through a mound of shattered rock and dusty rubble, shifting boulders
and large granite stones as best she could. She had to be careful what
she moved and where she was standing in case any other debris was dislodged
by her efforts, for many sections seemed on the verge of becoming minor
police had arrived not long after Kim had made use of the call box further
down the road. And it was not much longer after that when a bulldozer
arrived on the scene and began a more effective search of the ruin of
Monkey Fist's manor.
it was difficult work. And it seemed unlikely that anyone would find
anything until sunrise when there would be more light and hopefully
more equipment. Kim had nearly resigned herself to waiting until tomorrow
and finding someplace to rest when she heard a shout from the area on
the west side of the manor.
an echoing call came from the grounds. 'Something over 'ere!' came the
accented voice of one of the bobbies. Kim scrambled down from the pile
of stones and ran to the source of the voice.
a Constable to where a pair of officers and a bloodhound were gathered
around a larger heap of rock. 'Lestrade?' said the Constable. 'What
have you got?'
pointed down with his billy club, shining his torch down at the ground.
Powdered stone was caked thick on the grass which surrounded the manor
beyond the drawbridge, and there was a section at the edge where the
rocks were not heaped, but scattered outwards, as if something had pushed
free from beneath the rubble.
down and felt a chill. Plainly visible on the dusty grass, there was
a set of prints that led away from the manor.
thing I ever seen, Constable Cleese.' said Lestrade. 'Blowed if I know
how, but someone did walk out of this nightmare.'
stared down at the prints. 'Someone's playing games.' he said. 'These
aren't footprints - they look like handprints. Are you saying
someone pushed his way out from under tons of rock and then started
not a prank.' said Kim. 'It was Monkey Fist.'
looked incredulously at Kim. 'Come off it Ms. Possible.' said Lestrade.
'Monkey Fist? You mean that nutter who gave himself 'ands and feet like
a chimp? He 'asn't been here for ages!'
me, it was him.' said Kim firmly.
Cleese was still shaking his head doubtfully. 'Even if it was
him, how could one man alone survive being caught in a wreck like this?'
distance away another policeman piped up. 'He wasn't alone, sir.' he
said. 'There's another set of prints just here.' The officers turned,
and beams from several torches showed the handprints in the dusty grass
stopping in front of a different pair of prints that led from the grounds
towards the ruins. Kim stared down at the long, thin prints. 'Maze.'
was staring around, examining the grounds in a radius of several yards
by the torch light. 'The trail goes invisible past here.' he said, pointing
to a radius around the manor where the dust became thinner. He gave
a nod to the officer who had the bloodhound on a leash, and the officer
turned him loose. Kim watched as the dog snuffled around the area for
some time, then began whining as it expanded the range of its search.
shook his head. 'Clever blighters.' he said. 'Masked their scent somehow?'
shrugged. 'Give him a few minutes sir...' he said.
sighed impatiently and turned back to Kim. 'Right Ms. Possible - you're
the one who called us down here. Besides destruction of private property,
would you care to explain how you know it was Monkey Fist, and what
you were doing here to start with?'
Kim related what she knew. She told them about the robbery at the UNIT
building, about Ron's disappearance, Monkey Fist's stone body, the power
of the Yono, and as much as she knew about Maze. Then she braced herself
for a predictable response. And the policemen did not disappoint her.
'Of all the outrageous...'
'Surely you don't expect us to believe...'
'You Americans and your....'
patiently for the exclamations to slow down, then snaked in her reply.
'Is what I just described any weirder than what your Nanny Maim actually
did?' Kim said simply.
all took in a short breath as if to reply, but then they all paused
comically for a moment, their faces looking thoughtful, then they all
exhaled at once. Some were chewing their lips, others running their
hands over their helmets, but all of them looked at a loss to answer.
At last Cleese shrugged. 'Point taken Ms. Possible.' he said. 'Well
if that Monkey Fist blighter has returned, it's obvious he won't be
coming back here. Have you got any idea where he might go now?'
face blanked as she went back mentally over everything Monkey Fist had
said during their battle. But try as she might, she couldn't come up
with anything that might be a clue to where he would go. 'Not yet.'
she answered. 'Could you guys put out an APB or something?'
Cleese smiled faintly. 'We call it an All Ports Warning out here, miss.'
he answered. 'We'll do what we can, but even you have to admit - it's
not going to be easy to get other police stations or the general public
to take this seriously. Please be on the lookout for a man with monkey
hands - may or may not be made of stone - may or may not be traveling
with a native American shaman - may or may not be throwing round yellow
'Yeah, that about sums it up.' she said. 'Any leads you can gather,
any information you can get, please pass it along.'
x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
down the cobbled road leading through the grounds. The drawbridge now
ended ridiculously at the crumbled heap of Monkey Fist's manor, a display
of opulence and security for a building which no longer existed. She
took out her Kimmunicator and activated it with its shrill beep. 'Wade
- tell me you've got more to go on than 'we'll do what we can'.' she
typing madly even as he was speaking. 'The scanner sweeps are giving
me weird data, Kim. I can detect the movement of two persons up to a
point mid way through the grounds, then they sort of.... fade out.'
He looked confused and frustrated, as if he thought his computer was
playing a prank or being difficult on purpose.
they disappeared?' Kim said.
'I still think it's portal tech, but yeah...' he said.
way did they go?'
still typing. 'They were heading.... northeast it looks like. Unless
they do a crazy Ivan...'
'All right.' she said. 'Do a search for any likely hideouts or lairs
along that trajectory.'
his lip. 'That could translate to a huge amount of space....' he said.
'It'll take a while to go through.'
grimly. 'Longer than a few hours, I'm guessing?' Wade nodded.
I guess a ride home is in order.' she said. 'Also, let's see if we can
follow the money. Bates said that Monkey Fist transferred all of his
funds to a secure account. Is there any account that's secure from you?'
so far.' said Wade with a mischievous smile. 'The world is lucky I'm
such a straight arrow, or I'd have so much money....'
your thoughts pure, Wade.' said Kim, also smiling.
Monkey Fist's money, no promises.' he answered. 'You can flag a taxi
once you're in town. I'll have a ride lined up by the time you reach
the nearest airport, and hopefully some more information as well...'
the hour, Kim found herself in the coach section of one of the new Eurobus
jet liners. 'Thanks for finding a seat for me, Mr. Bean.' she said to
the pilot, who escorted her personally to her seat.
I can do for the girl who bailed me out of that disastrous European
vacation.' said Mr. Bean. 'If it were up to me, I'd give you seating
in first class, but...'
no big.' said Kim, smiling. 'I was just glad to help.'
in mid-flight, after a few hours of being wedged tightly between two
restless travelers on either side, she found herself glancing longingly
towards the curtain divider that led towards the first class section.
was loud and cramped, with fidgety children twisting and squealing in
their seats, and parents trying to keep them quiet without looking too
heavy-handed. The atmosphere was similar to being inside Smarty-Mart
on a really busy day.
to be as surreptitious as she could as she tilted her wrist to activate
her Kimmunicator, but the man seated to her left still stared down with
interest as Kim began talking to Wade. She had to grapple her other
wrist around to screen the image from the man's view and get some privacy.
- you got anything?' she said, lowering her voice. The noise and controlled
bedlam of the coach section made eavesdropping difficult, but Kim still
didn't want to give her curious co-passengers unfettered access to her
no.' Wade answered, lowering his own voice as well. 'And on both fronts.
I hate sounding like a broken record, but whatever components Monkey
Fist and his partner were stealing, it's given them a protective blackout
like you wouldn't believe.'
money?' Kim said. 'Could you trace his new account?'
Wade paused, glancing aside to where the man sitting next to Kim was
leaning closer after hearing the word money. 'Hey, do you mind?'
he said, looking straight at the man, who seemed taken aback and leaned
away. 'No dice on the money either. Once he withdrew everything from
his normal banks, the trail just ends. I've never seen anything like
'But.. there must be some kind of unusual purchasing activity, even
if we can't prove it's him...'
into that, believe me.' said Wade. 'I'll find a way to track him down.
But how about you?'
'What... about me?' she said.
on what you'll do when we find Monkey Fist again?' he looked serious.
'The normal stuff doesn't seem to work on him anymore.'
guess not.' Kim said. And she felt a sense of apprehension. After fighting
and defeating the gargoyles in the key shrine, she had fully expected
Monkey Fist to be defeated as well. But the battle in the manor flashed
through her mind, and all the moves she had used against Monkey Fist.
Like hitting a tank with ping-pong balls, he had simply kept coming
back until he had caught her. 'So it's time to try coming up with something
abnormal again. Once I get back, we need to put our heads together and
talk about the Yono. Go over the scrolls again and get any information
that you can. Even if it's just myth or legend, I want to hear it.'
doubtful but nodded before the screen faded to black. Kim leaned back,
but the man seated next to her spoke. 'That sounded quite exciting!
Do you happen to need a sidekick....?' And Kim felt suddenly stung by
the question, for the man was seated right where Ron should have been....
x x x x
x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x
Probable hiked resolutely up a winding trail that ascended to the dizzying
heights of a large mountain in the midst of the forests around Kamp
Kwitcherbeliakin. It had taken him some time to find the trail, for
when he had first come here, it had been with Rhonda's help. Rhonda
- who, despite her reticence, had a deeper connection to these woods
and it's secrets than he could ever hope to have. Without her guiding
him as she had before, it had been largely memory and luck that led
him - along with Rueful. Rueful had spent much of his weasel life on
Rhonda's shoulder, and seemed to have picked up on at least some of
Grimm reasoned there was something even deeper. Rueful had been touched
by the power of the Great Bear Spirit at the same time Rhonda had. While
Rueful had displayed none of Rhonda's abilities, it seemed he could
see things that Grimm couldn't see. Rueful's bond to Rhonda as her familiar
had become even stronger since their experience at Kwitcherbeliakin.
A bond that seemed to rebel against Rhonda's disappearance, drawing
Rueful in directions that might bring her back...
in all, he was glad to have Rueful close at hand. The weasel scurried
ahead of him up the path, sniffing and darting in and out of the coarse,
wind-blown scrub brush that grew where the trail hugged the mountain
was tiring, but there was an outcome that he expected. So he focused
on keeping his legs bending and straightening as he climbed the trail,
even though each step was sending dull pains up and down the tendons
of his legs. To take his mind off his fatigue and weariness, he let
his thoughts drift to his mission, and the conversation with Chief Sakituya
which started him on his lonely journey up the mountain trail....
Sakituya had listened with a frown on his lips as Grimm related the
story about what had happened in the UNIT building. Both of them sat
Indian-style, facing each other before the hearth of the fireplace inside
his cabin. When Grimm reached the end and described Maze's appearance,
and how Ron and Rhonda had vanished, the Indian chief sighed and shook
is what I feared.' he said, and his voice was full of concern. 'Before
Katasistsikoowa defeated him, Maze was able to use your body to channel
some of the power of the Great Bear into himself. He no longer needs
to wait for nightfall to perform his shadow-medicine. Any shadow will
obey him now.'
held up his communicator. 'During the fight I managed to record the
chant Maze used.' he said. Then he clicked a button, and Maze's voice
sounded faintly in the room.
looked suddenly away as if he had seen and heard something foul. 'Enough!'
he said, holding up his hand. Grimm stopped the playback.
does it mean?' he said eagerly. 'If I'm going to find Rhonda - Katasistsikoowa
- then I have to know what they did to her! You said she was a chosen
one - help me to find her!'
sighed heavily. 'I will tell you what I know, Otaatoyiwa. But I fear
you will not like the words I shall speak. What you have shown me, what
I have heard, is bad medicine. Maze has marked himself as Ipi'kowa,
a person who can cast what you would call a curse.'
curse?' said Grimm. 'What kind of curse?'
Indian chief looked down at the floor between where he and Grimm were
seated. 'It is a call to the shadows of the night. A call to banish
his enemies... to the world of spirits.'
actually went pale. 'You mean she's... dead?' he whispered, and without
his confidence and courage behind it, his voice sounded almost childlike
said Sakituya. 'If she had died, her body would have remained and her
spirit would have gone on. She was sent to the world of spirits while
still in her body. She drifts now between both worlds, but has no real
place in either.'
leaned forward, a hungry look blazing in his eyes. He was trying to
remain calm and show Sakituya respect, but he was plainly fighting the
urge to demand more information, to pace himself to ensure he gathered
everything. 'If this banishing was... a spell of some kind - there must
be a counterspell or some way to break the curse!'
nodded only slightly. 'I think so, yes.'
you break the spell?' Grimm said, his teeth gritted with his eagerness.
he answered simply.
shook his head. 'I don't believe you.' he said. 'There's more about
you than you let on. You know things that I don't - that no one else
looked keenly at him. 'A man can know how a bird flies, but that knowledge
does not mean he can fly himself.' Grimm looked confused and impatient,
and Sakituya raised his hand, motioning him to silence. Grimm bit his
lip, though it was plain he was holding his tongue with great effort.
'I understand enough to know what Maze has done to the Bear Priestess.
But that does not mean I can undo it. Shadow-medicine is a lost art
I have never practiced. Whatever secrets Maze has discovered in his
years of searching, he has kept them well.'
what then?' Grimm hissed, his voice a low whisper. 'Are you saying the
only way to bring her back is to beat an answer out of Maze? If that's
the case, then just point me in the right direction...'
looked at him as if disappointed. 'You speak as a white man - with your
first instinct to violence. Even under threat of pain, Maze will not
eyes were burning. 'But if Maze is the only one who knows how to bring
did not say so.' Sakituya broke in quickly. 'As powerful as the shadow-medicine
is, there is another power that is greater.'
paused, then nodded in understanding. 'The same power that defeated
Maze in the hollow.' he said. 'The Great Bear Spirit.'
said Sakituya. 'I can only guess, but I believe this guess is good.
In order to save Katasistsikoowa, you must commune with the Great Bear.
He may guide you and show you what must be done.'
the Great Bear has never spoken to me.' said Grimm shaking his head.
'He chose Rhonda to be his Priestess. She was the one who communed with
that will not help you now.' said Sakituya. 'You must find a way to
speak with him yourself.'
stood up, looking determined again. 'I know just where to start.' he
said. He had turned and was walking to the door when Chief Sakituya
called after him.
may know where to start, young Grimm.' he said. 'But as I said, there
is a difference between knowing what to do, and actually being able
to accomplish it. The Great Bear Spirit watches over us all. I don't
doubt that he knows everything that has happened. He also knows of your
desire to find her and that you may seek the hollow where Rhonda first
encountered her destiny. But do not expect answers to flow to you so
easily. You seek a vision that holy men for many centuries have sought
their whole lives - and never found.'
paused, looking back at him. Then he nodded curtly and left, his footsteps
fading to silence in the still air outside the cabin.
thoughts snapped back to the present as he entered a vast hollow set
in the heights of the mountain top. Without waiting, he crossed the
echoing space between the cave-like entrance to the hollow, and a recess
in the mountain stone at the far end. Within the recess was a boulder,
roughly carved into the shape of a bear, nearly nine feet tall. Faintly
seen on the earthy floor of the hollow were white lines made of a powder
that was mostly scattered and faded with time.
threw aside his backpack. He looked weather-stained and his hair was
unkempt with a thin twig caught in one ragged tangle. He cast himself
down in front of the Bear Spirit monument, his voice sounding out with
a soft, whispering chant.