This is very belated, but technically it is still Friday, so…..here’s the next installment in “Resurrection of Evil!”
The Resurrection of Evil
Episode Three: Something’s Rotten in the State of Minnesota
“There’s a sign in the desert that lies to the west
Where you can’t tell the night from the sunrise
And not all the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Have prevented the fall of the unwise”
— “The Turn of a Friendly Card (Part 1),” the Alan Parsons Project
At night, a change comes over the Mall of America.
Between eight-thirty and nine, most of the shops close. By nine-thirty, even the big deparment stores have barred fronts and darkened windows. But people scream with delight in Knott’s Camp Snoopy for another hour, finish late dinners in the fine dining establishments, sit enthralled before each of the fourteen screens in the movie theater until well past midnight, or . . . .
At night, the fourth floor begins to move. It only exists along the east side of the Mall, but from now until one AM, its chromed hallways flicker with life. Music throbs subsonically, people laugh, and bouncers keep a wary eye on all who pass.
This is the nightclub promenade. This is where one goes to dance, to drink, to revel in the euphoria of being one with the crowd. This is where the tourists often miss, and where the locals come to play.
Tonight it sang to a different tune. Between the throbbing pulses of the musicians, hidden behind the nightclub walls, a softer music was humming. There was a seductive quality to it. It sang particularily from the Turn of a Friendly Card nightclub, the newest and hottest spot on the Fourth Floor promenade.
There was always a seductive quality to the music, but this time it was different. The young people danced with a passion that went beyond euphoria and into sheer ecstasy. It was all the rage these days. The “New Music,” they called it, among other things.
Edward was there, dancing right alongside.
“So,” said the Doctor, “how long until your flight?”
The three of them were walking abreast down the quiet south side of the Mall. The pinkish-grey carpet swallowed up the sound of their footsteps. Around them in the evening gloom, janitors emerged to pick up the litter and vacuum the floors.
“Three hours yet,” replied Methos. His hands were thrust deep into his jeans pockets. Terri smiled. It made him look endearingly harmless. –I wonder if he does that conciously, she thought. “Plenty of time to kill.”
The Doctor chuckled. “Hard thing to kill,” he said.
“You’d know, Doctor” said Terri, grinning. She liked this new Doctor. There was a sense of childlike joy in him. It was still a bit difficult for her to think of him as the same man as the dark little Scotsman she’d met in Paris, but there was something about him. She didn’t know what it was; perhaps it was the way he cocked his head to one side. Perhaps it was the way he used language.
–No, she finally decided. –It’s the eyes.
It wasn’t the color. In fact, Terri had yet to decide what color to call them. It was something about the way he looked at you, with infinite understanding and at the same time complete bewilderment. The eyes of a student who is also a master. Eyes that spoke of companionship and understanding–but eyes so alien that none of these things meant anything like what they meant to her.
She was thinking so hard about the Doctor’s eyes that when he stopped dead, she walked right into him.
They were level with the main south entrance to the Mall. “What is it?” Terri whispered, but the Doctor waved her to be quiet. “Don’t look now, but we’re being followed?” she asked.
The Doctor looked her in the eye, startled. “You knew?”
“No,” said Terri, puzzled.
“Got you!” Methos called out triumphantly from somewhere behind them. Terri turned. He was holding a woman by the forearm and was pulling her out of the shadows.
Terri frowned. The woman looked familiar.
“Terri?” she said hesitantly.
“Nora?” said Terri as she squinted at the woman. “What are you doing here?”
“I should ask you the same question,” said Nora, pulling free of Methos. “And you. Adam Pierson, isn’t it?”
“That’s right,” said Methos, maintaining an easy stance that left his hands free.
The Doctor stepped forward. “Excuse me, but could someone please tell me what’s going on?”
Nora cocked her head, curious. “You don’t fit the description.”
Suddenly Terri felt her heart warm with jealousy. She blinked a few times. “Wait a sec,” she said, carefully controlling her voice. “You’re not my replacement, are you?”
Everything went silent.
The Doctor looked bemused. The expression on Methos’ face was unreadable. Nora seemed taken aback. No one moved.
“Well,” said Nora, hesitantly. “Not exactly. But I was sent to track . . . well . . . a . . . well, you know,” she finished lamely.
“You know Adam’s one of us, and you can trust the Doctor,” Terri said.
“No I can’t,” replied Nora, her eyes wide. “He’s Immortal.”
Everything went silent again.
The Doctor broke the silence. He flashed a smile that could have melted the thickest glacier. “Don’t worry, Miss . . . ?”
“Uh . . . Levitson . . . Nora Levitson . . . ,” stammered the woman. Terri sympthized; who wouldn’t be thunderstruck by the Doctor’s new appearance?
“Don’t worry, Miss Leviston,” he said. “There has been a case of mistaken identity. I know about the Immortals from my friends, but I am not myself Immortal.”
Nora frowned. “But . . . I thought . . . no. It’s not possible. You have to be Immortal. Well, one of you does.”
Terri carefully looked away from Methos, keeping her eyes firmly glued to Nora. She noticed that the young Watcher was wringing her hands furiously.
–Lady Macbeth, thought Terri. –What, will this hand ne’er be clean?
“What are you talking about?” asked Methos, stepping forward, his arms spread. “I may have been just a researcher, but I know when people are talking nonsense.”
Nora looked at him, startled. “Nonsense?” she asked. “I suppose . . . .” She sagged. “I must have made a mistake. Silly, asking a pair of Watchers and their friend about an Immortal . . . .” She shook herself. “I’m sorry.”
Terri reached out to Nora. “Are you okay?” she asked. “You don’t look so good.” Indeed, the young woman seemed pale and malnourished. Or perhaps it was just the dim lighting.
“I’m fine,” she said, shrugging off Terri’s hand. “I have to go now.” She turned and made good speed to the down escalator.
“Goodbye,” called the Doctor to her retreating form.
“Well,” said Methos.
“Yes,” said Terri. “Well, indeed.” She looked at the Doctor. He met her eyes. She found herself smiling.
There was an adventure starting; Terri could feel it. It was just like old times again.
“So,” said Methos, rubbing his hands together. “Anyone for a drink?”
It had been a challenge, squeezing through the dense crowd inside the Turn of a Friendly Card nightclub. But the three of them had made it inside. The Doctor was holding a small table against the writhing crowd while Methos got their drinks and Terri made a phone call.
“Hey, stranger! Like the coat!”
The voice tumbled out of the mass of humanity. The Doctor looked up, but could not indentify its owner. The crowd was dressed in everything from evening wear to grunge to clothing so exotic it could only be called costume wear. Lights played over the dancers and music throbbed from somewhere on the other side of the illuminated mist that hung over everything.
The Doctor ran a hand through his hair. “Reminds me of Varos,” he muttered. “Too many lights.”
The voice had returned. The Doctor looked up. A young man in embroidered leather emerged from the press of bodies. There were rings through his ears, his lips, his nose, and even his eyebrows. A chain connected the rings in his eyebrows. Even off the dance floor, he kept bobbing in time to the music. There was a gleam in his eyes that the Doctor found disconcerting.
“Nice coat,” he repeated.
“Thank you,” the Doctor replied.
“Nice night,” said the man.
“Yes,” said the Doctor.
The man was still bobbing up and down. His jewelry swayed with every movement. The Doctor found himself watching the chain between the man’s eyebrows in horrified fascination.
“So,” he said, “you wanna . . . wanna hear the New Music?”
“The new music?” asked the Doctor.
“Yeah!” said the man, nodding furiously. This caused the chain to sway faster. The Doctor wondered what would happen if it got stuck on something. “You gotta have the power to hear the New Music. White Lightning. I got some.”
“Hell, yeah!” Like a magician producing a rabbit, the man made a small white packet appear in his hands. He waved it in front of the Doctor’s eyes, then made it disappear again.
It dawned on the Doctor that this man was a drug dealer. He leaned conspiratorialy forward. “I can do better than that,” he said. With a flick of his wrists, a bouquet of tissue flowers appeared in his hands. Another flick, and it had become an elaborate origami bird.
“Man, you’re crazy,” said the dealer, laughing. “Getcha later.”
“No problem,” called the Doctor, as the man disappeared into the crowd, his chains and leathers making disconcerting sounds as he went. The crowd swallowed him up and the Doctor was once more alone.
He felt a tap on his shoulder and looked up. Methos had returned with their drinks.
“Where’s Terri?” asked Methos. He spoke loudly, but did not shout; the Doctor supposed that, being human, Methos was accustomed to such an environment.
“Went to make a phone call,” he replied. “Did they have it?”
Methos smiled. “Surprisingly, yes. So I got one too. I haven’t had mulled wine in decades.”
The Doctor took his glass and sipped at it. “A bit heavy on the cinammon, but then one can’t have everything.”
Bright white lights shone down on the cramped office space. Edward sat at the desk, his chair tipped back until it leaned against the wall. He sword lay across his knees as he ran a stone along its edge.
There was a timid knock at the door.
“Yes?” he called.
Nora stepped in. “Hi,” she said. She noticed the stone. “Isn’t it sharp enough already?”
He smiled. “It can always get sharper.” Nora shivered. It pleased him to see her so frightened, although he knew it meant that she would soon have outlived her usefulness. –Frightened people obey, but they soon become difficult to predict.
–I wonder, thought Edward, if that’s why Watchers watch Immortals. Because they — we — frighten them? Like a man trapped in an closed room watches a wasp.
“Did you find the Immortal?” he asked Nora.
She shook her head. “No. I mean . . . I found the Doctor, but it wasn’t him. The last known description of him didn’t match. It’s got to be a coincidence. And the others with him were Watchers.”
Edward looked up. This was a new development. “Perhaps you have not been as careful as you claimed.”
“What . . . what do you mean?”
“Perhaps the Watchers know how you have helped me,” said Edward. He set the stone aside and examined the edge of his sword. “Perhaps they know about the Immortals you have helped me to kill.”
“No!” said Nora. “I mean . . . no, they can’t have found out. They know . . . they think you’ve been lucky. That’s all.”
Edward set down his sword. He stood and met Nora’s frightened gaze. “For your sake, my dear Nora, I sincerely hope that you’re right.”
Terri stepped into the Turn Of a Friendly Card, somewhat disappointed that the bouncers didn’t ask for her ID. She paused to read the hand-written signs posted around the entryway.
“They blinded you with diamonds, and all the money that money can buy.” “If I promised you the Moon and the Stars, would you believe it?” “We’re on a wheel in perpetual motion.”
The phrases sounded familiar, but she couldn’t place them. In the middle, professionally printed, was another notice. “Ace of Swords plays tonight! One week only!”
Finally she shrugged and walked in. The beat of the music took over a portion of her will, and she found herself bouncing in time. She didn’t mind; this group called the Ace of Swords was pretty good. It almost made her forget for a moment what she’d learned from her phone call.
After some searching, she found the Doctor and Methos, sharing a drink. She wiggled her way across the dance floor until she’d reached their table.
“Hello!” she called. They looked up.
“Sit down,” said Methos. He pushed a drink across the table to her.
“Thanks,” she said, pulling up a chair. She closed her eyes and drank deeply.
“What did you find out?” asked the Doctor.
She opened her eyes. She took another drink. “I called an old friend of mine in the Watchers.”
“Ah,” said Methos. “Any word on Nora?”
“She’s assigned to Edward Chevalier,” Terri replied.
“Never heard of him.”
“I’m not surprised,” she said, and took another sip. She wiped her mouth on the back of her hand and continued. “He’s been around since the 1850’s, but he keeps out of sight. Mostly he just does his own thing. But apparently he’s got this belief that the only thing that matters is that there can be only one. When he meets another Immortal, he challenges them. Period. And so far he’s been very successful.”
Terri looked at Methos, but he seemed to be concentrating on his drink. “You’re right, Doctor,” he said. “Definitely too much cinammon.”
“You’re not listening,” she said. Methos did not respond. She sighed. “Okay. There are several wierd things about this Chevalier guy. First, in the past two months he’s killed eight Immortals, all in the Twin Cities. Some were just passing through; he shouldn’t have bumped into them. But he did. And he killed them.
“Second, he owns this nightclub.” Methos looked up. –Finally I have his attention, she thought. “Third, the police seem to think there’s a fence trade going on here. The Watchers found out, but they’ve kept it from hitting the papers. So far.”
She stopped and drank to the bottom of her glass.
“Terri,” said the Doctor slowly, “I think they’re right.”
“About what?” asked Methos.
“Illicit trade here. Only I think it’s a drug. A young gentleman tried to sell me some,” said the Doctor. He frowned. “He called it White Lightning.”
“You know of it?” asked the Doctor.
“Know of it!” She stared at him and laughed nervously. “It’s in all the papers!” Her companions didn’t seem to understand, so she explained. “It’s a new drug. It hit the streets about a month ago, and the police have been having a terrible time with it. It’s highly addictive, but its only effect seems to be a state of calm. But the kids take it when they go dancing and just go wild.
“Everybody thought it was from Chicago. That’s where most of the gangs came from. I never thought . . . .”
“We have to go,” said Methos.
Terri turned. Methos was sitting perched on the edge of his chair and glancing cautiously around him. “Oh, crud,” she said. “Edward.” Methos nodded.
“Let’s go,” said the Doctor.
Together they walked towards the exit. One of the bouncers pressed a card into Terri’s hand, but gave her no trouble. In the doorway, Terri paused to read the card while her companions walked quickly away.
“The Game Never Ends . . . .” Terri read. She shivered, and hastened to catch up to her friends.
Behind them, Edward stood at the edge of the crowd of mad dancers. He was smiling. His teeth glittered in the lights.
The crowd was thinner on the walkway between the Mall and its east parking ramp. Terri stopped to get her breath. Methos and the Doctor had gotten there ahead of her and were waiting.
“I knew it,” said Terri. “I thought there was an adventure starting. And boy, is this one a doozy.”
The Doctor cocked his head at her. “A doozy?”
She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter. At least we’re out of there.” She put her hand on Methos’ shoulder. “I don’t want anything to happen to you.” He looked at the hand, surprised. Eventually Terri pulled back, feeling a little foolish.
There was a shout. The three of them turned at once.
“I know him,” said the Doctor.
A young man was running awkwardly down the hall towards them. He didn’t slow down as he approached the glass doors separating the Mall from the walkway. He shouted again, loud enough to be heard through the double glass doors.
Terri cringed. The man smacked into the doors. The sound of his impact echoed through the walkway, followed by the soft tinkling of broken glass. By the time she opened her eyes, the Doctor was already through the doorway and examining the prostrate man.
By the time Terri and Methos had arrived, Mall security was also on its way. Three burly men in uniforms were approaching from the direction of the nightclub promenade.
“It *is* him,” said the Doctor. “He tried to sell me White Lightning not ten minutes ago.”
“How is he?” asked Methos, looking the unconcious man over with a professional eye. Terri wondered if he had medical training.
“Breathing’s shallow. He’s also fibrillating badly.” The Doctor quietly removed something from the man’s pocket. Terri shuddered as she noticed that the man was very into body piercing. There was even a chain between his eyebrows. It shivered. –My God, thought Terri. –He’s shaking like a leaf.
By then the security guards had arrived. “We’ll take over from here,” one said, speaking gently into the Doctor’s ear. Another shooed onlookers away while the third called for an ambulance on his walkie-talkie.
The Doctor rose slowly. “I wouldn’t bother with the ambulance,” he said softly. “He isn’t going to need it.”