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Spread Your Wings (Cult of the Butterfly 20)


By Paul Smith.


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Spread Your Wings (Cult of the Butterfly 20)

Paul Smith

Copyright 2017 Paul Smith

Smashwords Edition.


This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to people, places or events is purely coincidental, and bears no malicious intent.


ISBN: 9781370427697


For more information on my work, and to keep up to date with new releases please follow me on Twitter @tattooloverboi or check out one of my galleries:


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Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/starofthemorning


Website: http://paulsmithauthor.wordpress.com/






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'Under Pressure.'


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Author's note:

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Thank you.



[Hey]

[Hey you! How’d it go?]

[Not good…]

[That sounds ominous]

[Nothing like that. Just…]

[Come on, you know you can tell me]

[I’m just not sure I can keep this up. It was…]

[She doesn’t suspect does she?]

[Oh God no! But, just… I’ve reached my limit]

[Sweetheart…]

[I’m ok, just not sure I can stand back and do nothing much longer]

[What happened?]

[Not sure I want to discuss. Particularly on here, if you catch my drift]

[Big Brother is watching you]

[Something like that. There’s an opportunity tomorrow...]

[I understand. Promise me one thing?]

[Go on]

[Don’t do anything rash?]

[I’ll try]

[Remember: you are not alone]

[Italics! I am honoured]

[I’m being serious here…]

[I know. And I really appreciate it. I’ll try and keep you in the loop. Just… give the kids a hug from me?]

[No! Don’t you dare!!]

-

[Come back you bastard!]



*



Tom was halfway through preparation for the weekend’s sermon when the phone went. Few people outside the church realised quite how much work went into such things. Most, he imagined, thought you just got up there and said whatever came into your head, maybe leafing through the big book to recount a couple of passages.

It was true, the Brotherhood, and its parent institution provided a framework of sorts. There were the obvious touchstones throughout the calender year, each of which had particular passages or texts that held special relevance. But Father Makri had always counselled against relying too heavily on such easy cliches.

“The good Priest will do his up most to keep things fresh for his congregation. That aspect of their Faith is, after all, quite literally in your hands…!” he’d held his cupped palms up. “Communal worship is an important part of our spiritual lives. As such it should not be neglected. People should come to your services excited to see what you have for them, not rolling their eyes at the prospect of another repetition of the traditional harvest festival.”

So Tom was religious (he could practically see Adisa rolling his eyes at the pun) about preparing afresh each time he was due up on the pulpit.

Fumbling for the vibrating rectangle he swiped the receive icon, lifting it to his ear. “Father Presley speaking.”

Good evening Father, I apologise for calling so late.”

A smile touched his lips. “Not at all Ms Emerson, what a pleasant surprise. What can I do for you?”

Actually, it’s what I can do for you.”

Oh?” He took a swig from his mug and pulled a face: it was cold. Shuffling his chair back he stood, heading for the kitchen. “What have you ladies been cooking up?”

I’ve information for you, concerning one of your out reach programs.”

Out reach? Do I smell a bake sale in the offing?” He reached the kitchen, checking the kettle had water in it before flipping the switch and opening the cupboard above, phone nestled in the crook of his neck.

Not quite. This concerns one of your… special projects.”

This brought him up short. He paused with the jar halfway out of the cupboard, almost fumbled it. “One second.” Lowering it to the work top, he took the phone back in hand, turning to lean against the counter. “I’m sorry Ms Emerson, I’m not entirely sure what you’re referring to.”

A quiet sigh on the other end of the line. “I fear I am being a little obtuse. Allow me to speak plainly.”

Please,” he nodded, worry stirring in his gut. “Just tell me what this is about.”

There’s to be a meeting tomorrow night between a member of the cleaning crew responsible for Kanto Tower’s upper floors and the head of the Wiccan coven known as Hieros Soleil, the individual they call The Queen.” There was a pause as the elderly Mahaian woman gathered her breath again. “She is planning to bring her latest recruit to that meeting. And we believe that recruit is planning to take the opportunity to murder her at the rendezvous.”

Silence. Behind him the kettle reach a boil, clicking off. Tom stood, phone held to his ear, uncertain quite what to say. “How...” he finally forced his brain back into action “...How do you know this?”

Not ‘why are you telling me?’ No denials? Very smooth Thomas.

But he suspected any such falsehoods would be useless against the likes of May Emerson.

The MU welcomes members from all walks of life.” Was that a note of pride he detected?

Ms Emerson...”

Honestly Father, I do wish you’d call me May. Under the circumstances at least.”

That note of Grandmotherly irritation brought a smile to his lips, realigning his world somewhat. “Okay, May… Why tell me? Surely the police?”

Oh trust me young man, we shall be taking this to the appropriate authorities. Though I use the term loosely in this poor city of ours.” Another sigh. “I’m telling you so you can pass the message on to those who might be able to do something about it.”

He digested this, with all it’s implications. “How much exactly do you know?”

I’m not entirely sure you want me to answer that, Father.”

Thomas, please.” A small smile, to match the one he could hear in her voice. “Under the circumstances.”

Just so.” The clearing of a throat? Or discreet laughter? “Suffice to say, Thomas, that the butterfly has more cultists than it realised.”

He nodded thoughtfully. “Well, thank you...” a thought occurred “...the person whose meeting with The Queen?”

Knows what she is walking into. She has made her peace.”

A lump in his throat. “I’ll be sure to make her efforts count. Oh!” he scampered back towards his office, rummaging furiously on his desk. “About the police, I may have a contact who’ll be of slightly more use to you… ah! Yes, I have it. I’ll forward you the details.”

That would be most helpful.”

Well...” Tom found he wasn’t sure now what to say. “I should call people.”

Quite. God be with you Father.”

And you.”

The line went dead.

He lowered the handset. Stood staring at it by the soft light of the office lamp, wondering at the quiet competence of others and feeling, quite suddenly, like he had a lot to live up to.



*



Thomas what the fuck?!? Do you know what time it is…?”

I am very aware of the time Devan. Go find a screen, I refuse to do this without a visual.”

Ooo-Kay then. Devan looked at his handset. Wonder what’s eating him.

The inevitable flash of him swallowing the Priest’s cock. For some reason he only ever pictured the one and only time he’d managed to do it while Thomas was still wearing his dog collar. Make of that what you will.

Heaving himself out of bed he padded down the hall, heading for the stairs and the media rig in the lounge. Rus offered him a curious look on the way past but nothing more. He and Mitch had beaten any nocturnal tendencies out of him at an early age (not literally, obviously) by the simple expedient of knackering him out in the park just before bed time for a month or so after they got him. It had been tough work but Devan had picked up guys while doing it with enough regularity that he had abandoned the apps temporarily. Mitch still took the piss out of him over the amount of attention he did get when he finally went back online.

Sitting, he waved the machine awake, waiting whilst it ran start up then told it to lift the call from his phone, placing the handset on the desk next to the keyboard.

The call popped up on the main screen, video hoping into position.

There you are.”

Indeed...” Thomas was still in his official Priest get up, plus those black rimmed glasses that made him look like the male equivalent of a bad porn cliché (or is that just me?). The effect was not helped when he took them off to massage the bridge of his nose before propping them back in place, fingers straying back through that mass of black curls.

Down boy!

You’re not wearing any clothes.”

How very observant.” Devan rolled his eyes. “It is the middle of the night...”

Yes, well...” Thomas appeared to be struggling somewhat.

I can go put some on if that helps?” Devan offered, half rising. A gambit that just happened to place his penis right in the cams line of sight.

No! Thank you… Just...” The Priest was squeezing his nose again, eyes screwed shut. Devan chuckled. “Just, sit. And try not to fiddle? It’s terribly distracting.”

Devan grinned. “I can’t help it if you’ve got a dirty mind.”

Devan shut up! This is serious.”

The exasperated expression on his covert ally’s face brought him up short. “Hey, chill. Sorry.” He sat back, mind kicking up a gear. “I’m here, tell me what’s happening.”

I got a call this evening from one of my parishioners.”

About something more than flower arrangements I assume?”

Hm, you’re such a comedian.” Tom shook his head. “She had information on an exchange that’s happening tomorrow night...”

Devan’s blood froze in his chest.

...I see you know what I’m talking about,” Thomas continued, eyes intent. “It gets worse.”

Sebastian.”

Correct. Apparently he’s reached out. Something’s happened, something’s pushed him over the edge...” Tom was eyeing him candidly now “...and you know what it was, don’t you.”

We had Coven tonight,” Devan replied quietly, chin resting on one hand. The ice had spread from his torso, reaching chill fingers down to grip the root of his shrivelled cock. “Alex had a bit of a show planned.”

A ‘show’?”

Devan glanced up, guilty eyes unable to meet the other man’s. “Couple of corpses from the morgue, spot of possession...” he didn’t see the need to burden the Priest with the full details. No point implicating him.

After what happened to him?! Are you mad?!?”

Hey, keep your voice down!” Devan hissed, lurching for the volume. “Innocent housemate in bed and all that.”

Okay, okay. But seriously Devan, what were you thinking…?”

I know… I just...” The thought didn’t cross my mind? I thought he was made of sterner stuff? He sensed neither of these would be acceptable answers. “I thought it’d be alright,” he finished lamely.

Well it isn’t. And now he’s going to go rogue on us.”

Technically you can’t go rogue if you don’t know you’re working for someone, surely?”

Technically I don’t think it fucking matters,” Thomas ground out. Devan shut up. “We need to help him.”

Devan’s brain abruptly caught up with the implications of what they’d been talking about. “He’s planning to take her down tomorrow night? At the exchange?”

Far as my sources can tell, yes.”

I’m supposed to be running perimeter on that exchange.”

Thomas nodded decisively. “Then you’ll be able to offer support.”

Devan leant forwards, eyes wide. “Clearly you don’t understand what we’re dealing with here. He’s going to unleash a chaos spirit in the middle of a built up area. This could get very ugly.” He swallowed. “Nobody will be safe, once that thing takes over.”

Thomas’ eyes had narrowed. “Then I suggest you bring in some back up.”

The witch almost laughed. “You seriously think that arrogant arsehole will show up if I ask?”

It’s your funeral if he doesn’t...” but the Priest had never had the heart to play hard ball, and they both knew it. “Look, speak to him, see what you can get. Maybe he can talk to the boy? Make him see some sense.”

I doubt it...” Devan shook his head, sighed heavily “...but I’ll give it a try. Anything’s worth a go at this point.”

Thomas nodded, smile grim. “That’s the spirit.” His posture straightened now he was back on familiar ground. Devan smiled wanly back. He couldn’t help it, the young Priest always brought out the best in him.

Bare buttocks, spread before a questing tongue…

Or was that the worst? Hard to tell.

Speaking of hard…

Devan...”

He grinned at the warning. “What…?”

Thomas rolled his eyes. “Look, we need to focus. This is what we’ve been working towards, after all. Just happened a little faster than expected.”

Devan nodded. “True.” Fingered the swollen length of his cock speculatively. “What about your end?”

My end…?”

Devan nodded over the Priest’s shoulder at the picture of Jesus. “Your contact upstairs. Any chance of some divine intervention?”

Thomas shook his head sadly. “I’d love to say yes, but...” he pulled a face “...I’ll give it a try?”

Devan grinned. “That’s the spirit...” his grin broadened “...The Holy Spirit, to be precise.”

Yes, well.”

Do you a deal.”

Thomas’ eyes narrowed. “Go on?”

I persuade tall pale and damned to put in an appearance, you let me take you out.”

Take me ‘out’?”

One night, no questions, no complaints.” He eyed Thomas’ attire. “No dog collar. Just me and you, out on the town.”

I’m really not sure...”

Devan’s smile turned devilish. “That trademark Presley reticence tells me you think we’re in with a chance...”

I’m a Priest. We have to have Faith by definition.”

Ooh, good comeback.” Devan grinned. “Come on, tell me you don’t want some of this...” and he made to stand again.

Alright, alright! Put it away. I’ll do it.”

The witch chuckled quietly. “The lady protesteth too much.”

What was that?”

Nothing. Call you tomorrow?”

Please. Do you have a time and place?”

Not yet. But as soon as I do you will.”

Thomas nodded. “Thank you.” His expression was serious again. “We have a chance here, Dev. A chance to make a real difference.”

I know kiddo. I know.”

Tomorrow then.”

Devan reached up to cut the link. “Tomorrow.”

The Priest’s parting smile was bittersweet.



An hour later and Devan was ready. The owner of the local all night convenience had given him some funny looks but he’d been able to pass his purchases off with the phrase “Pregnant girlfriend”.

It was, perhaps, a good thing he didn’t shop in there very often.

Calling cards were tricky things. They needed to be specific, otherwise you’d find yourself hosting some flavour of nastiness you weren’t expecting.

Which is precisely how we all ended up in this situation in the first place.

Fortunately he’d had the daemon in questions cooperation with this one. So it was that he stood in front of a bowl containing a coin, fresh chillies and a shot of gin (“For me,” he’d assured the guy behind the counter, at his odd look). He’d debated conducting the ceremony in the kitchen, but wasn’t sure how the chihuahua would react. So he was stood out in the garden, bowl resting on the wicker table that dominated the veranda. A set of tea lights occupied jars pilfered from the recycling bin at the bottom of the garden, placed at the rough compass points about the bowl. Lighting a final match, he held it over the concoction within, squeezing his fist to encourage blood from the wound he’d just made with his pocket knife. As the first drops touched the gin he dropped it, watching the flame flare as he spoke the words of the incantation.

A soft click behind him preceded the touch of cold metal against his neck. He raised his hands cautiously.

Stand and deliver.”

Devan rolled his eyes, turning. “I thought some punk had snuck into the garden.”

The daemon smiled humourlessly, cocking its guns and blowing smoke from the barrel of the right one.

Who did you shoot?” Devan asked, gesturing at the weapon.

What?” The daemon glanced at the gun, scowled. “Honestly, you mortals and your causality.” It holstered the offending pistols, eyes narrowed in brief concentration as it countered backwards. “A night porter, last week I think…”

You think?”

What can I say? Time is less important when you’re damned. Least, that’s what we all keep telling ourselves down in the Pit.”

Devan raised an eyebrow.

It’s fine, he’s not dead. Like I need more of a stain on that tattered rag that used to be my soul.” The Admiral walked round the table, moving to the railing to look out over the garden. “Idiot wanted my help killing the chef. Some slight over a girl on reception...” it glanced over its shoulder at Devan “...what? Like I’m the only abomination you speak to.”

As it happens.”

Hmm. Currently, perhaps. But I know a certain young lady down in Cross Roads who tells a very different story.”

Yes, okay.”

The Admiral nodded at the bottle of gin. “Going to pour us a drink then?”

Give us a sec.” He disappeared back inside, shooing Rus out of the way as he slid through the patio door screen to collect glasses from the cupboard. Back out on the terrace he poured for them before holding thumb and index finger above each glass, concentrating as he pulled a few chunks of ice each out of the air.

Nicely done.”

Devan shrugged. “Easier at night. And we’re near the river here, so humidity’s higher.”

The Admiral’s turn to roll its smoking eyes. “Science.”

And yet you lot are happy enough to take advantage when it suits you.”

The sentiment standing at the heart of our current predicament.” The Admiral walked over to one of the loungers further up the deck, fussing with its coat tails as it sat. Pursed lips rouged to within an inch of their life as Devan took the place opposite. “So, I presume there have been developments?”

Devan nodded. “He’s going to take her down tomorrow night.”

The daemon arched its brows. “Oh? Why the sudden rush?”

Last night’s coven was somewhat… intense. I think Alex pushed him a little too far.”

I see.” The Admiral sipped it’s drink. Twisted its lips in distaste as it set the glass down. “What is this cheap shit? Honestly Devan, am I not worth more…?”

You’re lucky it wasn’t mouthwash at this time in the morning,” Devan replied, sticking his tongue out.

Yes, well...” The daemon pulled a cigarette holder from inside its coat, ready loaded. Snapped a flame into life at the tip of its thumb and puffed it into life. “So the proverbial will be hitting the fan tomorrow evening. Do you have contingencies?”

That’s actually why I called you here.”

The daemon straightened in its chair, recoiling slightly. “You want me…?! To get involved?”

Was kinda thinking...”

Well you thought wrong.”

Devan’s eyes narrowed. “Surely you want to protect your asset? What was it you said…: ‘The Kid must be stopped, at any cost!’…?”

The Admiral’s gaze had gone equally steely. “First of all, he is not ‘my asset’. Granted I helped broker the original arrangement, but that hardly gives me any sort of hold over him, beyond the most basic contractual obligations.”

Devan deflated a little. “Nothing in the small print?”

The Admiral leant forwards to knock ash from the end of it’s cigarette. “My dear boy, what do you take me for?”

An agent of Satan?”

I believe he has always preferred the title Lightbringer.”

I’ll be sure to bear that in mind if I meet him.” Devan downed the rest of his drink with a shudder. Stood to get the bottle. “Look, I’ve spoken to Thomas – stop smiling like that! It was over the phone...” the daemon held up its hands so he continued grudgingly “...he’ll reach out to his side obviously, but, well...”

Heaven has never liked getting its hands dirty.”

Devan sighed. “So evidence would suggest.”

The Admiral’s smile was almost melancholic. “You see what we have to work with? I mean, honestly, talk about shirking responsibility.”

The witch sat forward. “All I’m saying is we’ve worked hard for this, all of us. And if this is to be our chance it would be a sin to pass it up.”

Oh very droll.”

It’s true though!” He grabbed the daemon’s hand, to a look of shocked surprise from the infernal. “We have might on our side, but there’s a very strong chance he won’t be able to ride the storm long enough to get the deed done. And if that happens we need to be ready to step in.” He held the fiend’s gaze a moment longer before releasing it’s hand to sit back.

The daemon continued to gaze at him with something that looked suspiciously like wonder, other hand gently massaging the one he’d just released. “I have no hold over the boy,” it finally offered quietly, “beyond compelling him to fulfil the terms of our original agreement. Which he is about to do.”

Then help us make sure he succeeds. Stand with us!” Devan took a swig of his own gin, grimaced. “If nothing else it’s a chance to show the other side up.” He leant forwards, but kept his hands to himself this time. “I know there’s risk here, for you, though I don’t pretend to understand the politics behind it. But what is life without a little risk? Isn’t that what you guys pedal?”

The Admiral sighed theatrically. “Very well! I shall speak to the boy, though you do realise that will show our hand...”

Devan nodded resignedly. “If it’s inevitable this is going to happen, I think we need everyone on the same page.”

Quite so,” the Admiral held up a forestalling hand, “but beyond that I make no promises.”

Devan waved a hand. “I’ll take what I can get.”

Very well.” The daemon stood. “You’ll speak to the Priest?”

I’ll keep him in the loop.”

The daemon nodded, the faintest of smiles tugging at the corner of its rouged lips. “You handle him so much better than me.”

Oh do fuck off.”

The daemon dissipated in a chuckling cloud of smoke.



[Well well, wasn’t expecting to hear from you.]

[Likewise. Business is good?]

[Disturbingly so. I do wonder sometimes whether I inadvertently signed some sort of deal back there.]

[Not their style.]

[Yes, well, suppose you would know. How about you? The kids doing well?]

[As can be. You know how it is…]

[Don’t I just. Ours may have flown the nest, but that doesn’t seem to stop them mithering.]

[You love it really.]

[Ok. But promise not to tell?]

[You can rely on me.]

[So, to what do I owe the privilege?]

[What we spoke about? It’s happening.]

[Shit.]

[Any chance you can reach out?]

[Of course. When?]

[Tomorrow.]

[Jesus woman, you know how to set a challenge.]

[I’m sorry, only found out myself earlier.]

[Ok. I’ll see what I can do.]

[You’re an angel x]

[That honour belongs to you, surely.]

[Ever the comedian. Here’s everything we know.]

>file sending…

[Thanks. I’ll get on it. Good luck!]

[You too sweetheart.]


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