The three decided food was a good idea. None could remember the last time they ate. The lunch crowds had since vanished and dinner was still a few hours off so they had the place to themselves. An odd trio they made, clearly, and the waitress had avoided them as such. That was fine with everyone.

“You don’t think they are planning a full scale assault, are you?” John asked.

“You can’t get from here to there to do dat, Johnny,” Midnite reminded him.

“Then what is their plan? Stockpile weapons up that can kill and angel or demon and hope to be in the right place at the right time before they go *poof* back north or south? How did they even know where those two were living?” John continued.

Nite, you said Cherry sometimes came to your club. You ever see Aamon’s son there?” Perkin’s asked between bites of pie. He was taking this all so well, John thought. He clearly had no idea who Perkins really was and is.

“Nah, da son o’ un demon draw too much attention at my place,” Papa replied.

“Maybe someone followed Cherry one night and got lucky enough to notice Aamondaeus lived across the hall,” John offered.

“That must be it Midnite,” Perkins suggested. “Ever see anyone have a special interest in Cherry?”

Midnite thought a moment. “Hard to say. I no have cam’ras and something weird is always going on – it is my place aft’all.”

“Well let’s head back there and ask your crew,” Perkins said decidedly.

“You ain’t gonna in-tear’gate my men,” he said angrily to Perkins.

“Why not? They got something to hide? Do you?” Perkins said pointedly.

Midnite grit his teeth. He knew Perkins was right. “Fine, but I ask dee questions.”

The place was cleared except for staff. Perkins kept quiet, letting Midnite do the asking. It was Merlock, the undead bartender who was oddly silent on the topic – even for a zombie.

“Come on mon, if you know sumthin’ you need to tell me,” Midnite urged him.

Merlock looked around the room. Everyone was curious since they all seemingly knew nothing or seemed to have anything to hide. The fiend looked very uncomfortable, especially for an undead. “I…I…can’t say. I’m not supposed to…”

“Who brought you back?!” Midnite screeched bolting across the room and grabbing the lurch by the throat. “I brought you back from the other side, I can send you there again!” And brought a hand back that began to glow slightly.

Perkins stepped in quickly, grabbing the glowing arm to deflect it. “Come on, Papa” he said coyly. “We all know how loyal Merlock is. I’m sure he wants to tell you what’s going on, right Merlock?” Perkins coached, giving Merlock an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

Midnite grabbed Perkins and pulled him aside, “Don’t you get in da middle of this!”

“I’m just trying to help, let’s call it good cop/bad cop,” Perkins replied.

“But I can be bad ‘nuf for both us and I sure don’t need you helping,” he said casting Perkins off. Leaving Perkins far off at the bar, Midnite returned to Merlock. “So now tell me or you know what gonna happen t’ you,” he said warning the once man.

“I can’t, he said he’d… he’d… ki…” and the bodyguard froze.

“Who said?!” Midnite yelled. “WHO?!” he yelled again his eyes glowing and shaking the creature with both hands, both now glowing.

MIDNITE! STOP!” John yelled. John had sat back and let Midnite run his crew his way. No one seemed to notice Merlock’s skin begin to glow or the black as night tears rolling from his eyes. But John was too late. Midnite could only stare in horror as his long time barkeep illuminated from the inside and then his head exploded with an ethereal light, sending sickening bits of him all over the room. The blast was intense, shaking the room and its fixtures, and those in it. John was cast back by the blast but ran to Midnite who still held Merlock’s shoulders. The stump of a neck oozing and steamy.

“Midnite? MIDNITE?!” John said his tone increasing at what he saw. “PERKINS, GET OVER HERE!” he yelled.

Perkins ran over, still recovering from the blast. Midnite stood frozen, eyes entirely white, but seemingly unharmed by the blast otherwise. The rest of the crew panicked and ran.

“What was that?” John asked Perkin’s imploringly.

“I …I don’t know John,” he replied. “I know Midnite had some strong magic. I once saw him cast a fireball in a snowstorm.” The literal nature to his tone had John inclined to believe it. “Maybe he lost himself a bit in the magic and forgot what he was channeling. Maybe he brought forth something too strong. He doesn’t look hurt, just…frozen.”

They guided Midnite to a nearby couch not stained by the chaos. He just sat, wide and white eyed. Everything they tried; snapping, slapping, cold water, and not even an incantation John knew did any good.

“So what now?” John asked. “We’ve nothing. No clues or leads.”

“I guess we wait,” Perkins said.

“For what?” John asked.

For someone else to die.


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