Sunday, September 30, 2012

Homecoming Queen: Chapter 5

As much as Gabe did not like the thought of possibly leaving people in harm's way, he knew there were law enforcement officers there, and the gunfire let him know that they were ready fight back against whatever they had come across.  He ran as directed by CC, who had the EMF detector in front of her.  The machine buzzed with activity and it was getting stronger.  Hopefully, whatever was going on in those woods, Gabe would be able to put an end to it.
The sound of the yelling died down a bit, but the gunfire stopped completely.  Some voices good still be heard in that direction, but no screams, and that was a good sign.  The woods themself weird showing signs to heavy traffic.  Something had been there.  There were small broken branches.  Gabe spotted more claw marks on a few of the trees.  CC missed much of this as she mainly was concerned with staying on the right track and not tripping as they ran.
"This thing is going bonkers."  CC said matter of factly.  She was trying her best to stay on task and not let the creeping fear in her gut affect her actions.  "We're getting real close."  That was enough for Gabe to reach behind him and pull the Glock from its holster.  He took it in both hands and turned the safety off.
Gabe was in the lead and spotted a clearing in the woods up ahead.  He stopped in his tracks and held his hand up.  CC was not familiar with military hand signals, but the message was clear: “freeze”.  She stopped behind him, and said nothing.  Taking her cues from Gabe she said nothing.  He glanced back at her, and nodded at the EMF detector and them nodded towards the clearing.  CC nodded back.  The source of the readings was there.  He waved at her to turn it off and put it way and she did so.  From there they crept low and quiet forward.
There were people in the clearing.  Gabe saw them milling around and counted eight of them.  He heard no talking from them, and that disturbed him a bit.  That many people, and no one was talking.  He spotted more of them as they advanced.  By the time the pair had gotten within a few feet of the clearing, Gabe counted fourteen people, nine men and five women.  All of them wearing regular clothes, but most of them dressed as though they had planned to be outdoors.  It was difficult to judge their ages as their faces looked weird.  They were emotionless and rather pale.  They kept milling around and did not interact with each other.  The clearing itself was unremarkable aside from nothing was growing there at all.  It was dark moist soil showing off the footprints.  Despite the people looking odd that did not stop CC from recognizing one of them.  She touched Gabe’s shoulder and pointed.  Gabe followed where she was pointing.  It was one of the males, and was possibly the youngest there.
“That’s Travis Kinkaid.”  She said flatly.  She made a conscious effort not to stutter as the sight of him in that stay chilled her to the bone.  He did not look like anything as obviously wrong with him, but he certainly did not look right.
“Wait here.” Gabe ordered and clicked the safety back on his pistol.  He holstered it and stood up walking slowly into the clearing.  “Travis Kinkaid.  He called to the youth amid the crowd.  Some of them looked at Gabe as he advanced.  Travis did not.  “Travis, there’s people worried about you son.  I’m here to take you home.”
At this point two of the males rushed Gabe.  CC gasped as they bolted towards him.  The clearing was not very big and there was only a few yards distance between Gabe and the group.  She wanted to call out, but before she could Gabe kicked the first one to rush him right in the chest as if he were kicking a door in.  The man’s feet went out from under him and he fell flat on his back onto the soft ground.  The second man lunged reaching out to grab him, but Gabe deftly sidestepped and planted a right cross to the side of the man’s head.  The man grunted in pain and fell to the ground.  It was a powerful punch, and Gabe knew he had made a solid connection.  Still the man was already getting back to his feet slowly. 
The majority of the rest of the group were starting to walk towards Gabe.  About three of them, including Travis still just milled around in silence.  Gabe backed away from them, and away from where CC was still crouched.  He was close to the edge of the clearing when he pulled his gun out and pointed it at the group.  He clicked the safety off.
“Back off!” He ordered, but they paid his warning no heed.  He was ready to pull the trigger and drop the closest male, the same one he had kicked seconds ago.  It was then that CC spotted something behind Gabe.  She bolted into the clearing and called out.
“Behind you!” She yelled and that was enough warning for Gabe to spin around and narrowly avoided being grabbed.  What came out of the woods looked like a person, or more accurately, looked like it had once been a person.  Its face was twisted and looked horrid.  It stared at Gabe with glassy eyes and its wreck of a mouth salivated.  It wore a long overcoat and dark slacks with dress shoes that were coated in dirt and mud.
“Don’t you move.” Gabe ordered coldly realizing that he was now caught between this strange person and a mob.  The twisted man glared at Gabe and then CC caught his eye.
“You.” It said coldly, and the word sent a chill straight through CC.  She did not know how, but she knew that thing, whatever it was.  It felt familiar in some horrible way.  She did not have time to ponder it as one of the mob grabbed Gabe from behind.  Gabe responded by elbowing the offender in the face which freed him.  He turned to them in time to slam the palm of his hand into a woman lunging at him, knocking her backwards.  The twisted man was walking slowly towards CC.  “You are not escaping me again.”  CC had no clue what he was talking about.
The twisted man stopped and looked to the woods.  If it was scared it was impossible to read on its mess of a face.  CC heard something in the woods, but kept her eyes on the thing in front of her.  She wanted to run, but had no clue where to go, and loathed the thought of leaving Gabe.  Gabe spotted the man near CC.  He kicked the closest male into the mob.  It slammed into two others and gave Gabe enough room to take aim.  He did not say a word.  He squeezed the trigger three times and three bullets found their marks in the twisted man’s side.  It staggered the man and he turned to Gabe giving him a vile look.
One of the females in the group, a small slight woman, struck Gabe hard in the back of his head.  Gabe grunted in pain and staggered forward.  A woman that size should not have been able to hit him so hard.  CC’s attention went to her comrade as a man in the group punched Gabe hard in the face.  The gun fell free from his hand as he fell to the ground.  CC quickly looked back to where the twisted man was standing, but he was gone, and CC could not spot him anywhere.
What CC did see was what had been making the noise in the woods.  Part of her had hoped that it was the other searchers and Sheriff Steward would be coming in to the rescue.  What came out of the woods was not.  CC had never seen one before, but she knew immediately what it was.  It was what had been making the claw marks in the woods.  Its hulking, dark fur covered frame sprung into the clearing, and in the dim light of the waning day, CC knew that she was seeing a werewolf. 
It stood on two legs and snarled menacingly.  CC noticed that it was actually wearing jeans, which seemed incredibly weird to her.  Its lips were pulled back on its dark muzzle to reveal sharp fangs.  The fangs looked just as sharp as the claws on its hands.  It looked like it was eyeing the situation, judging which of the people there would be its first victim.
At this point CC dove forward to where Gabe’s gun lay in the dirt.  The mob was now keenly aware of the massive beast in the clearing.  Gabe was kneeling in the dirt still stunned from the blow in the unfortunate position of being between the mob and monster.  CC took up the gun.  She had never fired one in her life, but hoped that it was as easy as the movies made it look.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Homecoming Queen: Chapter 4

They had been working their way through the woods for just under an hour.  Sheriff Steward had split the assembly of searchers up into groups of three of four and they entered the woods in a fairly close spacing forming a line in hopes that so clue as to Travis Kinkaid's location may be found.  The sound of dogs barking could occasionally be heard as a couple of the searchers had brought their hunting dogs in hopes they might pick up a scent.  So far, there was no luck.  There were still a couple of hours of daylight left, and the searchers were determined to make the most of it.
Gabe and CC had been paired with a couple of men who seemed to know the woods fairly well.  Joshua was a stocky fellow in his twenties who seemed to constantly have a wad of chewing tobacco in his mouth.  Larry was a little older than Gabe and did not seem terribly comfortable stomping through the brush.  The four of them moved through the woods scanning around them with every step for any trace of what might have happened to the young man.  CC had out the EMF detector which was not picking up much of anything.  She was not the only one in the group not completely focused on the task at hand, which she noticed easily enough was Joshua seemed a bit too content staying at the rear of their group.
“You find any clues back there.”  She said as she glanced back at Joshua.  It caught him off guard and she thought for a moment he might swallow the chewing tobacco in his mouth.
“Back where?”  The stout searcher replied.
“On my ass.  Did you find any clues on it?  Because if not, stop looking at it.”
Gabe smirked and Larry rolled his eyes.  Joshua moved forward in the group, and he was slightly flushed with embarrassment.  CC just went back to the search.  The detector was silent to the point that she checked to make sure it was still on.  Gabe stole a glance at her and his eyes darted to the small device.  She shrugged as a reply. 
“Heard you two are from Lazlo U.  Something about some sort of reading?”  Larry offered in hopes some conversation would make stomping through the woods a bit more bearable to him.
“That’s right.  I don’t know if it has anything to do with the young man going missing, but we’re out here anyways, so we might as well help.”  Gabe answered without looking at Larry.  He constantly looked around for anything that could give a clue as to what might be out in the woods.
“Kind of you.  I know his folks will appreciate it.”  Larry pushed a branch out of his way and nearly stumbled over a log.
“You know the family?” 
“Sure.  We all attend church together.  At least we used to.  Travis stopped coming nearly a year ago.  My kids were the same way at that age.  ‘Too cool’ for church.”
“What do his folks say about that?” Gabe asked.
“Not much.  You can’t make someone go to church, and they know that.  I do know that they’re pretty sad about it.”
“What’s that?” Joshua spotted a mark on a tree.  The four of them moved closer to it.  The tree had been slashed with four distinctive marks.  Each parallel to each other and angled downward.  Joshua took a closer look at it.
“What do you think?” Larry asked.
“Pretty big claw marks.  Guess what they said about a bear out here is true.  Must be damn good size to leave marks like this.”  Joshua spit into the bushes as he examined the marks.  “Best be careful, I suppose.”
Larry and Joshua continued forward.  Gabe hung back a little with CC.  CC was visibly agitated.  She did not believe for one second that a bear had made those marks.  She was still very new in her studies of things outside normal human experience, but she had read a bit about creatures.  Reading about them from the comfort of a library, even that musty one in the basement at the university, was a much more comfortable feeling than possibly being in the forest with one.  Gabe rested a hand on her shoulder.
“Any readings?”  He asked in a very business-like tone.
“Um, no.  Nothing.”  She answered looked down at the device.
“OK.  We’re fine.  Stay sharp, and try not to freak out.”
“Why would I freak out?  Because I’m a girl?”  CC shot a nasty look at Gabe.  She thought he was being condescending, and she hated that.
“Because the sane to do would probably be freak out and I need you together.  I damn near crapped myself first time on one of these trips.”
“No kidding?”
“No kidding.  Keep in mind, I didn’t.”
“That military training?”
“Yep.  Basic training includes an exhaustive course on bowel control.”  Gabe’s joke did put CC at ease a bit.  They continued on with the group.  The marks on the tree had looked recent, but the last full moon had been well over a week ago.  Gabe was running through his mind things that could possibly have made those marks.  The bear story was possible, and there was the off chance that Kinkaid had been out in the woods, for whatever reason, and stumbled across the animal.  Unfortunately, Gabe did not buy that.
They were losing daylight.  The cell phones and walkie-talkies the searchers had with them buzzed with chatter of turning back towards their cars.  They had covered well over a square mile worth of forest with no results other than the claw marks which had appeared on a few of the trees.  All the while the detector that CC had been holding was silent. 
“Shit.  Gabe!”  The detector spiked hard.  There had not been even nominal readings, but now the machine was alive.  Gabe hurried over to her.
“What’s that?” Joshua asked, looking at the pair of them.
“Another reading like the one the university picked up.”  Gabe answered, before turning to CC.  “Hold it out and move it around.  See if we can get an idea of a direction of a source.”
CC moved to a small clear spot in the woods and did as she was instructed.  He soft hazel eyes followed the motion of the device and kept a sharp eye on the readings.  She did not have time to ascertain a direction before the sound of gunfire cracked through the air.  The sound of men yelling and screaming joined the sound and the repot of more gunshots were heard.
“It came from that way!  Come on!” Joshua took off in the direction of the noise with Larry following quickly.  Gabe shot a look and CC and they followed their companions.
“Gabe, wait!”  CC called out.
“What is it?”  Gabe froze in his tracks and looked back at her.  The sound of the men yelling was close.  There were a few more gunshots.  Gabe was a little worried about running into the field of fire by accident.
“We’re going the wrong way!”  CC waved the device back the way they had come.  The readings are definitely coming from behind us.  It’s getting fainter.  We’re running away from it!”

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homecoming Queen: Chapter 3

It was a thirty minute drive from the Tucker household to the edge of the woods where Travis Kinkaid's car had been found.  Gabe asked CC if the area had a history of weird happenings or strange rumors.  If it did, CC did not know about them.  CC's parents were slightly concerned about the nature of CC's visit, but were put at ease by her promise to be home before bedtime.  It was the promise she had made to them many times growing up and she had always abided by it.  Although now, she was not out with friends or on a date.
The scene at the clearing was a busy one.  There were many cars around and some of them were police vehicles.  Gabe had expected as much.  They pulled in with assorted civilian vehicles and got out of the car.  Gabe immediately went to the trunk.
"Keep an eye out." He said to CC as he opened the trunk. 
"Nobody's looking."  She told him as she took a quick look around.  Gabe took a Glock 9mm and holster out and slipped it onto his belt at his back.  His jacket easily concealed it.  "Do I get a gun too?'
"Do you know how to use one?"  He raised an eyebrow at her.
"Then no, you don't get a gun."  He pulled out a backpack and handed it to her.  "You get to take this."
"What's in here?"  She slid the backpack on.  It was a little heavy, but with all the books she had to carry around for her classes she was used to it.
"Couple of water bottles, a satellite phone, and an EMF detector."
"Those pick up supernatural activity, right?"
"That's what I'm told."  Gabe answered closing the trunk.
"Like that movie 'Ghostbusters'?"
"I don't know.  I just know that if I turn it on, and it makes noise, it’s usually bad."
"What's our next move?"
"Talk to the cops and see what they know."
"Really?" CC looked a bit surprised.  "Do you think they know about the ley line stuff?  Are you going to tell them?"
"Not really.  Just follow my lead."  Gabe and CC began working their way towards where the main crowd was forming up.  It was mostly men, and almost all of them looked like they were ready for a hunting trip.  The tone was one of concern.  A small group of those assembled were having a prayer circle hoping to find Travis soon.  Gabe spotted a deputy and led CC over to him.  "Evenin'.  Gabe Gunther from Lazlo University."  Gabe offered his hand and the deputy took it.  "Some guys at the university picked up some weird electromagnetic readings from the area and sent us out to investigate."
"Electromagnetic readings?"  The deputy raised an eyebrow.  “Let me take you to Sheriff Steward.”  Gabe gave CC a nod and the pair of them followed the deputy to the sheriff through the crowd.  Sheriff Steward was an older man in his mid-fifties.  He did not look very impressive.  He was a little heavyset and balding.  However, as he discussed the search with a few of his deputies and civilian liaisons it was obvious that he was the man in charge.  The deputy escorting the pair said a few words and the sheriff broke away from the group to talk.
“Alright Mister Gunther, what’s this about electromagnetic readings.” He asked.  His voice sounded a bit rough like he had been talking all day.
“There was a weird flash in a spectrometer and I was asked to see if anything weird happened that could account for it.  It happened last night.”  Gabe explained after giving the sheriff a firm handshake.
“That's when the Kinkaid boy’s car was left here.  This is the first I’ve heard of anything about electromagnetic stuff.”
“It could be entirely unrelated, but my assistant, Miss Tucker, here knows the young man who disappeared and we’d like to help look if that’s alright.”
The Sheriff looked Gabe over and tossed a glance at CC as if sizing the pair of them up.  He was silent a moment and finally nodded.
“An extra pair of eyes couldn’t hurt.  We’re going to be heading into those woods in that direction.”  He gestured towards the wooded area that was quite dense and hard to see very far into.  “We found a jacket out there that was identified by Kinkaid’s father as Travis’s.  We’re going to keep things tight.  While the jacket was intact there were some fresh scratches on some trees.  Most likely a bear getting ready for hibernation.  Best to stay safe.  We’ll be forming up to start the search soon.”  With a nod he excused himself and headed back to confer with his deputies again.
“What do you think?”  CC asked.
“He’s got a handle on this from the look of things.  If this was a normal missing persons case I’d let him handle it and head back home.”  Gabe had turned to her and spoke in a hushed voice.  He kept his eyes roaming around to make sure he was not heard.
“I don’t like what he said about those claw marks.”  CC responded following Gabe’s lead in staying quiet.
“Neither do I.  Sure it could be a bear.  And that ley line flux could have been a random thing.  And this guy disappearing at the same time could be a coincidence.”
“And I could win the Miss Lazlo U pageant.”  CC answered with a long sigh.  “I’m kinda scared here.”
“Good.  Go with that.  It’ll keep you sharp.”  Gabe stroked his tightly trimmed goatee.  “The problem we have now is if we head in with the rest of the search party we may find something we can’t explain.  It may put us in a tough spot if the EMF reader starts going bonkers.”
“Still, if we’re in the loop with the search party, they may spot something we don’t and we’ll know about it.”  CC offered with a shrug. 
“True.  I just don’t like the idea of heading in with a bunch of people who don’t know what could be in there.”
Their conversation was cut short as Sheriff Steward called everyone together to begin the search.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Homecoming Queen: Chapter 2

               It was a four and a half hour drive back to CC's home in Genesse, and much of that ride was spent in silence.  It became obvious to CC that she had next to nothing in common with Gabe Gunther.  He did not seem to want to talk about much of anything either.  Even went the pair stopped of lunch Gabe barely spoke.  CC did have a ton of questions about him that she had no clue how to broach.  She knew he had been an Army Ranger, but did not know why he left the military.  She did not know how she met the Doctors.  She did not know why he seemed to favor his left leg a bit when he did not think she was looking.  CC had never been shy, but she had not spent much time around many people as intimidating as Gabe.

They were about an hour away from their destination before Gabe started talking about the reason for their trip.  CC had phoned ahead and told her parents that she and a friend would be coming home for the weekend.  Gabe was happy to not have to be stuck in a motel.            
"You have that tablet thing of yours with you, right?"  He asked running his hand through is super-short blonde hair.
"Yeah, right here."  CC replied pulling her tablet from her travel bag that was sitting at her feet.
"It gets internet, right?"  Gabe shot the device a glance as CC brought it out of its sleep mode.
"Not very well when we're on the road.  We need a Wi-Fi spot."
"OK.  When you get a chance, look up the websites for the local news stations in Genesse and Nicholstown.  We're looking for anything weird that went on last night.  Include missing persons and violent crimes that don't have clear leads."
"Sure.  First chance I get."  CC was glad to get an order.  It made her feel useful in all of this.  Still, she felt nervous about the trip.  "Gabe?"
"You think this could get dangerous?  I mean..."
"Don't worry about that."  Gabe kept his eyes on the road, not bothering to look at the pretty young co-ed sitting next to him with worry plainly visible in her soft, hazel eyes.  "Things go bad; I'll take care of you."
The rest of the trip was quiet.  CC kept an eye on her tablet, but was not able to pick up a decent internet connection.  She also directed Gabe to her house. 
It was a nice suburban neighborhood which had not seen anything interesting happen in it since the Hansons one street over from CC's got caught sunbathing nude in their backyard.  This had been quite a shock to the neighborhood especially since the Hansons were both septuagenarians.  CC's home was a modest ranch house which had the exact same design as the majority of the other houses in the neighborhood.  It was CC's first trip home since leaving for college.
That's probably why CC's folks, Evan and Martha, were waiting on the porch for their arrival.  CC bolted from the car the moment it came to a halt and ran to her parents.  There was much hugging and quick chatter about how everyone was looking.  This chatter came to a complete halt the moment the Tuckers laid eyes on Gabe.  When their daughter had said she was bringing a friend home, they were not expecting a large muscular man of nearly forty.  Evan extended his hand a little tentatively.
"Evan Tucker.  CC's father."  He introduced himself trying to sound confident in front of the rather imposing figure in front of him.  As opposed to Gabe, Evan was a trim man who spent most of his time behind a desk working as accountant.
"Gabe Gunter.  Pleasure to meet you.  I appreciate you and your wife allowing me to stay here for the weekend."  Gabe shook Evan's hand.
"Yes... of course."  Evan was trying to maintain his composure, but it was obvious that he had not been expecting someone like the man his daughter had brought home.  "You do understand that you'll be staying in a separate bedroom yes?"
"Why wouldn't I be...?" Gabe was confused at first, but the pieces quickly fell into place.  He shot a look at CC.  "You did tell your parents that I'm here on business, right?"
"Don't deny our love."
"Tucker!"  Gabe looked angry, but CC could not help but laugh.  She then quickly cleared up the confusion explaining that Gabe worked for the university and there was something in town that he was checking out for one of her professors.  She was showing him around for extra credit.  Her mother briefed an audible sigh of relief.
CC put her bags in her old bedroom and Gabe stowed his things in the Tucker’s guest bedroom.  CC quickly set to the task of looking up anything strange in the local news on her tablet.  All the while her mother was asking her questions about college life and how CC had been adjusting.  CC kept her answers pleasant and did not mention the incident a month before.  Meanwhile, Gabe was getting a bit of interrogation of his own from CC’s father who wanted to ensure that the man visiting their home had no ulterior motives towards their only daughter.
“Gabe!”  CC called out.  “I think I found something.”  CC quickly read through some of a particular news story on the tablet.
“What are you looking at, dear?”  Martha Tucker peered over her daughter’s shoulder.  “Oh, that business with the Kinkaid boy?  You knew him, didn’t you?”
“What’ve you got?”  Gabe asked entering the room with Evan close behind him.
“It says here that Travis Kinkaid is missing.  They found his car out in a wooded area outside of Nicholstown.  Let me see that map, Doctor Amethyst gave you.”  Gabe went to the guest room to retrieve the map.  CC parent’s looked at her questioning.
“Who is Doctor Amethyst, dear?”  Evan Tucker asked.  He definitely saw a change in his daughter.  She had always been a capable and confident young lady, but now she seemed a bit more assertive.  The fact that she just told a man nearly twice her age what to do and he simply did it astounded him.
“He’s one of my professors that Gabe works for.”  It was a white lie.  Amethyst was not officially on of her professors, but she was certainly learning much from him.  Gabe returned with the map.  CC unfolded it and looked at the area at Amethyst had marked showing the ley line that had fluxed.  She looked up at Gabe.  “Same spot.”
“That would be a good place to start.  Your mother said you know the boy who disappeared.”
“He dated a friend of mine in high school.  We hung out a bit.  I’ve been to his house once or twice.”
“When were you at his house?” Evan asked, still a bit shocked.  At that moment his daughter being a boy’s house he did not know about was the only thing he could really hang on to.  “What is going on here?
“Anthropology studies.  The Doctors are looking into the effects of people disappearing warning and comparing how it affects people now with how it did in the past.  I do fact finding, and CC is helping me.”
“Oh.  Is she getting paid for this?”
“Yeah!  Am I?”  CC perked up.
Gabe felt a headache coming on.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Homecoming Queen :Chapter 1

Travis Kincaid should have been tired.  Typically, a person would be after running barely a mile at a full sprint through a dodgy forest in the dead of night.  Still, despite gasping for air, he kept the pace.  The adrenalin pumping through his system as well as the cold stark terror raging through his mind kept him going.  He was focused solely on running, and the fact that he had entered those woods with two dear friends was not even registering with him anymore.  The October night air was crisp and cold, and that cold was radiating through him as he greedily gasped it in.  The moonlight overhead gave him enough light to make his way through the woods without running into too many trees.
Travis nearly smiled when he caught sight of the edge of the woods.  Beyond that was a modest field where his friend's car was parked.  It did not matter that he did not have a key to the car; he was just desperate to get there, as if somehow reaching the car would mean he would be safe.  He was hoping to get in the car and lock himself in, if anything to give him enough time to use his cell phone to call for help.  He needed only a few more strides to clear the woods.
He did not make it.

* * * * *
In the weeks that had followed CC Tucker's trying incident in her dorm room a lot had changed for her.  On the surface everything seemed the same.  Her roommate, Tonya, was blissfully pledging to Kappa Theta Kappa and had dismissed the entire incident to the gas leak explanation offered.  CC continued attending her classes, but now paid extra attention in Doctor Rodgers' Anthropology course.  She enjoyed hanging out with her friends around campus, even though she had not joined any social clubs.
Instead she had joined a secret society of sorts.
Doctor Carson Rodgers and Doctor Dante Amethyst maintained a very extensive library in the basement of the Ellis Building.  While this was known to the senior faulty, the majority of the student body, and much of the staff were oblivious to it.  The library was packed with books, many of them in languages CC couldn't read and some older than the university itself.  The library was a single room, and it smelled of old books, which CC disliked at first but had quickly gotten used to.  The table and chairs where oak and while still sturdy hadn't been maintained very well with nick and scratches marring their former beauty. 
The society itself was a small one.  Doctors Rodgers and Amethyst were experts in parapsychology and what they referred to simply as "lore".  The incident that had happened in CC's dorm room was ugly, but not an isolated thing.  In fact it seemed there were much worse things, and the two doctors were experts in understanding them.  They were experts in dealing with them as well.  Both men were well into their forties, but kept themselves up quite well.  Rodgers was quite warm and friendly outside of the classroom and did his best to make CC feel safe and welcome within the group.  Amethyst, while not unfriendly, was a bit more reserved.  He obviously had many questions about what CC had endured, but Rodgers kept him from being too pressing with his questions.
CC herself was there for one reason only: she refused to be a victim.  While she had a basic understanding of what happened, the weird things that happened in the room and the possession, she needed to know more.  She knew now that there was more to her world that she previously assumed, and was determined to know whatever she could to make sure nothing could attempt to take advantage of her again.  She had compounded her new studies with some extra time in the fitness center.  The young hazel-eyed blonde seemed the same as when she arrived on campus, but there was new strength in her.
She had gotten to know the other's in the group a bit better.  Chad Armstrong was a graduate student studying mainly under Doctor Rodgers.  He was bright, personable, and seemed quite knowledgeable as to the various supernatural goings-on that the group was keenly interested in.  CC had also recently learned that Chad studied Wing Chun Kung-Fu, and was hoping that he’d show her a few moves.  Gabe Gunther was quite different, at least as far as CC was concerned.  He was a little younger than the doctors, but not an academic.  Gunther was previously in the Army and had been a Ranger.  He seemed to be more of a bodyguard to the Doctors than anything else.  While, he seemed nice enough to the others he still looked upon CC as the new girl and seemed a bit dismissive of her.
The Ellison brothers were still a bit of a mystery.  While Tommy hung around the group quite a bit and was nice, in a goofy kind of way; James had only stopped in maybe twice since she met him and seemed determined to keep his distance.  It was obvious to her that there was something going on with them that the others were keeping from her, but she did not ask. While, she was considered part of the group now it was clear that everyone wanted to make sure things were going to work out before she got full disclosure on everything.
So when she walked into the library and the doctors, Chad, and Gabe were in a heated discussion she hesitated a bit before she asked what was going on.
“I don’t like this, Doc.  Sending one person to checkout a ley line flux is never a good idea.” Gabe leaned against the table and had his thickly muscled arms crossed.  CC was not sure if he was scowling since he always seemed to look mean when she was around. 
“Ley line.”  CC recalled.  “Those are the invisible line of psychic energy that crisscross around the planet, and when they flux that means something big and supernatural happened… right?”
“Just about.” Rodgers smiled and shot a glance at the others letting them know that he was a bit impressed with how CC remembered that.  “A flux could mean “something big and supernatural” but this was not a huge flux.  So, it could possibly be nothing.”
“Still, I don’t like the idea of just one person checking into this.” Gabe countered.  “Amethyst needs one person to go with him to New Mexico.  You have to stay here to make sure nothing else pops up.  That leaves one of us to go to Nicholstown.”
“Nicholstown?  I live right by there.” CC chimed in again.  The men looked at here, and then at each other.  Chad was smiling a bit.
“Define ‘right by there’.” Gabe looked at her.
“I grew up in the next town over, Genesse, and spent a lot of time in Nicholstown.”
“That will definitely help in investigating since she knows the area.” Chad said with a shrug and a smile.  “Should be fine for her first ‘field trip’.”
“I’m fine with it as well.”  Offered Rodgers.  “Feel like taking a little trip home?”
“Sure, but who’s going with me?”