The Prophet of Starfall: Episode 9

Jericho parked his bike around back at the Emerald Garden club and headed for the stairwell leading to the second floor.

“Braden Cole. Braden Cole,” he thought repeatedly as he climbed the steps. He had to get the name right or his bluff would fail.

When he reached the door, a lanky man held up his hand and asked in a whinny nasal voice,

“Got a reservation?”

Jericho, in a rush and far too busy to be polite, pushed the slender man out of the way and opened the door. As soon as he stepped inside, two men dove at him, grabbing his arms, but Jericho kept moving, dragging them along behind him like a child with his blanket. When he spotted Ian McAddams’ personal table across the room, he shook the two men free and walked over.

“McAddams,” Jericho called out.

Without looking up, McAddams pressed the blade of his knife into a filet mignon and cut off a slice.

“Jericho, there’s no need to force your way in here. You know the city’s protector is always welcome,” McAddams said as he chewed the tender meat.

“I need to talk to you about the butterfly,” Jericho said.

“Butterfly? I didn’t know you were one of those ento. . .ento. . .”

“Entomologists,” Jericho interrupted.

“Yea. That’s it,” McAddams said, taking another bite of steak.

“Braden. . . ,” Jericho paused for effect, “. . .Cole.”

McAddams stopped chewing the meat and carefully placed his knife and fork in the “resting position.” He slowly lifted the napkin to his mouth, blotted his lips, then took a sip of merlot.

Placing a hand on each side of his plate, McAddams looked up at Jericho and suggested,

“Before you explain yourself, perhaps you should explain your friend.”

At the snap of McAddams’ fingers, a monitor on the wall turned on. As Jericho watched, he saw Nathan downstairs in the club, standing in the middle of the floor with a giant of a man on either side and dance music bouncing off the walls.

“Sound,” Ian McAddams ordered.

Suddenly the music below stopped and Jericho could hear one of the men threaten Nathan.

* * *

“I’m going to beat you unconscious then throw you off that building myself,” Joseph Horton growled.

“Sorry about your face,” Nathan said as Horton reached up to pat his bandaged forehead where the ashtray had struck.

“Time to die little fox,” Morton said.

“Wait,” Nathan said, holding up his hand. “I want to make a deal.”

“No deal,” Horton sneered.

“A deal, huh? I’m a little curious,” Morton said. “What’s the deal?”

“I’ll tell you every detail of your life up to now, and if I’m correct, you let me go. But if I’m wrong, I’ll go quietly,” Nathan said.

“Go ahead,” Morton snorted. “No one knows anything about me, not even my real name.”

“It’s Gerald,” Nathan began then quickly started talking.

“Your grandfather was born in St. Andrews, Scotland. He moved his wife and two boys here to Crescent Bay to escape old debts and make a new beginning. Eventually, he was able to start up a fishing business. He ran it for years until he retired and signed it over to his oldest son, your dad. He took over and built up the business, expanding into new markets. He was about to go global when he died just after your tenth birthday.”

Morton slowly shook his head and started laughing as Nathan continued.

“You were given over to your uncle to raise. He was a drunk, not a mean drunk, but a drunk nonetheless. Actually, he was nicer when he was drunk. Mean as a snake when sober. He’d stumble home drunk, tear the place up, then pass out. Next morning when he woke and saw the mess he’d made, he’d whip you until his arms were tired. You lived with this treatment until you were old enough to come aboard his fishing trawler as one of the crew. As long as he stayed sober, he was clearheaded, trusting no one. One night on his way home, you got him drunk.”

* * *

Jericho watched the monitor as Nathan told all about Morton’s life. Some of the details didn’t seem to fit a bruiser like Otis Morton, but Jericho trusted Nathan.

Ian McAddams’ son Kyran, known by most people as Garrison, heard his father stir in his chair and looked over at him. His father grew pale as he stared at the television.

“Dad, you okay?”

“What’s wrong?” Jericho asked Ian McAddams.

“That’s not Otis Morton’s history,” McAddams said, looking up at his son. “It’s mine.”

Ian McAddams glowered at Jericho and demanded,

“Who is he!”

Without bothering to hide his smile, Jericho answered,

“He’s the prophet.”

“Bring him to me now!” McAddams snapped at his son.

* * *

“Not only was your uncle a sweetheart when he was drunk, but he was also a bit clumsy,” Nathan continued.

Morton threw his head back in amusement.

“This is going to be fun. You’re wrong on every count. I’ve never even been to Scotland.”

Nathan met Morton’s eyes and said,

“I wasn’t actually talking to you.”

For a moment, Morton looked confused but when a door upstairs opened and Kyran McAddams stepped out, he turned in surprise.

“You!” McAddams said, pointing to Nathan.

“It’s about time,” Nathan said impatiently.

* * *

After tearing two small rips in the suit big enough to fit her wings through, Elisabeth turned one way then another.

“How does it fit?”

“It works, but your wings will give you away. There’s no way to hide them. You’d better wait here, ” 4 21 suggested.

“Wait one second,” Elisabeth said.

Reaching into a pocket under the suit, she pulled out the leather band Lavinia that Ethan Evermore had given to her. He had said,

“This is Lavinia, the sightless flower. It has a special enchantment. When the band is on your wrist, your wings will become invisible to the human eye.”

She slipped the band around her wrist and secured it. A few seconds later, she felt a tingling sensation run down her back. Spreading her wings as far as she could, she looked from every angle but could no longer see them.

“How about now?” she asked.

4 21 slowly studied her back.

“Yes. That will do, but now there are two large tears in your suit. We will need to prepare a story should someone ask questions.”

“No worries,” Elisabeth smiled.

“We are moving behind enemy lines. We have much to worry about,” 4 21 corrected.

“It’s just an expression,” she said. “It means. . . Never mind.”

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