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2.35 The Missing One, Part II

February 17, 2012

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The hot pink booth was littered with the remains of Lazlo’s apparent binge. Wine, beer, cigarettes, pills and old photos of Isadora filled the tiny space. Allie could smell beer Lazlo had spilled sometime during the course of the night; she could taste the stale cigarette smoke that still hung in the air. There was a sense of oppressive energy in the room as well, as if the weight of the world were pressing down on the little cafe.

Lazlo really tied one on last night, she thought, but where is he now?

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“Penny for your thoughts,” said Vidcund, sliding into the booth where Lazlo had drowned his sorrows the night before.

Allie was just about to comment on how ridiculously old-fashioned that saying was, when she remembered Vidcund himself was ridiculously old-fashioned. Though he didn’t look a day over 40, he was probably pushing 90, maybe even 100, thanks to Bella’s time loop devices. The crotchety old man profile fit Vidcund to a tee, Allie thought, but, crotchety or not, his brother was missing, and God knows where.  She had to try to be nice.  Or at least civil.

Allie sighed.

“I was thinking how unlike Lazlo this is. I mean, I’ve never seen him touch a beer, let alone polish off a six-pack, a bottle of wine and most of a bottle of Jack Daniels,” she said, eyeing the mountain of excess on the table.

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Now it was Vidcund’s turn to let out a sigh, long and low. He stared straight ahead as he spoke, no emotion on his face, though his voice broke at times. “You see, Lazlo had a problem once. A very big problem. After Isadora left, well, not right after, but maybe a year or so later, when Lazlo finally gave up hope of her returning of her own free will. Right around the time we started to realize the world – or at least Strangetown – wasn’t always what it appeared to be. To discover that your life is essentially a sham, and out of your control, well…it was difficult. On Lazlo especially, because of Isadora. Because of baby Bel. So, he started drinking. Then, he drank some more. Eventually he was just drunk. All the time, drunk. There was no reaching him, no seeing Lazlo through the pain…”

Vidcund trailed off, his eyes misting, lost in another time and place.

“What brought him back?” Allie said, gently prodding Vidcund to continue.

“Revenge,” Vidcund said. “Plain and simple, revenge. For years, it fueled him, fed his pain in the way the alcohol and pills had. He worked endlessly, researching Strangetown, and its inhabitants. He was the one who made most of the discoveries. He knew the DiPotere legend, of course, but we – none of us – really put too much stock in its being true.” He glaced at Allie, sheepishly, she thought. “We’re scientists, you see, and the stories of disappearing people, and houses…entire lineages…they just seemed too fantastical. Of course, now we know better,” he added. “I just wish I knew where he went, what he did when he left here.”

“There is a way,” Allie said. Vidcund looked up at her, his curiosity piqued.

“I could try to induce a vision.”

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The laugh burst out of Vidcund with such force it rattled the table. “Oh, tell me you did not just say what I think you said, girlie.”

Oh good, thought Allie, the real Vidcund’s back. “Yes,” she said. “If it works, and I’m not going to promise it will work, but if it does, I could follow his energy trail through the astral plane, and…”

“Stop,” said Vidcund, “just stop.” Tears of laughter were running down his face. He shook his head. “Never did I imagine this would become my life.” The look he gave Allie as he left the booth made her wonder what he had been like as a young adult, the world fresh and new, and waiting.

“Is that a ‘go ahead,’ then?” Allie asked.

‘Go ahead, go ahead,” he said. “I’ll be over here while you do your hocus pocus thing.”

When this is over, thought Allie, I’m gonna see if I can turn him into a frog.

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Allie closed her eyes and tried to concentrate. Nothing. She squinted hard, creating little spasms of light to flicker behind her eyelids. Still nothing.

Oh, Goddess, what if I can’t do it, she thought. No, I can do this. I can do this. I am a powerful witch, damn it all, and I can do this.

She rolled her eyes upward to the ceiling, and concentrated as hard as she could. She blocked out everything, except the thought of Lazlo. He was out there somewhere. Somewhere. She looked at the booth where he’d spent some part of the night, and squinted again. There! Just a flicker. Allie breathed deeply and put every ounce of energy into finding Lazlo’s. The energy trail, she thought, find the energy trail. We all have one. Our own magnetic energy field that surrounds us. Bits of it linger, even hours after we’ve left a place. Especially in cases of strong emotions.

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Bit by bit, the energy trail came into her site. It was weak, but it was there. She closed her eyes, and willed herself into a vision state.

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The images were dim, and lingered only for a brief second, but it was enough. Lazo, eating dinner, reading a book. His energy up, clear-headed, then.

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Then Bella, commanding her evil hounds – to what?

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Lazlo, sitting at the booth. Sadness permeating his every thought; chemicals invading his brain, making his thoughts dark.

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Then a scene, a factory? No, a lab, BellTech Labs. Bella’s company.

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Then Lazo, there, at BellTech? Blackness follows him. The scenes grow dimmer, darker.

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Then Lazlo.

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Then Bella.

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“Oh no,” said Allie, as she turned to face Vidcund.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. pieridae permalink*
    February 17, 2012 4:15 pm

    The lot used for BellTech Labs is an awesome one called The SBC Institute. It’s made by Simagroup and can be found at GOS: http://www.digitalperversion.net/gardenofshadows/index.php?topic=11292.0

    (I did grunge it up a bit, though.)

  2. February 22, 2012 7:22 pm

    Oh no!!!! Laslo!!!!!! Noooo!

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