Hi, I’m back, and I’m just gonna jump right back into where we were.
So Jade said “dog saints” on the answering machine, and Mercy and Zinia were staring at us with this expression of confusion and astonishment, and Julian said, “Come on, I don’t need to be here anymore.”
I followed them out of the house glancing back at Mercy and Zinia who were still standing on the stairs, staring after us.
“What’s a dog saint?” I asked.
“Who fuckin knows,” Neal sighed. “Come on.”
Neal drove again, which wasn’t ideal because that man drives like a psycho on a good day and worse when he’s agitated.
“What’s a dog saint?” I asked the moment the car doors shut.
Julian took his hair out of it’s bun and scrubbed at his scalp.
“You okay?” Neal asked.
“I’m fine,” Julian replied. “Not thrilled. Mercy won’t keep this one to herself.”
“Yeah we really walked into this one didn’t we,” Neal said.
Julian managed a laugh. “We literally drove ourselves to the old house with a tranced medium.”
Neal laughed, too and I lost patience. “WHAT is a DOG SAINT?”
Neal’s eyes appeared in the rearview. “We hadn’t forgotten about you, Shiloh.”
No, they were just IGNORING me. ANNOYING.
“Alright, Jade is going to have a lot to say about Dog Saints,” Neal said. “And it’s gonna sound… well it’s gonna sound sparkly but I promise, it’s not what Mercy and Zinia want it to be, okay?”
Yeah fine, but what IS it?
“Jade will say there was a prophecy,” Julian said. “But there’s no such thing as prophecy. What we’ve got is a curse. Or a spell, if you’re being generous. It’s an old spell. No one even knows who cast it, and it’s unbreakable as far as we’ve been able to research. But according to lore,” he paused to grimace, “every few hundred years there is a rise of occult and supernatural occurrences. I know that sounds insane, but these periods of vivid, powerful magic are well documented by all the old covens. And right at the beginning of one of these periods of magical unrest, five random, normal people develop powers.”
Slow dawning realization: “…So the lying thing —”
“Yeah,” Neal said.
“And those people are called Dog Saints?” I said.
“Traditionally, yeah,” Neal said.
“Dumb name,” I said.
“Tell me about it.”
I mean, I’ve accepted weirder shit. My best friend is currently in the process of being reborn as a unicorn so what can’t I believe at this point?
“Wait, okay so then are you… both? Dog Saints?” I asked and Neal and Julian exchanged a look.
“Yeah,” Neal said finally. “We are.”
“So then… can you also tell when I’m lying?” I asked.
“No,” Julian said. “The five people all get different powers.”
I waited on the off chance that they wouldn’t make me ask, but of course they did.
“What are your powers Julian?”
Julian cleared his throat.
“I told you we wouldn’t lie to you, not that we’d tell you everything,” Neal reminded me. I was puffing up to throw a fit, but before I could Julian said,
“When I’m under duress I… become more powerful,” Julian said, which wasn’t a real answer.
“What kind of more powerful?” I asked and Julian got really uncomfortable.
“That’s complicated,” Julian replied, but like is it really? What kind of power are we talking about here, like… physically powerful? Is this a Hulk situation? Or are we talking more of a like… telepathic powerful, like Eleven from Stranger Things?
I should maybe have just asked, and I don’t like demanding answers to personal questions people don’t want to give me, okay? It feels icky and I can’t do it.
Which is why 1. I could never be a reporter (or a blogger even really HA) and 2. Why we still don’t know what Julian’s superhuman magical ability is.
Also, at that point we were back at Jade’s, sitting in the car, stalling having to go in.
“I dowaanna,” Neal whined, because he didn’t want to go upstairs and face Jade, Mercy and Zinia.
“We gotta,” Julian replied.
Neal whined wordlessly, and then said, “okay, let’s do it.”
“Will they be… mad?” I asked, because honestly they were being huge babies about the whole thing, Neal was like two seconds away from a full meltdown.
“There aren’t a lot of these spells,” Neal said. “It’s not like there are tons of us around. I can think of an entire one other chosen one spell that’s active. One.”
“Chosen one spell?” I said. “Like… destiny? Like Buffy the Vampire Slayer shit?”
“No,” Julian said flatly. “There’s no such thing as destiny. We weren’t chosen, we were just it the wrong place at the wrong time.” He hesitated before adding, “That’s not necessarily how the others will see it.”
I didn’t really understand what he meant until we got up there.
Jade, Mercy and Zinia were waiting for us. Jade was sitting on a black stool in the middle of the kitchen, legs crossed under her, eyes closed.
“I always knew there was something about you two,” Jade said. “I just didn’t know what.” When neither of them answered she opened her eyes to look at them. Her green irises were a slim ring around those saucer pupils.
“Does anyone know?” Mercy asked.
“No,” Neal said. “And we’d like to keep it that way.”
“How were you chosen?” Zinia demanded, and there was something combative about her tone.
“I mean there wasn’t a committee or anything,” Neal replied.
“But when did you know? How did this happen? Don’t you know we’ve all been waiting —”
“Zin,” Mercy interrupted and Zinia stopped.
“She’s right,” Jade said, with some severity. “We have been waiting for the saints. And you have known for how long what you are?”
Neal and Julian both said nothing.
“The cop,” Jade said. “The one in the mask. I will tell him about what he is.”
“You’ll have to go see him,” Julian said. “He doesn’t want monsters and magic. He wants to be a super soldier.”
Jade smirked and I felt a bit bad for poor Jon Cooper.
“What will you do?” Mercy said.
“What do you mean what will we do?” Neal said, and I know his signature push-me-I-love-fight tone when I hear it.
“With your power,” Mercy clarified.
“We’ll do what we always do.”
Mercy cocked her head and smiled just a little, twists falling over her shoulder, and listen: Mercy is playing this game on a whole other level.
“The world is going to get worse,” she said. “You can already see it happening.”
“That has nothing to do —”
But Mercy interrupted him with cool, practiced ease. “The dog saints are called once in five hundred years, and you’re telling me your plan is to do nothing?”
And it was about there that I realized what they meant in the car.
“What are you suggesting exactly?” Julian asked, and as we always knew, Julian is the cooler Hawthorne. He had a whole Tone happening. Mercy considered him, and before she could answer he said, “I don’t believe in divine right to power. Even if the only divinity available is really a old spell.”
“You were chosen —” Zinia began and Julian interrupted her.
“There’s no such thing as being chosen,” he said. “That is bullshit.”
Mercy scoffed and said something about not telling someone I don’t know that, and that was when Jade intervened.
“First you come here with this creature,” Jade said, gesturing at me, “who has been places she should not have come back from. And then you are dog saints? How long have I known you, and never known?” She narrowed her eyes and her pupils retracted, the green thickening. “Our world is looping towards chaos. These will be strange times.”
And her pupils dilated and she shivered. “Did Nolan know you were chosen?” she asked.
Julian visibly hated that she said chosen, but he didn’t say anything. Neal nodded.
“He hid it from me,” Jade said. She looked up at them. “He was the only one who ever could.” She smiled and for a moment she was just a normal girl. Then she said, “You leave this town. I don’t know why the veils are so thin here, but we don’t need you two calling things through them.”
And we were dismissed. It felt a bit like being in the presence of a queen to be honest.
On our way out the door, Jade said, “I don’t envy you Shiloh. It will be too much.” When I spun to look back at her though it was as if she hadn’t said a word.
“What?” I said and everyone turned to look at me.
“Shiloh?” Neal said. “Let’s go.” I followed. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.