Had to halve this page after a busy week, please look forward to more next week! We all remember Stephen's mom and her magician dreams. Thanks for reading! And please consider supporting Paranatural on Patreon, so I can keep doing this work!
“All right, people, BREAK IT UP!” bellowed a certain scarred police captain, emerging from the crowd of bourgeoisie.
Many knew her simply as the mother of Johnny Jhonny’s friend Stephen, as both boys were often cited in local gossip as the wrong crowd for the other to be hanging with, and her poor parenting pooh-poohed in either case. Those she outranked called her Captain; those she didn’t, simply Henchman, for this was both her role and her last name. Only her beloved husband was allowed to call her Hattie, and that was after years of sweetly whispered Darlings, Dears, and Harriets—she’d figured that, having taken her name in submissive defiance of tradition when they’d wed, he’d earned the right to give her one two kids into their marriage.
Somehow less used than this nickname born of true love and devotion, however, was the woman’s final epithet... for none remained who knew her as The Great Illuminati.
This was because her former career as a stage magician had truly never left the launch pad, and the few birthday parties she’d performed at (before The Incident) had been for largely nonverbal toddlers and one debatably nonliving centenarian. Captain Hattie Henchman wouldn’t even use her favorite pseudonym herself—not outside dreams and memory—for she was ruled by shame as much as rage.
It was with the burden of this baggage in tow that Captain Henchman stepped between two incredibly powerful denizens of shadow, both of whom were seething with malice, and both of whom now turned on her with glowing, hungry eyes.
“OKAY, folks, nothin’ to see HERE,” she barked, a claim which was objectively and clearly incorrect.
Sweat began to drip down Captain Henchman’s scar-crossed forehead; neither party had complied with her command. Sensing that both the ancient terror witch and Chief Davy’s apex predator son seemed inclined to resist arrest—and equipped to do so with excessive force beyond what she herself employed—Hattie’s brain stem got a head start on its bucket list, disguising her desires as a logical solution.
“...Nothin’ to see here,” she repeated, “EXCEPT—” With a fluttering of meaty fingers, Captain Henchman pulled a quarter from the folds of Fauxbia’s fabric. “Oh-HO!” the bulky cop exclaimed, passing the coin between her digits with a flourish. “What’s THIS?”
The tension she’d hoped to halve was doubled by her sleight of hand instead.
“That’s mine,” replied the Witch. “Put it back.”
“P-put it... back?” Hattie’s sweat flowed still more freely. The quarter had been hers, of course. It was the spare change from the cigarettes she’d bought and then crushed while screaming bloody murder, as she had every week for the twelve years it had been since she’d quit smoking.
“Put it BACK into my ear.”
“Y-yes, ma’am,” Captain Henchman gulped. “R-right away, ma’am.” She parted yarn to begin the first cavity search she wouldn’t enjoy in the slightest, harboring suspicions that the anatomy she sought did not, in fact, exist on Fauxbia at all.
“...There,” Cody sighed, composed once more. “You have a new toy. Let them go.” He nodded towards his father’s thrashing thralls.
“Mmm... BUT I’m GREEDY,” grinned the Witch. “Old biddies like myself are ALL collectors...”
Unseen strings tightened around Gage and Youth Culture, drawing black blood from their skin.