03: Miles to Go

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When It Happened (Chronicle Time): May 25, 2002

Who Was There: George Phillapoussis (Storn), Jonathan Wertham (Matt), Mark Donovin (Eric), Nemura Kentaro (Chris)

What It Was

Ken's tranquil Saturday afternoon is rudely interrupted when child psychologist Cassandra Moon and fourteen-year-old Luther Miles show up at his door, desperate and terrified. No sooner have the others arrived, and Cassandra told her story, when the apartment is attacked by at least three different factions. After a fierce battle, the unknown gunmen retreat. George, Jonathan, and Mark hurry Cassandra and Luther out of the apartment, while Ken remains behind to deal with the police.

The Full Horror

Nemura Kentaro is spending a quiet afternoon in his Upper West Side apartment when he hears a frantic knock at the door. His unexpected visitors are Cassandra Moon, a thirty-year-old child psychologist, and Luther Miles, an African-American boy of fourteen. Sleepless, terrified, wearing backpacks and bedraggled clothes, they've obviously been on-the-run for some time. Cassandra's hands are shaking, and Luther is sniffing with the start of a cold.

Ken puts Luther in the spare bedroom, and the boy falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow. Ken calls George, Mark, and Jonathan, and while they wait for them, Cassandra says:

"Dr Kentaro--Ken--you have no idea what these last few weeks.... All the running, the shadows.... The New Inquisition, Alex Abel.... And then Luther, everything about Luther, how could I know? And then all the letters and something about orgone, and then, well, we had to find you, and then, then.... But now--goddess, did they follow us here?...."

As soon as he hears the word "orgone," Ken starts looking out his window. He can't see anyone watching from the street, but Ken knows he's not Mark, so that doesn't mean a thing. Before long, the others arrive, including Jamal Rashid, who came along at Jonathan's request.

Cassandra's Tale

Cassandra has been a child psychologist for ten years, and a novice Wicca for longer than that. She first met Luther several months ago when his mother, Ella Miles, brought him in for counseling. Luther was a smart young man, mature for his age, and at first he seemed quite normal. But something was clearly troubling him, something he refused to talk about. Cassandra agreed to meet with him and help sort out what was bothering him.

Weeks went by, but their progress was very slow. Luther showed every sign of wanting to talk to her, but kept holding back. Frustrated, Cassandra tried to learn more about Luther's background, hoping to get a clue to what was going on. She knew his mother had moved to Chicago when Luther was only a year old, but when she tried to find out where they had come from, there was nothing to find. After several fruitless attempts, the only explanation Cassandra could think of was the Witness Protection program. That made her stop trying, for fear her inquiries might put him in danger.

Then last month, Luther arrived one day more disturbed than ever. When she managed to calm him down, he finally began to tell her about the "Shadows" who followed him everywhere. When Cassandra asked if there was a Shadow with them now, there in the room, Luther became angry, yelling that he wasn't talking about ghosts. These were men and women. The faces changed, but they were always nearby. But now something had changed. He wasn't sure exactly what that was, but it bothered him, so he decided to tell her about them.

At first, Cassandra was not sure what to think. But after Luther left, she happened to look out her window and see him get into his mother's car. To her shock, she saw a man watch their car pull away and then slip into a taxi and leave in the same direction.

It only took her a few minutes to dismiss that as a simple coincidence. But then a few days later, on April 27, a package arrived at her office disguised as the latest issue of a scholarly journal. Inside she found a packet of documents, and on top, a document addressed to her. She takes it out of her bag and hands it to Ken:

"Little Priestess: Seek the Truth of your Little Prince and the Able Men will find you, just like They found him. But if you don't seek It, then the Black Robes will come. And then it's the Crackling Blue for You and your Little Prince. Or will the Scaly Men find You first?

"Poor Little Priestess: Little Armies Everywhere, but She is All Alone. Run Little Priestess. Run. Choose your Path. Make it sure. Or They will take your Little Prince away to Dance to the Blue of Cracklefire."

Cassandra is too exhausted to go into what the other documents said, but they convinced her there really was a group keeping surveillance on Luther, and that they planned to use him in some kind of experiment, maybe something involving the life energy called orgone. But the documents also revealed that Luther was the son of a man named Alex Abel, the founder of a group called The New Inquisition:

"My friends and I--we have a coven in Chicago--we once had a Wicca from New York stay as a guest. She was the sister of one of our coven. We'd been drinking wine and everybody was comfortable and then she suddenly got upset and started whispering all about "The New Inquisition" and how everyone in New York was scared of them, and what they could do. And she said it was run by a man named Alex Abel, the "black Donald Trump." She said no one's even seen him since the eighties, but that he runs New York now."

Cassandra's hands begin shaking again at the memory: "I-I didn't know what to do. I started thinking again about what she said and then about the documents I was reading, and I just felt terrified for Luther. Who could I go to? My coven? These Inquisition people might kill them. And then they might take Luther. We were just playing, my friends and I, wearing silly vines in our hair and making potions like nine-year-olds. Stupid, stupid make-believe."

There was no way to know what Luther's "Shadows" were up to. He said they all dressed in dark clothing, so maybe they were the "Black Robes" mentioned in the letter. Or maybe they were someone else. But now that package had come to Cassandra, and she feared that meant some awful endgame had begun. Unfortunately, the documents in the package didn't say what she could do. But there was a US-SEARCH report about a Dr. Nemura Kentaro in New York City.

By May 16, Cassandra decided the search report was all they had to go on. The following day, she met with Luther, and told him what she had learned.

(She stops for a minute, closing her eyes and whispering, "Stupid, so stupid. No matter how scared I was.")

Luther immediately panicked, and wanted to run away right then. That brought Cassandra back to her senses, and she managed to calm him down. Feeling responsible, she promised she would go with him. They left on May 18, and spent the next eight days making their round-about way to New York City, trying to avoid obvious routes and stay as undercover as they could.

It had been a terrifying journey, and Cassandra now seems completely spent. She hopes that Ken knows how to find Alex Abel, because at least then Luther might be safe with his father. Maybe people in New York were scared of TNI, but what else could she do but put her trust in blood?

Cassandra's head drops in exhaustion as she finishes her tale.

It's about then that Mark hears a loud thump in the hallway. And then the front door bursts in as armed men rush into the apartment. Chaos erupts.

The men demand that Ken and his friends stand down, but before they have a chance to react, the gunmen are attacked by two others who come in behind them. One of the newcomers rushes to the balcony and fires several shots down toward the street before running back to join the fight. Two bullets slam into this man, but hardly slow him down--both times he seems to transform, just for a moment, into a serpent man, six-feet tall with scales of emerald green.

Then a third group rushes into the apartment and the battle really too confusing for guns. Instead the attackers turn to fists, knives--and maybe claws. The four men and Jamal manage to avoid the worst of it, partly because the invaders seem more determined to kill one another. Then, almost as quickly as they appeared, the survivors withdraw, leaving their dead scattered around Ken's devastated apartment.

Hearing police sirens in the distance, George, Jonathan and Mark leave with Cassandra and Luther. Ken volunteers to stay behind and deal with the police. A careful punch from Mark knocks Ken out, and the others leave as cries and shouts erupt from the rest of the building.

Previous Recap | Next Recap | Updated 3/19/12, by the Croupier