Afflictions: Part Forty Four

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After a good night’s sleep, and a decent day of work, Arte, Ashley, and Webb put their plan into action. They followed more or less the same routine, with Ashley driving and Arte tracking, using a combination of magic and GPS. Also similarly to last time, they weren’t really talking that much. It was much less work to track him, since Webb laid out exactly where he was going. First to the grocery store, then to the game shop, then to get Chinese, then home.

At the first stop they both focused on absorbing all of the scenery. There were a bunch of cars, but nothing too notable.

“I think we need to talk.” Ashley said out of nowhere, at least out of nowhere in the moment. Arte had more or less seen this coming.

“Yeah…” She sighed.

“I think we’ve hit the point in our problem where other people notice. I mean, the weird devil guy noticed at least.” She put the car into gear and pulled out so they could arrive at the next destination before Webb.

“I don’t know how he knew, but I guess we should talk about it.” Arte nodded. It was bugging her exactly how he knew, but that wasn’t really important right now.

“I feel like you’re being a little overprotective.” Ashley said after a moment of silence. “Like, I know what we’re doing is dangerous, and we need to look out for each other, but I feel like this goes above that.”

“It’s just after last year, and with how happy we’ve been, I don’t know if I could stand to lose you again.” Arte thought for a moment about what Paul had said. If he was right, which she maintained he wasn’t, she would definitely stop Ashley from intervening. It wasn’t even a question.

“I know, and it’s honestly been hard for me to overcome being scared too, but I think we can’t live in fear.” She placed a hand on Arte’s.

“I know.” She nodded.

The conversation paused as they entered the game shop parking lot, and pulled into a discrete spot. A couple of minutes later, Webb pulled in, followed by a couple of cars a few minutes later. Arte took note of their makes and colors, and they pulled out to go to the Chinese restaurant.

“So can we agree to work on being less overprotective outside of work?” Ashley resumed.

“I want you to continue the self defense classes at the DSR.”

Ashley nodded for a moment. “I think that’s fair. Can we also go to couples therapy, especially since we’re getting married soon?”

“I think that makes sense.” Arte nodded. “I can try to work on it, but at least in the field, let me take the lead, since I have powers.”

“Deal.” Ashley nodded. “That seems fair. I think the counseling will help both of us.”

“Yeah… I’m sorry for not talking about this sooner.” Arte looked down. It really had been a simple resolution, so she felt a little silly.

“Me too. We need to talk about things sooner.” Ashley nodded.

The conversation was again put on pause as Webb pulled into the lot. A couple of minutes later, a red Toyota Camry pulled into the lot, very similar to one in the game shop parking lot.

“I’m pretty sure I saw that one at the store too.” Ashley added, like she’d read her mind.

“I think that’s gonna be our guy.” Arte nodded. She was a little suspicious at how non-covert this stalker seemed to be. Whoever it was clearly was either getting lazy, or not a professional at it to begin with, possibly both. “I think we follow them.”

“That sounds like a plan.” Ashley nodded, and the pair waited in silence.

Soon enough, Webb exited the restaurant with his dinner, and made his way to his house. After Webb pulled out, the blue camry followed. About 30 seconds after, Ashley put the car into gear and followed after.

The Camry made a series of identical turns as Webb, and it followed all the way to his apartment complex. Once Webb arrived, the Camry pulled into a spot by an adjacent building. Ashley pulled a similar maneuver, parking at a building a little further away.

Arte conjured a small green triangle, and looked through it. Like looking through a telescope, she could see the driver of the camry, a white man she didn’t recognize, making a phone call. She quickly rotated the triangle, and placed it by her ear, and tried to make out the conversation. The road noise was pretty loud, but she could mostly understand.

“-Alright, thanks Mr. Wentz. The usual place for my payment?” He paused for a moment. “I’ll be there.”

She dissipated the triangle. “Follow him Ashley. He was talking to Mr. Wentz.”

“What? Mr. Wentz?” Ashley stammered, putting the car back into gear.

“That’s what he said.” Arte nodded. “Let’s find out.”

They waited a moment, and the camry pulled out. Shortly after, they followed.

They followed behind for a few minutes, until eventually the guy pulled into a public park by the high school, that the school sometimes used for sports. He got out of his car as they parked a bit away, and made his way up a path.

Arte debated a moment, and decided to follow on foot. Trying to keep visual would be hard, so she figured it was now or never. “Ashley, you keep an eye out for Wentz, and call me if you see him. I’m going to follow.”

“Roger.” Ashley nodded.

Arte got out of the car and followed about a minute behind the guy in the Camry. Eventually she saw him from a distance by a tree talking to a tall white man. She reconjured the green triangle, and sure enough, it was Mr. Wentz.

She pulled out her phone, and shot Ash a text.

It’s Wentz, come give backup. We’ll talk to him.


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Hello traveler! You’ve happened upon my serial, or maybe found it intentionally. If you like what you see, be sure to check out the reading guide and read the rest of the series! This may be season 3, but there’s pretty comprehensive recaps, so it’s not as if there’s an enormous backlog.

Hello… It’s me… I forgot how the rest of that Adele song goes, but it rings true today. What’s up? I’m doing pretty good actually. I still haven’t had a lot of time to mess with the blog or writing, but I’ve kinda come to peace with letting my easily distracted brain just pick whichever hobby it wants to prioritize at a give time.

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