[Mysteriousheartland.com] The Grundy County Sheriff’s office bustled with activity. Three tan-shirted officers escorted the Fallen through the narrow hallway toward several empty rooms while the window mounted air conditioner worked overtime to combat the heat and humidity. The blue carpet, which absorbed the condensation dripping from the air conditioner, sloshed under their feet. Greg winked at the secretary before an officer shoved him into a room.
Aurelia kicked and screamed in the hands of two female deputies. She was the only one in handcuffs, and the deputies tied a rag around her mouth to keep her from biting them.
Mike shook his head as he watched. He knew he would have to bail Aurelia out of jail later, but he also felt sorry for the two deputies. They obviously did not realize she would use everything at her disposal as a weapon. They had already tased and pepper sprayed her, and they would have to sedate her before she would give up the fight. Aurelia’s temper could be an asset, but mostly it was a liability.
“You f—ed up big time,” Emmet whispered before officers escorted him into an interview room.
Mike and Davin remained in the hallway, watched over by the sheriff himself—a burly man with a white mustache who chewed tobacco impatiently.
A deputy, with “Johnson” etched onto his nameplate, approached the trio. “None of these kids have identification,” he told the sheriff. “We’re going to throw the female in a cell. We can’t get her to stop resisting.”
The sheriff turned to Mike and Davin. “Well?” he asked. “You’ve got ten seconds to tell me your names.”
“I told you already,” Mike said. “My name is John Smith.”
“What were you doing at Aux Sable Cemetery?”
“You better wipe that smirk off your face or I’ll do it for you,” the sheriff growled.
Just then, the officer who had gone into a room to interrogate Greg burst into the hallway, wiping his eyes. His arms shook.
“Bundy, are you crying?” the sheriff yelled.
“No… I… just have something in my eye,” Deputy Bundy replied, his voice choked.
Inside Room 103, Emmet sat behind a plain desk, across from a chubby deputy with short, frosted hair. The deputy, named Marx, looked tired and inexperienced.
“Look,” he said. “Trespassing is the worst crime we can charge you with. Just tell me your name and what you were doing in Aux Sable and this will be over.”
“I want a lawyer,” Emmet replied. “I’m not with those guys. I just wanted a ride to the gas station. They picked me up and took me to this cemetery. They’re all nuts, especially the short one.”
“Why did they go to the cemetery?” Deputy Marx asked. “Did they go to tip headstones, smoke dope, break something, or what? You know we don’t like kids back there.”
“First,” Emmet replied, “I’m probably older than you. Second, they weren’t doing anything illegal. They were just looking for ghosts. Don’t ask me why. They think dust particles are pictures of spirits or whatever. I don’t believe in any of that stuff. I just want to buy my lottery tickets.”
Deputy Marx frowned. “So you’ve never met any of those guys before today, huh?” he asked, skeptically.
In the adjoining room, Mike sat eye to eye with the sheriff, who kept a manila folder on the table and a waste basket at his feet for his chew. He spat into it at intervals of one to two minutes. He was an intimidating man. Even his scent was imposing. Each line on his face was like a tally of criminals he busted over his years in law enforcement.
“Cut the crap,” he barked. “Tell me what you were up to before I bust your ass for obstructing justice.”
Mike raised his eyebrows. “You want to know the truth?” he asked. He did not wait for a reply. “The truth is, last year a group of zealots briefly opened a door to the astral realm, allowing an ancient daemon to escape. A half-vampire, half-human my friend and I rescued in New Orleans told us acolytes of this daemon were trying to unleash its power for their own ends. We were in Aux Sable Cemetery because I believed something there might give us a clue to their whereabouts.”
“Son, why would anyone want to open a demonic portal?” The sheriff snorted before he spit a huge wad of black tar from his mouth into the waste basket.
“Don’t ask me,” Mike replied. “I never said it made sense.”
“I think you’re full of crap,” the sheriff said. “In over thirty years with a badge, I’ve never heard anything so ridiculously stupid. Why don’t you just tell me what you were really doing there? One of you will tell us. Why don’t you stop wasting my goddamn time?”
At that point, Deputy Marx stuck his head into the room and called the sheriff over.
They conversed for a few moments, then the sheriff cursed loudly.
“Ghost hunting?” he growled. “Son of a bitch. We have a hundred things to do and this is how we spend the afternoon?” He turned toward Mike. “You’re in deep trouble, son.”
As Deputy Marx drove Mike, Greg, Davin, and Emmet back to their car, the sheriff stood outside the station with two other officers. He spat as he watched the police cruiser disappear down the street.
Deputy Johnson handed him a sheet of paper. “The fingerprint check came back,” the officer said. “It looks like the Lake County Sheriff’s office picked up these guys in August 2007 on a trespassing charge. Otherwise, the males are clean. The female has a record. Shoplifting. Disorderly conduct. Resisting arrest. She has several aliases, the most recent being…” He flipped through the pages. “Aurelia. We’ve still got her locked up. We could probably charge her with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.”
“Might as well go ahead,” the sheriff said. “Make ‘em post bail. They can pay for the damage she did to my station. I don’t have time for this.”
A sloppy wad of tobacco hit the blistering pavement before the trio turned and walked back into the building.
While the police cruiser slowly bounced along the road to Aux Sable Cemetery, Deputy Marx engaged his passengers in idle conversation, trying to bate them into confessing their identities. He did not believe anything they said back at the station. In his short time at the sheriff’s office, he learned to trust no one, especially not some Goth freaks prowling around a cemetery.
“So, where are you guys from?” he asked.
“Uranus,” Emmet replied.
They spent the rest of the trip in silence.
Deputy Marx dropped off the four near their car in Aux Sable Cemetery. He waited until they got inside and drove down the narrow, gravel lane toward the cemetery entrance before he followed them. He let his police cruiser idle near the entrance, making sure the four miscreants did not come back.
Behind the wheel of the Fallen’s Toyota Corolla, Mike eyed the cop with distain. “Can you believe that guy?” he grumbled.
“You know, they probably would have let us all go a lot sooner if Aurelia hadn’t thrown a tantrum,” Davin said from the backseat. “They have our license plate number now.”
“Yeah, and now we have to spring Aurelia from the pen,” Mike said.
“We do?” Greg, Emmet, and Davin asked in unison.
“Hey, do you remember when you made me ride in the trunk?” Davin whined. “You should make Aura do that.”
“You’re lucky you’re riding up here right now,” Greg laughed.
“Hey! Who saved your ass at—”
“Knock it off!” Mike interrupted. “We have more important worries right now. The cops are onto us. We have to be more careful.”
“Agreed,” Emmet said. “Our first step should be to sell this piece of junk car, and buy one with a CD player.”
Mike narrowed his eyes. “We’re going to need to start making some serious cash,” he said, and he turned the car onto the highway.
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