Novel 3: Act II, Chapter 3, Scene 5

TOC page here.

An extremely fatigued Diana returns from a lunch where she learns why the homeless shelter stays in its place despite nearly everyone wanting it gone:

Diana had no idea how she got home, or how the car was still in one piece, Frey was the only one in the house. She put the box from Mary Mac’s in the refrigerator, where it was the only object but for a few condiment bottles in the door. She went upstairs and gazed at the blank screen of her laptop, seeing only her own reflection, misremembering herself. The sleeplessness and fatigue was like an aura around her, almost tangible, giving her extreme clarity into she knew not what.

After a long, meditative silence, as she reached out with a fingertip to wake up the laptop. She had no idea what she was looking for, but ended up on Georgia Tech’s website. Maybe she’d go back to school, finish the degree that Grace interrupted.

She clicked over to the least dreadful of the corporate news websites. Celebrity gossip, paid-for politicians… yes. She typed Reaper Atlanta into the search box, got dozens of articles, but none less than five days old. Poor Mario was dead, but at least nobody knew about it.

She floated to bed. In her dream, she was in an amalgam of all the Catholic churches she’d visited back during the original Reaper investigation. To one side of the stainedglass above her was Jesus on the cross; to the other side was Mary, weeping. Her tears fell to the floor, where they formed a pattern like the ones drawn on the dead men’s chests. “I made this,” said Mary. “You can’t read it.”

The scene shifted to the dorm hallway at Georgia Tech. Boys: boys behind doors; doors she could open. She moved to her own room: someone was trying to get in, but she’d locked the door. She looked out through the peephole, and there was Andrew. He had a rose in one hand and an electric drill in the other. He was drilling her door, making a peep hole of his own, one that was going to break through into her room any second–

She snapped awake. The buzzing sound of the drill was her phone buzzing of the nightstand beside her. She picked it up: an unfamiliar number.

“Diana?” A woman’s voice, heavily accented. “Diana Siddal?” Accent on the second syllable, the mistake people often made. “My name’s Alicia Garcia?” She sounded as if she weren’t sure.

“Yes?”

“I have a friend, who’s a cop here in Houston? He sent me a link. That’s my brother, Miguel. The picture says Mario, but that’s just a nickname. You’re looking for him?”

“Oh. Right. No, ma’am; we’re looking for you. Look, I’m really sorry, but I’ve got some bad news for you.”

And that’s Act II, right there. Like I said way back when, it’s very short, just a quick repeat of the first cycle with some adds to the subplots and some background. Act III will be quite long and is going to include its own self-contained story.

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