For better or for worse, I'm remembering things from what I've referred to as The Missing 29 Hours.
Here's what I know:
After I spotted that message written on my dashboard, the car kept going, and I kept driving. I had the worst headache of my life though. When I blinked, the message was gone. This isn't the first time that's happened to me though. The thing is, that your spiritual awareness is at its sharpest in that moment between when you're awake and asleep. During this brief moment, it's easy to see things on the "Other Side" with your eyes. Lord knows I've woken up in the middle of a dream to the image of exactly what I was fighting, done something fancy, and then been fully awake and no longer able to see it with my eyes.
Other times in the past, soldiers would leave me messages in English writing right where my eyes would be when I woke up so I would know exactly what was going on. It was always creepy, always strange, and vitally necessary. Lord knows that communicating with entities on the other side is a tricky business at the best of times.
Am I the only one worried that something happened that normally only happens when I'm asleep? Glad I've got everyone's attention.
I drove into Buffalo, New York. Honestly, there isn't much for me to say about Buffalo. I couldn't tell you why Time Lord lives here any more than I could explain why I went to school in The Desert. What I can tell you though, is that we've made it our standing policy to have each others addresses and a promise to house the other if things ever got beyond our skill.
As near as I can tell, I drove on for a few more hours before reaching my destination. This would be logical. Then my migraine exploded with another round of pain as I got to the house. I stumbled out of the car, clutching my skull. I get two kinds of migraines. There's your standard, every day migraine. Consistent, common, painful as hell. Then there's "The Forces of the Universe are Out Of Whack" migraine. Now, the last time I had a "The Forces of the Universe are Out Of Whack" migraine was during the November Incident, and then the time before that in about 2007. The 2007 migraine was caused when Celtic Cauldron Born were rampaging in the astral plane ... I'll tell that story later. What you need to know is that a FOTUOOW is about ten gallons of pain in a one gallon jug.
For some reason, it came into focus after listening to this song.
Most of my memory of what happened comes in flashes. I remember stumbling out of my car, clutching my skull. I remember closing the door and resting my head against the window. And then I remember hearing a panicked yelp above me. I looked up. I could see an open window, but nothing inside that window with my eyes. I can't really describe the house too well. My vision was just too messed up. Was I drugged somehow?
As I've mentioned before, what you see on the astral plane isn't always what's actually there, and two people might not agree on what they see. Now, what I saw was a woman in white robes trying to hold a barrier together against what looked like three rather nasty gigantic praying mantises in a house that looked like a shattered, broken castle. Not good. Considering the kind of protections I put around MY house, seeing something breaking through Time Lord's is always a bad sign. I took a moment to wonder why the hell I didn't see them sooner, and then my head started pounding again. I'd left my Maxalt in Philadelphia, so I wasn't getting any fast and immediate migraine relief anytime soon.
I knocked on the door. I heard a screechy voice from the upstairs window say, "(Time Lord)?! Is that you?!"
I shouted back, "Jumping Jesus Christ on Crutches, it's the goddamn Reinforcement Fairy. I come bearing wanton destruction and violence to your enemies when you remember to put your spent shell casings under your pillow. Where's (Time Lord)?!"
She didn't respond. Why did I say all that? That was over-the-top and cheesy even for ME. Then again, I do tend to stop caring about things like logic and common sense once I've got a heavy migraine in full swing. My memory shifts, and then next thing I can remember is running up the stairs. Whoever this woman was, she didn't deserve to be eaten by Mantises. I remember projecting as I ran, exploding into the Giant Praying Mantises. No hyperbole there, I drew energy around the projection as I sent it out, and had it explode outward on my arrival. They all stumbled backwards, barely deflecting it. That was when I knew we had a problem. The entities and demons that survived the 2002-2004 war were almost universally the ones brutal enough to survive heavy fighting or were the ones incredibly good at being stealthy. These were the brutal ones.
Did all of this actually happen? The next thing I remember is running into a second floor hallway.
I shouted, "Dynamic Entry!"
I charged into the room where she was. I don't know who she was. Blond hair, glasses, average height and build, denim jacket, her energy waning from extensive overuse, no really good details I can give you. I think there were bits and pieces of other Mantises strewn about. Not on the astral plane, on our world. That DOES NOT HAPPEN. Or maybe I'm misremembering it? Or maybe the Veil/Barrier call it what you will was coming apart?
Her defenses were shattering, and the Mantises were sizing me up, getting steady on their legs. It was time to change tactics. No way I was fighting three things I'd never fought before, protecting some woman, AND having a serious migraine at the same time. Now, I always tell the new guys: "Always be prepared to make a window exit." One thing that I always loved about The Tutorial by M, was his rule about "Get higher than (you know who), as he can't comprehend something taller than him." Now, that rule sort of applies to other entities. While we cannot perceive the astral plane and their world with great accuracy, neither can they perceive OUR world with any great accuracy. This means that if your elevation on the physical world suddenly changes, like say when you grab someone and jump out a second-story window, they get all kinds of confused. Not for long, mind you, but often long enough that you can come up with a new plan.
So I grabbed her, she was too surprised and tired from having kept her shield up all day to stop me, and I took her with me in a running leap out the window. As I did, I shouted:
There have been better battle cries in history. Then again, this is also in character for me. We landed on top of my car, and I took her with me in a sideways roll, which made it a much easier landing when we went off the top of my car and landed in a heap on the ground on the driver's side. All according to plan.
I stood up, brushed myself off, and said, "Oh my fucking head. I'm too old for this shit."
Whoever the girl was, she said to me, "Who the fuck are you?! Are you insane?!"
I said, "Yes, glad to see we're on the same page. And I told you! I'm the Reinforcement Fairy!"
The mantises were getting their senses back onto our position. I opened the door to the back seat and the door to the driver's side, she just stared at me.
I said, "Your choice is car or Mantis. In less than five seconds your only choice is..."
She leaped into the backseat.
I finished "...Mantis." As I slipped into the driver's side, slammed the door shut and started the engine.
So they started running after us as I gunned the engine and started taking us through downtown Buffalo. Foolish Giant Praying Mantises, stupid enough to think they could catch my ride! Ha Ha ...was I on drugs?
She started talking as we drove, saying something about going to the house and not finding Time Lord. Then she got trapped in there by the Mantises. I wasn't paying attention. You see, as we slowed down and rode aimlessly through Buffalo, I spotted a rather tall guy in a suit. He just stood there. I had about three seconds to look at him as I hooked a right turn onto a side-street. Just another tall guy in a suit, right? Had to be. So why did this chilly little feeling pierce into me, and make my ever-present migraine seem so much less important? There were black vines spewing around him, connecting into the ground and everywhere around us on the astral plane. Or at least, that's what I remember. Did he have a face? I rounded the corner too quickly to see. Part of me wishes I had been moving slower so I could know. Part of me wishes I had driven faster so I didn't see it at all. Had the hell begun for me in earnest?
And that's all that I remember. Fuck. I need to go back to Buffalo, don't I? Nothing about these "memories" are reliable. I need to go straight to the source. I know I had the sword that Forgemaster made when I left for Buffalo. And...well, none of this makes any sense. I'm going back to Buffalo.
I have my Bokken. Forgemaster and Green Man threw together a few surprises for me to use on this next run. Oh I've got something packed for these bastards alright.
That said, if I can't find any good answers by tomorrow, I'll talk about a bit more history. When we last left my naive past self, he was dealing with the Rogues. It's about time I talked about Rogue Nemesis anyway. Yeah. If you haven't guessed already, I'm seven levels of worried. I just finished describing about four hours of driving followed by a rescue and another hour of driving. That's 24 hours still unaccounted for, and no clue as to what I left behind in Buffalo.
What the hell kind of name for a town is "Buffalo" anyway?
EDIT: Apologies for the terrible Grammar-Fail in places. More Migraines lead to bad writing. >_<