After my rather cathartic beat-down of Aeromancer, I went to visit Lisa’s friend, Torrie. Friend according to Lisa’s parents anyway.
The truth turned out to be somewhat different.
I landed on the roof of a very posh apartment complex and let myself through the roof access door. I find it’s easier to avoid doormen and buzzers and other such things designed to keep riff-raff like me out.
I headed down one floor to the penthouse and banged on the door. When the light shining through the peephole shadowed I pulled out my FBSA license. “I’m here to see Torrie Mallor. It’s about Lisa Brannigan.”
I heard the rattle of the chain unlatching and click-clack of multiple locks being undone. The door opened and a small old woman opened the door. She had a slight hunch to her back and stringy grey hair covered her lined face. I thought it must be Torrie’s grandmother or something.
“Hello, ma’am,” I said. “Is Torrie home?”
“I’m Torrie,” she croaked out in a dusty cracked voice.
My mouth dropped open in confusion and before I could say anything else a woman in her mid-thirties with bright red hair hurried forward. “Go away!” she screamed.
“Ma’am, I’m here about Lisa Brannigan, she’s gone missing and…”
“I don’t care! Don’t mention the Brannigan’s to me! Look what the did to my baby.” She broke down and fell to her knees, sobbing.
I knelt in front of her and reached out my hand, but didn’t quite touch her. I couldn’t. “Wha-what happened to her?” My voice caught. I’ve never been good at reacting to grief.
She looked at me with red-rimmed eyes, tears creating tracks down her face. “The doctors say she has Progeria, but she doesn’t have any of the genetic markers for it.” She sobbed again. “She’s going to die of old age before she’s sixteen and there’s nothing anyone can do.”
I looked at Torrie and opened up my second sight that lets me see invisible creatures and spells. Sure enough, wisps of brown, red, blue, green, yellow and white, the colors of life, floated out of her body into a black aura that greedily sucked it in.
“She’s been enspelled.”
Torrie’s mother looked at me in confusion. “She’s been what?”
“Enspelled, ma’am. A necromantic spell by the looks of it. Unless she turns sixteen in two days you’ll be right.” I cursed my inability to lie because sometimes things come out of my mouth that could be said better.
Fortunately, she ignored my boorishness and grabbed onto the fact I knew what was happening. Hope glimmered in her eyes. “Can you do something about it?”
I shook my head and her face fell, until I said, “But I know someone who might.”
She grabbed my hands and squeezed hard enough that I actually felt it. “Who?”
I checked the chronometer on my bracer. “The Magus.” I stood up, pulling her with me. “And if I hurry, I know right where he is.”
I looked at Torrie and held out my arms. “May I?”
She nodded and I scooped her up gently. She felt so light and frail…
I tossed off a “We’ll be back soon” and hurried to my Diavel.
I put my Hellcats squadron pilots jacket on her to keep her warm in the frigid air twenty-stories up. I sat her in front of me so I could wrap my arms around her during the flight. My bracer would act as my flight controller.
We took off and I kept my speed at a sedate pace to help keep her as warm as possible. We still made it to the “Wrigley Rooftop” rather swiftly.
Unfortunately, the Cubs were losing badly and The Magus had already left.
Son of a biscuit.