A word to the wise. Should you and a partner-in-crime be trying to escape from the police, if you instruct your partner in crime to run — be specific as to the direction.
Adramelech took off to the left, whereas I took off to the right. Of course, splitting up could be considered a viable tactic insofar as it doubles the chances of at least one person getting away. In this case, however, whatever theoretical benefits such a manoeuvre may have provided were undone by the fact that he was on my right, I was on his left, and we collided as soon as we began to move.
“That way!” I said, pointing to the right, and we took off west along Noble Street.
I won’t describe in detail our flight from the law. For one thing, I’ve always found chase scenes to be boring, filled with lots of running, yelling and confusion. For another thing I really can’t remember much, what with all the running, yelling and confusion. My plan was to get across the train tracks running along the north side of the street, which would then take us into a light industrial area filled with little corridors, hiding spaces and such.
Of course, that’s not what happened. Our mad dash through streets, backyards and alleyways eventually took us south, across Queen Street into the parking lot beside Rhino where we felt safe enough to catch our breath.
“I’m trying to recall your exact words,” I panted.
“What words?” asked Adramelech.
“The ones where you told me how much of an advantage it would be for me to have a partner who could turn invisible!”
“Ah, yes. That.”
“Yes. That. What the hell happened?”
“I don’t know. Not a clue. Turning invisible is a power every demon has.”
“Was it something Nagridal did?”
Adramelech shook his head. “You mean Nergal, and I don’t think so. All he did was read the contract. He couldn’t change it if he wanted to. And I’m sure he wanted to.”
Suddenly, however, Adramelech’s inability to turn invisible took a back seat to another problem that popped into my mind.
“Ah, shit!” I said.
“My van. It’s parked on Noble Street, just down from the building.”
“Right,” said Adramelech. “Which means we can’t just saunter back and pick it up.”
“That too, but it also means they’ll probably take the licence number — crap! It’s probably got a ticket.”
“This is bad, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “It’s bad. It will lead them right to my home.”
“Shouldn’t you be there to greet them, then?” he suggested.
He was right, of course. Best to be home and relaxed, just as though I’d never been out breaking into buildings the night before. Except — I had to meet Iggy at my office by ten. It was now close to seven and I was so tired and drained I couldn’t think straight.
Adramelech had transformed into a woman of about 50, slightly frumpy and nondescript. We headed down to King in order to get farther away from any police activity and then over to my office, with a stop off for breakfast at the King’s Plate across the street from my office. A life of crime can make you damned hungry.
Once in my office Adramelech reverted to his dapper image and we pulled out the contract to see if we could figure out what had gone wrong with his invisibility trick. Reading through the endless legalistic drivel was like trying to make sense of one of the Unabomber’s manifestos, but after about half an hour Adramelech said, “Uh oh.”
“What have you got?” I asked.
“I think — I think I see the problem.”
“It says here, ‘during his time in the corporeal world, he shall retain the full powers granted him by the authority of his Underworld office.‘”
“Okay. That’s good, right?”
“Well — not exactly. What it actually does is limit me to only those powers I have by the authority of my Underworld office. In other words, I don’t have the regular powers of a demon — only those powers accredited to my official position in Hell.”
“And your official position in Hell is…?”
“Uh — well, I have two, actually. One is Chancellor of Hell.”
“Chancellor? That’s pretty powerful, isn’t it?”
“Yes — and no. I mean, it sort of places me in a high position in government, but as far as actual powers go, it’s not worth much in the corporeal world.”
“You said you had two positions. What’s the second?”
“I’m, uh. I’m Satan’s Wardrobe Manager.”
I reached into the drawer of my desk and pulled out my trusty bottle of scotch.
“Of course you are,” I said. “Of course you are.”
For those interested, there are notes on this chapter which can be found HERE. Notes to previous chapters can be found by hovering over the “Notes: Chapters 11 – 20” tab at the top of the page.
Warning — Read the chapter first, otherwise the notes may be an inadvertent spoiler.
This is my 15th entry in the February writing challenge, “30 Minus 2 Days of Writing: III” (or 30M2DoW) issued by We Work for Cheese, the rules for which, such as they are, I am completely ignoring — except the attempt to post each day during the month.