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The Fifth Floor: Astral Possession

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Silk

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Shannon ushers a very confused Felix out the front door. Once they’re out of earshot of security, she turns to him. “Okay, seriously. Are you messing with me?”

“I don’t know,” Felix says. “What did I do?”

Shannon studies him for a moment. “You really don’t remember, do you?”

“No!” he protests.

“Okay. So… do you have any idea why you might have thought you were a 94-year-old woman?”

“…No? So,” he says slowly as he puts the pieces together, “I suddenly started talking like a 94-year-old woman.”

“I’m gonna ask one more time,” Shannon says, “because I want to make absolutely sure you aren’t screwing with me.”

“Nope.” Felix is vehement. “That would require planning, and I, I’ve got nothing, sorry. I’ve almost been blood-sucked–”

“Not so loud!”

Felix drops his voice, but doesn’t miss a beat. “And now, the police want to ask me questions, and now, I’ve been a 94-year-old-woman and I don’t remember, and I don’t know, I just–” he stops, realizing that he’s been ranting. “Sorry.”

“It’s okay. I get it.” Shannon pulls out her phone and texts John with her dawning suspicion that Felix has just been possessed.

John, meanwhile, has just finished signing the last of the paperwork, and Patrick is assuring him that he’ll get a phone call once his grandmother has been safely transferred to Shady Acres. John thanks her for her time and then, checking his phone, rejoins Shannon and Felix outside. “Hi. Um… possessed?”

Felix declares that he’d really rather be somewhere else right now, so the group heads for the van. Shannon describes what happened as they’re driving back to John’s place.

“Has this happened before?” John asks.

“Not to the best of my knowledge.” Felix pauses. “Although since I don’t remember it, maybe I do it all the time. No one’s told me.”

“It’d be awfully rude if they didn’t,” John says wryly.

“Yeah. Yeah.”

“Well, um… I’m happy for you both?” John says. “I’m not really sure what to do with this.”

“Hope really hard that it doesn’t happen again?” Felix suggests.

“Well,” John says, “we have a name. Maybe she does this a lot. And it can’t hurt to look up a potential… exorcism, I guess?”

Felix shrugs. “It’d give me something to do.”

The conversation lapses as the group delves into research, hoping to find out more information about possession in general and this Mary-Lou in particular. Eventually, Felix looks up from his computer. “I think I found our old lady. It’s kind of upsetting, really. There was a woman by the name of Mary Louis who lived near there in the ’80s. She was at her friend’s funeral and she got hit by the limousine. She’s been in a coma ever since. And she’s there,” Felix says. “She’s 94 now. So… she’s apparently somehow still self-aware.”

” That makes sense,” John comments, “because according to my research this is more like astral projection than a possession. Sounds like she just kind of … borrowed you.”

“Creepy.” Felix considers that for a moment. “So she’s aware that time has passed, even though she might not know where she is.”

“She asked where she was several times,” Shannon points out. “If she was in a coma when she got there she’s probably never seen the place.”

“But she’s somehow cognizant of the time that’s gone by.”

“Apparently she measures it by how ugly the teenagers are getting.” Shannon shrugs. “So what do we do?”

“Tough question,” John muses. “I don’t suppose your research shows that she’s some sort of evil witch? Committing murders?”

“Not yet, anyway.”

“Well, maybe there’s something going on that’s preventing her from properly waking up.”

“I wonder how we would test that,” Felix says. “Or if it’s our place to get involved.”

“Hey, if we’d kept our noses clean, our candles would be dark right now,” John retorts, Hunter slang for “ignorant of things go bump in the night.”

“I was walking home, man!” Felix protests.

“I dunno your story. What’s your story?”

“I saw one of those icky water horse kelpie things lure someone into the river,” Felix says, which is enough to shut everyone up for a minute.

“Anyway,” John says after a moment, “I think we should investigate, purely out of caution.” But he also points out that we’ll likely have trouble getting in until his grandmother is officially a resident, and so talk turns to what can be done in the interim. John suggests following up on the Tuscany Tonguebeasts, and Shannon replies that they’ve likely fled. “Though I suppose there’s always the chance that they’ve just moved on to some other club. It’s a big city.” They agree that it’s still worth investigating; they know what the Tonguebeasts are and what these two look like, after all, so they’re not quite back at square one.

Before the group can get much farther, though, their attention is drawn to the TV. The news channel that John had left running in the background is broadcasting a press conference taking place in front of City Hall.

I want the people of Juniper to know that we will not rest until we catch this son of a bitch. We have experience and a cell with his name on it right now. We’re writing a profile, and have begun to interview his friends and acquaintances. We have discovered that he is a ‘loner,’ working an unsatisfying job as a copy editor.

The camera’s focus is a tall blonde woman, armed, wearing a navy jacket and a badge that reads FBI: VASCU. The news ticker introduces her as “Special Agent Leslie Greenwood.”

He was researching the occult, and we believe that he may have just … snapped. And the thing about people like this is that they get messed up very, very quickly. We need to have him caught and caught soon.

“Wow,” Felix says. “I suck.”

“Congratulations, I guess?” Shannon says wryly.

John smirks. “Your first stalker.”

Felix is ignoring their comments and frantically Googling VASCU. There’s not a whole lot of information, but what he does find isn’t reassuring: VASCU specializes in taking down serial killers, and they’re apparently very good at what they do. “I’m not sure I should be here,” Felix says, staring uneasily at his computer. “These people are pretty serious.” He pauses. “I guess I could just go to the police station and get it over with.”

“And hope they’ll hold on to you?” John asks. “It’s a federal case now. They’ll call the FBI for you.”

“I know that, but I’m probably gonna get caught. And there’s no reasonable way of proving I didn’t do it.”

“Well, at least one part of it you are completely guilty of,” John says.

“What, shooting the guy? Yeah, that was dumb.”

No one bothers to point out that his options were pretty limited at the time, since that will be precisely zero help when dealing with the police. And no one knows what to do about Felix’s new, exciting status as the subject of a high-profile federal investigation. But as long as everyone remains unarrested, there’s work to be done…

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