True Slayers: A Girl’s Song, Part 10

The next morning being Sunday, we got up early and went to our new church. I can honestly say that was the first Pentecostal Methodist service I ever attended. It was also the last. The people were nice but it really isn’t our denomination… and besides, the service was unlike anything I’d ever seen before – and not in a good way. Daddy didn’t say a word all the way home and when he finally did speak it was to apologize for not paying close enough attention to the ad in the Yellow Pages.

While Mama fixed lunch, I went online and found a few prospects. I printed the pages – Daddy is still very old school – and took them to his study where he was ‘reading’. Actually, he was staring at the paper trying to forget the weird service we’d attended.

“Daddy?” I called as I knocked.

“Come in, Pumpkin.” he answered.

“I found some stuff online. There are some other Methodist churches pretty close to here…” I handed him the pages.

He sighed, “I’m so sorry…”

“Come on, Daddy, it wasn’t that bad. I mean, other than the live frogs and I’m pretty sure that was just because the message was about the plagues of Egypt…”

Daddy smiled, “I imagine that’ll be a good story to tell when we get back home…”

I nodded. “Can you imagine what Mrs. Ferguson will say?”

At that Daddy burst out laughing. The excessively prim and proper Mrs Ferguson would have had a heart attack at that service, “It’d almost be worth it to pay for her to come up here just to visit them.”

I laughed myself at the thought. I sat across from Daddy in the armchair he had placed by the window. Idly, I pushed open the curtain and looked at the street, “Have you met the neighbors yet?”

“Just a few. That Jack fellow and a couple from down the street. I’ve been too busy with moving and meetings to do much socializing. Your mother said you two had paid the family a visit?”

I nodded, “Yes sir. I ran into Jack and his brother yesterday. Mr Jenkins’ family is still gathering. I think the funeral is tomorrow or the next day.”

“Yes, pity that. He seemed a nice young man. I’m sorry he’s having such a bad time.”

I looked at Daddy. “Huh?”

“Your mother ran into a Mrs Myers yesterday. Seems Jack and Mr Jenkins were close and of course, he found the body. Mrs Myers seemed to think they were worried about him, Jack, I mean.”

I let the curtain fall closed and began twirling a lock of my hair, “I didn’t know…”

“Now, now, don’t start that. We’re new here – of course we’re not going to know a lot of the goings on.” Daddy pointed a finger at me, “And you cannot be everywhere, Young Lady.”

I nodded, “I know, Daddy. I just wish…”

“Why don’t you find out when the funeral is and get your mother to make her banana pudding for them?”

“Mama already sent a potato casserole. I’ll see if they need anything…” I stopped as an idea occurred to me, “Say, Daddy, could you get a copy of that new Pink Pandas album for me? I’ll pay for it…”

“Pink Pandas? I think so – I know the local distributor. Why, I thought you preferred contemporary?”

“I actually like some of their slow songs but that’s not it. Jack mentioned them when he was helping us unpack.”

Daddy nodded, “I’ll make the call. Now, skedaddle and go help your mother with the table.”

I smiled as I hopped up and crossed over to where my father was sitting. I gave him a quick peck on the cheek and hurried out.

After lunch I went out on the stoop and sat a while. Seeing John, I waved. He and a woman about his age came over. She proved to be his wife and they were from Delaware, not Philadelphia. Mama can keep these kind of details straight but I need a scorecard.

Jack and a girl I didn’t recognize came out of the building and crossed the street to join us. Jack introduced me to his sister Donna. I admit, it was a relief. It wasn’t like I’d had a lot of time to talk to Jack – barely any at all, really – but I had already begun to enjoy his company, and to hope he might enjoy mine. Now it dawned on me that I didn’t even know if he had a girlfriend. By the time they all left, I had my answer – Jack was unattached. Score one for girl power and the art of conversation, I thought as I climbed the steps to my house.

As I reached the door, something made me turn and look at Jack’s building. I don’t know why, I didn’t sense anything. No creatures or anything like that, just a sudden sense of foreboding.

Just as quickly, it was gone. I went inside. Tomorrow would be a long day.

True Slayers: A Girl’s Song, Part 9

It took me awhile to find my way back – I’d been paying more attention to the creature than to the street names – but I finally got to the building next to Jack’s and climbed to the roof. Unfortunately, broad daylight didn’t improve anything. I found no trace of whatever creature had been here.

I wondered if I shouldn’t have killed that werewolf after all. I looked at the window two stories below. A werewolf could certainly have jumped that distance but Jack’s sister had only said Mr Jenkins was dead. A werewolf’s attack is bloody – surely she’d have mentioned him being torn apart? I didn’t know for sure but I doubted that werewolf was the killer.

I sighed, a bit stymied at the moment. I didn’t know enough about how the man had died to even guess what had killed him. I wasn’t sure how to approach Jack about it or even if it would help. Then there was the possibility of a new slayer being about.

Well, that one I could at least help with, I decided as I climbed back down the side of the building. I wandered about the neighborhood a bit – that would be natural enough for a new girl to do – before crossing back to my side and going home.

After lunch, I made a few phone calls to my new college to take care of a couple last minute matters. That done, I spent an hour finding my address book in one of the as yet still packed boxes littering my room. Then another ten minutes trying to remember the guy’s name. The Mistress had sent me the name and number of a slayer here in New York when she learned I would be moving to NYC. She’d said he was a guide type – just exactly what I needed now.

Ethan Collinsworth. Well, at least it ended in C and not X – I had to find it the hard way. The Mistress’ letter said he would be expecting my call so I wasn’t nervous as I lifted the receiver.

A man answered, “Collinsworth residence.” he announced.

I told him who I was and who I needed to speak with. It took forever but another man’s voice finally came on the line, “This is Ethan Collinsworth. Mistress Crystal?”

I smiled. Yep, he was expecting me, “Yes, Master Ethan.”

“Lovely! How are you finding the big city?”

“Very big.” I admitted. I’ve been to Atlanta but it seemed like a small town compared to NYC. “But the people are nice and I think I’m gonna really like it.”

“Wonderful. I’m glad you called.”

“The Mistress said I should. I actually have something I need to ask you about.”

“Oh?”

“I think there may be a new slayer emerging in my neighborhood.”

“Really? What makes you think so?”

“Well…”

I gave him the whole story, including the rather embarrassing fact that I hadn’t killed the werewolf.

He laughed gently as I finished, “Don’t worry about that – you made the right choice. It’s best to hunt at night here – the darkness gives the corpse plenty of time to dissolve undetected before the cops arrive and even if it doesn’t, most creatures don’t look human at night. But more importantly, I think you’re probably right about an emerging slayer. I have wall to wall meetings tomorrow but I should be able to come by Monday and see if I have better luck sensing him or her. Would you like to meet me there?”

“Yes, I’d like that. Would you like to come by my house first?”

“That sounds fine…”

Arrangements made and good byes exchanged, I hung up and stretched. Looking around at the mess that was my room, I decided I’d better get to work on that.

A few hours later, I was on my way to the grocery again. Mama had forgotten ham and mustard when she did the main shopping earlier and Daddy really wanted ham sandwiches for dinner so I volunteered. I noticed a car pulling up to Jack’s building. A couple young boys bounded out of the back as Jack emerged from the front. He glanced my way and gave a friendly wave but was obviously busy so I merely waved back and headed to the grocery.

Jack was out front talking to a couple older guys I didn’t recognize when I got back. Once again he noticed me and smiled and waved. This time, I crossed the street and joined them. Jack introduced me to one of his brothers – Tim, I think – and Mr Jenkin’s eldest son, John, just in from Philadelphia, if I recall correctly.

We chatted a few minutes, John being more interested in why a Mississippi girl would be moving to NYC than in discussing his father’s murder with a total stranger. I let it go – there was a time and place for some things and this wasn’t the time or place for being nosey. I mentioned the trip to the grocery and Jack promised to introduce me at the local deli where he assured me I could get much bettter ham. I smiled wondering if he was trying to get into my good graces or my father’s. Daddy does love a good ham sandwich, after all. With dinner in the bag in my hand, I had to excuse myself much sooner than I’d have liked. I left them still standing on the street as I went home. I had the feeling a certain set of eyes were still watching me as I climbed the steps and I definitely hoped they were.