~The Celtic Wizard~

Chapter 32  

“So Cernunnos has squired away my Catherine.”  The man sat back in the large, high-back leather chair.  His consort sat across from him. 

“What will we tell the others?”  Mark asked with much fear.  The blame rested squarely on his shoulders.  He was the one who had been ordered to watch over her from outside after they had left.  Inadvertently, he had fallen asleep.  He woke when the sun was high in the sky, his cell phone ringing next to him.  He was informed he was needed at the Dean’s home.

Speaking at a slow pace on the other side of the desk, he closed his eyes tightly.  The Dean had pushed him beyond his limits last night with Catherine.  Catherine had refused the Dean’s order to not see Kevin Richardson.  Mark tried to convince him to stop but the Dean wanted the damn amulet off of Catherine’s body.  It reminded the Dean what had taken place between Kevin and Catherine.

“We aren’t going to tell them, “ the Dean answered.  Leaning back in the chair, he puffed on his pipe.  Mark had so many things to learn.  It was very apparent after last night.

“Huh?”  Mark questioned since he had lost track of the conversation.

“I’ve checked with the students, you have checked all of the hospitals and emergency rooms.  I’ve called her parents, they know better then to cross me.”  The Dean was silent as he began form his plan.

“You checked with Kevin’s associates, right?”  Mark was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. 

“Mark, Mark, Mark…”  The elder man’s hand slammed down on the desk.  He watched Mark jump, now I have his attention, he noted.  “Richardson has her.  Where?  I’m not sure.  From our sources, I have managed to narrow this down to three places unique to Cernunnos, or Kevin, shall we call him.  I really don’t like the fact that the most powerful of our people has taken something that belongs to me.”  Taking another puff of his pipe, he let the smoke mellow in his mouth before he continued.  “There is here in Los Angeles, his home in Florida, or his home in Kentucky.”  Halting again, he gave Mark a questioning look.  This question would speak for itself.  It would show Mark how much he valued his service and relationship with him.  “So which city do you want?”

“I’ll take Florida.  Are you even sure yet?”

“Not yet, but I will have a better idea after I cross the Astral Plane.”

Mark doubted the Dean had much in the way of ability above that of an average street magician.  What Mark had seen in the last few months were anger building and then the violence of the previous evening.

The Dean began to chant and Mark’s eyes closed.  The Dean had changed so much this last year.  He had gone from practicing magick to practicing black magick.  From this, he had graduated to a self-absorbed Warlock. 

Mark could repeat the story he had heard it so many times.  The Dean wanted to start a coven in California.  Catherine hand been culled from her parents years prior to start a new coven.  Her gift was the only thing they had wanted from her.  Her intelligence and age however proved to be her downfall.  They needed to wait for her to mature.  The Dean saw that her every need had been met, except one, companionship.  Men were off limits to Catherine and anyone who had inquired or wanted to see her, were dealt with harshly. 

Mark opened his eyes and sighed, now he saw an possessed old man sitting across from him.  Mark had begun to question the validity of the Dean’s powers and associates; he only had made that mistake once.  His mind wandered as The Dean, ‘traveled’, he guessed.

Sitting back, Mark felt compelled to reason why he was here and helping them harm a young woman.  He thought back to when he had met Catherine the first time in the Emergency Room.  Mark knew of her and seen her from a distance but he had never had any contact with her.  He was following orders, in a way, seeing to the health of Catherine.  When Kevin Richardson flew through the hospital doors, he was scared shitless.  Immediately upon seeing him, he had a sinking feeling.  Since that night, he had stayed close to the Dean, but began to question.  Last night all his questions had been answered.  Catherine was of no use to the Dean now, so now he felt the need to eliminate her.  She could damage his reputation and footing in this world.  After witnessing the previous evening, he would stay for her benefit. 

Mark paused in his thinking when the Dean flinched and moaned.  Waiting for him to open his eyes, he hadn’t yet.  Shifting in his chair didn’t seem to rouse him either.  He had seen the Dean go into these trances before; he was still safe.

Placing both hands behind his neck Mark stretched.  To this day, he wondered what his life would have been like had he not found the Dean.  After three years of searching, he had finally found him.  At first, he was restrained, but as time went by, the Dean let his guard down.  He should have never searched for the man, now they were almost always together.  “I think I know how Catherine feels, “ he mumbled inside his head. 

Mark eyed the Dean carefully, he may have doubted the man’s powers but he didn’t want him to know what he was thinking.  If the Dean had any powers, then he would be able to read his thoughts, but he doubted if those powers even existed.

“What do you do when you find your long lost father and you hate him?”  Mark’s eyes closed as he whispered in his own head.  “I have so many things that I wish I could tell you…  I want to tell you that I think you are evil, that you are cruel, and that I wish that I had never laid eyes on you.  Thank God you didn’t raise me.”  Mark spoke to himself in his head out of fear. 

Mark knew that if the Dean found out that he had watched Catherine’s belongings being removed from her apartment just before he came to this meeting, there would be hell to pay.

“Mark?”  The Dean stared at the young man as he called him.  “Mark?”

“Yes sir,” Mark cleared his throat and his mind.

“Pack a bag.  You’re leaving for Tampa in the morning.”

“You know?”  Mark’s eyes glazed over in panic.

“No, their magick is much stronger than mine.  Catherine only makes his powers stronger.  Kevin can hide her all he wants but he will be sorry that he has defiled her.  I won’t let him keep her.  Reservations all over the country, how preposterous.”

“Can I ask a question?”  Mark dropped his eyes slightly.

“Yes son,” the Dean poured the vintage cognac into two glasses.

Mark paled when he had heard ‘son’.  Biologically yes, but he did not want to be related to this man.  Who knows maybe he could go to Florida and never come back, he could get lost in one of the big cities. 

“I’ll be joining you Mark, we’ll travel together.  A little father-son bonding perhaps?”

Mark’s stomach was twisting inside as he took the glass of cognac offered to him.  The last thing he wanted was anymore bonding with this man.

The Dean frowned, “I miss her.  I hope I didn’t hurt her badly.  She really can be so obstinate at times.  When she has her mind on her studies, she is a complete joy.  Now I have to deal with these Backstreet boys.”

Mark swallowed the liquor in one gulp.  The last time he looked, Kevin Richardson wasn’t a boy, he was man, a much younger man than the Dean. 

Mark retired to his own place and bed.  That night he begged for forgiveness from the Christian God that he was raised to believe in.  A voice spoke to him and told him that forgiveness could only come if he were to help the young couple out.

Mark spoke to the voice in his head; the voice was soft and raspy.  When Mark heard, ‘Are you playin’ this on the up and up?” he knew it was dream.  God never asked questions.  Moaning to himself for being such a fool.

“Dude, I’m talkin’ to you,” he heard as clear as a bell in his room.

Sitting up in his bed, he was terrified.  There was a small man covered in tattoos standing at the end of his bed.

“God?”  Marked gaped at him.

“About as close as you’re gonna get if you don’t help out with this mess,” A.J. grinned, he loved pranks.  Watching this kid almost piss his pants was a shitload of fun.

Mark jumped from the bed; he landed on his knees and kneeled.  A.J. let out a long sigh, “Don’t bother buddy,” as he touched Mark’s shoulder.

Mark fell over in fright clutching his chest.

“A.J. you’re gonna give him a freakin’ heart attack.”  Howie stood at the door.

Mark now knew with whom he was dealing with, these men were part of the group.  “I can’t help you, don’t you understand.”

“Well, you found your ‘dear old Dad’, but dude sometimes they aren’t always the best.  I feel for ya,” A.J. folded his hands over his chest.  “I got one too, I rarely saw him.”

Mark was frozen.  He didn’t know whether to run, scream, or just listen.  He opted for listening if they were going to talk. 

Howie stepped right up to him; he grabbed Mark by the shoulders and forced him up on his feet.  “Do you know how close Catherine was to dying last night?” 

Howie’s face was menacing.  A.J. was pleased Howie could do menacing; he patted him on the back only to have his hand shoved away.

“I’m known as Currym or Duty.  I have an obligation to my liege …”

“Liege, liege, are you reading that Sir Lancelot shit again?”  A.J. interrupted him and wasn’t stopping.  “Don’t let Kevin hear you call him that.  If his head gets any damn bigger we’re going to need wider doorways at the office.”  A.J. shoved Howie out of his way.  “Listen Mark, your old man is a Looney Tune and you don’t much care for him now.  We’re not asking you to go out on a limb here, we just need some time.”

Mark gulped, “How much?  We’re leaving for Florida tomorrow.”

“We don’t know,” Howie interjected.  “Just stay there as long as possible.”

“You trust me?”  Mark blinked at both of them.

“We don’t have a choice,” A.J.’s eyes became very narrow slits.  “Catherine almost bled to death, if it wasn’t for family, friends, and good magick, she would have.”

Mark’s eyelids fluttered shut and then opened.  “I tried to stop him but he was insane.  He didn’t want her wearing that amulet or her seeing him again.  He is obsessed with her.  She is the key to his entire world.”

“Not anymore, she’s with Kevin now,” Howie spoke openly, confident that Mark was with them and not against them.

“He said Kevin would be sorry and so would she.  He called her parents.”  Mark gave them as much information as he could. 

“We know,” Howie nodded.

“He went crazy when he figured out that Kevin had sex with her,” Mark exhaled.  “It was ugly.  By all rights, Catherine should be like a sister to me, not my father’s lover.  He’s a fake and he’s phony.”

“He’s not a fraud Mark, he has powers, he just can’t control them without Catherine near.  She channels all of the energy for him.”  A.J. shook his head.  “Be careful and watch your back.”

“Does she channel for Kevin?”  Mark had heard about this but wasn’t positive. 

“No, she has come into her own powers and you know how,” A.J. smirked. 

Howie frowned at the lewd remark.  “Catherine takes care of herself but she is protected from all harm when she is wearing the amulet.”

“It didn’t help last night,” Mark mumbled.

“Yes it did, she’s alive.”  Howie looked at Mark.  A reassurance passed among all three of the men.

“Know any hot women in Florida?”  Mark smiled.

The entire conversation went into the gutter after that.  Mark would be so hooked up by the time A.J. and Howie were done with him; he would never have to worry about the Dean again.  They had made plans to take Mark to a safe harbor if need be.  Mark had been sucked into this from the beginning but now had enough sense to bail out.

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This is a work of fiction.
The characters and events portrayed are fictitious.
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