Beau drove to the front of the British embassy and pulled a protesting Wade out.
“You need a doctor and Dr. Paine is going to be too busy to see any patients today,” Beau said. “Give them whatever you need to, but the truth. They should have a doctor who handles cases for them discretely.”
“What if they turn me over to the Cairo police?” Wade asked.
“Don’t be daft,” Beau said. “If we’re still alive, I’ll come break you out of jail.”
Beau eased Wade down. “Take this,” Wade said, handing him the BAR. “Ammo is in the trunk.”
Beau nodded. He knocked on the embassy door and ran back to the car, speeding off without a look behind. He checked the rearview mirror constantly and then headed to the safe house.
Nellie hopped out of the car and opened the gates to the courtyard. Beau parked as Ian came out of the house. “Get a pry bar,” Beau shouted to Ian. Ian ducked back inside and came out with the pry bar.
“Get a shirt for Grace, too,” Nellie ordered. Ian turned around to go back inside.
“Give me the pry bar first,” Beau said with irritation.
Ian ran it over to him and then stopped when Grace stepped out of the car, naked from the waist up. Beau took the pry bar from him and forced the car’s damaged trunk lid open. The impact had scattered weapons and boxes of ammo throughout the trunk.
Nellie cuffed the back of Ian’s head.
“Put your eyes back in their sockets and go get Grace one of your shirts,” she commanded.
“Right,” said Ian, his face scarlet as he hurried off. Grace leaned next to Beau to grab a .45-caliber pistol and a box of ammunition.
“There should be some silver rounds for that somewhere in here,” Beau said without looking up.
“Found them,” Grace said. She strapped a leather holster onto the belt of her breeches and slid the big handgun into it. She loaded her pockets with loaded clips for the gun.
She stepped aside to allow Nellie into the trunk.
“Thank you,” Grace said to Ian as he handed her a shirt. She slid it on and he averted his eyes.
“Has Duncan returned?” Beau asked.
“Not yet,” Ian said.
“He’s not likely to at this point,” Nellie said.
“What do you mean?” Ian said.
“He’s most likely dead,” Nellie said.
“Not bloody likely,” Ian said. “Duncan’s really good at this, better than the lot of you.”
“Good doesn’t always matter,” Nellie said, regretting her lack of tact from a moment earlier. “I’m sorry. I’m certain he was a good man. But he would have reported in already if he could have.”
“Maybe he was taken prisoner,” Ian said.
“The fact you’re alive and an ambush isn’t waiting for us is proof he wasn’t,” Nellie said.
Ian inhaled sharply and turned away.
“Mourn later if we’re able,” Beau said. “Right now we need to move all of these weapons and ammunition to your car and then try to figure out where they have taken Lucy.”
“Move them your bloody self,” Ian said, turning. “Where’s Wade? Did you abandon him to die too?”
Beau set the shotgun down, grabbed Ian and slammed him against the side of the shot-up car. “We don’t have time for this,” Beau said as he stood nose-to-nose with the younger man. “All of humanity might die at the claws of nightmarish beings from beyond space and time in just a few short hours unless we stop Nyarlathotep. That includes everyone you know and love. Understand?”
Nellie stepped forward and separated them. Grace watched impassively.
“Come on,” Nellie said, taking Ian by the arm. They gathered up the still-sealed ammunition boxes and carried them to other car. Beau passed weapons from the trunk to Grace to Ian to Nellie who placed them in the other car.
“That’s it,” Beau said. “Now how are we going to rescue Lucy?”
“I’ve been thinking,” Nellie said. “She’s a vampire and a demon combined, which makes her unique and why her sacrifice will prove especially powerful for opening the gate to allow the Great Old Ones to enter this plane of existence.”
“Right,” Beau said. Grace nodded. Ian stood with a quizzical expression.
“But she’s still Lilith,” Nellie said. “What if we performed a demon summoning to bring her to us?”
Beau and Grace looked at each other and then back to Nellie.
“Would that work?” Beau asked.
“Why wouldn’t it?” Nellie countered.
“But if it were that simple, why didn’t Nyarlathotep simply summon her to him?” Beau asked.
“Because he’s not thinking of her as a demon, he’s thinking of her as a unique combination of vampire and demon,” Nellie said. “That is her value to him. Nyarlathotep is not infallible. Otherwise, Beau, you would not have been able to have stopped him in 1929.”
“But would Lucy also be summoned?” Beau asked. “Or would it split her in two?”
“The ritual that inadvertently united Lucy and Lilith appears to have merged them completely,” Nellie said. “Besides, what have we got to lose at this point?”
Lucy’s life, Beau thought. However, that would also mean Nyarlathotep would not have her as a sacrifice to open the gates. Beau did not want to think about Lucy’s destruction, but with no way of knowing where to rescue her, and against insurmountable odds, her existence would end anyway. Nellie’s plan at least offered Lucy a chance at survival.
Beau looked at Grace. As if she read his mind, she nodded.
“Alright,” he said.
“Understand, if we do this, we won’t be going to the assistance of Seth and Dr. Paine at the cemetery in time to help them,” Nellie said. “They may die without us.”
“They may die even with our help,” Beau said. The two of them looked at each other intently. “You know what they would tell us to do. Our mission is to stop Nyarlathotep. We cannot do that if he has Lucy. She is an integral part of his plan. What will you need?”
“You need to focus your thoughts on going over the spell to banish Nyarlathotep,” Nellie said. “Grace can help me with this.”
Beau went into the kitchen and sat at a low wooden table. He pulled the ancient tome from the satchel. The volume, bound in leather made from human skin, was familiar to him, including its palpable sense of evil. He opened the cover and stamped on the inside was: “Property of Miskatonic University Library.”
Seth had apparently taken the university’s copy of the Necronomicon to the British Library with him. Seth had worked for the Miskatonic University Library before he went to work for the British Museum. Beau wondered momentarily if Seth had taken it before or after the death of Dr. Henry Armitage, the university’s long-time librarian and Seth’s mentor.
Though it had been years since Beau had learned the spell, his fingers moved as if of their own accord and opened the book to the proper page. Outside a jackal howled and the wind picked up. But Beau was already lost to the words on the written page as he absorbed the arcane knowledge.
Elsewhere in the house, Nellie pulled Ian aside. “I need you to go to the market to pick up a few things for me,” she said, handing him a list that included detailed directions how to get there. “Take the good car. Good luck.” She pushed him out the door before he had a chance to respond.
In the background, she could hear Grace pushing the furniture of the front room back against the wall to make room for the spell’s casting. Nellie walked down a short hall and looked into the kitchen through an open door. Beau did not look up, his concentration absorbed by the book. Nellie returned to the front room, pulled out a compass to orient herself, and then began to draw a pentacle on the floor in chalk.
Hours later, Beau looked up. Except for a lantern next to him on the table, the room had grown dark. He had been so absorbed with his study of the banishment spell he had not even noticed that someone had set a lamp on the table for him. He could hear a chanting in the front room. He stretched and walked down the hall softly. By the light of candles forming a circle, Beau saw Nellie performing dark and foul sorcery to summon a demon, to summon, he thought, his pulse racing, the demon he loved. Nellie knelt down and slit the throat of the lamb next to her and caught the spurting blood in a brass bowl. The blood hissed as she dropped a powder into it and a green smoke formed.
Nellie’s voice rose higher as she dropped the dying lamb to the floor. Beau heard the lamb’s hoof beat on the floor once, then twice from its death throes. Nellie’s voice stopped and there was silence.
Beau felt his heart in his throat from disappointment. He had not been certain Nellie’s idea would work, but he had wanted to believe it would.
The green smoke swirled in the center of the pentacle. The scent of sulfur was unmistakable. Beau felt the hairs on his arms and the back of his neck rise as if the room was charged with electricity. The wind that had blown steadily throughout the afternoon and early evening suddenly grew still.
Then the green smoke stirred and Beau saw her. In the center of the ring, Lucy knelt, her head bowed, her wrists and legs bound by thick, silver chains. She rose unsteadily and Beau moved quickly and caught her as she collapsed.
Lucy looked up with him. “I’ve seen him, Beau,” she whispered, her body shivering in his arms. “He showed me his true appearance. Beau, you were right. You were right all along. We are doomed.”
Continue to Chapter 27