John hated cells almost as much as he hated demons or the nicotine craving that the combo of the gum and patch weren’t curbing. Detective Watford shut the cell door and locked it. “Remind me again, why am I here?” John asked.

Watford grumbled a response, “Because you are the only one who knows anything about why it is that got me outta bed at 6am on my day off. Oh, and lucky for you, one of the victims had wings – which is your department. We had a deal John, I let you operate and this stuff never hits the papers. Well I can’t keep this one quiet.”

“You don’t think I…,” John began.

“No,” Watford replied interrupting. “But you are all we have right now. You, one corpse with wings, the poor front desk clerk who got murdered on the way into that flea bag motel you were at, and the two others in the next room that were collateral damage since the bullets that missed you went through the wall and plugged them. Had one of them not been a State Senator’s kid, even if he was doing what he was doing in that dump with a tranny, we might have been able to brush this one under the rug like always.”

John knew there was no more arguing at this point. Watford was just doing his duty. Then it hit him, the fact he’d been ignoring. Cassie, as he called her, was gone. He’d never felt a loss like this before. Even when Chas past, and John felt responsible then, he hadn’t loved Chas. Wait…had he loved Cassie? The thought seemed foreign to him. He knew it wasn’t love with Angela, even though nothing had happened between them. But he and Cassie went back, way back.

Gripped by the mere thought of despair John clenched his fists ready to pound the anguish out of his mind, targeting the pillow on the cot in which he sat. Before he could he heard a voice, “John…visitor!” Who would visit him, especially now? He could see Perkins walking down the long hall toward him. Well, walking isn’t the ride word for it. Limping would be a better one. As he neared, John noticed a blackening eye, and that Perkins had one arm in a sling.

Perkins looked at John and around at his enclosure. “Sounds like we both had a rough night.”

“The desk sergeant is an old friend of mine, so I’ve read the report. I’m sorry John, I know you and Cassie had something going – whatever it was it meant something,” Perkins said consolingly.

How had he known about the two of them? What “old friend” just hands over police reports? Clearly, John knew nothing about who Perkins was. “So you clearly know all about my night, what happened to you?” John asked.

“Whoever it was didn’t intend on killing me, they sure could have. I’d guess whatever crew is pulling this off, and I’m convinced now it has to be more than a one-man operation, that you got the better equipped leader or right-hand-man and I got the minions. Had they not struck me by surprise, been so many, and had I not been SO drunk, I might have still been able to take’em,” Perkins stated. “They struck without warning, assault the only intent. I took some kind of crack to the shoulder, which dislocated it – not sure if the collar bone is broken or not…”

“Well what did the doctor say?” John asked plainly.

Perkins chucked, “Can’t risk the involvement of more authorities or inquiries than we have going already John. One of Midnite’s crew found me and hauled me inside and got me cleaned up. And no, he didn’t see anything and will keep his mouth shut. Midnite’s assured me of that. On that note, and I can only assume your assailants followed you and Cassie last night. You were out of it and she was giddy at getting to haul you off for quieter surroundings. Midnite’s has clearly been compromised somehow…”

Returning to his previous thought pattern, “So I was down, took a beer bottle to the temple,” he said pointing with his good hand to the cut and band-aid-stitch job. “Got a few swift kicks to my ribs, I’m guessing they cracked at least three. Then I got a pointed kick to the face,” he said turning showing the large bruise on the cheek opposite John, “and was out like a light. Must have laid out in that muck for hours before the bartender found me.”

“They wanted me out, I can only assume to not intrude on their attack on you and Cassie. This is getting personal, John. I’m starting to think this is someone who knows us…” Perkins left the last comment open ended on purpose.

John thought a moment, then it hit him. “No, NO…he wouldn’t have…would he? And even if he would, then why?”

“I don’t know if the ‘why’ is important anymore. Maybe he’s panicking. Maybe the ol’ voodoo can’t keep him alive forever. And if he dies, will either side take him in? You know the answer and the alternative and no option is a pretty one,” Perkins concluded.

“Well how are we supposed to…deal with this? It’s not like we have a lot of proof, just some curiosities. And even if we are right, how do we take him down?” John asked.

“Any way we can, I suppose,” Perkins said thoughtfully scratching his chin.

John thought for a long hard moment. Guilty or not, someone needed to be asked some very direct questions. “Watford!” John yelled. “Let me outta here, I have someone I need to go question.”