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SUMMARY: Giles and Ethan, the electric Kool-Aid funky Satan groove year, in the early seventies. Rated M. Spoilers to Band Candy. Acknowledgements and disclaimers.


98.

So Rupert still had a job and he still had somewhere to live. He rang the drummer of The Grins, who told him he was still in the band but wasn't to miss any more rehearsals. All good.

What he didn't have was the full use of his right arm. The muscles in it, and in his shoulder, neck and back, only got worse over time. He could play the guitar with difficulty, and drive not at all. Stan gave him some industrial-strength painkillers that made him space out.

He'd promised Stan that he'd help look for Randall, so he did. What he mainly did was sit in the passenger seat of Stan's car while Stan drove in ever larger circles around Camden. Rupert looked out at the evening streets, then night streets, as if he might somehow spot Randall.

Stan got more and more worried. "He'd have let us know if he'd gone to a friend's." Then he got angry. "You think he'd have left us a fucking note."

That night, well after midnight, Adrienne came to Rupert's room. "Ssh," she said. "I don't want Deirdre to know." She lit a candle, then pulled off her nightgown. The candlelight over her body reminded him of the night she'd first taken him home.

She was a bit too rough that night and it took him longer than usual to come. As she pulled her nightgown back on, he asked her how Diedre was.

"Terrible," said Adrienne. "She had to call his family today. She spoke with Paul, who's her ex-fiance, if you remember. She lied convincingly, but she's been drunk since she got back home. She keeps saying you killed him and she wants you out of the house."

"Eyghon killed him," Rupert said. He was shirtless and sitting against the wall. He searched himself for any trace of doubt, and found none.

"It'll take her some time to believe that."

"I can leave," he offered.

Adrienne shook her head. "Just give her another couple of days."



99.

Ethan was tired but he couldn't fall back to sleep. He was hungry and thirsty but didn't want to get out of bed. He felt quite sick. It was the middle of the day, probably.

Randall would have checked on him, if Randall had been there. Randall would have knocked quietly on the bedroom door and offered Ethan some tea, or an aspirin. Ethan wondered if anyone would check on him now. Maybe, in a week's time, one of the others would say, "Has anyone seen Ethan?" Or maybe someone would complain it was his turn to do the shopping.

Actually, Diedre would remember him, eventually. She was just a little distracted right now. And Adrienne wasn't stupid.

The thought comforted him, and he decided he felt well enough to sit up. He found that he'd left a glass of water next to his bed. He drank from it and felt a little better.

He was still in the same clothes he'd worn yesterday. The skin of his palms was peeling where they had been burnt. The skin under his missing fingernail ached.

He really needed to work out what had gone wrong with the spell. Firstly, he would have to rule out obvious things. He'd start by checking his memory.

He cleared a large section of floor by piling up his clothes and pushing the mattress towards the wall, leaving a broad expanse of wooden floorboard. He pulled out some chalk and drew the pentagram and subsidiary circles on the floor. He was pleased by his lack of hesitation -- there would be nothing wrong there. Then, next to it, he wrote the words of the chant, again from memory, and with confidence.

So what more was there? Now he wrote out the order of the casting and its components. That was all of it then.

He felt better just looking at it all written down. He went downstairs and washed, then breakfasted, or possibly lunched. He put on some clean clothes and noted that he'd need to go to the laundrette soon. The thought was so normal that it surprised him, then filled him with pain. Things weren't normal -- Randall was dead.

He sat back down with the fucking Dargoth spellbook that he now wished he'd never owned. He wished Ripper hadn't known where to find Eusapia Ciccarello. He wished he hadn't found the article about her in the newspaper clippings. He wished he'd never gone snooping around Evelyn's things and had never heard of Ciccarello.

He opened the book and went through the spell. The pentagram he'd sketched was correct. So were the circles. So were the lines of the chant. He checked the order of the spell and the list of components. All correct.

Then what the hell was it? What had killed Randall?

He read through the text of the spell again, and worked it out.



100.

The police arrived just as Rupert came home from work. They rang the doorbell at the front door just as Rupert came in the back. He and Adrienne cleared a path through the hallway and let them in. Adrienne took them up to the drawing room while Rupert went to warn Stan.

Stan was blase though. "They need a warrant," he said. "And I've not got much around the house any more. I'm shutting up shop and moving to High Wycombe, yeah?"

Up in the drawing room, the police sat on the only two chairs while everyone else stood around. Diedre looked miserable. Ethan looked sick.

"Did he seem agitated?" the police asked. Then,"What's his means of employment?"

"He's an artist," Deirdre said.

"What's his main source of income though, love?"

"He has a small inheritance," said Deirdre, "and he made some money painting."

"Does he have any unsavoury friends?"

Only us, thought Rupert. Stan said, "He has a lot of friends. He's a very popular guy."

"Is there anyone you can think of who might want to harm him?"

"No," said Ethan, with some vehemence. "No-one would ever want to harm him."

"And, apart from the argument you mentioned, had he shown any other signs of distress or agitation?"

"A couple of his friends in America died recently," said Deirdre. "I mean, two of his friends from when he lived in America, but they didn't die there, and it wasn't recently, but he only just found out."

"Oh?" said an officer, looking genuinely interested for the first time.

"In service in the army," she said, and then police officer looked almost disappointed.

"Where did you get that bruise?" an officer asked Ethan.

"Outside a pub," Ethan said.

"Can we look in his room?" they asked.

Rupert stood in the doorway of Randall's bedroom while they looked around. They picked up clothing and opened boxes. They found his pot but didn't say anything.

"Did he take his wallet?"

"Yes," said Diedre.

"What about clothes?"

"A suitcase," lied Diedre. "He just left his fancy dress."

They spoke to Diedre some more after that, asking about their relationship and the whereabouts of Tom. Then they were gone.

Rupert went up to the attic. He wasn't worried about the police looking for Randall, for they would find no living trace of him. He was a little worried though about the illegal Germans and whether any sign of them could be found in the house.

He searched the attic, but found nothing obviously incriminating. He went to look out the window, at the summer sky and the garden far below.

He could see the police car pulling away. He could see Ethan, Diedre, and Adrienne standing near the gate. He saw Ethan say something to Diedre. And then she scratched him in the face.
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