The Old Crone rolled her eyes. Both of them, although they were rolling in opposite directions. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you curdbrains the key to a good relationship is communication?” She snorted and turned her head. “Hob! Emmentaler!”
There were sounds of shuffling at the other side of the room and a short time later Hobart Brown appeared with three paper plates of cheese. One had several slices piled on top and he handed it to the Old Crone. The other two had one slice each. He held one plate out to Bran, who took one bite out of the cheese slice and placed it back. When it was Denton’s turn he did the same. It seemed like the safest thing to do. Mr. Brown retreated to the other side of the room.
The Old Crone slouched in her chair, thoughtfully munching on her Emmentaler. Both her eyes stared off into the distance. There was silence except for an unseen clock tick-tocking somewhere. “Salientia,” she said and stuffed the last piece of cheese in her mouth.
“Funny, that’s what the naasi said,” Denton blurted out.
“Naasi? What naasi?” she swiftly leaned forward while her yellow eyes skewered him.
“Err, it’s a demonic spirit, who—“
“I know what a naasi is,” she snapped. “Where did you come across it and when?”
“In a public bathroom, on New Year’s Eve. It was busy possessing Lenny. So we took them home and convince the naasi to go back where it came from.”
“Just some guy, who drinks too much and gets himself into trouble, even when he’s not possessed.”
“Hm.” She took a pair of reading glasses from the pocket of her cardigan and pushed them up on her nose. Next she snatched a pencil from her hair and began to scribble some sort of equation on her now empty plate. She muttered under her breath as she did. “If I carry the six to the house of Mercury…no, it’s wrong…oh, wait…add the tail…times cemetery…yes, of course, it makes sense now…” She leapt up. “I need to check this against the shipping charts. You can go now, but I’ll need you again soon.” Without further explanation she rushed out through one of the many doors.
Hobart Brown emerged from behind a large desk.
“She’s quite mad, isn’t she?” Denton said as he stood up, ready to leave.
“We’re all mad here,” the little man replied without a trace of a smile. “I’ll see you out.”
“We know the way,” Denton replied.
“The back door is quicker,” the Mr. Brown replied and marched to the one wall without a door. He pushed on the shelves and they moved to reveal an opening. Before they could blink Bran and Denton stood in a dark alley that reeked of garbage and piss.
“We could’ve gone in this way. It would’ve been so much simpler.” Denton pulled out his phone to check their location and could hardly believe what he saw. “We’re halfway across town from where we entered. How did she do it?” he asked, but Bran was already gone, at the foot of the alley. Denton hurried after.
When Denton caught up with him, Bran was standing at the curb and scanning the street up and down. “What was all the stuff with the cheese about?” Denton asked.
“Tyromancy—divination by cheese.” Bran waved his arm at an approaching yellow cab.
“Well, this has been without a question the weirdest night of my life. Nothing can top it.”
“Pray you’re right.” Bran’s expression was grim, even for him.
Lou's favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings.
Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk.