He kicked them back out the french doors at dawn.
They'd limped and supported each other and made it to their car. The little electric runabout had managed to get them home. And it wasn't far from the parking lot to their basement apartment, and still early. So not too many spectators had seen them naked.
Macy had been horrified. Hail's twelve year old daughter, sole fruit of the gang rape. She leaped into action, getting them into the shower, into clothes, fed them chicken soup as if they were sick. And finally asked what had happened.
"We tried to burgle the house of the God of Virtue. He did not treat us very virtuously." Hail kept it brief. "Once he got done beating us up, just a little dear, you can see we're not much hurt, he kicked us out. You will not speak of this to anyone."
"But, the police . . . "
Fair took over. "He could have had us arrested. Which might have been preferable . . . except for the jail time served. They would have put you in a foster home, or maybe sent you to you grandmother."
Macy snorted. "Tried to. You know she won't speak to any of us." She walked around the table, hugged her mother and courtesy aunt. "He raped you, didn't he? Just like . . ." She shut up, looking pale and furious.
"Yes." Fair sighed. "Maybe this time I'll have a baby."
Hail tried to divert the conversation by reaching for the newspaper on the fourth chair. "Has the Council voted on the tax bill? I swear that they'll raise taxes until they have everyone on the brink of starvation . . . Oh dear."
Three-Fourths of City Under Wrap
The headlines were in three centimeter type, hard to miss.
Closest Approach in Three Days
Mere two centimeter type beneath it.
"I lay no claim to virtue, myself, but that is a genuinely evil man." Fair scanned the article. "The President says all the gods agree, that they're going to try to push the comet core away."
Hail nodded. "Perhaps we ought to have taken the comet seriously. I just didn't believe it could actually hit."
"Yuck, and our lives are in the hands of that rapist?" Macy hunched her shoulders. "Do we have enough food for however long we're going to be all wrapped up?"
Hail nodded. "You know we always have plenty because of winter storms . . . shouldn't you be getting ready for school?"
"It's on the list. That god is going to bubble it today. Some time in the afternoon. I'm not going. I want to be with you two, wherever that is."
"You know. If we were fast, we could get there before the god and lay a magic trap for him. I'd like to give him a solid shot of terror." Fair met her witch partner's gaze.
"Confusion, too. So he has trouble diagnosing the problem." Hail smiled slowly. "I doubt we can actually hurt him, but let's just pull out all the stops for him. I think I can figure out how to make the reverse of the smart spell."
"Give him BO, and an itchy rash." Macy looked fierce.
"Hmm, those are definitely illegal." Hail grabbed paper and drew symbols. "I wish we'd had more training about how to interweave spells. I think we can do the panic, the confusion. What will the reversed smart spell look like?"
The combined spells had plenty of overlap of the basic charms, and very few oppositions to buffer. They mapped out the three sided web and then got down to the real work.
Their cozy quarters in the half basement of the building had high windows, the light brightening as the sun rose. They rolled up the rug and started pulling power from the Earth. It was four days early, and daylight, but they sung the song of the longest night, all three of them. If they'd been with the Pyramid, Macy would be getting witching lessons, and they'd tried their best to train her. And today little glints of light danced off the girl's fingers, and she stopped singing in surprise, gathering them together in her hands.
"Oh! I see it now."
Hail switched to the barely remembered song of joy, and Macy started smiling and sang the song of power.
They made a lumpy and uneven triad, a New Full Moon, an over-aged Crescent, and a new Crescent Moon. But the triple spell rolled out strong and solid, imbued on a small iron ring, an inexpensive plumbing part of a convenient size.
They walked to school and found school officials scrambling to rope off a patch of lawn. "Out, out, the god needs some space to work from!" The crowd shifted a little.
"Yes, parents may stay with their children. It will only feel like a few minutes pass, but here on the outside several weeks will pass. When all danger is past, everyone will be released." The Superintendent of the school district was in a tizzy. They were far from being the only parents here today.
Fair dropped the ring on the damp grass and stepped on it, to push it into the soil. They retreated, and stood and watched as the damned god drove up, all smiles and waves. Parents and children all entered the school. A number of fathers were staying out. They held critical jobs, or at least jobs they tried to convince everyone were critical, and would be the last to be bubbled. The witches hid behind several tall men as the god waved an arm and threw something over the school. The absurd gesture wouldn't have gotten a ball over the building, but some insubstantial nothing was turning itself inside out and swallowing up the school. Fair wondered about the foundations, the plumbing. Bet they all have to be re attached to the mains, after . . . whatever happens, happens. The process ended. The school stood, silent, glinting bronze in the afternoon sun.
"I hope that works." The words were soft, almost weary.
Fair looked over her shoulder at the man who'd spoken. He was tall, fair haired with improbably blue eyes. The dog at his side was huge. She smiled and nodded her agreement. Macy held her hand out for the big dog to sniff. It wagged its tail a tiny bit, as if unaccustomed to friendly people.
Then they both looked back at Barry Virtue. The god stepped away. Onto the ring. The three witches threw their will at the metal and triggered the tripled spells.
The God of Virtue leaped back, looking around in panic. The witches kept the small crowd between themselves and the god as he left in haste. They heard the car driving away, valves hissing.
The fair haired man burst into laughter. "Oh, that was brilliant! And so well deserved!" He placed a hand on the dog’s neck and disappeared.
The witches swapped looks.
Hail swallowed. “Was that the God of Just Deserts?” She could hear the slight whimper in her voice.
Macy frowned. “His dog was nice. Are you sure?”
“Only Gods Travel like that.”
Fair chuckled suddenly. “What do you want to bet his presence influenced that spell? I’ll bet it was incredibly powerful.”
They swapped looks of satisfaction and headed for home.
"I think we should celebrate, Sarah's Diner's is still open. Let's have lunch." Fair couldn't stop grinning. We put a spell on a God!