Morning always comes to early when you're short on sleep. It's even worse when the first thing you have on the schedule is a visit to the cops. I hadn't been lying when I told Lt. Storr that I had all the ingredients for a demon locating spell, but I also hadn't said it would be easy.
What I had planned were actually three spells. One that would identify the presence of demonic entities in the area, one that would create a fingerprint of the essence of our culprit, and a final dowsing spell that could lead me to our particular demon in the haystack. The first was relatively easy, but since there was always a demonic presence in any decent sized city, it was also the least helpful. I only wanted to do it because there might be a fast-moving or otherwise odd individual. It was like radar. It showed you where everyone was who was broadcasting on the right frequency, but you had to use another means to isolate the signal you were looking for. I also wasn't sure I wanted to open up the local demons to police harassment.
So I had Xander come with to help carry the boxes of maps and stinky herbs. You needed maps for any dowsing, because you needed to show locations. The final spell was more of walking a line, or looking for the right place to put a well. Old techniques, but sometimes older was better. It means there's less to go wrong.
But just because there's less to go wrong, that didn't mean things were going to go right. I found that out as soon as we entered the building. The box of dried herbs and maps, with a few crystals and other objects for ritual spell casting, was scrutinized in more ways than I thought were even possible. The desk sergeant acted more like we were bringing a bomb into a building instead of a few items that the police requested. Talk about a fun time being had by none.
We were finally rescued, if the word could be used, by a Detective Jessica Arnet. She greeted us with such obvious hostility that I was pretty sure it was guilt by association. Her first words cinched it.
"So you're the Executioner's newest pet," she said, as soon as we were out of earshot from the bullpen.
"We actually hadn't met before, but we move in some of the same circles," I replied, wondering if everyone in the upper ranks of RPIT hated Marshal Blake.
"Which circles would those be?" she asked, acidly.
"I'm finishing up a double major in preternatural studies and linguistics, and some of my articles have been published, mostly on demon-human relations in the U.S."
"Tammy said you were into black magic," Arnet said, scowling.
I rolled my eyes, sighing. The last thing I wanted to do was get into a debate on the nature of good and evil with someone who had already decided they hated me. Half the time, I wasn't even sure I believed there were such things.
"Yes, I do certain types of magic that, because of their associations with the demonic, are commonly considered to be 'black.' I do not, however, sacrifice animals, babies, or any of the ideas that you may have. I try to live by the Wiccan Rede, if you know it," I said, trying not to show my annoyance too openly.
Arnet was pretty, and she couldn't have made detective if she didn't have a brain, even in a department rumored to be full of rejects, but she didn't seem to be in the same class as Anita. The shock on her face did make me feel better, though.
Before she could further put her foot in her mouth, I opened mine. "So, where is Lt. Zerbrowski? I understand he wanted this done ASAP."
She gave me wide, innocent eyes, but pointed the way. I did thank her, since I'm not in the habit of being too rude, even when someone thinks I eat babies for breakfast because I do sorcery. Someone really ought to talk to the pope someday, but I think Wolfram & Hart has their claws in there.
I breathed a sigh of relief as I finally made it into an interrogation room. Unable to help myself, I waved and then stuck out my tongue at the one-way mirror. The see-sawing of attitudes was really annoying, and I wanted to find our dimensional escapee before there were too many bodies. The coroner might even thank me, if they thought about it. On second thought, probably not.
A quiet chuckle made me realize that this side of the room was occupied. I turned to see Lt. Zerbrowski, wearing a blue button-down shirt, brown tie, an empty shoulder holster, and striped pajama bottoms. "I always wanted to do that," he commented.
"But it might get you in trouble," I said, smirking. "I don't have to worry about getting fired. One of the few perks of having a family business, I suppose."
The lieutenant nodded at me, then gestured for us to put down our supplies on the metal table in the center of the room.
"Now, pretend I've never done anything like this before, ok? I'd like you to explain what we're about to do with as few polysyllabic words as possible," Zerbrowski said.
"Polysyllabic? Has Katie been reading you the dictionary again?" Anita said, closing the door behind her.
"The kids bought me a word-a-day calendar."