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Pen Your Pride

Chapter 10 - The Problem with Gita

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When we reach the boarding house, one thing is missing...the boarding house. In its place sits a sink hole with a chimney, roof shingles, and a few boards sticking out. Archie and Candy stand nearby. She holds the loose end of a rope that's tied off to a nearby tree. They turn and watch us pull into the driveway.

Where's Nina? Where's the two-headed lady?

"What the hell?" Pete throws the Hummer into park. He gets out, slams the door, and runs toward the hole.

My stomach drops. I freeze inside the vehicle and hold tightly onto the door handle. This can't be Gita's doing. How could a demon possessing a human do so much damage? Has to be the work of Margery and my father.

Archie speaks to Pete with raging hand gestures. All at once, the three turn their heads my direction. No one moves for several seconds before Pete waves me over.

I hold my breath and push open the door. Get it over with, I think. The sooner I face what happened, the sooner this sting will wear off.

While hedging closer, I call out, "My father do this?"

Archie barks back, "No. Try your girlfriend."

Candy crosses her arms and taps a bare foot, her good Croc now missing. I expect I'll pay for this loss too.

"Nina isn't capable of doing this." I sigh. Maybe Gita could have done it, but I won't admit it to them. "Where is she? I mean them. Where are Nina and Gita?"

Archie approaches and tilts his head to look up at me. The sun glares off his bald head. His arms stiffen and his biceps twitch. "Gone. The bitches destroyed our home with Ulla and Inez in it and then took off."

"Gone where?" I hover over him, glaring back with my fists clenched.

"How should I know?" Archie takes a step closer and bumps me. "You should be worried about Ulla and Inez in that hole."

I stumble backward a few steps, then stomp his direction. "You want a fight? C'mon. I'll put you in the hole with the two-headed lady."

"They have names, asshole." Archie shoves me. I shove him back.

"Knock it off, you two." Pete steps between us. "Do I need to remind you we're on the same team? If we're fighting, we have no chance of winning against Azael. At least respect each other for what we need to accomplish."

We back off. Pete is starting to have this way about him that makes me want to listen. Well, sometimes at least.

"I get it," Archie says. "We have bigger problems, like getting Ulla and Inez out of that hole." He points at the destruction and joins Candy, who's thrown the loose end of the rope into the hole. She tugs at it to make sure it's tightly tied to the tree.

"You're going to let her go down there?" I say to Pete. "Looks like the whole house has caved in."

Candy eyes widen. Her sniffles elevate into a high-pitched whine. "How can you say that?"

Archie puts his arm around her shoulder. "It's okay. I'm sure they're alive."

There is a tender bone in his body.

She lowers herself into the hole and it's a little disturbing that no one tries to stop her. I move in closer and hold the rope in case she needs help.

"What provoked Gita?" Pete asks.

"We don't know," Archie says. "Candy and I were stuffing envelopes and watching her stupid Real Housewives show. First, we heard a muffled argument from the apothecary, then the house started to shake like last night, during the earthquakes that released Azael. That's when I called you the first time. When the chandelier dropped on the table, Candy dragged me out of the house."

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