The Equilibrium Files #4.1
"Hi, this is Driscoll, gotta good one for you.”
"You’ve got my attention, detective,” ‘Wheels’ spoke into his commlink.
"Come down to the morgue and take a look.”
The three Equilibrium agents arrived at the city morgue an hour later and were shown to the room where the body was laid out. Standing with Detective Driscoll were two official looking men and an attractive woman in a white lab coat. Driscoll made the introductions.
"These are IRS agents Bannerman and Tweedley and this is Dr Laura Sanders, city coroner.”
Dr Sanders spoke first, "Victim is a male in his late twenties or early thirties, apparently healthy with no marks on his body, no broken bones, hasn’t taken anything particularly lethal and no signs of violence. Medically he shouldn’t be here, but the fact remains he is dead.”
The three agents raised a collective eyebrow. "Told you it was good one” said Driscoll wryly.
‘Wheels’ gazed at the body, concentrating, "He’s been drained of his life essence.”
"Vampires?” Dreyfus ventured. The coroner interjected "There were no marks on the body. I thought vampires were supposed to bite their victims.” She said this almost mockingly, her scientific background making it difficult for her to accept such concepts.
"It’s possibly a succubus,” said ‘Wheels’. "You know, beautiful demons that seduce and drain people.”
This was too much for Dr Sanders, "I have better things to do than listen to this mumbo jumbo, I’ll leave you to it.” With that she left. The six men walked together to the street. Agent Bannerman spoke;
"Guy’s name was Vaughn Dixon, a Johnson for Heathcote Insurance Inc. We’ve been investigating him on suspicion of embezzlement. Only just started so haven’t got much. We can give you his address, if that helps. He hung out with all the other corporate types at the Muscari Club, Downtown.”
"I can show you where that is,” said Driscoll.
The two IRS agents left and Driscoll and the three mages headed for Dixon’s address. It was a plush apartment in one of the better parts of town. Driscoll showed his badge to the uniformed officer guarding the door and they entered. They were not surprised by what they saw. A typical rich young man’s apartment.
"The body was found three days ago in the bedroom. No signs of a struggle but the bed had been given some rough treatment, if you know what I mean.” He winked knowingly.
‘Wheels’ checked the bathroom "for signs of make-up. If it is a succubus she would need to glam up after leaving.” He found nothing.
Meanwhile Potty and Dreyfus checked Dixon’s personal computer and diaries. They found a list of appointments; mostly business but one from earlier in the week said "must see her tonight”. It was highlighted as if it was urgent or important. Further delving revealed large payments being made into a numbered account; no names.
"Surprise, surprise,” said Dreyfus.
They also came across a card for The Muscari Club. "That club must have something to do with this,” said ‘Potty’ so they made their way there, taking a picture of the dead man with them. Driscoll took them in and introduced them to the security staff and then left.
"See ya’round” he shouted as he went out of the door.
"We’d like to look at cctv footage from, say three days ago?” they asked. The security guy replied "You’re more than welcome, but I don’t envy you. There’s hours of the stuff. Can I get you coffee and something to eat to help pass the time?” "Great, thanks.” Then they settled themselves and began going through the security vids. Even taking it in shifts bored them and tired them out, despite regular doses of caffeine. Eventually, their perseverance was rewarded and they saw Dixon arrive at the club and leave with a beautiful woman on his arm. Apparently they had identified their target.
"We’ll hang on until later and watch for her coming in. We can grab something to eat while we’re here,” suggested ‘Wheels’.
Evening staff began to arrive to prepare for the long night ahead. The three talked to them and discovered some interesting things. The beautiful woman on the security vids was a recent patron of the club. She seemed to be attracted to young corporate types exactly like Dixon. They didn’t appear back at the club after she’d seen them. Her current beau was a certain Jeff Duffrey, an executive in a property development company. Aware they didn’t know who they were looking for, they sat eating their meal. They watched each person as they entered the club. At last a young man came in who caught their attention. He appeared distracted and hurried to the bar and ordered a large drink. He scanned the room as if looking for someone. He finished his drink and ordered another, which disappeared just as quickly. He lifted his glass and nodded to the girl behind the bar who filled it for a third time. Eventually the beautiful woman arrived and the agitated man headed straight to her and they began talking. This was obviously Duffrey. He was obviously besotted with her. He never took his eyes off her. At last they both stood and made ready to leave. The three mages followed them but outside the club Duffrey and the woman went their separate ways.
Our three heroes decided to follow the woman. ‘Wheels’ got into their car, driving slowly behind them, and the other two followed on foot. She walked a couple of blocks and then got into a car. It was being driven by a security guy of some kind. Potty and Dreyfus quickly got in with ‘Wheels’ as he drew alongside them. They then shadowed the woman and her driver through the near empty night-time streets. They came at last to a wealthy neighbourhood and stopped a couple of hundred yards back from their targets destination. This was a detached house set back from the road with a neatly kept lawn in front. They checked the address and found it belonged to a Henry Thursbee. The woman entered and the car drove away.
"What now?” said ‘Potty.’
They waited for about an hour and nothing happened. Then Dreyfus caught sight of an eerie green light casting a glow over the rear of the property.
"We’re dealing with a demon here, guys. They need to be banished. We can’t go in all guns blazing and expect to neutralise it,” said ‘Wheels’. "Call Father Jack, he’s our demonology expert. Let’s hope he’s sober!” They smiled at each other ruefully. They called him and explained the situation. "I’m on my way.” He closed the link, swearing under his breath. Jack eventually arrived, not best pleased at being dragged out of bed in the early hours of the morning. "This’d better be feckin’ worth it,” he said. Father Jack was always ready with a pleasant greeting. They then formed a plan.
Dreyfus would cast invisibility on himself and move to reconnoitre the house. ‘Potty’ and Father Jack would follow at his signal and ‘Wheels’ would stay in the car on look out. This was a wealthy area with little or no crime. They had seen no one as long as they had been there. Things looked good for getting up to the house unseen. Eventually they were in position and looked through the back window into the large kitchen. As ‘Wheels’ had predicted they saw the woman but this time in demonic form, complete with wings and horns.
She was with a middle aged man, presumably Thursbee, and was swathed in a green light which came from a talisman he was holding. She was writhing in agony.
"She doesn’t look as though she is enjoying that,” said Jack. "We need to get hold of that stone; it’s obviously why she’s in thrall to that guy.” After a short discussion they had made a plan. ‘Potty’ used his telekinetic skills to rest the amulet from Thursbee’s grasp. It slid over the floor to the opposite side of the kitchen. Dreyfus then shot at Thursbee through the window, severely wounding him. ‘Potty leapt into the kitchen, shattering the glass, and scrambled across the floor. He managed to grab the amulet before the succubus and they stood facing each other. She tried to influence him but his counter magic was too strong. ‘Potty’ got the impression she had been trying to let him know she wanted to cooperate. He handed the amulet over to Jack who began to question the succubus.
"What are you doing here?” he asked.
"I was summoned here by that amulet you hold. ‘The Demon’s Eye’ is its name and it belongs to my master on the other side. This human was using it to control me and do his bidding. I did not like that. I thank you for freeing me and would ask that you return me to my rightful place. I do not belong here, at least not like this.”
Jack said some words the others could not understand and moved his hands in arcane gestures. The succubus began to fade and the ‘Demon’s Eye’ started to blink on and off, the green glow lessening with each pulse of light. Eventually the demon disappeared and the amulet was a useless piece of glass.
"We’ll have to find out where Thursbee got this thing. It’s too powerful to have been made, in this world.”