warrior mode, paint, the whole deal. It was following a living white stag.”
“You don’t say,” Agent Beaky said. He sipped his coffee. The coffee cup tremored, and brown liquid oozed over the sides. “Sorry, I’m just a bit off my game.”
“I’m not sure what to think,” Artemis said. She flipped her napkin over to Agent Beaky. “But the women told me he communicates with the warrior. Virgil’s sad because he cannot protect the forest. He and the American Indian must have a sort of spirit connection, if that makes sense?”
“Well, I’m learning quite a mouth-full,” Agent Beaky said. “I thought I was just the lead man in for a drug bust, protect the informant.”
“I need your help,” Artemis said. She leaned back across the table. “The little girl, Laina, she’s been taken away from me. I think she’s in danger, they know her connection to me.”
Agent Beaky looked back over at the hotel’s front glass doors as guests walked inside and out of the front lobby. A valet helped an older lady outside.
“Well, you bent one over me this morning,” Agent Beak said. “Not sure what I’ll write, or say, for that matter in my report.”
“I’ve concluded,” Artemis said. She slowly blew a long breath through her mouth. “If Satan wants me dead, I’d be dead. It wants something else, not sure what.”
“Ha, that’s a pisser,” Agent Beaky said. “I’ll need to ponder this, give me a few days. And, another thing.”
“Yes?” Artemis said.
“Be careful with them,” Agent Beaky said. “Clearly, these boys are dangerous. Might I tag along, next time?”
“They don’t scare me, but Satan scares me,” Artemis said. “Sure, I don’t think you’ll see anything.”
“Even so,” Agent Beaky said. “What about Jerome’s claim, and your other work?”
“I care about the girl, she’s my prime-one going forward,” Artemis said. She glossed her hands across the table top. “This has gotten way past any medical malpractice file. I’ll likely bring in my boss to manage it.”
“I’ll say,” Agent Beaky said. “What’s the next move?”
“I think go back to the source,” Artemis said.
End. Chapter 26.
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