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Ethan Knox is a modern renaissance man. Writer, Magus, and Teacher, Ethan barely has time to focus on himself much less to reconcile his feelings for his ex-lover Detective Brian Lewis, who may or may not still harbor feelings for him as well. When one of Ethan’s students, convicted murderer Ricky Mason, stumbles upon a power that threatens to destroy the city of Shadow Falls, Ethan is forced to confront him in a magickal battle that ultimately exposes the face of true evil.
Prologue: The Legend of Red-Eye
The story opens in the mid 18th century, tensions between the natives and the colonist are building, and every one is on edge. The Shaman of the LaPye Nation foresees that in a war between the Red Man and the White Man that the Red Man would lose. The Shaman undergoes a traditional vision-quest to seek the guidance of the Ancestors. He journeys into the wild swampy region on the edge of his people’s tribal lands, taking only the clothes on his back and some drinking water. The Shaman finds an isolated spot and with his staff draws a large 6 foot circle around himself. He then takes out his medicine bag and removes the roots of the Ghost Plant, an herb sacred to his people which is said to bring visions when the spirits are inclined and the man is ready. The Shaman begins to chew this root, while concentrating on his desire for a vision. Minutes pass into hours, and hours into days. The Shaman remains in the circle praying for a vision while chewing the root, only stopping for brief naps.
After many days, the shaman is rewarded as his astral body moves across the psychic plane, however, instead of the Ancestors he encounters a fierce, primal spirit, invisible except for its glowing red eyes. The Shaman comes to believe that Red-Eye has been sent to him by the Ancestors as a means to protect his people. Coming out of his vision quest, the Shaman makes the journey back to the village and in his weary state he is almost killed by an alligator lying in wait. In a moment of terror, the memory of Red-Eye crosses his mind and almost immediately the alligator is torn apart by an invisible force. For the Shaman, this experience confirms his belief that Red-Eye is a gift from the Ancestors.
Seeing no other way to save his people, the Shaman unleashes Red-Eye on the colonist during the Blood Moon (the full moon in October.) Red-Eye tears through the village, destroying everything and almost everyone in sight. Many run blindly into the forest, while others believing that Judgment Day has come at last simply kneels before what they believe to be the Angel of Death and accept their fate. Those who managed to escape will never forget this catastrophic night, and many will suffer horrific nightmares for many years to come. Red-Eye having now tasted blood, attacks the unsuspecting inhabitants of the LaPye village, and the Shaman discovers Red-Eye has grown beyond his ability to control him. He is able to banish Red-Eye in the name of the Ancestors, to the virtually uninhabitable swamps; however, it is at a price he could not have foreseen. The consequence of invoking the Ancestors is that he must then join them in the afterlife. The legend of Red-Eye, the invisible monster with glowing red eyes, is born. The survivors are able to recover their losses and the natives are eventually driven off their own lands and onto the reservations. The rest is history.
Chapter One: Meet Ethan Knox
In the 21st century, the millennium has come and gone, the world has not yet ended, and the earth and its people are in tact. Where once was the home of a beautiful and proud people, the City of Shadow Falls now stands. Even the vast and gloomy swamp on the outskirts of town is now home to the decades old Palmetto Correctional Facility, otherwise known to it’s employees and inhabitants as the ‘Palms’ Ethan Knox makes his way down the 30 mile stretch of winding road known as the Devil’s Backbone and which leads to the prison in the middle of the swamps. Ethan checks in at the gate and receives his visitor badge, then drives his car to the familiar spot outside the prison chapel, where his classes are held. The Chaplain meets him at the locked fence, they greet each other, and Ethan is escorted to his usual classroom. The students, all inmates, enter the classroom vying for his attention as he attempts to listen to each of them, answer their questions, look at what they have to show him etc… Ethan finally takes charge, asking them to sit down and reminding them that they only have one hour for the class. As each of the students sign in, Ethan notices some new faces among the group, which wasn’t unusual. Some inmates come to the class to get out of their cell for an extra hour, some do it for the food that is occasionally served, and others do it out of genuine interest. Of the three new faces, one seems vaguely familiar but Ethan can’t quite place him.
Ethan introduces himself and welcomes the new comers to the class. He then invites them to at least introduce themselves and explain exactly why they came. Of the three new potential students, one introduces himself and explains that he came to the class just to see what it’s all about. The second introduces himself as Ricky Mason and explains that he’s read a few books on metaphysics and that it seemed interesting, but before he can continue the third student, Billy Pyatt, who has become increasingly restless jumps up and points an accusing finger at Ricky stating the he knows that Ricky murdered Matthew Powers. As Ethan moves between the two men, and the other inmates move to protect Ethan, the inmate shouts how when his own brother was injured in the textile mill Derek Powers visited him personally and took care of all the family’s medical bills, etc…..
Ethan attempts to calm the man down but is unsuccessful, a correctional officer alerted by the noise enters the classroom and the disruptive student is removed. After everyone calms down and returns to their seats, Ethan gives a speech about how everyone in the room, including himself, is guilty of something, but that should not prevent them from attempting to better themselves. Ethan praises Ricky for his willingness to explore alternative paths and invites him to return whenever he wishes. The other students voice their welcomes to him as well; however it was clear to them that a challenge had been issued that day and when it counted Ricky had not acted. Ricky whose body language had been defensive before now seems moved by the speech and relaxes somewhat. With almost half of their allotted time passed, Ethan decides to forgo that week’s lesson and instead uses the remaining time for open discussion.
During the course of their discussion, a student asks Ethan about his widely popular book Southern Spirits, which leads to a discussion of its contents. One student asks him about The Legend of Red-Eye and Ethan recounts the events of the story, adding that some people believe that Red-Eye still lurks among the briars and brambles of the marshy swamps around them. At the conclusion of the story, the Chaplain arrives and the class ends. As the students make their way out of the classroom escorted by two CO’s they leave various paperwork with Ethan, such as their homework from previous lessons, questions they would like for him to address, etc. Ethan turns in his visitor’s badge at the front gate and as he pulls out of the prison he turns up the radio while System of a Down poses the question “Why don’t Presidents fight the war?”
Chapter Two: Little Girl Lost
Returning home and, not allowing himself any rest, Ethan immediately plants himself in front of his computer. Checking his email he deletes the usual spam, marks other emails to be read later, responds to an email from his editor, and then clicks over to myspace to see what his ‘friends’ have been up to. Becoming quickly bored, Ethan goes directly to the SCDOC homepage and reads the contents of the public file on Richard Mason. However, he is interrupted by a knock at his door. He answers the door to find that it is Brian Lewis, his ex-lover and friend who also happens to work for the Shadow Falls Police Department. Ethan notices that Brian looks worried and anxious as he wonders if ‘Officer Lewis’ has come on business or pleasure.
He invites Brian in and they go to the kitchen, where Ethan pours them both some chamomile tea. Brian opens a cabinet and taking out some honey, adds it to his tea to sweeten it. In between sips, he explains that although he is pressed for time, he needs Ethan’s help. A small girl, Tina Jones, has gone missing and no one can find her. She has severe asthma and if she has an attack without her inhaler she could possibly die. Ethan asks if Brian has anything personal belonging to the girl and before he can finish his sentence, Brian produces a file containing photos of the girl as well as other information pertaining to her disappearance. Brain quickly explains that Tina was playing a game of hide and go seek with other children when she disappeared. Ethan explains that he will do what he can to find Tina; Brian thanks him and tells Ethan if he finds out anything to call him on his cell phone rather than calling the Cop Shop. At the door Ethan begins to tell Brian how nice it is to see him again and moves to embrace him, but Brian turns away too fast and heads to his patrol car.
Ethan closes the door and rests his head against it facing the floor for a few seconds as he finishes the sentence he began. Going up to his bedroom on the second floor, Ethan tosses the file on his bed. Knowing that he cannot do anything for the girl while in a tense state, Ethan indulges himself in a short yet relaxing bath. Ethan dries himself off and dresses in his boxers and a comfortable robe and collects some of his bathwater before pulling the plug sending the remaining bath water down the drain. He walks the collected bathwater downstairs and out his back door, and turns to the West. Ethan pauses for a moment then throws the used bathwater over his left shoulder towards the east and walking back inside whispers “so mote it be.”
Returning to his bedroom, Ethan takes the file off his bed and moves across the hall to what he affectionately calls “the Temple.” Inside the temple, Ethan unlocks the armoire in which he stores many of his magickal paraphernalia. He takes out the aged Book of Shadows handed down to him from his own mother, who received it from her mother, who received it from her mother, who started it in 1896 and which contains over a hundred years of his family’s wisdom. At his work table Ethan lights a candle and takes a few minutes thumbing through the book, contemplating those who’ve gone before, pausing to read bits and pieces of various entries. Finally he turns to the page he was searching for, the heading of the page reads “To Find a Lost Child.” Written in his grandmother’s handwriting, Ethan vaguely wonders what occurred to motivate her to write the spell.
Reading over the spell, Ethan notes what he will need to perform it and gathers those things before him. He removes a picture of Tina from Brian’s file and burns it in his cauldron along with cypress, yarrow, and rosemary. He then gathers some of the resulting ash and mixes it with dripping wax from the candle, and presses it to a piece of quartz crystal that he has suspended on a length of thread. Finally, he holds the crystal by the thread roughly six inches over a map of the city of Shadow Falls and its outlying areas. Ethan focuses on visualizing the girl and then recites the incantation just as it appears written in the Book of Shadows….
yet I would see;
where she abides,
reveal to me.”
At first, nothing appears to happen, but experience has taught Ethan to be patient. He continues to focus on the little girl as the crystal pendulum begins to swirl in a large circle. He moves the pendulum over the various grids on the map as the pendulum’s circumambulation grows smaller and smaller until finally it comes to a dead stop hovering over a section of the map. Ethan notes the spot in which the pendulum stops and a mental image forms in his mind. In his mind’s eye he sees Tina unconscious but not in pain, she seems to be in a dark place but unhurt in any way. Coming out of his trancelike state, he quickly dresses himself and rushes to his car.
Ethan drives through the quiet town making his way to the War Memorial Building, which houses the offices of the local Hometown Association, and parks under a light. Taking a flashlight out of his car he walks away from the building towards the park where many of the town’s activities, such as the annual Kudzu Festival are held. Walking slowly through the park, Ethan makes his way to a mound of large rocks. He slowly moves around the mound until he finds what he’s looking for. An opening in the rocks reveals the mound to actually be a man made cave about 10 to 15 yards in length. As he moves down the stone steps that lead into the cave, Ethan recalls how his father once told him that the cave was home to Fred Flintstone.
Shinning the light into the cave, Ethan steps around the discarded beer cans and food wrappers apparently left there by teenagers who often came to the cave to drink alcohol, smoke pot, or make out. Finally, he sees what he hopes to find and all the tension seems to leave him at once. Tina is lying on a structure of rocks that function as a bench inside the cave. Apparently unharmed, she seems to be sleeping. Ethan gently wakes the girl up whose only response is “mommy, can I stay up just one more hour,” before falling quickly back to sleep in Ethan’s arms. Ethan carries Tina back to his car, where he calls Brian on his cell phone. Brian arrives in minutes, simultaneously excited and relieved. Brain thanks Ethan for his help and both agree that Brain should call this in and omit the part about Ethan’s involvement. By the following week, the story of the little girl that had fallen asleep while playing hide and go seek had, for the most part, blown over. Brian received a public commendation from the mayor for his work on the case and his picture appeared in the local paper alongside Tina and her mother. A few days later Ethan received a bottle of expensive wine with an unsigned card on which was written the word ‘thanks.’
Chapter Three: Magick Hour
Driving into the ‘Palms’ for his weekly lesson with his students, Ethan puts the events of the previous week behind him. At the start of the class, Ethan notices that Ricky has decided to join the group again, but that he seems to be segregated from the other students. Ethan mentally attempts to decide whether if this is by his own choice or if the other inmates shun him? When the class settles in Ethan begins the week’s lesson with a lecture he’d given many times before and which seems to be everyone’s favorite, “How Magick Works”. Ethan explains that Wicca is a religion which recognizes magick as one tool available to all seekers along their spiritual path, but the practice of magick is only one part of the greater whole of Wiccan belief and practices. He continues by citing Clarke’s Third Law which states that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” therefore, Witches recognize magick as a science which we are as yet unable to fully explain.
He goes on to state that the prevailing theory conjectures that there is a divine spark, or Higher Self, within all human beings which is that part of themselves that is god. This Higher Self has the power to achieve anything that the individual can imagine. However, the desire has to be communicated to the Higher Self through images rather than words, which is why an understanding of symbols is so important to witches. Such images are generated through active visualization. The Higher Self then turns these images into reality.
This process of communing with the Higher Self can be done in various ways, thus leading to different types and techniques of magick. However, while there are certain principles which we believe are essential for the successful practice of magick, the application of these principles is highly personal and subjective to the individual. Ethan continues along this line of thought saying that magic does not come from any tool; it is channeled through the tool from the individual himself. All one needs in order to perform successful magick is a connection to the Higher Self, a firm belief that you can have that which you desire, reaffirm this with positive thoughts, words, and deeds, and the knowledge that what you send out will come back to you.
Ethan’s students are enthralled as he explains the theory of magic. Some listen intently, others hurriedly jot down notes, while a few raise their hands with quizzical looks on their faces. Ethan pauses to answer questions, sometimes allowing his students to chime in with their own theories or to explain what he has already said in their own words. One student questions the role of visualization in the process of successful magick. Ethan responds by explaining that visualization can be thought of as form of sympathetic magick. Sympathetic Magick, he continues, is the belief that invisible bonds connect all things. A classic example of this type of magick with which most people are familiar is the melting of a waxen image of an enemy resulting in that enemy’s death. With visualization, rather than creating a physical image of your goal, you create a mental one.
Another student questions aloud how one makes the connection to the Higher Self. Ethan compliments the student on asking such a good question, and then begins his answer. The connection to the Higher Self is made in various ways; however it is most commonly done through ritual observance and meditation. Through ritual observance, such as at Esbats and Sabbats, a person opens their selves to the divine and therefore to the universal connectedness of all things. However, through meditation, the Lower Self becomes connected to the Higher Self by way of the sub consciousness. This is commonly symbolized in the Lover’s Card of the Tarot. Often the male, or Lower self, is seen gazing at the female, or subconscious, who in turn is looking upward at Cupid, the Higher Self. As Ethan’s words sink in the class comes to an end all too soon.
Chapter Four: Ricky’s Descent
The following day Ricky casually walks around the exercise yard among the other inmates. As he does he contemplates his life and remarks to himself that life behind bars isn’t that much different than life on the outside--- at least for him. His mother had died when he was very young, he never knew how she died or under what circumstances, so he was left in the care of his alcoholic father. Ricky was often the target of his father’s drunken rage, and like many children who grew up in abusive households he was a below-average student with very few friends. Even though he had a general interest in magick, the few spells he had attempted never seem to work, but it seemed that he had a natural gift for fixing gadgets, cars, and small appliances, which earned him a living after he dropped out of school. Not long after his father’s death, Ricky was lucky enough to become employed at the Powers’ estate as a maintenance man, but that luck soon turned sour and he found himself serving a 25 to life sentence for the murder of Matthew Powers, his employer’s son.
Ricky was so lost in his own thoughts that he barely had time to react when he was attacked by Billy Pyatt who was wielding a ‘home-made’ knife Billy told him that he was finally about to get what he deserved for killing Matthew Powers. Ricky, no stranger to violence, defended himself as best he could, while avoiding the shank. It wasn’t long before the two combatants found themselves surrounded by the other inmates, shouting at them and shoving them ever closer towards one another. At one point Billy came extremely close to slicing Ricky up, but before he could deliver the fatal blow, Ricky felt a sharp pain at the back of his head and everything went black as he witnessed a CO come up behind Billy and strike the back of his head with the butt of his rifle.
Ricky awoke a few hours later and found himself stripped of all his clothing in a small dimly lit cell known as the ‘hole.’ He knew the reason his clothes were removed was to keep him from using them to hang himself, but Ricky couldn’t help but think the CO’s were, at least subconsciously, sadists. When the CO came to deliver his evening meal, he was informed that fighting was not tolerated and that he would be enjoying his new cell for the next 30 days.
The first few days Ricky filled his time mostly by jerking off and sleeping, but his body quickly lost the ability to entertain him and he found him self jerking off less and less and sleeping more and more. As he sunk into depression, Ricky began to remember the last lesson in which he had sat in on in the Wiccan Studies Class. He recalled what Ethan said about magick being channeled through the individual from the Higher Self. Ricky recalls what he’s read about meditation when he was younger and resolved to begin practicing it in order to find his Higher Self.
For the next few days, Ricky began to practice meditating by simply sitting in a comfortable position and focusing on his breathing. Inhaling deeply, Ricky held his breathe for a count of three seconds, slowly exhaled and then waited three seconds before inhaling again. Repeating this pattern of breathing Ricky began relaxing his entire body beginning with his feet and ending with his head. Ricky allowed all extraneous thoughts to fade away as he focused on nothing but his breathing and the gradual relaxation of his entire body. Eventually, he came to a point where both his mind and body were completely relaxed.
In this state of complete relaxation, Ricky finds himself outside his cell and reasons that the combination of the sensory deprivation of the hole and his meditations has caused him to have an out of body experience. He finds that in this place his senses are heightened, colors are more vibrant, and sounds are clearer. Moving through the various cells he spies his enemy Billy Pyatt ‘enjoying himself’. Stepping through the walls of the prison and walking through the swamp his attention is drawn to a particular area where he sees the faint outline of a large animal with glowing red eyes and believes he has found his Higher Self.
He thinks back to how Billy Pyatt had tried to kill him days earlier, and testing his theory Ricky focuses his thoughts on Billy directing all his hate at him. In his cell Billy “Bad-Ass” Pyatt is just about to achieve orgasm, and it is the last one he will ever have. The sound of Billy’s screams fills the entire ward. Just as suddenly as Ricky found himself outside his body, he finds that he has returned. As he gradually acclimates himself back to mundane reality he moves over to the door to his cell and listens as the CO’s run down the hall and throw open Billy’s cell to find him torn apart and the cell covered in blood.
As the CO’s scramble to figure out what happened to Billy, Ricky seizes the opportunity to create more confusion and escape his prison. Closing his eyes, he visualizes the prison as a large chunk of Swiss cheese. As he concentrates the walls around him begin to vibrate, only a little at first, and gradually they shake violently forming large holes in the wall and floors throughout the prison. Alarms sound as prisoner after prisoner begins to escape out of the holes created by Red-Eye under the direction of Ricky Mason. Before escaping into the night, Ricky pauses to repeat a quote he remembered from his sophomore history class said to have been uttered by Robert Oppenheimer upon seeing the first atomic explosion, “Behold I am become Shiva, destroyer of worlds.”
Chapter Five: Eve of Destruction
The authorities scramble to capture the scattered escapees, and in the confusion Ricky makes his way through the swamps. After relieving the corpse of one of his fellow inmates of its clothing, Ricky makes his way into the city of Shadow Falls and takes shelter in an abandoned movie theater which has fallen into disrepair. Other inmates are not so lucky; several of them die in the swamps while others are recaptured. Within hours, only a handful of the escaped inmates are unaccounted for.
Ethan wakes up that morning and follows his usual routine. First a hot shower and a shave then pulling on a faded t-shirt and jeans, he walks downstairs to his kitchen, where he brews a pot of coffee. As the coffee percolates, he steps out his backdoor. Moving to the center of his fenced in back yard and turning to the East, Ethan takes a few deep breathes. Grounding his energies into the earth itself, and lifting his head to the skies, Ethan stretches out his arm, elbows slightly bent, palms up and says his devotion as he has done many times before:
“Hail and welcome bringer of light,
You of beauty grace and might;
I call upon your golden rays,
To consecrate me today;
Make me a vessel of your energy,
That blessed I may truly be!”
Ethan enjoys these few moments of communion with the infinite and then walks back inside feeling more energetic and awake than he had before. Inside he takes a cup of coffee to his office off the living room. Moving through the house Ethan remarks to himself he doesn’t seem to do a great deal of living in his living room. Inside his office, he switches on the television, mostly for background noise, and takes a seat at his computer. Ethan brings up the astrological programs that tell him where the planets are in relation to the zodiac and to each other for the next coming months. Ethan begins to print off the information so that he can begin to write the horoscopes for each of the twelve signs of that zodiac. For some it may seem tedious work, but Ethan has always loved astrology and he felt that he had found a niche writing monthly horoscopes specifically for the lives of gay men. The publishers of The North Star, a gay men’s magazine, certainly felt that way as well. Ethan always counted himself lucky to be able to make a living by doing something that he loved.
Working at his computer, half listening to the re-run of Dark Shadows which replays daily on the Sci-Fi channel, Ethan barely notices when the program is interrupted by the Emergency Alert System. The banner on the bottom of the screen and the accompanying voice informed the viewer of the existence of an emergency situation and urged the viewer to turn to another channel for all relevant information. Turning to the specified channel, Ethan reads the words as they appear on the screen.
“All citizens in the city of Shadow Falls are urged to stay indoors as several incidences point to the possibility of a Tornado having touched down in several areas of the city. While no Tornado has been spotted, authorities say that this does not mean that the danger has passed. Again all citizens should remain indoors……”
Ethan clicks over to the local channel where a reporter is filing a story about the destruction of the historic Winthrop Plant, one of the many textile mills owned by Derek Powers, which seems to have been torn apart brick by brick. The reporter states that authorities are treating the incident as a natural disaster, possibly the result of a tornado. However, he continues, the National Weather Association which has been tracking other unusual phenomenon in the area can find no evidence of a tornado. Ethan sees Brian in the background and throwing on his shoes drives to the scene.
There, Ethan witnesses the devastation, and bewildered, he looks to the skies, as a uniformed officer warns him to stay behind the yellow CAUTION tape. Ethan calls over to Brian who then waves him over. Brian asks Ethan if he knows anything about “all this” and Ethan explains he doesn’t know anything about anything. Brian continues the conversation by explaining about the prison break the previous night, the inexplicable destruction of the textile mill, a hail of stones which appeared in the skies over the local yacht club, which sunk only one ship, The Siren, even though there were several anchored on the docks.
Brian takes a moment to pause, hoping that Ethan will provide him with some answers. When Ethan is not forthcoming Brian continues by describing other occurrences that transpired throughout the previous night including major property damage at the local children’s park, and the destruction of the construction sight of a new library that was being built at the Shadow Falls Community College. Opening all his senses, Ethan feels the lingering emotions of unbridled rage and comments to himself that there’s nothing natural about these disasters. Changing the subject Ethan thanks Brian for the bottle of wine that Brian had sent him a few weeks prior, but before Brain can respond he is called away by another officer. As they part, Brian tells Ethan to go home and stay put until he and the other authorities can sort this whole thing out.
Before driving home, Ethan cruises past the children’s park where he spots the familiar yellow CAUTION tape as well as several officers going about their business. Slowing down, Ethan notices that it appears as if the swing sets, slides and other assorted attractions scattered about the children’s park had been pulled up out of the ground and warped into grotesque shapes. Making a U-Turn and driving past the park again, Ethan notices the sign at its entrance:
Walter Powers Memorial Park
Chapter Six: Confrontation
Back home, Ethan makes a list of all places and things which were destroyed or damaged the night before. Logging onto his computer he attempts to confirm his suspicions. Searching through various data bases, he discovers the owner of The Siren is one Derek Powers, who also owned the Winthrop Plant as CEO of Power’s Industries. In addition, the children’s park, dedicated to his own father, was completely funded by Powers Industries as well as the construction of the new library at the Community College. Ethan surmises that Derek Powers appears to be the target of these attacks as he begins to wonder who could be behind them. Then he remembers the prison break, which he recalls occurred before all the other incidences.
Ethan makes the connection between Derek Powers and Ricky Mason. Continuing his investigation, Ethan searches the archives of the Shadow Falls Courier for information pertaining to Ricky’s crime. He finds several articles about Ricky, his trial, and conviction and skims over them getting the jist of what occurred. It seems that Ricky Mason lived at the Power’s estate where he was employed as a general handyman. It is believed that Ricky took the job so that he could get the lay of the land in hopes of robbing the estate at a later date. One night while breaking into Derek Power’s safe, Ricky was surprised by Derek’s son Matthew who was home from college on Spring Break 2004. A struggle ensued and Ricky shot Matthew killing him. Ricky was caught hours later, and following a quick trial was sentenced to 25 years to life for the murder of Matthew Powers. Ethan recalls that the story was a sensation at the time, but that Ricky had refused to grant interviews to the media.
Ethan calls the Chaplain at the Palms, who apologizes for canceling all classes but explains that security cannot be guaranteed. Ethan explains that he was unaware of the cancellations, but that the reason he was calling was to find out if Ricky Mason was one of the inmates who had escaped. The Chaplain confirms this, and adds that he is also one of the few inmates who have yet to be found. Ethan thanks the Chaplain, who reminds him that if Ricky attempts to contact him it is his duty to inform the authorities.
Ethan figures that even if Ricky did have something to do with these incidences, no one would ever believe that one man could cause the destruction on the scale that they have witnessed. Ethan does not understand himself how Ricky Mason has accomplished these tasks, but he knows that he is right, and that the police are not adequately equipped to handle this situation. Knowing that it won’t take the police long to make the same connections that he did, and that attempting to forewarn Derek Powers would likely fall on deaf ears, Ethan decides to attempt to locate Ricky himself.
At his computer, Ethan returns to the SCDOC homepage and brings up Ricky Mason’s public file again. He prints Ricky’s picture off this page and takes it upstairs to his temple. Repeating the spell he used to find little Tina Jones, Ethan pinpoints Ricky’s location and notes that he appears to be holed up in the abandoned Stardust Theaters. Ethan drives to the Stardust, located on a lonely back road on the eastern side of Shadow Falls. The Stardust had been a major attraction in the town in the 1950’s but the owners died in the 70’s leaving no heirs. The land later reverted back to the city, whose plans to develop it never came to fruition. The Stardust now barely stands as a monument to a different time. Covered in kudzu, Ethan notices how the theater resembles a giant monster from an old Godzilla movie.
Making his way to the entrance, Ethan steps inside and immediately regrets having left his flashlight in the car. Inside Ricky Mason is asleep on a makeshift cot he’s made for himself, however, his past two years in prison have made him a light sleeper. He awakens from his spot behind the movie screen, and sitting up listens for what first alerted his senses. Ethan explores the concession area and decides to go into the theater itself. Inside the theater some light filters through a hole in the roof, but most of it is obscured by the kudzu. As Ethan’s eyes adjust to the darkness, he opens all his senses in hopes of finding Ricky. Sensing another presence, Ethan calls out Ricky’s name. Ricky recognizes Ethan’s voice and responds with a respectful “Mr. Knox?” Ethan confirms his identity, and Ricky comes out from his hiding place. Ricky asks Ethan how he found him and what he’s doing there. Ethan says that’s not important, but that if he could find him the police wouldn’t be far behind.
Ethan explains that things will go better for him if Ricky turns himself in and offers to be with him when he does. Ricky refuses saying that he’s not going back, ever. Ricky says that he has a score to settle and Ethan asks if he means Derek Powers. Ricky’s mood quickly changes as he apologizes to Ethan stating that he can’t allow anyone to get in his way. Ricky’s eyes begin to glow with reddish light and Ethan is forcibly thrown through a wall and left for dead. Ricky leaves the Stardust hoping to get Ethan’s car, but is shocked when he finds Ethan blocking his path. Ethan says that Ricky can’t get rid of him so easily, and Ricky discovers that he isn’t the only one with powers as a nearby fence separates from the ground and coils itself around Ricky. Ricky is taken by surprise and falls to the ground as Ethan thinks that he has won. However, the fencing around Ricky explodes outward from his body and Ricky scrambles to his feet as Ethan takes cover behind his car. Ethan hears a crackling sound and once he thinks it is safe to come up realizes that the Stardust is now on fire and Ricky is no where to be found.
Chapter Seven: The Lovers
Ethan drives around the lonely neighborhood hoping to find Ricky again but his search proves useless, when he hears the approach of fire engines, he leaves the area. Returning home he attempts to dowse for Ricky again, but it appears that Ricky has learned to block his efforts. Ethan begins to wonder how Ricky obtained so much power so quickly, and then he remembers how Ricky’s eyes had glowed red when he used his powers. As he climbs the stairs to his temple, Ethan recalls the legend of Red-Eye, and realizes that Ricky must have somehow discovered the creature and learned to harness his power.
In his temple, Ethan relaxes in a comfortable chair and begins searching through his family’s Book of Shadows for any mention of Red-Eye. Finding nothing in the book, he tosses it down on his side table in frustration. Ethan leans forward with his elbows on his knees and places his face in his palms and takes a few breaths. He moves to put the Book of Shadows back in his armoire, when he sees that it has landed on an entry concerning Elementals. Taking up the Book of Shadows again, he reads the entry written in his mother’s curving scrawl….
“Elementals are the spiritual manifestation of their element, normally associated with the four classical elements, fire, earth, air and water. However, elementals are not limited to these four, in fact natural processes and places have also been known to be the home of elements. In this form they lack any individuality, but exist purely as potential within that element. Elementals are everywhere, but most people rarely see them and of those who do, they rarely understand what they have seen. You cannot ordinarily sense them with the normal five senses, but they can be seen by clairvoyants and their presence felt by other sensitives.
They normally remain within their own element, but when their environment is disturbed or they are called forth by magick, they separate from their element and become individual beings. In this form, they are able to interact with their surroundings and the who people share their space. So long as they remain in their element, they are incapable of learning anything about those elements to which they do not belong. Elementals would like to grow and evolve and the only way of doing this is through vicarious association with muli-dimensional beings such as humans. For this reason, elementals seek human companionship. In return for a favored human’s tutelage, they are willing to provide service.
Elementals are known for being very selective in choosing their human companion. Not all elementals are benign as they often take on the traits of the humans with whom they have bonded. The longer in which an elemental remains in service to a human being, the more independent it becomes, and therefore an elemental should always be treated with respect lest it betray its master.”
As Ethan finishes the last words in the entry, he closes the Book of Shadows and whispers “thanks mom,” before placing it in the armoire again. Ethan takes out his tarot cards and moves over to his work table with them. Ethan lights a candle at his table and sets out a small cup of water. Ethan removes his cards from the silk in which they are wrapped and spreads the silk across the table. Ethan passes the cards over the cup of water then shuffles them before finally fanning the cards out on the silk face down. Concentrating on Ricky, Ethan pulls three cards at random.
The first card, the Four of Swords, indicates that Ricky’s new found powers are not unlimited and that they need time to regenerate. Ethan takes this as a good sign, that it will give him time to formulate a plan. Next, the Ten of Cups confirms that Ricky’s next attack will likely be the Powers’ Family Estate. Finally, Strength, seems to hint at how Ethan may defeat Ricky. Attempting to discern Ricky’s location, Ethan pulls another card and drawing the Devil, comes up blank.
Inside a cardboard box on skid row, Ricky has hidden himself among society’s other outcast, the homeless and runaways. As everyone around him is either sleeping or high, Ricky concentrates on Ethan as his eyes glow red. Ethan attempts to call Brian, but getting his voice mail, hangs up He considers breaking Brian’s cardinal rule of calling the Cop Shop but decides that that would be a bad idea. He re-dials Brian’s number, as the eyes of the Devil tarot card which he has left on his worktable begins to glow red as well. Back on skid row, Ricky spies Ethan remotely and hears the message that Ethan leaves for Brian. Ricky senses the emotion in Ethan’s voice and realizes that they were once lovers.
Ricky recalls having read a newspaper account of a Detective Brian Lewis who found a lost girl and surmises that the detective and Ethan’s Brian are one and the same. Ricky searches the papers he used for cover inside his cardboard box and finds the picture of Brian. He then hatches a plan to distract Ethan while he launches his final assault on Derek Powers.
Ricky climbs out of his cardboard box and makes his way over to a large metallic barrel in which some of the homeless have built a fire in order to stay warm. He tears the photograph of Brian out of the paper and throws it in the fire. Summoning all his will power, Ricky’s eyes take on the familiar glow that indicates his connection to Red-Eye and he recites his best effort at an incantation…
“As this picture burns in fire,
Brian burns with desire;
He will find no rest or peace,
‘til Ethan gives him release!”
Fire shoots up from the barrel, and Ricky takes this as a sign that his spell is successful. Across town, Brian is immediately overwhelmed by a wave of heat. He pulls over and jumps out of his patrol car. Seeking relief, he rips open his shirt and, sweating profusely, realizes that he has an erection. He has an uncontrollable urge to go to Ethan, so he returns to his car and drives to Ethan’s home.
Once there, Brian doesn’t even pause to knock at Ethan’s door. Instead be crashes through the door surprising Ethan in his own living room and before Ethan can react Brian embraces him and they kiss passionately. Brian and Ethan go at each other like animals. As Brian repeats “I want you, I want you, I want you,” over and over the lovers tear each other’s clothes off and they head to the bedroom where they reconsummate their once failed relationship.
Chapter Eight: Super Smack Down
Hours later, Ethan wakes up in Brian’s arms and he sees that Brian is awake too and appears to be lost in his own thoughts. Running his fingers through Brian’s chest hair and tracing a line around his belly button, Ethan asks him if his coming there means that Brian has finally decided to be open about their relationship. Brian sits up somewhat confused and says that he hadn’t really been thinking at all. Angry, Ethan pulls away from Brian and says that maybe it wasn’t what he was thinking but rather what he was thinking with. Ethan continues by explaining to Brian that he already told him that as his friend he can respect his decision to remain in the closet, but as his lover he cannot be with someone who is ashamed to acknowledge their relationship. Brian says it’s not like that and Ethan asks him why he’s there. Brian explains that he was in his patrol car when he was overwhelmed by a wave of heat and had an irresistible urge to come to Ethan. Brian then asks Ethan if he did some of his ‘voodoo’ on him, to which Ethan replies in the negative but comments that he may not be far off the mark. Brian asks him what he’s talking about and Ethan orders him to put his clothes on that they have a murder to prevent.
The two men race to the Powers Family Estate in Brian’s patrol car. Arriving at their destination they soon learn that Ricky has beaten them there, as the household staff abandons the manor in terror. Brian takes out his revolver and tells Ethan to stay in the car, but Ethan refuses and the two enter the manor and follow the sounds of a struggle to what appears to be Derek Powers’ office. Ethan and Brian enter the office where they see Derek Powers floating in mid air and writing in pain as if being torn apart from the inside. Ricky stands there bold and defiant, his arm raised in the air and clenching his fist. Brian takes out his pistol and orders Ricky to cease and desist whatever he’s doing, however Ricky easily disarms Brian with a wave of his hand and Brian’s gun flies through a window breaking the glass. With another wave of his hand Brian is thrown into a wall where he falls to the floor unconscious.
Ethan attempts to get Ricky to release Derek but Ricky refuses stating that Derek deserves to die. Ethan explains that’s its natural for Ricky to blame Derek for his own crime, but Ricky interrupts him telling him not to believe everything he reads.
He then forces Derek to tell the truth about what happened that night. Derek is reluctant to speak but Derek slowly explains that Ricky did not kill Matthew. On the day of Matthew’s death, Derek walked in on Ricky and Matthew having sex in Matthew’s room. Derek was appalled and retreated to his office to calm down and collect himself. Matthew and Ricky followed and an argument ensued. Derek accused Ricky of seducing his son, but Matthew says that it was the other way around. Derek struck his son and when Ricky struck back at Derek, Derek drew a gun from his desk. In anger, Derek attempts to shoot Ricky but Matthew moves in front of him and is killed instead. Ethan flees the scene and Derek frames him for the murder. Derek uses his political clout to ensure that Ricky gets a fast trial and to ensure a guilty verdict.
As Ricky looks to the past, an unconscious Brian is given a glimpse of his own future. He sees himself as an old man, now retired from duty and living a lonely existence. As the scenes of his future life pass before him Brian thinks to himself that his life could have turned out so differently had he been able to release his own fear.
Once Derek confesses, Ricky prepares to deliver his deathblow. Ethan moves to stop him, and Ricky waves his arm again to prevent Ethan from interfering in his revenge, however Ethan deflects this move and the resulting backlash knocks down Ricky who loses his hold on Derek who falls to the floor conscious but unable to act. Ethan now more aggressive, commands Ricky to stop his assault and turn himself in to the authorities. Ricky pretends to relent and catching Ethan off guard lashes out at Ethan with his full force. Ethan is thrown against a wall as an invisible hand presses into him crushing him. As he begins to lose consciousness, Ethan recalls his tarot reading from the day before and the image of the Strength card, which depicts a feminine individual closing the mouth of a lion by sheer force of will, flashes across his mind. Summoning all his strength, Ethan calls upon the one person who can bring an end to this madness, Matthew Powers.
The room grows silent and begins to glow with an eerie light as Matthew appears before Ricky, who becomes distracted and releases Ethan. Ricky asks Matthew if it really is him and Ethan sees Matthew smile and nod. Ricky, who is now crying, says ‘I love you.’ Matthew and Ricky seem to make a silent exchange between them which Ethan does not fully understand. Ricky appears to have a seizure and then falls to the floor dead. The red glow leaves Ricky’s eyes and is replaced by its natural brown. Ethan witnesses Ricky’s spirit rise into the air where he and Matthew embrace and are reunited in the afterlife. Before disappearing into eternity they point to a place behind Derek’s desk where a safe is exposed and its door is hanging open.
Ethan helps Brian, who has only suffered minor wounds, regain consciousness. Brian asks Ethan if it’s over, and Ethan tells him yes. Brian then asks what happened and Ethan simply replies that Ricky fell on his sword. Brain places his hands on Ethan’s shoulders, looks him in the eyes, and says that he now knows that he’s been an ass and that if Ethan will still have him, things will be different now. Ethan pauses, and searching Brian’s eyes notices that Brian has somehow changed. Ethan answers Brian with a kiss and they both embrace.
Brian calls for backup as well as medical attention for Derek who has broken several bones and has internal bleeding, however he will live. An inspection of the contents of his safe reveals a security tape which proves that Derek murdered his own son. The Chief of Detectives arrives on the scene along with the paramedics. The COD begins questioning Brian and Ethan who aren’t sure how to answer. When the COD doesn’t get any satisfactory answers he asks Brian who Ethan is and wants to know how he figures into what has occurred, to which Brian responds ‘he’s my boyfriend.’ The two men take each others hands and walk out of the manor. Ethan climbs into Brian’s car and they share a kiss as Ethan’s eyes now glow red. They pull away together knowing that whatever the future holds, they will face it together.