15

“It’s so frigging hot” you complained.

“I know, Anne. It always gets abnormally hot around September here. It’s just…” Vee explained.

“It’s just what?” you asked.

“I don’t know. I have the feeling that things are different this year” Vee said, while closing the window and applying air seal spells that kept the heat outside.

“What is different?”

Vee thought about it before answering. “Well, for one, this is usually the maximal temperature that we reach at the peak of the September Heatwave. And today is just the first the day”.

You absorbed his words. Then, you carefully pronounced a question the answer of which you feared. “Does that mean… that it will keep getting hotter?”

Vee looked at you with sadness in his eyes. “Yes, probably”.

You closed your eyes and tried to think. You concentrated on the underlying processes, much like you had done to stop the Apocalypse. You found lots of magic energies protecting the surrounding neighbourhoods, but there was no signal to indicate that any sort of magic energy was creating the heatwave. You gave up and sat down. You took off your sandals, as your feet were sweating from wearing them.

“Chillia” you muttered, trying to stop thinking, attempting to relax with the current of air.

You heard a snap of fingers, and Mamma Luca appeared next to you. She looked as elegant as always, wearing a soft summer blouse. She was not sweating, and she looked like she was doing fine at that temperature. Amanda, Laurel and Vee looked surprised.

“The three of you are always together now” Mamma commented. “You just need a fourth member to complete the Ghostb*sters”.

Laurel raised her eyebrows. “Funny to hear that from Mrs I conveniently disappear any time there is a crisis. We are trying to solve problems here. Also, nobody told you that you’re welcome at my place. I hope you have a good reason to intrude”.

“Sharp tongue” Mamma observed.

“I can back up my own words, as you know well” Laurel defied Mamma.

“I do. That’s why I’m not here to challenge you. I’m just a friend” Mamma stated.

You raised both arms, and everyone looked at you. “Guys, guys, please, stop fighting. What concerns us here is that it’s too hot, and we need to solve the problem together. So, while we come up with some solution, can we keep the room temperature as low as possible? Your argument feels like I should do something, and the last thing I feel like doing right now is do anything“.

Amanda laughed at your comment. You looked at her with a straight face. “No laughing, either. I might start laughing, too, and I just want to stay still. Also, remember that I might not be as powerful as any of you here, but I can still kill you all if need be”.

“Can you do anything to stop this?” Laurel asked Mamma.

“No. Can you?” she asked back.

“We cannot, either” Laurel responded.

“What about the tunnels? It should act as a cave” Amanda suggested.

“True” Vee conceded. “That is actually a very good idea. Let’s go”.

You grumbled, but followed them down the stairs and into the basement. There, Laurel opened a trap door that took them to the tunnels. The topmost tunnels were quite hot, a sign that some hot air current was coming in.

“We need to seal off whatever hole there is” Amanda commented. “That should lower the temperature”.

“There might be dozens of holes!” you complained. You then realized how whiny you were being. “Also, sorry. I don’t function well at hot temperatures”.

“Sealing off the holes should be a piece of cake” Laurel commented.

“You seem pretty comfortable with your skills” Mamma scorned.

“Is that a challenge?” Laurel asked.

“Why not?” Mamma had an evil grin.

“OK” Laurel answered.

The power around both of them started to become denser, a sign that they were both gathering their energies for a great task. The auras around them became so thick that they started to crystallize, refracting light into thousands of colours that went everywhere. Such a concentration of power was a bit too much for you, so you walked away. Vee and Amanda followed you.

“That was a bit too much” Amanda commented.

“Let those two be. They are monsters” Vee added.

You were silent, trying to walk your way around the tunnels. The heat started to decrease as Mamma and Laurel started to seal off holes. But the heat gradient was still present, and you followed it. The territory started to become familiar, as you remembered from a few months back.

“Anne, where are you taking us?” Vee asked.

“To the biggest single hole in town” you answered.

“Where is that?” Amanda asked with curiosity.

“Doris’ place, obviously. It got destroyed in an explosion and was never rebuilt” you sentenced.

Amanda and Vee suddenly noticed. “Shit, that’s true!”

The heat kept increasing. It was becoming asphyxiating, a sensation of choking, of grasping for air and not finding it there. The heat stuck to your bodies, making you sweat like you would never have imagined. You were heading in the right direction, and you all knew it. The light was also getting intense, and you had to squint to be able to keep going.

You heard something move, but could not quite make out what it was, so you summoned your machete. The blade started to heat, and you thought about using water to cool it off. As you were about to pronounce the spell, Vee stopped you.

“Don’t. If you put water in this kind of environment, it will boil. It’s only going to make things worse” he pronounced.

“Let me do it” Amanda interrupted. “I am more heat resistant than any of you”.

She walked through the light and started to pronounce spells. The light intensity started to go down, as the hole closed. While Amanda sealed off the hole, Vee and you refreshed the environment, and took the temperature down to more normal levels. When everything seemed to be back to normal, Amanda got attacked.

Some human sized beast jumped over Amanda, throwing her to the floor. Amanda started to scream in terror, trying to get away from the creature, but it had held her tight, and her head went down next to Amanda’s head. It looked as if it was going to bite into Amanda’s neck.

Vee and you run towards them, and you found out that the creature had magic power. Using the creature’s own power, you threw it back against a wall. You leaned next to Amanda, who had fainted. There was blood in the side of the head against which the creature had leaned, but there were no bite marks. The blood was coming out from her ear and her eye.

Vee and you looked at the beast, as it stood up again, and you noticed. The face had been burnt by the sun, it had no hair and only one eye remained. Yet you recognized her without fail: it was Doris. Vee started a spell to destroy her, but she run into the tunnels and was not hit by the spell.

“I’m going to tend to her injuries” you said, as you concentrated on Amanda’s own energy and started to heal her from the inside. The damage had been quite severe.

Vee looked around the hole that had been Doris Waters’ house’s basement. There were pieces of this and that here and there, not much of interest, really. He had already taken every object that was any worth when the house got destroyed, and had even managed to obtain the mind-controlling cookies.

He then noticed a stash of objects that he did not remember from before. It was mostly junk, including some wilted petunias. He leaned down on it and took a small piece of something. He inspected it and took it with him as he went back to you.

“Look at this” he showed you.

It was a piece of skin, with a segment of a number in it. It looked like an eight.

“Weird…” you commented.

“We have two corpses, a burnt Doris, and three numbers. It definitely is weird” Vee agreed.

Mamma and Laurel run into the tunnel.

“Get out of the way! We need to settle things with the last hole!” Laurel shouted.

“It’s already been sealed” Vee explained.

“Oh, damn it” Laurel cursed.

“We were at a draw. 318 seals each. This one was the last one” Mamma explained.

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