Three demons, an abusive housewife and a confused young woman walk into a diner, sounds like a joke doesn't it? Sometimes I wonder whether God made the world as a joke, if he did then I hope it looks funnier from the outside than it does when you're living it.
Helen was obviously confused, hell she'd just been pursued by killers and had been rescued by demons who'd ferried her away in a ghostly train; I did my best to explain that we were kin to the tribal spirit known as Fallen Eagle and that we were trying to help her people, but that we needed to know what evidence her father had possessed. She said that it had been an old Salem newspaper showing an unreported meeting between Stevens and the Duwarmish prior the Treaty of Point Elliot where he'd promised to respect their claims, now we all now that didn't happen, the Duwarmish got screwed and had been struggling to fight back ever since. She told us the newspaper was in a safe in her fathers fallout shelter; leaving the diner and moving to a place where we wouldn't be observed, Nardy produced the bent biscuit tin that held the Chariot of the Dead and with a hiss of otherworldy smoke we soon found ourselves racing through the night sky towards Noah's house.
Now we might not always be subtle, but you can't just go flying into the middle of a town with your ghost train, besides it was getting light so it dropped us off on the outskirts in someone's garden, we slipped around the side of the building and Frank tried to use his know how to steal a mercedes, I think that recent events must be wearing on him because he set off the alarm and then in his frustration ripped it out before hotwiring the car. Good enough.
As we sped towards Noah's the radio bought us the news that race riots had broken out in Seattle and that the streets were teeming with rioter, looting was widespread and the police were out in force; this did not bode well.
Screeching into the street we quickly located where the fallout shelter was, hell, Frank had lived next to Noah for years and it turned out the fallout shelter was next to some berry bush that he was particularly fond of; the safe inside quickly yielded to Frank's tender ministrations and I pocketed the plastic sealed newspaper, there were also loads of other cuttings about people disppearing covering a number of years and a map with lots of points of it, shrugging I also pocketed some of them thinking that if we got caught I could hide the real newspaper and palm off our opponents with the other clippings.
We needed to get the paper carbon dated and identified, a quick tap on my smartphone told me that Seattle-U had the facilities, upon arrival after fighting our way through the streets the academics seemed flustered and unwilling to move our project to the head of the queue, but I can be quite persuasive when I want to be and they were soon taking a small sample of the paper.
Now all we need to do was get the story out on air and the truth would be out there for all to see.
Like I said, pride goes before a fall.
"Might I have a word Mr Price" said a voice as we ran past my office, I turned and saw Mr Christmas standing there a look somewhere between worry and smugness lining his eminently smackable face.
"Frank, get Helen to the booth and get her on air" I shouted, "I'll deal with this. Okay Christmas, let's talk."
A few moments later I was joining Frank in the booth and starting the show, introducing Helen Siall.
"You may recall that recently we were due to have a local man Noah Siall on the show to talk about the plight of the Duwarmish people, unfortunately he passed away, and now we have his daughter Helen joining us," I waited for Helen to introduce herself and then turned off the microphones.
"I'm sorry Helen, you'll hate me for this, but at least you'll be alive to hate me - I did this for you," she looked confused as I finished speaking and turned back on the mic.
"Unfortunately, as a journalist you have to go where the story takes you, even if it's not a place where you want to go; recent evidence has come into my possession that connection Noah Siall with the disappearances of numerous people during his long life, evidence discovered in a fallout bunker that Mr Siall hid in his garden. When this broadcast has finished I intend to turn this evidence over to the police."
Helen's eyes had widened and a look of fury come across her face, she stormed out as the vulture-like paparazzi had already begun to gather, all I could hear was the sound of my career tumbling in ruins around me - the evidence that I had was circumstantial at best, but it would bury the story about the Duwarmish in scandal for years.
Frank looked like he was about ready to pitch a fit as I stepped out of the booth, he stammered "But we were going to... all that... Max, what the...?"
I just shook may head and though back to my conversation with Christmas:
"I know that we will never be friends, there is too much spilt blood between us, but I appeal to you to do what is right, I have killed people to hide this secret, but I have made sure to kill only those necessary. If you bring Fallen Eagle into the light then it's anger will be terrible and many people will die over a patch of land, Helen will be among them, how many more have to die over an old grudge?"
I walked outside to find that the crowds had departed, I could hear the police getting closer, for a brief moment I looked at the newspaper that could see the Duwarmish realise their dream and heard a voice echo in my head 'how many more people must die?" I grimaced and felt the anger of my situation, of the trap that my good intentions had lead me into, the paper smouldered and burst into flames, falling to the floor as so much ash, along with all my hopes and dreams for helping the Duwarmish; all sacrificed for the life of one person, I hoped in my heart it had been worth it.
Frank appeared, apparently he'd caught up with Christmas and had been offered a well paid job at Heartstream, I nodded numbly and said that he should take it; all I could see was the burning remnants of my careers and my hopes falling around me, a gray wisp of ash dropped from my hand, danced briefly in the wind like a dimmed star falling, and was gone.