A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
|Previously: "Surprise Admirer"
"So I was thinking about that stuff we were talking about earlier," you tell Kelsey when you connect up with her again in Student Congress. (And again, as usual, you leave it to Ricky to handle the actual assignment work while you and your girlfriend do homework and other stuff.) "I think you're right, we need to take care of it as soon as possible."
Ricky lifts his face from his paper to look at you from under his eyebrows. You return his look with a veiled glare of your own, and he puts his face back down again.
"Glad we're on the same page," Kelsey says. "Thought about how? And, like, where?"
"Nn-nhn." You both fall silent for a bit, and you get on your phone to check out updates on the social media sites in between checking news stories. Kelsey, it appears, does the same. After ten minutes, she says, "I know how to handle it."
She answers by tapping into her Notepad app and showing it to you. Donna, she says. Try talking to dk after class today get him out there.
You can't help making a face. Is Sydney seriously suggesting that you try inviting him out to that ratty old motor court for sex?
Fortunately, you are able to think of another ploy.
* * * * *
The Donna Motor Court is an ancient—like, eighty years old; seriously—motel on the south side of town. You—Amanda—have heard it did a thriving business sixty or so years ago, when State Highway 126 (which is also Twentieth Street) was one of the major intra-state thoroughfares, before the interstate went through. But some traffic must still filter past it, for it is still in business. But it mostly survives (Amanda has it on good authority) as a sex pit: the kind of place where couples can illicitly commingle for an afternoon or evening, paying steeply by the hour.
Making the rumors even more delicious: the place is owned by the family of Kim Walsh, who is the squeaky-clean student council president, and one of the girls who hovers around Kelsey and Amanda.
It's closer to five than to four-thirty—the time you were supposed to rendezvous with Sydney—when you pull into the parking lot of the Donna. Amanda herself has never availed herself of the place (too expensive; besides, she has no interest in consummating things with Ricky, and she is too discreet to cheat on him that far and that openly), but she has been to the Donna to see Kim. The last time she was out, Amanda sniffed at the cracked asphalt; now you note with a raised eyebrow that the cracks have been patched with tar. Sex trade must be on an upswing, the thought comes to you from Amanda's side of your joint brain.
Kelsey's car is parked in front of the office, and Kelsey detaches herself from the wall to approach as you pull in next to her BMW.
"All set up," she tells you as you get out. "I even had time to stow the stuff in the room."
"I texted and told you I got held up at home," you retort.
"I didn't say anything, Mandy," she sighs. She glances back over her shoulder at the office. "I'm glad you showed up before David, though. I told Kim we wanted the room for a study party, and this way—"
"I'm sure she didn't believe you."
"Okay, but it's not like it matters," Kelsey snaps. "But it sounded better than 'Amanda and I want a room so we can have a three-way with David Kirkham.' I mean, if you want to go in and tell her that, fine. Invite her to drop in while—"
"What about adding Kim to the Brotherhood?"
"Kim?" Kelsey blnkes, then glances over her shoulder at the office again. "Huh. Maybe. This might be a good spot for headquarters," she muses. "But we'd probably have to add her dad too, and the rest of the staff—"
"Anything wrong with that?"
Kelsey arches her eyebrows.
"You surprise me, Will," she murmurs between frozen lips. "It would be a sensational set up for the Brotherhood, but I just assumed you'd want hot bodies and cool identities. Adding a couple of middle-aged dad bods and a cleaning woman the size of a sofa—" She jerks her chin at something behind you, and you turn to look. A Mexican woman with the body shape of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man is exiting one of the rooms across the way.
"Well, maybe just Kim," you mumble.
Why am I talking about turning Kim Walsh into a pedisequos? you wonder as you follow Kelsey down the covered walk toward the rooms. Kim never did anything to me. Kim is a nice person! Meghan never did anything to me either, and I was thinking about—
No, you realize with a small shudder. All of that came from thinking with Amanda's brain. Maybe I should get out of her head.
It's Room 14 that Kelsey leads you to. The interior has a closed-in, musty smell, but it's clean. The walls are bare, of whitewashed cinderblock, and the room is furnished with a king-sized bed, a table with a chair, and a short bureau with a flat-screen TV. A plastic sack is already sitting on the bed.
"Is this the room Kelsey usually does it with Karl in?"
"I don't know," Kelsey replies. "She doesn't pay any attention. You want to wait outside so David will know where to find you? What was the story you gave him, anyway?"
"I told him that someone was 'pinterested' in him, and that if he wanted to find out who, he should meet me here at five." You check the time on your cell phone. "Speaking of which—"
* * * * *
That was exactly the story you told Kirkham. Amanda has, like, a photographic memory for where everyone has their lockers, and she had noticed him at his earlier in the year, so you had no trouble finding him after school.
"So everyone's talking about your secret admirer," you told him as you leaned against the locker next to his. He turned to give you a hooded stare from behind his sunglasses. "You have any idea who she is?"
He went back to changing out his books. "You talkin' about that Pinterest bullshit?" he muttered.
"I know who she is," you replied. "Do you know? Do you want to know who's been finger-banging herself every night while thinking of you?"
Then Brophy Maddox barged in. "Hey, can we make this a threesome?"
"I'm gonna make you swallow your own hairy ballsack if you don't fuck off," Kirkham told him. Maddox backed away.
"Oh, there's a chance of a threesome," you assured Kirkham. "Definitely more than a chance. But you'd have to supply the cock." You uncapped a pen and pushed your way into his locker, where you wrote The Donna, 5 pm, today on the back cover of one of his spiral notebooks. Then you added One chance and underlined it. "I'd hate to have to tell the girls that you're too much of a chickenshit to show up," you told him, then marched off.
Maybe it was that little show of power that has left you, almost drunkenly, acting and thinking like Amanda for the last ninety minutes or so.
* * * * *
Its ten after five when he shows up, and it's on foot—with his head down, kicking at the asphalt he trudges across the hot parking lot with the swagger of a cowboy on his way to the saloon for a whiskey, a hand of poker, and quick fuck with a whore. He doesn't look up at you until you are standing toe to toe. Then he lifts his face, and in a low growl says, "Okay, so where is the bitch?"
"In here." You grasp the door handle to Room 14, but it's locked. You make a face and press and push at it, then remember that Sydney gave you the key card. You blow a strand of hair from your face as you use it on the lock.
"After you." You stand aside and with a sweep of your hand invite Kirkham to enter. He gives you a surly side glance, then pushes into the room. You start to follow, but bump into him just inside the door, where he has stopped.
You would have too. Sydney McGlynn—not Kelsey Blankenship, though she's wearing Kelsey's clothes—is standing next to the bed. She grins at Kirkham. "Hey," she says.
You have to push Kirkham forward a step so you can get far enough inside to close the door behind you.
"Th' fuck?" Kirkham mutters.
"I know. It surprised me too," you tell him.
"Bullshit. This is your first month here in town," Kirkham bluntly informs Sydney.
Wow, the fucker's really on the button, you think. "That's okay, she makes up for lost time," you tell him, and hug him from behind. He stiffens inside your arms. "And as for that threesome—" you add as Sydney saunters up to him with a blinding smile. She shakes out her golden hair and raises a hand—
But there's something wrong. She's not carrying a mask. Kirkham also seems to sense danger, for he twists inside your embrace, and bashes your nose with the back of his head. So you don't see the actual strike. All you know is that he is suddenly very heavy, and he almost drags you to the floor as he collapses.
"What the—?" you ask Sydney, and look past her to see that the mask she brought is still sitting on the bed. Is this some kind of special Baphomet spell she used on him? you wonder.
"Wow, that went off perfect," she tells you, ignoring your half-question. "What do you want to do with him? Just zombify him? Or do you want to get into the mask? Do something together while we're here?" She brushes your arm.
Next: "The Driver's Seat"