O, Death: Part XXII

by Matt P.

Epilogue: Monday, 9:00 AM


“For the last time no, you cannot have a new brother and sister for Christmas,” Walter sighed as he walked Antigone and Siobhan in to the house. He sighed again as not only did the two of them leave their shoes right in front of the door, but when Matthew and Natalie did the same to mimic them.

“But it makes sense,” Siobhan pointed out for the third or fourth time. “They know about all the weird stuff, so they probably shouldn’t just be left wandering the wild. And we are best suited to make sure they…don’t tell the press? Stitches get snitches, and all that?” Siobhan said, shaking her fist menacingly at the two younger kids before she dissolved into giggling and moved toward one of the couches. She stopped when she saw Morgan waiting there in jeans and an emerald green sweater, eyebrows raised.

It was Monday morning. Despite their desire to spend exactly no more time in hospitals, both sets of twins had been transferred to another hospital in town for observation until that very morning. Now apparently both girls had nothing more on their mind then relaxing for the rest of their break, not going to the hospital, and trying to get Walter to adopt two temporally displaced orphans.

At the sight of Matthew and Natalie walking and talking, Morgan stood quickly and started to walk toward them. They blinked and stopped, apparently confused. “Doctor Eva?” Natalie asked, a little bit shocked. “The Hospital said you retired fter the plague, we asked about you.” Walter just raised an eyebrow. “That means you’re…” Natalie trailed off, apparently putting two and two together as she took in the woman.

“You used your real name thirty years ago?” Walter asked curiously, as Morgan made her way over to the children. She gave him a little bit of a look, before she inspected the younger twins.

“There is a difference in pronunciation between Eva and Aoife,” the Faerie woman explained, carefully enunciating the difference as she looked them over. “You shouldn’t have been able to recognize me because of glamour. I’m always using my real face,” she offered to Walter before she could ask, “I’m just using magical nonsense to keep anyone from recognizing me. There must have been some residual magic left with you both. That just makes it more imperative that we find you a place that can help with any…unusual abilities that you might come in to.”

“For the record yes, she is magic too,” Antigone supplied, adopting the tone Siobhan normally used when she was being ‘helpful’. “And a Faerie. And probably not actually behind anything that happened.” Antigone was apparently less bothered by Morgan’s reappearance, and pulled Matty and Natty over to sit down on the couch.

Walter and Siobhan moved to follow, with Siobhan taking the recliner and Walter joining Morgan on the love seat. “Morgan came back last night,” he explained.

“Where are you putting them, and why is it not here? And why weren’t you there when we were getting murdered by death?” Siobhan said as she pulled her legs up to rest her chin on her knees, halfway between comfortable and glaring at the woman—and definitely not parsing her own sentence about being murdered by death.

Morgan sighed, settling back in to the couch. Walter put a hand on her knee, and she gave him a little bit of a thankful smile. “Siobhan, I’m only barely keeping Faerie from civil war right now. The call I got was ‘Dear Mab, we’re going to start tearing each other’s throats out if you’re not here tomorrow.’ But I am sorry,” she apologized sincerely, sighing. “And it isn’t here because your father’s paycheck will only stretch so far, among other reasons, and five children just might be that limit,” Morgan pointed out wryly. “But we have somewhere.”

Matty and Natty took one another’s hands as they regarded Morgan with a little bit of wariness that Walter couldn’t blame them for; their lives had gotten more than a little screwed by magic, after all. “Where is it? Who is it with? Couldn’t we…” Matthew began, before he sniffed a bit as he remembered—his parents thought he and Natalie were dead. They had died thinking that, as Walter had told them gently, in 2006.

“I have a family where the husband and wife each have half of my people’s blood,” Morgan explained softly, meeting their eyes. “Here in town. They are part Faerie, like I am, and they’ve had to help people deal with missing chunks of time in the real world too. They are both very kind people, and I trust them.” She gave them a reassuring smile, nothing more magical than an adult telling them that everything might be okay, and they took those words and clung to them. “You will go back to school next year, and you can see Siobhan and Antigone whenever you want. Or whenever Siobhan ditches school to demand it,” Morgan added, giving Siobhan a side-eye that no one in the room (except Siobhan) would have said was unearned. “We will try it for six months and then see, okay?”

Both Matthew and Natalie nodded, and Antigone smiled. “My room is down the hall, take a left and look for the one attached to another room. We have some old clothes in there that we can give you. I’ll be back in a minute.” Walter smiled at his daughter’s easy manner with them, as the two younger twins ran off. When the four of them were alone in the room, however, his smile fell some.

“So…demons,” Walter said softly. Morgan put her head back against the love seat and shook it from side to side, anger in her eyes.

“Demons. Or at least one. A Zenunim is a kind of demoness who eats souls, and their Queen is Eisheth. And like all demons they were supposed to have been banished from Border the moment it was created,” Morgan offered with a grunt of frustration. “And I have no idea why there was one here for apparently thirty years.”

Siobhan frowned. “How do you know they were banished? Could they have wormed their way through your magic or something?” She asked, putting her legs down and leaning forward.

Morgan shook her head in response. “No. This isn’t my magic, not really; it’s the magic of Border itself.” She looked like she was going to say more but she stopped, and shook her head again. “It shouldn’t be possible, and I don’t like it.”

Walter, Siobhan, and Antigone all sighed simultaneously, giving it so much of a similar tone that Morgan laughed despite herself, and shook her head by way of apology. “I feel like I just said this but…it’s going to get worse, isn’t it. Even worse then we thought?”

Morgan nodded. “I’m sorry, Walter. This is…long term bad. It probably isn’t tomorrow, and it may not even be next year. Demons think in the very long term. But it is going to be bad.”

Antigone stood up, and walked toward the direction of her room. But she stopped, reaching out to squeeze her father’s shoulder. “What do we do?”

Walter looked up at Antigone and gave her a smile, and then looked to Morgan. “They teach us how to kill demons. After all I’m behind—I can’t let Bug get cocky,” he offered, chuckling, as Antigone and then Siobhan went to help Matthew and Natalie. But his smile left when the silence returned to the room, as Morgan took his hand. He didn’t know if he squeezed her hand, or she squeezed his, but it was comfort against the growing fear for both of them.