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Uno and Fog: Barefoot in the Park

May 9, 2019

I ran after him, but he could fly in a straight line while I had to zig and zag around buildings, cars and people.  I shucked my shoes and ran barefoot.  I shut the pain receptors in my feet, the peculiar heaviness that accompanied that quickly followed.  I would pay for it later, but I didn’t have much of a choice.

I didn’t think about that and I didn’t look down.

I called The Fog and shouted his name when he picked up, “he’s got David and he’s flying in your general direction.”

“Understood.  North or south.”

“North toward the canal tunnel.”

“I’m on the Shatemac Highway.”  I could hear the wind whipping around him, the deep thrum of his motorcycle.  “I will keep an eye out for him.”

I followed him and although he dwindled in my sight, I never lost sight of him.  I suspected he wanted to be followed.  Knew that we had been searching for him, and instead of directly confronting us, had decided to draw us in to his final moment.  Either to gloat, or perhaps to use us as offerings to the old god he was bringing to the world.

It was  a discomforting thought, but I didn’t have much choice.

I wondered where Teri was, and hoped that she would arrive soon.

He continued out over the river and I was left with a choice, I could continue to the midtown tunnel or zip through the canal tunnel.  Either way I was going to lose visual on him.

I hesitated, “Do you see him?”

“I see him.”  The Fog said gruffly.”

“Alright, I’m heading through canal.”

He grunted an acknowledgment.

My legs started to ache, but I stopped the current from those receptors too.  I knew that I was going to pay for this.  I had a friend that ran a marathon once and he had not prepared properly for it, he had moved stiffly for weeks and had been in obvious pain from it.  I anticipated my situation would be worse.

The lights dimmed as I ran as hard as I could through the traffic and exited into New Amsterdam.  “Where is he?”

“Heading north.  I think he’s heading to Greensward.  Which makes sense.”

“How so?”

“There are references to a major occult battle in the park in the 70s involving New Age Mage, Transcendence, Good Vibrations and Miss Behavin’, but I could never find any specifics, or even who or what they had battled.”

“Your serious?”

“Yes.  I was looking for any significant occult events in New Amsterdam, there were quite a few actually, this was one of them.  Apparently only Miss B. survived and she would never talk of it, she hung up the cape shortly after that.  Its in her memoir, although when she gets to that chapter of her life she skips over the events.”

“No, I mean the names.”  I headed north toward the park, maybe Uno wasn’t that bad.  There’s got to be a top one hundred list of the worst aliases.  I should look it up and see if I’m even on the list.

“It was a different time.”

“Apparently.  I can’t see him, can you?”

“I’m on him, he’s definitely going to the park.  Head there, you’ll see him.”

Traffic like usual was busy and there were pedestrians on the street, I heard someone shout as I rushed by.  “Nice shoes!”

You would think I would rate better quips from the public, “I left them at your mom’s!” I shout back, but I doubt he heard me, or maybe he’s just not a fan of mom jokes.

“He’s at the lake,”  I hear the engine of his cycle cut off in the background,  “by the gazebo.”

I cut across the grass and through the trees in the direction of the gazebo and the lake.  Even in the gloom I can appreciate the fall colors.  Despite the attempts to add lights through the park and add patrols, I can still sense predators lurking in the shadows waiting for the unwary passerby, or perhaps another, but weaker, predator.  They watch me pass.

“You’re making a lot of noise.”  The Fog hissed.

“Sorry.”  I slow down and make my way carefully toward the lake.  The shadows seem to lengthen and twist the closer I get to the gazebo and the lake.  Guttural words chanted in some inhuman tongue float on the breeze toward me from up ahead.

I could see the nervous system of The Fog crouching behind some bushes to the west.  James was standing at the water’s edge, his arms outstretched toward the sky, the sacrificial knife raised up in one hand.  David’s prone form was half in the water and half on the land.  He’s still unconscious.

I saw him glance over his shoulder as I approach.  The tattoos on his arms writhe like snakes, the pattern changing and twisting to the rhythm of his word.

He stopped chanting, “I’m glad you’re here.”

“Right.”  I moved closer, I noticed in the sandy dirt of the lake edge that he’s written symbols in  a semi circle around him.  I wasn’t sure but, the air shimmered ever so slightly in front of those symbols.  I couldn’t see anything, or really sense anything there, but I knew that if I ran toward him I would smack into some kind of barrier.

“Truly.  I thought you were an obstacle in my path, but I know now that isn’t the case.”

“There’s a barrier.” I said softly hoping that The Fog heard me over our communicators.  I raised my voice “You sure about that?”  I figured if I could keep him talking, I would keep him from chanting and finishing his ritual maybe with enough time for Ms. Teri to show up.

“You cannot stop me.”  He paused for a moment and a small smile curled his lips, “neither of you can.  You are blessed to be the first witnesses of HER arrival.”

The water on the lake had gone very still.  Flat as glass.  Not a single wave on it.  The sounds of the city seemed to mute ever so slightly.  The skyscrapers that edged the park seemed farther way than usual.

Then, as if someone had thrown a pebble into the water a ripple appeared way out, slowly radiating toward the shore.  And then another.

James took up his chant again and I knew we had run out of time.




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