John has seen several staggering national news reports recently. The first was that Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh was bombed in a terrorist attack. The one that really catches his attention, however, occurs two days later. A breaking news report announces that everyone in the small town of Miner’s Mill in Indiana has mysteriously died, leaving only two survivors standing on top of an old warehouse. There’s a few seconds of footage before the news station loses contact with the chopper. The footage clearly shows Alan, looking jaundiced and gaunt, and with Lorelei, who has been dead for over 13 years, crumpled, beaten and brutalized at his feet.
Just after the report airs, John’s phone rings. It’s Anita.
John: What, no pony express mail this time?
John: So Lorelei looks good for being cremated over a decade ago. Alan looks like shit, though.
Anita: I don’t know how he managed it, but he stuck her in a crack in Sandra’s loft and was slowly unraveling her. He knew it would torture Sandra to see her suffering like that…and that she’d come to me for help. That girl’s had more than enough of her fair share of pain and loss. Anyway, I tore Lorelei loose…and set him free in the process, and he found a Gateway back somehow. I don’t know how he managed to bring her out with him…he always seems to find ways to get around The Rules. Since this is my fault, and my responsibility, I’m going to deal with him. I could really use your help…but I need you to trust me, and not go off half-cocked. He’s seriously juiced…if Sandra hadn’t been watching over my body when he, um, said hello, I might not have survived.
John: Why is it only our enemies who get more powerful after they die?
Anita: He didn’t die, John. Nodens took him to the Dreamlands. Time works differently there. And obviously the eternal torture rehab didn’t take.
John: Sounds like it’s Nodens’ fault for not keeping him there. I’m going to have to send a sternly worded letter to his boss about jailors who let prisoners escape.
Anita: Have you learned nothing from my mistakes about getting sassy with Eldritch beings? Anyhow…Drake and Klaus are here. After they recover from their jet lag and Sandra and I get provisions together…well, we’re getting the band back together, and we’re on a mission from God. Are you in?
John: Which God? If this is going to be more of a permanent solution, of course the Knights will help in any way we can. I doubt Cyan is going to be willing to let anyone else protect the kids so I might not be able to talk her into leaving England. And yes, I do learn from your mistakes…only sass them a little, but stop before they put you through a wall.
Anita: I’m not asking for the Knights’ help. I’m asking for your help. And as much as I miss Cyan, I think she’s exactly where she needs to be right now. I’m not exactly happy that Sandra’s coming along, but she’s insistent.
John: I come, the Knights come.
Anita: No. I don’t want any of the Covenants getting involved or moving in on him. He played them like puppets against each other, and they very nearly wiped each other out as a result, remember? I need to be able to know I can trust the people with me on this. If I…I mean, when I unravel him…I’m going to need my friends, not a bunch of politics and agendas. Please.
John: I remember. I’ve been training the next generation of Scoobies for a decade…and I’ve been making allies with members of the other Covenants here as well. They’re all aware something is happening. And they’re going to want to help when they figure out that something major and apocalyptic is happening, which they will when I leave suddenly. They’re good kids.
Anita: I’m sure they are, John. And they’re going to need to be ready…because all signs are pointing to more badness coming down the pike…but like I said, I need you to trust me on this. Where the situation with Alan is concerned, this is how it has to be. If you can’t deal, I understand.
John: They can go to Pittsburgh, then, and advise Blake Investigations in your absence.
Anita: I’m leaving Matthew and Darrek in charge here, and I have complete faith in both of them, and the rest of the new crew, to manage things here.
Look, I know I made the reference earlier about the Blues Brothers in jest but…I’m about to hunt down and utterly destroy the second great love of my life, or die trying. I need to be able to focus and not worry about collateral damage if I don’t have to. Please.
John: Matthew’s not coming?
Anita: No. He’s watching the new Slayer. His place is here right now. Alan’s not the only mess we’re dealing with at the moment. He’s a symptom of a much bigger problem. I can fill you in more on that when we pick you up. So, can I count you in?
John: You’ll be the death of me, woman…but yes, of course I’ll come. And you can give me more details on disappearing asylums, this new-but- ancient type of vampire, and monster conclaves in person.
Anita: Thank you, John. Really, truly…thank you. I’ll have someone send you a text once we get on the road.