Janet and Andrea lost track of how long they had been pressing their weight against the door to Mukesh’s office. They tried pressing their ears against it, but all they could hear was muffled exclamations and curses from Robert and the jinn inside of him rising above the drone of Vincent chanting and Marko’s murmured questions. There were brief moments of silence abruptly broken by the sounds of a scuffle.
Several times, Robert managed to free himself and made for the door. The doorknob would rattle and the sister’s steeled themselves for the terrific thrust of him attempting to push the door open. Again and again, Robert tried to escape his captors. The sisters’ legs began to ache from levering their bodies against the door. Andrea cursed under her breath.
“Where the hell are those stupid women? I told them to find something we could use to wedge the door shut. They’ve been gone for at least twenty minutes! What are they doing, making the furniture,” she hissed through clenched teeth.
“Seems like it. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. Robert doesn’t even seem to be getting tired. I’m worried about Marko and Vincent,” Janet whispered.
“Forget about them. They seem to be holding their own in there. If Robert gets through this door, it’s the rest of us who will be in danger. Wait a minute…I hear footsteps. Maybe those morons finally found something we can use.”
Two of the ladies returned with a man in tow. Andrea took one look at his security uniform and shook her head testily. She shot her sister an exasperated look and held up a restraining hand to the trio.
“I told you ladies to go and drag back something heavy enough to wedge the door shut. I didn’t say go and get Barney Fife! What the hell is a security guard gonna do? He’s not even a Doorkeeper. What’d you do go to the mall and drag this guy back?”
In all the excitement, Janet hadn’t gotten a good look at either of the women. She knew that the pleasantly plump older woman wearing an obnoxiously loud floral print dress was named Karen. Her meaty feet were crammed into a pair of ballerina flats. Janet could barely see the other woman, who seemed to be hiding behind the security guard. She only glimpsed a thin face with aquiline features softened by frizzy brown curls. The woman’s name escaped her…Prudy…or Trudy…something like that, Janet thought distractedly. Karen stepped forward, planted a hand on one plump hip and glared at Andrea.
“Excuse me, there’s no call for you to be rude.”
“Yeah well, I disagree. Asking nicely for help from you two stooges was clearly ineffective. How hard is it to go and find a heavy chair or a table and bring it back here? What am I supposed to do with this guy…wedge him under the doorknob?”
“You are not to do anything. As Robert said, you two aren’t even Doorkeepers.”
“And this rent-a-cop is? Give me a break lady. As for Robert, I wouldn’t take anything he says seriously. The man has had a jinn inside of him this whole time pulling his strings. So, his opinion doesn’t count. Jagathy trained us and sent us on a mission. When is the last time you went on any sort of a mission, other than picking up lunch for everybody?”
“Look, we’re wasting time arguing. Judy and I felt we needed a man to step in…”
“So you went and grabbed some random security guard?”
Tired of watching the women argue, the security guard pushed past them and pulled Janet away from the door. It had barely closed behind him, when there was a commotion of shouting and scuffling. A shot rang out and Andrea forgot Marko’s directive about keeping the door shut. She wrenched it open it in time to see Robert falling to the floor with a gaping hole in his forehead. The security guard was coming up out of a shooter’s stance with a smoking glock pistol in his hand.
“What did you do,” screamed Andrea.
Before the security officer could respond, Robert’s body began to buck and shudder. Marko and Vincent jumped back and ran to the others, herding them towards the door. Reflexively they all covered their ears, to block out the loud roaring sound which preceded a volcanic discharge of energy from the widening wound in Robert’s forehead. They squinted their eyes against what appeared to be white hot flames. Marko pushed them back through the door and struggled to pull it closed against the winds generated by the tornadic explosion of power. Vincent lent a hand in wrenching it shut.
The roar continued to build. As a unit the group began backing away from the door, which squeaked and groaned from the force of the suction vortex on the other side pulling it into the room. Marko reached his hands out to Andrea and Janet. They formed a link across the doorway. Wordlessly, they began the ritual of meditation to block out all distraction and detach from emotion. Marko tapped into the sister’s energies to build a shield.
Doorkeepers from other parts of the building began congregating behind the small group, drawn by the deafening roar of the tempest and the wooden squeals of protest, as the heavy oaken door was slowly crushed and sucked into the vortex. Quick thinking Doorkeeper seers rushed forward to strengthen the link into a chain and reinforce the shield. Shock and fascination immobilized the others, who couldn’t seem to tear their eyes away from the sight of the blazing jinn attempting to batter its way past the shield.