Thompkins had left me a note then next morning. One of his jobs needed some face time with him and he would be back later.
I finished reading his notes while my cream of wheat was cooling. Nothing that contradicted my conclusions and a little more insight into Vinnie. Cocky jerk – I had better words for him but Momma wouldn’t approve. But that cocky attitude would work for us, regardless of what I called him.
Crystal was on the stoop with my sister Donna when I got outside. That was unexpected – Donna doesn’t know what the crack of dawn is and hasn’t gotten out of bed before eight since she graduated high school. They were doing the girl talk thing and I didn’t want to be late so we exchanged quick greetings and I headed for work.
Gino was in a forgiving mood, probably because I’d done a bang up job on the shop the night before. I’d had time, waiting for Crystal and Tresmayne and besides, the shop is never in really bad shape, anyway. Mr Salvador would have a heart attack.
Crystal was on the stoop with all my sisters when I got home. I sighed inwardly, knowing that all my childhood secrets were now revealed. She probably had more on my former girlfriends than I remembered – girls remember the weirdest things. Coming from a large family, there are no true secrets and you get used to having your siblings tell the entire world about your failings – that facebook thing making it infinitely worse, by the by. But I had hoped I might have a little more time before she found out I’d pinned a corsage on Marci Anderson literally. It was an accident, I swear.
Supper was with my parents. Crystal managed to snag the potatoes on her own as Marty and Kevin passed them. She was getting the hang of this. She didn’t mention anything my sister’s had told her, but she did chuckle when Tina mentioned bowling. The little smarty pants always tells that story. Mike distracted me and I rolled the ball the wrong way – right over her foot. I wonder if being an only child is still an option.
She and Lisa joined Thompkins and I in my apartment afterwards. Tresmayne joined us as chaperone. Well, he joined us, anyway.
I have no idea what Lisa and Thompkins were discussing. Normally, I’d be discussing anything but shop with the pretty girl in my apartment but normal isn’t a thing for me anymore. I was going to have to make more time for being with my girl – or she wasn’t going to be mine for long.
Crystal had long since explained the basics of sword singing. Only some blades ‘talk’ and what they are really doing it recording the psyches around them – which somehow forms the sword’s own personality. Can’t say I understood it but she’d gotten information from Arnie that she couldn’t have known any other way – things Mr. J had told few people. There weren’t that many guys that served in Grenada let alone had an army service bayonet with them. Crystal couldn’t have known that.
So my girlfriend talks to inanimate objects. I now have three pet werewolves – who am I to talk?
What I needed to know is how well they ‘see’ their surroundings – and how close she has to be to ‘hear’ a blade. As expected, it was complicated. Some, like Arnie ‘see” almost as if they have eyes. Others, like Finley, sense more than see. A strong blade like Finley Crystal would hear a mile away. A weaker one, like Arnie, she’d have to be close to even know he was there.
Arnie had more human blood on his tally sheet than Finley ever would – strength didn’t relate to how much blood a blade had been bathed in – that only ‘awakened’ the blade so that it recorded the psyches around it. Strength had more to do with the people the blade had been around the most. Finley was handed down to Momma from Uncle Janus who had gotten it from a true slayer that retired – he’d had seven previous slayers as owners, two of which were true slayers. That gave Finley a big leg up.
I’d had an idea about using swords as an early warning system. The cameras Thompkins installed would help but they wouldn’t show a vampire in its vampire form – if it was a type that had more than one form – or a werewolf in its wolf form, et cetera. Crystal caught on quickly – Finley and her Samantha could do what I wanted. They could be left unsheathed – both would be able to sense creatures coming into the area and both could get her attention. Samantha would be no problem – she liked working. Crystal wasn’t sure Finley would cooperate but she thought he might.
Great, I now needed cooperation from a piece of sharpened steel. I had a torch with his name on it if this stupid thing decided to be difficult now. I’m a welder – I don’t take guff from metal.
I didn’t share that tidbit with Crystal – I wasn’t sure she’d appreciate the humor. I might want to but I wasn’t suicidal enough to weld my mother’s sword to the fire escape. I went to get Finley. I wondered which was weirder – calling a sword by name or that it was my Momma’s sword.
Crystal and Tresmayne were in the kitchen when I got back. Thompkins and Lisa were still deep in conversation on my love seat. I went to the kitchen.
Crystal was making butterscotch. The girl can make her own candy. Yep, a keeper. I didn’t bother to ask how that had come up in conversation. It was almost done when I got there. She poured it out to cool and washed up my skillet.
Back in the living room, munching on the butterscotch, Crystal had me unsheathe Finley. That thing is huge – how the heck did my Momma, all of five foot one, ever pull it out, let alone swing it? It wasn’t as simple as that even for me – and I’m an inch taller than Thompkins.
She took the sword once I finally got it out. Evidently, they were now old friends because she just smiled and sat in the recliner, stroking the giant blade. My girlfriend, and the only thing I have to be on the lookout for is that she doesn’t leave me for a glorified Cuisinart.
She ‘told’ Finley what we wanted. He was evidently more amiable this go round because he agreed – then had a ‘suggestion’. This part is hard for Crystal to explain to me so it’s near impossible for me to explain to you. Swords don’t have brains, can’t think and aren’t really ‘people’ – but they synthesize the psyches they are exposed to and over time, it becomes the semblance of a mind. It can’t truly think – but it can pull old information from the psyches it has recorded. The impressive part is that Crystal can make sense of this mess of psychic goo.
Finley suggested adding Arnie to the mix. Crystal wouldn’t be able to hear Arnie but if the right creature got too close, it would set him off in a way that Finley would be able to ‘hear’. Also, Finley had sensed the vampire that killed Mr. J but Arnie had ‘seen’ it – Arnie would know it long before Finley would recognize a specific vampire. Finley had killed so many over the centuries that vampires didn’t stand out for him.