Sacred Grounds, St. Paul, 8:00am:
“It was a slow night,” Grace says with a stretch.
“I’m sure it was now, about-“ Brittney never gets to finish her statement when a bell rings signaling the opening of the Café door.
Brittney turns to greet her customers and sees a smiling Jack Hunter accompanied by a stern face man in a dark suit and sunglasses.
“Brittney,” Hunter states with a toothy grin, “I would like to introduce you to Special Agent Gregory Irons, he is the agent in charge of the Homeland Security Detail investigating the recent terrorist attack. He just has a couple of questions for you, nothing to worry about.”
Agent Irons glances briefly at Hunter, before opening a file. He turn towards Brittney and states with a perfunctory voice, “I see you gave your account of events to the police already, I was wondering if you could go over your account with me again.”
Brittney offers an exasperated smile, “I was a guest to Pearce’s Gala when masked thugs suddenly broke in and began shooting up the place,” her voice hitches, holding back a sob, “it was horrible, I, I barely made it out with my life.”
Agent Irons makes a couple of notes, the quiet scratching of his pen filling up the silence in the room, “What is your relationship with Jacob Phillips?”
Brittney blinks, “Who?”
“Jacob Phillips, a small boy around or 4 or 5.”
Brittney shakes her head slowly, “I’m sorry, I don’t really remember who you are talking about.”
Agent Irons nods absently, leafing through his file. He then slides out a grainy photo and places it on the counter top. Brittany sees a picture of herself carrying a small child who is no more than 4 or 5 down the street towards the police station.
“What are you doing with this small child in the middle of the night carrying him through the city?”
Brittney looks down at the photo and looks up, flashing her best Minnesotan smile, “Oh, the missing kid? I always wondered what his name was, I heard him crying out when I was running one night and brought him to the nearest police station.”
“Running,” Irons restates flatly, “in the middle of the night?”
“What can I say, it’s hard to sleep some nights.”
“Why didn’t you file a police report?”
Brittney nods at Hunter, “I’m sure he told you I’ve had some run ins with the police before, I didn’t need another one. I knew he would be safe there.”
Hunter nods at Brittney, “As I told you, she turned over a new leaf.”
Irons pulls off his sunglasses and looks at Brittney with narrowed eyes, “I think you are being a little too-“
Irons’s words are cut off as the jingling of a bell signals a new arrival.
“Brittany!” A slurred voice hollers through the air, Crow Sings stumbles through the door. He is brandishing a near empty bottle of cough syrup in one hand, “The City needs the Slayer!”
Brittany raises a hand to quiet Crow Sings. Irons’s voice cuts through the air, “What is the meaning of this, Hunter take care of this man.”
Brittany says softly, “Agent Irons, there is no need to get rough, I will fix this gentleman up some coffee and-“
The bell jingles again and the door slams wide open, a grimy and dirty Hazard Pay followed by Jane come running into the shop. Their faces are white and eyes are wide, Hazard stammers with panic in her voice, “Oh my God! Brittney! A ghost possessed some mobsters and made them shoot themselves, you gotta get your axe and come with us!”
Crow Sings eyes roll into the back of his head, he begins to make chants with a mumbling voice. The smell of liquor wafting about him.
Irons attention refocuses on Brittney, a fury alighting in the normally placid gaze.
“See, nothing to worry about here, just a little coffee and-“ Brittney’s statement is cut-off as Crow Sings suddenly retches, vomit splattering over the back of Irons’s dark suit.
“Hunter!” Irons yells, “Arrest that man.”
Hunter quickly grabs the chanting Crow Sings and drags him from the building, a furious Irons following them both.
Brittney waits for the bell to jingle before turning towards Hazard Pay and Jane.
“I’ll clean up this mess and we will take the Way over to Sacred Grounds Too, Hazard you will show me where this whole thing took place.” Brittney grabbed the mop, the familiar whispers of the Ghost Axe begin to grow in her mind. Her knuckles tighten about the wood of the handle as she begins to clean.