2.22 - Rythe: Guns > Magic

“What are you looking for,” I watch as Ci-Ci scrambles all through her house.

“The Key,” she calls from the bathroom.

“Key to what?”

“My past,” she calls back and I think I may be physically ill.

“Can you just tell me without all the damn riddles?”

“It’s not a riddle,” she calls back.

I’ve been sitting in her home for close to an hour as she runs around the whole thing sporadically. I still haven’t been able to convince her that Jonah is the serial killer, but I’ve got her convinced we should confront him. She said she needed to grab some things from her home before we could do it, but I’m not exactly eager to leave Tituba in my apartment. Ci-Ci thinks that Jonah is watching Tituba’s home as well as hers. Obviously, I wasn’t thrilled when she suggested we come here.

My idea, turn in everything we had to the Shadow Syndicate. Let them put out a bounty on Jonah. He could have a trial after he was captured. The guy is way out of our league. Sure she can use blood magic, which is very impressive, but it looked like she was almost dead after going a few rounds with Jonah. I’ve got nothing. I’m not a fighter, or anything like that.

“We could just call in the Syndicate, and be done with all this.”

“Stop being a coward,” Ci-Ci is possibly the most patronizing person I ever met.

“I’m not trying to die because you want to talk it out with your family. I don’t have the leisure of confronting actual monsters. I am an elf, with no magic ability. I am essentially a human. I have no protection if things go south.”

“Shut up, you’re the one who wanted to say he was a serial killer. You need proof, and a confession. We’re going to go get it.”

“I don’t need to be there personally.”

“If you’re going to point fingers you need to be there.”

I take a drag from one my cigarettes, and wait as she continues searching. I can’t even run out and ditch her. She knows where I live now, and Tituba is still sitting in my house. I just have to go along with the play now. I’ve gone so long in my life without any magic, since I was twenty-three so close to fifteen years. I wonder if it’s completely off the table for me now, or something I still call on. Hadn’t thought about it before, but dealing with her is going to send me straight to hell on a one-way journey.

“I’ve got it,” Ci-Ci emerges from her bedroom with an actual key.

“You really have a key to your past?”

“Oh yeah, it’s buried deep in the basement.”

I watch as Ci-Ci makes her way over to a door in the kitchen that had previously been untouched. She uses the back end of the key and stabs the palm of her hand. She tells me to relax as she begins to draw some symbols on the door. Likely some kind of magic sigils, something I wouldn’t know about. She stands back and smiles as the blood slowly soaks the wood and drips to the floor. From my perspective she’s done nothing but make a mess. Still she seems to be more eager, so I sit back and watch.

Slowly the door begins to dissolve and I’m awestruck. Blood isn’t acid, and I’m not sure what kind of acid would be needed to melt through this door. When the door finally melts there’s another door standing behind it unscathed. A large door that looks like steel with a keyhole right in the center. Ci-Ci jams the key in and turns. I can hear heavy locks fall into place and she pushes it open slowly, it squeals after seemingly being unused for a long time. A dark stairway awaits behind the door.

“Watch your step,” she begins to walk.

Slowly small lamps along the wall begin to light as we descend. I’m not sure if the lights are magic or just motion censored. Once we reach the bottom of the stairs she places her bloodied hand on a stone wall. Slowly the lights start to flicker on in the basement. As more lights come on I notice more and more equipment. Not just standard hiking equipment or stuff for yard work. She has guns, espionage equipment, magic instruments and so much more. She’s got an entire armory down here.

“What is all this?”

“Well, when you do the kind of work I used to you gain a lot of stuff. Some of it, you buy yourself. Some of it gets confiscated. The only sword I know how to use is made of blood, but I’ve got eight swords down here. Justin couldn’t use magic so he used most of this stuff on different missions. If Jonah really is your villain, you’re going to want to used some blessed bullets. Cursed bullets would be more effective, but he’s spent his life learning to negate dark magic. You’re also going to need some body armor. You don’t seem like you can take many hits.”

“If you don’t believe he’s the killer why are we going through all of this?”

“Because even if I think you’re full of shit, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.”

“So, this is your past,” I knew, but I didn’t know.

“Yeah we spent our time hunting down people who were using magic inappropriately or creatures that had gotten into cities and run wild. We had to keep a lot of things. Didn’t know if we needed to bind a werewolf with silver cuffs or need a gun that could pierce troll skin.”

“Do you miss it?”


“Why not keep doing it? I saw how happy you were when that door opened.”

“Because it reminded me too much of Justin.”

“Maybe you just need to find a new way to go about things,” I suggest.

“Like you and the drugs?”


“I’ve seen enough fairy dust in my life. Maybe we all deal with our problems different ways.”

“You don’t understand,” and she doesn’t.

“Sure, let’s just get you suited up.”

2.21 - Rythe: Unbelievable


“Why were you following me,” Ci-Ci demands of me.

“I told you, I wasn’t following you. I was following your brother in law. Shouldn’t you be more worried about why he was trying to kill you? I'd like to know. I'm sure this old lady would like to know,” I respond.

“My name is Tituba and you have one more time to call me old woman before I trap you in an eternal trance,” the old lady finally introduces herself.

“That doesn’t explain the stalking,” Ci-Ci doesn't drop it.

“After I met you at the club, I looked into your husband's death. I thought you were the killer. Meaning you were a serial killer I'm looking for,” I shrug.

“How dare you think I was a murderer, Ci-Ci slams her hands on my coffee table having regained her strength.

“Well when I saw bird boy land in your yard I knew he was the killer,” I finish my explanation, it’s simple really.

“That doesn't explain how you ended up at Tituba's home,” Ci-Ci continues her interrogation.

“Because I'm sexy,” Tituba rubs her hips and the two of us share a laugh.

“I was following Jonah, it just so happens he was following you. You should be lucky. He had you on the ropes. Any more questions,” I cede the floor to Ci-Ci.

“You're full of shit! Jonah can be an asshole but he's not a killer,” Ci-Ci spits back at me.

“I know you don’t want to believe him, but he's telling the truth. I can't feel a lie coming from him. He's on my dishonest with himself,” Tituba places a hand on Ci-Ci's shoulder.

 Know she’s struggling with this. I would be too. An elf shows up claiming your brother in law is a serial killer, then kisses him. She just had the fight of her life as far as I know, and she didn’t exactly come out on top. Jonah looked incapacitated, not dead. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was out searching for her now, because he doesn’t know me. I need to ditch these two. They’re going to bring me nothing but bad luck. I’ve got my killer; I just need more information to bring him down. I think I can do that without them.

“I would like to go home now,” Tituba breaks the silence.

“Alright, let me grab my keys. We can grab something to eat on the way,” I grab my jacket.

“No, your house is a mess, and he might be there still waiting for you,” Ci-Ci interrupts.

“I must make amends with Ogoun. I reached out to another Loa, and as you can see, he brought ruin to my home,” Tituba rises as well.

“No, that was me, I brought ruin to your house. I don’t have the money to fix it right now, but I promise I will.”

“This was a punishment, I need to make amends,” Tituba insists.

“Please at least wait a day or two until we can know you’re safe,” Ci-Ci says we as in a group. I don’t like we.

“My place really isn’t that big,” I interrupt.

“Nonsense. Tituba can take the bedroom and I’ll take the couch in the office,” Ci-Ci has a plan.

“And me,” I ask.

“This couch here in the living room,” she points.

“Sure you wouldn’t be more comfortable in a hotel room,” I ask.

“No, this is safer, we’re all together,” Ci-Ci continues to lead.

“Whatever,” I drop my jacket, “but I’m sleeping in my bed.”

“That’s no way to treat guests,” Tituba interjects.

“You’re not guests and a few minutes ago, you didn’t even want to stay here,” I toss my jacket back into the armchair.

“Well we’re here now. Let’s make the best of it. I’ll order pizza,” Ci-Ci grabs my phone from the reciever.

“No mushrooms, they’re just a fungus,” I make my way into my bedroom.

I take a seat on my bed and pull out one of my fairy dust cigarettes. This time, I’m looking for the calming effect that follows the adrenaline rush. I don’t like people, outside of small doses and they’ve invaded my home. People get hurt around me, and they’re insistent on being here. I need to be alone. That’s what is best for me, and everyone else. They just don’t see it. Hopefully they’ll be gone in the morning. This living situation just won’t work.

2.24 - Rythe: Addiction Never Ends


When Ci-Ci was forced to realize that Jonah was the serial killer she helped me break through the locked basement.  I don’t think there’s anything else down here, but it doesn’t hurt to check. A moment to think about the next move. We have to take Jonah down and I don’t really have the ability to beat him in a fight. I’ve seen that guy fight. I don’t want any part of it, even if Ci-Ci thinks she can take him. Last time she almost passed out from exhaustion and now she’s emotionally distraught even if she won’t admit it.

I light up another cigarette and take a seat on the stairs. The basement is empty, a dead end. Locked for no reason. This isn’t where I thought I would be when this all started. I thought I’d just track down a serial killer, write a story about it and maybe win an award. Now I’m trying to find a way to sneak out of a fight between two monsters. That’s what they are, monsters. He’s super strong with wings, and talons. She can take a hell of a beating and uses blood as a weapon. Who the fuck uses blood as a weapon?

It doesn’t take long for me to finish the entire cigarette, but the fairy dust inside of it doesn’t give me the relief I need. I didn’t roll these with a high in mind, but I need a high. I pull another out, there’s nothing wrong with doubling up. I wonder what I should name the article, that’s never been my strong point. I can leave it up to the editor, that’s their job. This basement is so cold, and we haven’t even had our first snow of the year yet.

I hear a scream from upstairs and it startles me. I trip rushing up the stairs towards the sound and barrel through the door. I fall onto the floor and my hands sting. Staring at them I can’t help but notice they started shaking. I hear another scream, it isn’t coming from this floor. I rush up the stairs to the second floor of the house. The whole thing reminds me of the home I lived in with my mom and uncle. It’s disorienting on some level but another scream brings me back to reality. The second door on the left. I struggle to get through. A few strong kicks don’t do anything. I slam my shoulder into the door, my entire body weight breaks through the lock.

“Help me,” Ci-Ci screams as she’s being beaten.

I recognize the man standing over her with his fists balled up. The deep purplish gray of his skin, the gang markings masquerading as pride. The cut in the corner of his lip and fiery red eyes glowing even in the light. His left arm, blackened and badly burned. This is my uncle Cibzen beating her. I can feel my chest tighten just looking at him, seeing him in person. Remembering how he used to beat me.

“Get off her,” is all I can do to stop the beating.

“Shut up boy. You’re next,” he calls back at me as she screams for help.

“Stop,” I can’t bring myself to attack him.

“I told you to shut up,” he makes his way towards me.

I back track but he closes the gap. I close my eyes as the back of his hand slams into my face. I don’t fall like I would when I was a child, but I still feel it. I can’t bring myself to open my eyes, as the second backhand lands across my face. Soon I’m against the wall taking punch after punch. I can hear myself screaming, but I don’t know what I’m screaming. Just sounds of pain, anguish and rage. The salty metallic taste in my mouth tells me I’m crying and bleeding. The familiar taste of the two mixing reminds me of a home I left so long ago.

“You need to fight this Rythe,” I hear Ci-Ci’s voice call over and over again.

I can’t fight it. I can only run from it. This is a fight I couldn’t win. I never could win. He doesn’t stop for a break. He never does. He doesn’t stop until I’m knocking at death’s doorstep. Still Ci-Ci keeps yelling for me to fight. I open my eyes to his grin. He’s taking pleasure in this, he always did. I slam I my fist into his genitals and buy myself some time. I should help Ci-Ci get up.

But I’m a coward. So, I run down the stairs and out the door. He won’t chase me in the day light. He won’t anyone to see. That’s all I can hope for. I’m not lucky. He rushes from the house, his hands ablaze. He’s pissed off. All I did was piss him off. I run harder, it feels like a brick is on my chest. Why isn’t he tired yet?

I tumble head first into the concrete, spilling my own blood from a cut on my head. I turn to see what happened. A naked prostitute stands over me. Smokey red hair, and pale white skin. A large heart being cleaved in half on her cheek. Marking her as some vampire’s thrall. To burning holes cauterized close from the flames where her breast used to be. She laughs, revenge in her eyes.

“You killed me, you stupid fucking whore,” is all I can yell.

My uncles foot slams into my jaw and I know it’s broken. I’m done for. The prostitute laughs and joins in the beating. He can’t do this to me. This shit isn’t right. It isn’t fair. I don’t deserve this shit. All I wanted was to live. I just wanted to fucking live.

“Leave me alone,” I yell out through the tears.

“Shut up,” the prostitute calls.

“Nothing is wrong with me,” I cream through a math full of blood.

“Just take it like a man. Be a fucking man,” Cibzen yells as he lands a kick in my ribs.

“You can’t do this,” I try to crawl away, but she holds my legs.

“Shut the fuck up,” Cibzen starts to stomp on my head.