Finian was shouting at three people.
Well, two people and whatever the thing could be called that continued hurling things in his direction. He was imploring Evelyn to wake up, demanding Alice King put the lid back on whatever insanity they had cut loose, and cursing the being throwing objects at his head with the force and precision of a professional pitcher.
Alice King for her part was fighting to do what Finian asked, but it was much harder than he presumed. Her green eyes flashed with electricity and her leathery skin was pulled taunt over her skeleton as she began waving her hand back and forth before her. Then she closed her eyes and her hair blew back from her shoulders. The room filled with electricity and the hairs all over Finian’s body began to stand on end.
Alice King brought her hand to a stop on her throat and she spoke in a deep, grave voice.
The tips of her fingers began to glow blue and a painful stillness weighted Finian to the ground. He tried to stand, to fight the force that threatened to crush him, but it was pointless.
Alice King’s eyes flared open and she spoke again.
“Manipura,” she said, and the blue light that flowed down her hand mixed with yellow. “Sahasrara.” As she spoke the last words a violet light erupted from the crown of Alice King’s head. She took her hand from her throat and drew a triangle in the air, repeating the three words again and a wall of blue light exploded out from the centre of where she had drawn.
The ruckus and insanity of only a few moments before came to an abrupt stop and the objects ceased to fly. Alice King turned to Finian and he was certain she would kill him where he sat. He was in the midst of praying internally that witches did not truly boil their victims alive whilst cackling madly about their pretty little dinner morsels when the old woman’s face sagged and she began to shake her head slowly.
“You’ve not idea what you’re getting yourself into, do you? You know nothing and yet you come barging in here and almost get yourself claimed before you know what is at stake.”
She crouched down and placed her old hands on Evelyn’s temple. Alice King began to mumble or chant something softly and Evelyn stirred.
“Look, Wynona Witchy Pants, I know full well what is at stake here,” Finian lied, “and I would suggest you take your hands off my friend before I have to show you a thing or two about magic. Think you’re the only one around here that knows about conjuring and whatnot? Think again. Now step back before I have to drop the bibbidy bobbidy boom on you.”
Finian was feeling more panicked than he had been in quite some time. He was staring some kind of magician or sorceress in the face and praying to all the gods he did not believe in that mind reading was not one of her strong suits. Turned out it was not, but it did not need to be for her to see right through Finian.
“Boy, save your threats and chest thumping for the young ladies who still have it in them to swoon. I am too old to be impressed by such things.”
Finian opened his mouth to speak and the old woman held up a shaking finger to stop him.
“Furthermore, we haven’t the time. You must take this girl and leave this place. What I have done will keep the creature back for a while but when it breaks through I need you to be gone. It will drag you both over and the bounty price will be well more than I can pay.”
“What the hell are you talking about lady! I don’t understand what you just said!”
Finian had decided to give up all pretext of being in control of the situation. If she was not in the mood to kill him he needed answers.
“This is exactly my point, young man. You don’t have the first clue as to what you’re doing. Yet, you’ve come this far so I shall tell you what I’ve learned and how I learned it.”
Finian’s eyes were wide and his palms were drenched in sweat. He clutched Evelyn’s unconscious hands in his own, shaking them involuntarily, and his heart hung on every word that came from Alice King’s mouth.
“You must seek out Raith and learn the arts, the arts of the necromancer.”
“Arts of the what? And wraith as in a kind of ghost? After today I don’t think I want to go hunting any wraiths.”
“No,” Alice King shouted, a vein in her neck bulging forth to accost Finian. “Raith is a man. You must find him and learn of the triangle. He can teach you. He will shun you at first, fein ignorance, but he knows more than he lets on. He tried to fool me, to trap me as I have trapped the one he sent for me, but his knowledge can be used against him.”
Finian’s mind was spinning. There was a man named Raith and he knew about art, that much Finian had down. He could draw triangles, or knew about triangles, or was a triangle. All the words and meanings became an explosion of colour in Finian’s mind. Everything blended with everything else and it left him with nothing but a rainbow of nonsense.
“Where can I find this Raith?”
Alice King smiled like a Jack-o-Lantern, all teeth and wickedness.
“If you are strong enough to find me, you will find him. Now go!” she shouted, “before the other gets loose and you leave me with three times the trouble I had when this day started.”
“What am I going to do with her, she’s out like a light? And what about your son? What happened to him?” Finian asked, the thought coming back to him as his brain was reeling through all the information he had gathered that day.
All the features of Alice King’s withered face drew together and she snarled.
“Let me worry about my son, you just worry about yourself, boy.”
Finian knew in that instant that asking any further about Alice King’s son would lead him to a place he did not want to go. He turned back to find Evelyn struggling to sit up and prying her now drenched hand from his. She worked her fingers to get feeling back after Finian had been crushing it and she looked from Finian to Alice King with darting eyes.
“Your boyfriend can explain later, get out.”
Evelyn made to protest but Alice King proved that she was nowhere near as feeble as she appeared. She grabbed Evelyn up by her lapels and threw her bodily from the house. Evelyn stumbled on the front porch steps and Finian came rushing out after her. The door slammed behind them and Evelyn turned to Finian for answers he did not have.
“What the hell was that, Finian? What happened in there?”
“I’ll explain later. We need to get out of here, right now.”
Finian turned on his heels and bolted from Alice King’s front lawn at a run. Evelyn caught up to him quickly and the two friends ran the entire way back to the train station.