Delilah briefly looked away just as Plum cast a spell in her direction. My legs were moving before the thought of possible danger to me even registered. I tackled Delilah, bringing her to the ground, seconds before the full force of Plum’s attack reached us. It caved in the spot on the wall previously occupied by Delilah’s head. We looked up at the crater in the wall and then at each other in amazement, as plaster rained down on us.
“That bitch! Alright, I’ve seen enough,” yelled Delilah.
She waved an open hand towards the far side of the pentagram. The blaze suddenly flared brightly, drawing Plum’s attention and temporarily blinding her. Delilah took a stun gun from her pocket and shot the electrified wires into Flame’s side. Another set of stun gun prongs went arching into her back, launched by one of the dancers.
I was relieved to see Plum’s essence fade as Flame’s body went rigid and then crumpled to the dirt floor spasming uncontrollably. We all waited to see if she would get back up. When Flame lay still, Delilah stood and killed the flames with a loud clap of her hands. She let out a whoop and high-fived the dancers who came running over to her. They laughed uproariously and talked all at once, barely able to contain their excitement. Delilah seemed positively giddy. I took it all in with growing irritation.
“Did y’all see her try to cave my head in? Now that’s what I’m talking ’bout! We finally found a challenge,” crowed Delilah.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The woman had almost just died, yet she was dancing around like she had just won the lottery. I couldn’t take anymore jubilation.
“Did I miss something? Plum almost ended us!”
“Exactly, that’s what made it so thrilling. Nothing like a near death experience to get your adrenaline pumping. Besides, that was good exercise. We can’t have our powers getting rusty now can we?”
Delilah dismissed the others, reminding them to be prepared for the next onslaught. As the dancers took their leave, she called one over and requested a bottle of water. The meaningful look they exchange was lost on me. The bartender strode in and attached a chain to a loop on the steel column in the middle of the pentagram. On the other end was a cuff which he locked around Flame’s left ankle. He moved outside the pentagram and stood watching her.
Flame lay still for so long that I feared she was dead. We watched her regain consciousness by degrees. The bartender stepped over to Flame and pulled a chain around his neck from underneath his shirt. On the end of it was a cross which he pressed into her forehead for a moment, reciting the Lord’s prayer. When she didn’t react, he pulled a small bottle from his pocket and sprinkled the contents onto her. Flame’s only reaction was to blink when the water ran into her eyes. The bartender nodded to himself and strode from the room.
“What was that all about,” I asked.
“Just making sure no demons or other uninvited guests slipped through when she channeled your friend.”
“What was in that bottle?”
“A little holy water.”
Flame tried to sit up. She got as far as propping herself up on her elbows, but was too weak to sit up under her own power. A few moments later, the dancer returned and handed Delilah the bottle of water. She took it and strode over to Flame’s prone form.
Flame nodded and Delilah helped her sit up. She handed over the bottle of water before returning to her seat. Flame unscrewed the lid with trembling fingers. She nearly dropped the bottle when a wave of nausea had her to abruptly leaning sideways. She vomited out a white frothy substance, spat and used a mouthful of the water to rinse her mouth before greedily sucking down more. The bottle was almost empty before her thirst was slaked. Her voice sounded hoarse.
“So what happens next?”
“I’ll have someone take you to the airport and make sure you take a flight back home.”
“Wait a minute. You mean you’re just going to let me go home?”
“Yep, I’m just gonna let you go home. We’re done here.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means, I wanted to meet Plum and now I have.”
Delilah stood and beckoned for me to follow with a quick tilt of her head. We walked out and back upstairs to her office. She kept her word and sent two dancers to free Flame and help out to a car for the trip back to the airport. I watched it all with growing apprehension.
“I can’t believe you’re actually going to let her go. I thought you were just saying that so she wouldn’t bring Plum back.”
“Relax, she couldn’t channel Plum again tonight even if she wanted to. Didn’t you see how weak she is? Plum wouldn’t put herself at risk by entering a depleted body. Casting powerful spells requires reserves of strength. It’s very draining.”
“How do we know she won’t turn around and come right back?”
“Didn’t you hear me say someone will make sure she gets onto her flight? She’ll be on a commercial flight. Do you think they’re going to turn the plane around in midair for her?”
“All she has to do is return on the next flight with backup.”
“That’ll be kind of hard for her, since she won’t remember where we are.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean she just drank a little amnesia potion.”
“How….oh, was it in the water?”
“Yep. In a few minutes, she won’t recall even coming to New York let alone where she went was she was here.”
“I don’t know why I ever doubted you Delilah. You’re always two steps ahead of me. By the way, what was with all that white stuff Flame vomited?”
“You’ve never seen ectoplasm before?”
“No, but I’ve heard of it. I thought that was slime left behind by ghosts.”
“Ectoplasm can appear in many different forms.”
“But it has something to do with ghosts right? So, what does that have to do with Plum?”
“What do you think it means Patricia?”