Everything in the world seemed to have gone crazy. Scarlett and Viktor had recovered quickly and with the help of Launa and Flow and were sent home equipped for their endeavors for quite a while. When Scarlett had asked why she was being so generous, Flow explained how her, Audrianna, and Ms. Launa were all going to take an extended vacation with the intentions of “educating” some of the more primitive tribes of people back in their homeland. Viktor had no idea what that meant but Scarlett was pretty sure Flow would be coming back with a hefty body count that consisted of mainly males but she simply smiled and kissed Flow on each cheek. Audrianna hugged her a little too tightly and bowed with a great laugh while Scarlett rolled her eyes. It seemed like everyone was okay with their present places in life; everyone was perfectly happy in their world. In the rest of the world however, everything was chaos. The New Orleans police were baffled by an extreme increase in missing persons reports and unidentified bodies that kept showing up all over the quarter. They were nobodies and wanted criminals so hardly anyone complained or raised their voice.
Flow, Audrianna, and Launa had been gone for over a week but already the quarter was feeling their absence. The gift shop at St. John’s had still yet to find a replacement since Launa had covered every open shift by herself. Reverend Zombie’s House of Voodoo was also still closed. Flow and Audrianna had run it by themselves and Scarlet guessed that there was no one else to take over. The only thing that bothered her was that, every once in a while, there were lights on in the apartment above the shop; the apartment that Flow and Audrianna had shared for many years. She had wanted to knock on the door a multiple of times but never got to it.
It seemed like the French Quarter was about to unravel by it’s every thread. Storms were rolling in and were predicted to only get worse, stores were closing, homes were being vacated and boarded up, and for once, Bourbon Street was nearly deserted. The only people left were a few hardcore tourists, a handful of street kids, and about half the locals and employees of The Quarter. Without all the clutter of people Scarlett finally noticed how often she saw the others like her; the ones she “met” at Flow’s for her final farewell to them. Micah was always in Jackson Square and after reviewing all her photographs of the area, she noticed he was in more than a hundred of them. He was amazing at blending in. Scarlett had never noticed him before. Zelda, Minderva, and Adelade ran into her at The Court of Two Sisters and they all had lunch which ended up being much less awkward than Scarlett had thought it would have been. They were amazing women and it amused Scarlett how talking to them was like talking to one very interesting person. Coleman and Michael seemed to be everywhere at once, always smiling, always laughing, but never saying a word. They waved to her when she was reading on the bank of the river but turned and ran off playfully hitting each other. The only ones who seemed to have vanished were Malificus, Fortuna, and Jerm. The twins didn’t bother her, but she had wished to see Jerm again. She never told Viktor about him and didn’t plan to. She knew what she was getting into when she was with him. She only hoped that wherever he was, he found one of his own kind like she had. Viktor had been a constant rock for her. They killed, worked, and did pretty much whatever they wanted, however with the storms getting worse, Viktor was getting worried. It had taken him a while to get used to filtering his victims and he had many actually missed missing persons buried in St. John’s. Viktor and Scarlett had become an unstoppable team, but their victim choices were dwindling with the lack of tourists coming through. Something deep inside Mother Earth was definitely stirring and everyone could feel it coming.
Scarlett and Viktor were at Aunt Tiki’s celebrating Dave’s last day. He met a young and beautiful man who wanted to take him on a trip around the world and actually convinced him to say yes. Being the Cynical jerk that he usually was, Scarlett was amazed Dave was actually smiling and not saying anything remotely sarcastic. Scarlett stepped outside to have a smoke when Micah and Zelda came up to her out of nowhere. They bowed to her and she did the same. “My child” Zelda began, “we need to speak with you, immediately.”
Scarlett gave her a concerned look but stepped back inside to explain that she would be right back. Viktor looked outside and knew exactly what was going on. Scarlett had told him very little about her “friends” but enough for him to understand that they were all on the same side. When she returned outside only Zelda was there. They walked to Flow’s where Micah was inside. He must have been living there since Flow left. That’s why Scarlett had seen the lights on, or at least that’s what she hoped. They went upstairs, where Scarlett had never been before. They entered into a very small yet cozy kitchen with a small white wooden kitchen table with three matching white wooden chairs. Scarlett took a seat between Zelda and Micah who were already sitting with a cup of tea in front of them. Micah slid her a cup as she sat. “We are sorry to interrupt your good day,” he began. His voice no longer sounded monotone but soothing, but it still made her sleepy, “but we have foreseen some disturbing events. No doubt you have seen the increasing severity of the storm,” again the professor voice came out, “and you must know we all have secrets hidden throughout the city that we don’t want to be traced back to us; as difficult as that may be.” Then Zelda chimed in with her voice as sweet as honey.
“My child, we need to evacuate.” Scarlett was taken aback by the comment but was happy that Zelda had gotten straight to the point. Micah sighed deeply and continued.
“The others, Minerva, Fortuna, Michael, Jerm, Coleman, they all have left. Not in fear of being caught, but because they can feel the disturbance.”
Zelda began again, “You are the youngest and newest of Flow’s family and have not learned the old ways and unfortunately there is no time now. Micah and I, being the eldest, have stayed behind to ensure you got out safely, however we can stay no longer.”
Micah stood and removed a tiny sundial from the top of Flow’s refrigerator. “This is no normal sundial for it does not need sun to tell you what you need to know.” He set it in the middle of the table and continued with his full attention on Scarlett. “Listen to me my young lady, this was Flow’s most protected relic. The shadow shows how imminent danger to our lives can be. I have been here monitoring the changes and it is time.”
“The shadow is almost upon us my child,” Zelda said. Scarlett deeply wished she would stop calling her ‘my child’ but she understood that they were all her children so she let it go. “We are here to show you how it works so you may take your own path.” The next few minutes were spent reciting the old ways back at Micah as he recited them to Scarlett. Zelda did the same. Finally, after about half an hour, Scarlett was able to recite word for word the directions Micah had given her for working and interpreting the sundial. After another cup of tea and much information on how to contact the rest of them if necessary and what their plans were and where the others might be, Micah rose, cleared the table and said it was time to go. Zelda got up and escorted Scarlett out. She kissed her on the forehead and Scarlett felt a wave of relaxing heat flow through her veins. They bid each other farewell and Scarlett began walking down the street. She turned back to look at the shop but all was dark. It bothered her since neither Zelda nor Micah had left after her. There was much she didn’t know about her new “family”. She walked in silent contemplation her whole way back to Aunt Tiki’s. Viktor was outside smoking with Dave, both of them swaying just a bit, laughing and talking loudly. It shocked Scarlett but made her smile. She walked up them and hugged them both.
“What was all that about?” Viktor said kissing her cheek.
“Ya!” Dave rang in, “You’re just going to leave my party? You’re a bitch Aphy.” Scarlett laughed as Dave was back to normal and just punched him (softly but enough to know a breath out of him) in the sternum and walked inside to take a shot.
The next few days were spent in preparation. After Dave left she explained everything to Viktor. He took every word with the purest intentions. She showed him how the sundial worked and told him everything Zelda and Micah had said. He didn’t truly understand what she was talking about but he had never been privy to an ancient group of people with beliefs and traditions to follow. He was an outcast to everyone, yet he felt he had a place next to Scarlett so he accepted what she said without contest. That night was the first time Viktor was permitted to stay at Scarlett’s.