Part 8: The Treachery of Glenmore Williams
The end of her work week came, and Ruby gratefully dragged herself to a table in a surprisingly empty patio bar at Hildegard’s. Som was in her office room, and MacNamara decided he felt at home on one of the couches. Chief Harrison and Ralph stopped in every day, transforming her condo into something of casual investigative headquarters with Som. She felt crowded in her condo now, but also appreciated the sense of safety in numbers.
Etaname had kept them hopping that week. He successfully took five more victims before Macnamara or Mamawata could reach him. Som and MacNamara hardly slept.
Ruby needed a little liquid decompression before going home, and she ordered a double martini.
“Miss? You out here by yourself? Everything alright?”
Ruby looked up at a corporeal temple sculpted of hard muscle. His dreads were bound neatly with a white cord. She answered, “I’m okay. Yeah, I’m out here by myself.”
“I am Glenmore Williams.” He extended his hand.
“I’m Ruby Milner.”
“Nice to meet you, Ruby. I am an artist. I work with oils and watercolors.”
A waiter came by, and Glenmore ordered more drinks for them.
After talking for some time, Glenmore fished out his phone to show Ruby pictures of some of his paintings that had been commissioned for a gallery in Manhattan.
“How beautiful!” Ruby was genuinely impressed. “You perfectly captured oceanside Sandra Bay! I love your work!”
“I always look for new places to inspire me. See here. I painted that fountain.”
Ruby took in the different blues rippling over obsidian mermaids.
Glenmore proudly informed her, “Hildegard’s is buying that piece! I am making a special frame for it.”
Ruby’s mind flashed to Melissa.
“Do you have something in mind?” Glenmore watched her closely.
Ruby debated. For the first time in almost a month, she had her condo to herself for a few hours. She wanted to sit on her couch, turn on her TV, and stare at her fish, maybe even chat with them. The temptation to see Glenmore paint the Melissa was strong, however.
“The landscaping at the pool in my condo section is really pretty. There’s also a very interesting girl that comes out to play in the water. She looks like a mermaid playing in rainbows. You might want to paint her.” She thought to herself that she didn’t mind the opportunity to look at him longer. He had gorgeous eyes!
Glenmore looked at his phone. “I can spare some time. A mermaid playing in rainbows, eh?” he chuckled.
They relocated to Ruby’s condo. Glenmore had laid out some pencils and his pad. They talked about Ruby’s family in Guyana, and his family in Jamaica.
“I was wondering about your beads,” he indicated her bracelet. “My mother wore a string exactly like those. We buried her with them. I miss my mother.” Glenmore turned emotional. “I would give anything to see her again. Those beads remind me so much of her. May I see them for a moment?”
Pity was her undoing. It never occurred to her that a river god would share drinks with her, all the while plotting to drown her. She looked into Glenmore’s hypnotic, almost golden eyes. She slipped off her bracelet and dropped her beads into his outstretched hand.
Ruby realized the treachery. Instinct gave her lightning reflexes, and she managed to tighten her grip just as the last beads were slipping out of her fingers. She pulled back her hand and the beads.
Glenmore yanked hard.
The string broke.
Glenmore never said another word. He simply stood up as Ruby pushed back from the table.
She recognized the yellow lights she had spotted fifteen years ago on the river. She knew he was not intending to drag her down into the river, however. He would settle for the much closer, conveniently empty swimming pool.
Faster than Ruby could think, Etaname had sprung over the table and closed the gap. She felt panic choking her, as he reached for her throat.
“Leave her! She has my protection!” Old Bibi stood across from them on the other side of the pool, now looking nothing at all like an old woman. Ruby recognized that Mamawata had appeared in a form suitable for battling Etaname. She hoped fervently that MacNamara was coming with a quickness. The river god had grown in power, and right now Mamawata could not hold him for long. Ruby could not stand up to him at all.
Etaname answered the water goddess scornfully, “I don’t know who you think you are, Empty Legend of Sea Spray! I certainly don’t think you know who I am. You belong to water just like me. Land is not your realm, aping Earthwalker. You have no authority here! Keep to yourself, primordial fishwoman!” He enveloped Ruby in deathly embrace and began dragging her towards the pool.
The water goddess spit out beads, numbers of them, red and white. Etaname began losing his footing as they rolled around and under his shoes. Some of the black squiggles on the beads came to life. Etaname’s hair coiled and writhed. Soon, his own serpents wriggled and stretched fiercely to join the squiggles dancing on the ground.
Ruby struggled away from the river god. She threw them both off balance, and they fell.
Etaname cursed Mamawata as he started dissolving into his mist. “Wind blow you, fire burn you, earth swallow you until you are no more!”
MacNamara burst through Ruby’s patio door, shattering the glass with his clay rounds, but he fired seconds too late.
Etaname’s fall saved him from being hit full on with bullets, and he only absorbed fragments of the clay. Unable to mist himself away, the river god simply rolled into the pool and melded with the water.
MacNamara cursed loudly.
Mamawata had already disappeared.
Part 9: A Very Blue Fell King ….. Part 10: