9.4 Post Fracas

by Matt P.

“He still looks like he’s sneering, even when he’s unconscious.” Morgan Winters commented as she came up on the mostly still, but sadly breathing, man. “I wonder if that’s actually like, permanent damage.”

“One can only hope.” Walter commented as he made sure he still had his…well, everything secured about his person as he came up to Morgan’s side. He took a moment to look down at the fallen Earl, and then looked up to Gabriel Shepherd. “You keep showing up at interesting moments, Mr. Shepherd. That’s going to warrant some questions, real soon.”

“I am a humble servant of the people, Deputy Marshal.” Gabriel said as he tossed the shovel casually to the side.

“And a litterer.” Walter pointed out to the dull, reverberating clang of the shovel on the cobblestones. “The seriousness of the questions that I want to ask you only grows with each passing offense, Mr. Shepherd.”

The trilling sounds of the Heat Miser song filled the air for a moment and, with a taser still in one hand, Morgan casually looked down to check the text from Tania. She made it seem very natural doing so, and Walter quirked an eyebrow. “Am I a little bit broken for thinking that’s hot?” Walter paused his rising annoyance to comment to the former shovel wielding man.

“No.” Gabriel, confirmed a twinkle in his eyes. “It’s kind of working for me too.”

“Mmm. I can pick back up the shovel, gentlemen.” Morgan commented idly, as she put her phone back in to her pocket. She looked up, catching Walter’s eyes with her own. “Tania managed to…subdue the attackers at the school. The girls are fine, and the police are on their way. The students are awake again, and the blood should come out of the walls.” The last bit she said with a mix of amusement and exasperation.

“Ok, I’m going to ignore that last bit.” Walter said, turning back to Shepherd. “So how is it that you keep showing up exactly at the most interesting moments in the city, Mr. Shepherd? You have a good record for a not psychic.” Walter renewed his questions, before once more he looked over to Morgan. “Will you dial in and get some backup here too?”

As Morgan nodded, the avowed not-psychic answered. “I’m not psychic.” Shepherd offered with a shake of his head.

“I do believe I covered that when I called you a not-psychic.” Walter confirmed. “And yet…you live in very interesting times. I want to know how, and why. Or why, and how—I’m not particularly picky.”

“Walter…” Gabriel said, and the use of his first name caused one of Walter’s eyebrows to rise very slowly. “There’s a lot of weird shit in this world, and you’re not ready for all of it.” His voice was low and dark, and filled with shadows that swam behind the words with a quiet menace. “And once you know all of them there is no going back, and there is no safety in the night or the gentle embrace of sleep. Suffice it to say that I am privy to some things, and let’s go from there.”

Walter considered him for a long moment, hearing the gnashing teeth veiled by his sentences. He gave them a weighty consideration. After those long moments he nodded as if agreeing, and began to speak in a conciliatory tone. “That is a very heartfelt and very pretty pile of bullshit, Gabriel.” After a moment of processing the dissonance between the words and the tone, Gabriel laughed. “I’m up to my eyeballs in weird crap, and I’m trying to just keep swimming. I need to know as much as I can, and I need to know what I don’t know.” Morgan put a foot on to the chest of the still unconscious Earl, her eyes cast with curiosity as she watched their interaction.

Gabriel gave that consideration back as well, before he sighed. “I can’t, Walter. I’m not psychic—that much I’m 100% honest about. But there really are things I can’t tell you yet. But—” He began, holding up a hand as Walter went to interrupt him. “There are things I can and will tell you tonight, and some day you will know all of the rest of it. Or at least most of the rest of it. That’s the best I can do. And no arrest or subpoena will change that, for now.”

Walter sighed, long suffering and looked to the heavens for a long moment before he nodded. “Fine, what is it you can tell me right now.”

Gabriel Shepherd looked down at the Earl, and then oddly looked to Morgan for a long moment. “Right now, before we can look at it, I can tell you this. What they were making is a portal, to a place far beyond here. It isn’t to the land of Faerie, and Morgan can tell you why, and I don’t know where it goes exactly—but it is dangerous, and I have to go. So we will need to speak to your police, and talk to this sad lump of treason, to start getting that set up.” He said with a sigh, that made it clear he did not particularly want to.

“Is that it?” Walter asked, drawing a head shake from the other man.

“There are seven words that will cause you grief tonight, Walter. Seven words that will start a fight, and I don’t know how that fight will change things down the road.” Gabriel said very seriously. “All I can say is when you think of them, wait to make a phone call. There are four times in your life when your future will be set by seven words, and tonight is one of them.”