121 - Chicago
SEVERAL WEEKS AGO In the end, we decided on a combination of the first two options, with the third acting as a sort of failsafe. Just in case.
That meant both that one of us was going to have to procure the supplies to keep him away. Quartz and amethyst, sage and rosemary. The stones, Mrs. Claire already had, but the herbs apparently had to be dried and prepared in a very particular way. To my surprise, Amanda volunteered to get those. She seemed more okay with the whole idea of forcibly restricting Alex’s movement than I would have expected. There had to me more up their relationship than I was getting.
Even as we made plans for it, a not insignificant part of me doubted that this could possibly have any effect. It stood almost directly counter to God’s will. Then again, if it was impossible, God wouldn’t have taken the time to forbid it, back in the Old Testament days. That made me wonder though. Just what was possible back then? What had carried through into the world of today?
The second option was actually the easier, assuming no foul play was going on. It turned out that the urn containing Alex’s ashes sat on a special shelf at his parent’s house. Now, going straight up and asking a dead boy’s parents for the last earthly remains of their son wouldn’t likely go well. Even though they too were Catholic, I doubted they would acquiesce to that sort of request, even from a priest.
But we did have one ace up out sleeve.
Amanda didn’t seem to particularly like him–apparently his mercurial behavior and strange moods weren’t a recent development or owing to his brother’s death. But regardless, Amanda knew both his phone number and address from when she and Alex had dated.
For him, we decided that it would be best if I stopped in personally and without calling ahead. We’d already met the once and he has come to me for help. Hopefully that would be enough to get him to help me now.
Hopefully that would be enough to convince him to visit his parents and steal the urn containing the earthly form of his late brother. It felt unnatural, but we’d bring it right back. We just had to run a few tests–other providers Sister Kat had provided with little in the way of explanation–in the best case and John would be able to sneak the urn back completely undetected.
That was the plan at least.
I arrived at John’s apartment in the outskirts of the city roughly an hour later. I had been worried that he wouldn’t be home, but Amanda had assured me that he didn’t actually have a job–which in hindsight explain much of his appearance, although of course I kept that particular opinion to myself–but that didn’t mean much to me. After all, he hasn’t had a job when he’d come to see me either.
Still, I knocked on the door. What was the worst that could happen?
To my surprise, the door swung open at my touch. Not only was it not locked, but he hadn’t even bothered to latch it? That didn’t bode particularly well.
Quickly making up my mind, I strode into the apartment. It was a bit more ’ends justifying the means’ than I preferred, but it was for a good cause at least.
Going from room to room, I found John in a matter of minutes. It wasn’t a terribly large apartment.
I found him sitting at the kitchen table, facing away from me. He didn’t respond when I walked in, so far as I could tell not so much as noticing my presence.
He had his gun out, pointed at the side of his own head.
Before I could do so much as anything, he pulled the trigger