Today we have a guest speaker - Andreas. We cover Chapters 21, 22, and 23. Dresden confronts Monica Sells, battles a scorpion using an elevator, and heads to McAnallys for a car to borrow.
Monica allows Harry into her inner sanctum.
This is obviously Monica’s revered retreat, her personal haven. She has a bright, cheerful kitchen full of cartoon cows, and kept meticulously clean.
As she sinks into a chair and relaxes a little, Harry gives her a couple of minutes to collect herself, but the tension (for him, at least) is palpable and he can feel the storm closing in on him and his doom drawing nearer.
To expedite matters, Monica simply invites Harry to ask questions to which she will provide what answers she can.
Harry begins by confirming his realization that Monica and Jennifer Stanton are related. Harry wonders why Monica sought him out instead of going to the police, but she maintains that they would have thought she was insane going on about magic and spells.
When pressed as to why she wasn’t just direct with Dresden from the start, Monica breaks down a little and admits that her husband is responsible for it all.
He didn’t start out as a maniac, he once was a good husband and family man - a protector and provider for his family. But personal anxiety about never being able to be enough eventually ate away at Victor. A few years back he found magic and began to change. More recently he discovered how to forcefully open the Third Eye in other people and began mass-producing the ThreeEye drug. Victor couldn’t produce enough on his own until he stumbled across the discovery that he could use other people’s feelings and emotions to fuel his workings.
Thus the Shadowman began his ‘orgies of the occult’. He found the Beckitts and brought them in as ‘investors’, but it still wasn’t quite enough. Victor knew his sister-in-law worked as an escort and she brought in Linda Randall, who convinced Tommy Tomm. With his corporate structure now in place, Victor began to make money, but, as is usual with dark magic (and probably drug overlords), enough was never enough.
Papa Sells grew even darker and started eyeballing the kidlets. To exactly what purpose Monica wasn’t sure, but she damn sure wasn’t gonna wait to find out! With growing concerns, Mrs. Sells first talked to her sister, Jennifer, and when Jenny interceded with Victor on Monica’s behalf, Victor viciously murdered her in short order.
In a last-ditch attempt to escape the madness that her life had become, Monica had approached Dresden and tried to subtly tip him off so as not to further arouse Victor’s suspicions and ire.
Unfortunately Harry doesn’t always do subtle so well, and now Linda had been killed as well, and Harry was facing a literal deadline.
Monica beseeches him to leave as she fears for her children’s safety, and can’t bear to witness Harry’s inevitable, and violent, demise first hand.
On his way out, Dresden is approached by young Jenny Sells and she questions his integrity in the way that children can, and implores him to be one of the “good guys” and to help her family; though she fears it may be too late for her father.
With limited options available to him, Harry formulates a plan to save his ass and remembers he has a scorpion talisman of Victor’s back at his office that he can use to direct Victor’s spell back against himself.
Harry decides to give Murphy a head’s up regarding Victor’s illegal doings, just in case he fails to stop him magically, and learns that Murphy has gone to Dresden’s office to serve warrant on him.
Concerned for Karrin’s safety and well-being, Dresden hightails it over there, but Murph is already in hot water.
Dresden rushes to his office building as fast as he can and sprints up five stories’ worth of stairs, not trusting the elevator to stay working.
Panting and paranoid, he slowly creeps up to the door of his own office and tries to scope out the scene from a covered position, while he calls out to Murphy.
Harry hears a faint moan and the scuttling sound of creepy-crawly feet, and can smell gunpowder on the air. Reacting with sudden anger, rather than fear, over Victor and wiggins-inducing bling Dresden bursts into the room ready to blast the scorpion thingy.
It’s slightly anti-climactic as the thing stays hidden in the shadows somewhere, but Harry stays alert for it and cautiously approaches Murphy. Murphy is barely conscious and Harry crouches down to tend to her.
There’s blood and swelling on her left shoulder where the scorpion has stung her and Harry reaches for the phone to call 911. Once the ambulance is en route, Harry hangs up and goes to carry Murph out of there, but Karrin has revived enough to slap her cuffs on one of Harry’s hands, tethering him to her, and goes on deliriously about how he set her up.
Harry gapes in disbelief for a moment and, of course, the scorpion chooses that moment to get the drop on Dresden.
Harry narrowly escapes a major injury but gets nicked by the scorpion’s stinger and flails to get away, knocking his staff and rod out of reach. He takes a pincer to the leg and manages to interject a desk drawer between himself and the now dog-sized scorpion.
Murphy continues to ramble, somewhat crazily, to Harry about how it’s no good to resist her now, before announcing that she can no longer see anything. Harry’s concern over her poisoning increases and he attempts to escape from the office while shackled awkwardly to Murph.
Dresden manages to get them both down the hallway, but decides he won’t be able to get himself and Murphy downstairs quickly enough using the stairs, so he chances the elevator. The scorpion bursts out of the office behind them and just barely misses catching them before the elevator doors close.
Without his rod or staff to help him focus, Harry attempts to perform some dangerous magic that kills the scorpion, but almost kills them, too! With a drunken warble, the elevator dings open and Harry and Karrin are met by very surprised paramedics.
Giddy over his triumph, Harry’s glee is short-lived as he feels the rain start to fall and realizes the storm has arrived and the clock is ticking....
As the falling rain helps clear Dresden’s head a little, he uses the ectoplasm from the squashed scorpion to slide one end of the cuffs over Murphy’s hand with as little damage as he can manage, and before the EMT’s notice that they’re shackled together to start.
As both paramedics bend over Murphy and start to tend to her, Dresden, wracked by guilt for having to ditch Murph at a time like this, slips away into the burgeoning storm and starts to formulate his plan of attack (or mere survival, as the case may be!).
Under the immediate circumstances he cannot retrieve his rod and staff, but his office building is close to McAnally’s Pub (shoutout!! :-D), so he heads there. The place is fairly packed with the lesser talents of the magical/supernatural community who, whole not knowing exactly what’s up, can sense trouble on the air and have gathered in a sort of ‘safety in numbers/group herd’ mentality.
Harry beseeches Mac for help in the form of borrowing some wheels and Mac complies without query or protest.
Harry turns to leave and is immediately confronted by an irate Morgan who has come to essentially arrest and detain Harry awaiting the council gathering in the morning. Morgan still firmly believes that Harry is the magical murderer, and thinks he (Morgan) has it all figured out with the storms and such, and is going to make sure Harry can’t pull off any more shenanigans before back-up arrives.
Harry, naturally, has no patience for Morgan, and - literally - no time for this nonsense, so under the guise of admitting defeat and submitting to Morgan’s wishes, Dresden blindsides the warden, incapacitates him with a large heavy piece of bar furniture, and makes his escape.