Until the day I was to leave with Wyla, I wrestled greatly before retiring for the night with the rationality of my decision. What if I got stranded in this international city, not knowing a lick of French? Could this adventure back into the supernatural be defined as a foolish dead end?

As I waited for my passport, I tried to streamline through language lessons from Rosetta Stone at the city’s public library. Going back and forth after each session, I would drive past the APD building. A well of tears would build up, shaking my head vigorously. I wished I could go back in time. Seeing myself flatly refuse Mitch Gable’s insistence on taking that first interview with Melanie Rossen. I laughed to myself, realizing no one could refuse Gable on anything. He had always been a force to contend with, but to me, in retrospect, he was my greatest teacher, no matter how caustic.

What transpired could not be wished away. The journey into evil tainted my comfort zone for law enforcement. Wyla was right that morning in the hospital. I would not be able to live a normal life; all the affinities most folks hope to be a part of, they would not manifest for me. Besides, when she laid out the familiar type of case defined after the fire of the historic cathedral, my nagging curiosity could not be ignored.

Grandpa Pete yelled for me, interrupting my umpteenth mind-over-matter wrestling match. I came down to the foyer, meeting his glaring puzzled expression.

“What’s this?” he asked, holding up an official unopened white envelope.

This was the moment I dreaded. “Well, that should be my passport. I wasn’t going to say anything until it arrived,” I told him as he handed it to me.

He stood over me as I opened it. I was right: there it was. The trip was official now. I showed him the passport. “That’s what your visit with that FBI agent was about. Where are you going this time?”

I cowered my head, holding onto the passport like it was a security blanket. I met his angry stare. “Grandpa Pete, we are going to Paris. There is a possibility an aswang has murdered two victims among the burned rubble of the Notre Dame cathedral.”

“I knew it deep in my gut: she has talked you into something dreadful!”

“Wyla’s partners John, George, and Paul are there now making arrangements for us to join those who are experts searching around in the tunnels of the Paris Underground,” I told him, refusing to look into his angry face.

“Glenda, are you aware any activity in those tunnels is illegal? If you and your group are caught, you’ll go to jail!” he yelled.

“If in our search we find this abomination to be the guilty one, we can stop another cursed one to kill, one victim after another. I have to do my part!” I said, defending myself.

There was no reasoning with my grandfather. He stormed away from my presence. The proof of why I dreaded a confrontation with him was confirmed in all its unpleasantness. At that moment, I alerted Wyla from the house phone to the passport arrival.

She demonstrated her usual non-committal dryness, “I’ll be there to pick you up tonight. I’ll book us a red-eye flight out of Indianapolis International. You can pay me back later. Be ready to roll by 8 p.m.; don’t want no lingering goodbyes from your family.”

I sent Luther a text, “Wyla and I will be at Unc’s a little after 8 p.m. tonight. Meet us. It’s important!” A lump formed in my throat. I hated goodbyes. I had not been good where saying farewell meant emotional displays. Luther and I were not ones for any shared sentiment during our years of being partners. I had to see him before we flew off on a journey of such uncertainty and danger.

It didn’t take too long until I got a reply from Luther. He answered back in a text, “I’ll be there. What you didn’t say gives me a sneaking suspicion I won’t like what you are up to with Agent Stark.”

            Grace came into my bedroom. “Glenda, your grandfather is in a mood. Can you tell me what’s going on with him?”

I zipped up my large wheeled bag. I took her hand. “Grace, he’s upset due to my sudden trip to Paris. The situation there could lead to another brush with the supernatural.”

Her wide-eyed stare and expression coming from her pursed lips showed some understanding. “That explains it.”

“I’m done packing. Let’s go downstairs and I’ll help you make dinner,” I said, giving her a rare demonstration of warmth her way.

When Wyla arrived, I tried to say goodbye to Grandpa Pete. He avoided the gesture by skirting past me to pound on his grand piano, the classic theme of Gone With The Wind. I waved farewell in Grace’s direction. I could not linger. She had tears in her eyes. Wyla took my large bag while I put my bag around my left shoulder and chest. I followed her outside with my overnight bag in my right hand.

We packed my things in the backseat next to Wyla’s bags. I got into the passenger seat, then turned to her as she turned on the car. “When is our flight?”

“We don’t have to check in until 10:30 PM.”

“Luther is meeting us at Unc’s White Corner downtown. I wanted to make sure he knows what’s up with this trip.”

Wyla gave me an annoyed look. “I hope there won’t be any cornball emotional shit going on!”

I shook my head. “You’ve seen the way Luther and I act around each other. He deserves to be read the specifics of what we are going after.”

Wyla shrugged her shoulders and followed through on my request. As we walked up to the bar, Unc raised up his large long fingers. “Well, bloody hell, Peter told me you two would be coming in.” His voice sounded real somber. “Who’s this official-looking lass?”

“This is my travel partner and one of the FBI agents who worked with Luther and I, Wyla Stark,” I said as Wyla and I took a center seat at the long bar.

“First, before I demand an explanation of this trip, what do you ladies want?”

Wyla ordered first. “I’m driving. Have you any fresh coffee brewing?”

“That I do. Glenda, my beauty, are you in for a frosted draft?”

I nodded an affirmative response. I turned to hear a door slam and discovered Luther approaching the bar. Unc asked him, “Detective, what can I get you?”

“I have a feeling I’ll need a double scotch. Unc, put it in a short glass on the rocks,” Luther told him, glaring at Wyla.

Luther proceeded to point to a booth as Unc went to tend to our orders. “Let’s go over to the dining room.”

We made our positions at the four-man booth next to the series of windows along the Main Street side of the establishment. Wyla and I faced our stern-eyed, one-man interrogator. I observed, “Luther, you seem to be bracing up for bad news.”

“You two are on the search for another aswang. Am I right?”

Wyla answered, “How astute of you. John, Paul, and George are waiting for us in Paris. They will probably have some tidbits when we get there.”

Unc brought us our drinks. He put a small, round metal tray on a table next to us and sat down beside Luther. “I need to hear the details.”

Luther took a sip of his drink and turned to Unc. “So do I.”

“Wyla, you give them what they want,” I said.

“The aftermath of the fire of the Notre Dame de Paris was full of a large clean-up crew along with law enforcement. Two city workers found a torn-up gentleman with certain body parts missing. As the workers got the attention of some officials, they found a woman’s body with the same gruesome remains among the buried rubble from the fallen spire,” Wyla explained, sipping on her coffee.

Unc stopped her with his long, hairy arm. “Wait! Could the broken-up remains be the result of the metal structure falling from such a high distance?”

“The guys got access to one of the leading magistrates giving them some details of the autopsies. The internal organs vacated showed jagged edges on surrounding tissues coming from an animal’s teeth and definite claw marks. Last week, they tracked down the city’s cataphiles, who were able to give them more facts linking to this legend,” Wyla said.

Luther interjected, “I read an article recently about these cataphiles, those individuals getting access to the underground tunnels through opening up of man holes in the city streets.”

“Is this information you gave me the only facts you have?” Unc asked.

“Well, it’s enough for Glenda and I to see for ourselves,” Wyla said, then turned to me.

I followed her lead. “The last thing I want to do is get intertwined into another supernatural series of murders. With what began five months ago, I can’t turn back to normal detective cases. There could be another aswang performing heinous acts of continuing evil. They don’t stop!” I answered with a special emphasis on “they don’t stop.”

Unc turned around to discover four couples walking to two tables on the other side of the dining room. “Duty calls. If possible, you brave ladies come back to us in one piece!”

Luther took the last gulp from his short glass. He pulled out his iPhone. Looking at the lighted screen, he exclaimed, “Oops! I’ve got a text from Althea.”

Wyla and I took that as a cue to follow him out to his Escalade. I felt uncomfortable about how to act out a proper goodbye. He unlocked the driver’s side. Wyla and I stood a few yards away from where he was.

I asked him, “Do you know the sex yet?”

He opened the door and hiked his lanky long leg onto the floorboard of the front seat. He yelled out, “It’s a girl! Althea wants to name her Glenda.”

That did it! He made it emotional. The sobbing overwhelmed me. It rose from my throat, producing a waterfall coming down from my eyes to my cheeks and onto my chin. Wyla silently and quickly got me into the car.

On the road to the Indianapolis International Airport, Wyla decided to let me weep. I grieved over the tension between Grandpa Pete and I. I knew I would miss my unique give-and-take relationship from Luther Charles.

As Wyla and I waited in line to check in our bags, I knew I was at the point of no return. Boarding the plane and listening to the surrounding passengers in our coach section, I told myself that this would be the last time I would harbor regret on my new lot in life. I was defined to be a formidable searcher to find and fight against the greatest of evils.


For all installments from The Islands Tell of It, click here.

Previous installments:

  1. Chapter 1: The First Victim
  2. Chapter 2: Four Months Before October
  3. Chapter 3: Bobber’s Café
  4. Chapter 4: Heat Wave
  5. Chapter 5: Deep-End Dining
  6. Chapter 6: Rathbone Estate
  7. Chapter 7: Althea’s Run
  8. Chapter 8: Emergency Interrupts
  9. Chapter 9: Girls Talk Turkey
  10. Chapter 10: There Came a Lull
  11. Chapter 11: Dangerous Mind
  12. Chapter 12: Luana Barba
  13. Chapter 13: Trip to Milwaukee
  14. Chapter 14: Enough Killing
  15. Chapter 15: A Parking Lot Visitation
  16. Chapter 16: The Restaurant
  17. Chapter 17: Late-Night Work
  18. Chapter 18: Grandpa Pete
  19. Chapter 19: A Group is Formed
  20. Chapter 20: Rendezvous with Evil
  21. Chapter 21: The Upside-Down of it All
  22. Chapter 22: Two Ways to Fight
  23. Chapter 23: I Have to See Her
  24. Chapter 24: A Funeral
  25. Chapter 25: Unaware
  26. Chapter 26: Synchronized Surprise
  27. Chapter 27: The Show Must Go On
  28. Chapter 28: Is it Business as Usual?
  29. Chapter 29: Going on Leave
  30. Chapter 30: Bungalow by the Sea
  31. Chapter 31: Dinner with Wesley
  32. Chapter 32: It Turned Strange
  33. Chapter 33: Indiana-Bound, for Now