The most insane thing about this job is that we can swing from adorable glowing otters with horns to terrifying sentient smoke that wants to kill you in the span of like 6 days.

Wraiths turned out to be surprisingly simple. They were living in this hotel building’s hot water tanks, but Neal and Julian have seen that before so it didn’t take long to find them.

Getting rid of them was as simple as vacuuming them up. We used those little hand held vacuums and just sucked ‘em up ha. It was a little bit more complicated than that because they’re easy to breathe in, and too much exposure to them on your skin is like really bad for you, so we had to get suited up in basically hazmat suits in order to do it, and then we had to check everyone’s apartments to make sure they were really gone, which was made a lot easier by having the guy in the mask with us because everyone already trusted him.

It took like six hours, but it wasn’t difficult. They even let me hold a vacuum. For an extra precaution, Julian backed me up with a UV flashlight, which apparently kills wraiths if they’re exposed too long, so there wasn’t a ton of risk. Listen to me, I’m like, it was fine, but I wasn’t in mortal danger so 🙄

Jon Cooper was elated. When he pulled off his hazmat head he was absolutely beaming. “And you’re sure that was it?” he said.

“That was it,” Julian promised.

“Thank you,” he said. “I don’t know how to thank you enough, these monsters have been weighing on me for months and now they’re gone.”

“There’s a way you can thank us,” Neal said, and his tone was so casual I thought he might be joking.

“Yeah? What’s that?” Jon was peeling out of his suit and clearly thought he was joking, too.

“Come see a psychic with us,” Neal said. “We know a good one.”

Jon froze. “Excuse me?”

“People don’t just end up with super strength,” Julian said. “There’s a reason you’re able to do the things you do. We’d like to know what that reason is.”

Jon didn’t say anything and seemed very focused on getting his clothes situated for a long moment.

Then he said, “you want to make sure I didn’t come by these powers in a wrong way?”

“No,” Neal began.

“You want to make sure I’m not planning to hurt anyone with them?”

“Not at all,” Julian said.

“I’m only using what I’ve got to do what I can do,” Jon said. “Same as everyone.”

“We’re not doubting that,” Julian said. “We just want to make sure you’re safe, and everyone else is safe.”

“I am safe,” Jon said. “As safe as I can be. And you can bet that everyone else is as safe as it’s possible for them to be, too. I’m only here to help.”

“We know that,” Julian promised. “It’s not you we’re worried about.”

“I’m just like this, always have been,” Jon insisted.

“We know,” Neal said. “We believe you. We just want to see if there’s anything we should know. That’s it. It could help you.”

“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Jon Cooper said, and when the Hawthornes didn’t respond he said, “are we gonna have a problem over this?”

I watched Neal and Julian hesitate and consider him. For a moment I thought maybe they were going to have a problem. Then Julian said, “of course not.” He extended a hand and after just a moment’s hesitation Cooper took it. “Listen, if anything like this comes up again, you call us, alright?”

“Even if it’s not like this,” Neal said. “You’re doing good work here.”

The tension broke and Jon smiled. “Thank you,” he said and shook their hands.

Later though, when we were boxing up the wraiths in their vacuums to send to the Emporium, Julian said, “We’re going to have to go see Jade anyways. You know that, right.”

And Neal made a face. “Yeah, alright? I fucking know.”

When I asked who Jade is, Julian said, “she’s the best psychic in town.” And Neal said, “she’s the worst.”


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