We abandoned the idea of going back to the hotel we'd been staying at. As much as I despised spending so much money on getting a different hotel, I couldn't argue that we were currently in danger from all sides.
We found a cheap but clean motel with stark white, bleach-scented sheets and peeling paint on the edges of the walls. The two full-sized beds were a little too firm and slightly lumpy, but I was pretty sure that wasn't going to matter any more than the sharp smell on the pillowcases would.
I sat on one of the beds and watched Joseph take off his shoes and climb up on the other. I turned back to Mercy and stared at her as she moved around the room, checking out the little coffee maker, looking out the window, and locking the door.
She was trying to ignore my look, but my current state had given me a kind of emotionless detachment and focus that a small part of me realized had to be a bit uncomfortable. But, being detached, I just kept staring.
Finally, she pulled one of the uncomfortable looking chairs away from the tiny table and set it in front of the dresser, facing the beds.
“Alright,” she said with a sigh. “You want some answers.”
I nodded. “But first, we need to catch Joseph up to speed.”
I turned to my friend and explained what had happened after we had split up. I was still feeling numb, but my voice cracked when I described the creatures attack on the police officer.
Joseph listened, eyes slightly widened. When I got to the part about Mercy showing up and fighting off the demons, his eyes darted over to the blonde and he shifted nervously on the bed as I finished the story.
Suddenly, I couldn't take the fear energy in the room. I stood up and pulled Joseph off the bed.
“We need a smoke,” I said as I hauled him towards the door.
Mercy stood up as if to block us, but I shook my head in warning. She seemed to get the message and instead led us to the door and checked the dark hallway outside before waving us out.
After a few deep inhales of the cigarette, I took a moment to appreciate the wisdom of so many Native American tribes in using tobacco as a spiritual cleanser. By Joseph's expression, he was feeling much the same.
I focused the energy swirling around my gut and in my head. The sickly yellow feel of it saddened me, both that it was from and in me, and that what we'd experienced completely justified having such a strong energetic reaction.
I gathered the energy together and pushed it down my body, feeling a tingling, like pins and needles, as it went through my feet and into the cement below.
I eyed Joseph and noticed his energy draining away as he grounded himself as well. I smiled at him, trying to convey the friendship and sympathy that I felt for him, especially now, in our unusual circumstance.
We finished our smokes in silence, both of us sensing that the things we would talk about were not appropriate in such a public space, even deserted as it was. When we finished, we silently stubbed out the cigarettes and turned to go back into the hotel room.
Mercy was watching us with a tension that seemed to say she didn't trust us to remain calm. The idea of her being so worried about Joseph and me getting violent struck me as really funny, and I started giggling. We went back to our previous seats, Mercy stopping to throw the deadbolt and chain, while I threw my head back and let the humor drain the rest of the tension from my gut.
I noticed Joseph looking at me with a concerned expression, but I just waved him off and turned to Mercy. “Okay, now spill.”
She took a deep breath and began. “I am not human.”
Mercy rolled her eyes. “I realize this is a bit obvious now, but I want to be absolutely clear in what I'm telling you.”
I exchanged a glance with Joseph. By his expression, he was wondering the same thing I was: alien or paranormal creature? And did we need to invest in silver or wooden stakes?
We turned back to Mercy.
We turned back to Mercy.