LaWanda knew what they had to do. She had help from the white lady. She had found LaWanda in the ether and pulled her out of it.
After the vision of what Oliver had done to his wife and his daughter, something had shattered inside of her and she couldn’t find her way back out. But a lady all dressed in white and radiating white light had chased the darkness, and the monster of Oliver and what he had become, away from her.
One moment LaWanda had presumed that she would remain alone in the darkness with him for the rest of her bodies natural life span, trapped between worlds, tied to one body. Oliver’s laughter had been jubilant one moment and it had cut off in a frightened squeal and left, easing the pressure around her. Brightness began to flow into the dark shadows of the ether and LaWanda was able to walk towards it, moving slowly but with more purpose the closer she got to the light.
As she walked closer, the brightness took on the shape of a woman and LaWanda experienced only a feeling of warmth and hope. “You’ve fought hard and your friends have learned much. I am Mary.” She held out a hand to her and LaWanda took it.
“You’re his wife, the one he killed.”
“Yes. But my death was not in vain. You have to go back. My daughter and I can only hold Oliver and the demon that in habits him for a short while. You must leave the building and set it alight. You will be safe in the forest. My daughter has created it for your safety. Do you still have the bottle you took from your apartment?”
LaWanda nodded. “It’s holy water. A little medieval perhaps.”
“You will need it. When the time comes, light it afire.”
“How will I know that it’s time?”
“You’ll know. Now go back to your body. Others will be joining you soon and you must be ready.”
The brightness and the darkness began to fade and then she was looking at Dian’s face, at Moira’s worried expression. Valhalla came into the room and went came right to her, enveloping LaWanda in a fierce embrace. When she pulled away, Valhalla’s expression was dark.
“What is it, is it Oliver?” She asked
“No, it’s what I read about him. He made some really fucked up children.” Valhalla said.
For a quarter of an hour, Valhalla told them what she had learned. Upon hearing it, LaWanda had nodded. “They were already monsters, capable of darkness. But they are still human, they can still be hurt.”
“How can you hurt someone who won’t die?” Moira said in wonder.
“They have human bodies. They can still be killed.” Diane said. “I was told that we have to kill them with fire, that’s the only way.”
“Burn the place down?” Barbarella said. “But all my good dresses! My wigs! My make up and shoes! I have to go and get them!”
“Shut the fuck up and sit down.” Diane said.
Barbarella did as she was told and Diane continued.” My daughter told me.”
LaWanda couldn’t help herself: her eyebrows rose and she held her chest in shock. Though they had seen plenty of evil within the walls of 69B, true brushes with the world after death were few and they always shocked her.
Though LaWanda had many powers, talking to the dead was not one of them. Tales of it never failed to inspire awe in her, even if they were second hand. “Are you sure?” She asked. She hated to ask, but she had to know. It was too much of a coincidence. “Your daughter has been dead for decades.”
Crossing her arms, Diane gave her a steely glare that spoke of truth. “I know what I saw.”
“I believe you. Now we have to decide what to do. How do we leave the building and how do we set it alight?” She thought of the small bottle in the pocked of her dress. “How do we get help? We can’t do this alone. We have to unite.”
Closing her eyes, she reached out with her mind for the others in the building, avoiding the ones with shadows that spoke of the dead. The ones that pulsed with light, she pulled towards her. She felt a bright warmth and heard a voice. “I’ll help you.” The voice was the rustle of thousands of tree branches rustling in the wind.
“Holy fucking shit.” Valhalla said. “Who the fucking hell was that?”
LaWanda opened her eyes and noticed that everyone wore a stunned expression. For the first time, Barbarella looked shocked and frightened beyond all reason. Moira was silent and her eyes were fixed on something.
“Did you all hear the voice too?” LaWanda’s head was spinning. She could do and see a lot, but she had never had a vision so powerful that a whole room of other people could hear it. Diane, Moira, Barbarella and Valhalla all nodded. Moira pointed to the windows. Branches of trees, ones that he not been there before. Green light spilled from the window and they all watched as the very trees themselves were etched along the wall as is drawn there by an unseen hand. Green light poured from the lines glowing a bright peridot green. Then the glow receded, so that outline of the trees merely pulsed. There was silence for a time and they all stared. Instead of being terrified, LaWanda only sensed a good presence, different than the black one that had plagued them.
“It needs a key.” A voice whispered. “It needs you. My daughter built the forest for me. I can connect you to the others with the branches. But it needs a key”
LaWanda nodded and stepped forward, her hand outstretched. She reached for the tree branches and willed them to be real. She willed herself to actually be able to touch the bark, smell the moist scent of the leaves.
“LaWanda, no!” It was Diane, Moira and Valla all at once. . LaWanda felt their arms encircling her, trying to pull her back, trying to save her, however it was too late. She smelled the crispness of the bark, heard the papery sound of the leaves falling on the pavement, heard the shake and whisper of the wind.
The tip of her fingers touched the glowing outline of the tree. She stood back and the shape of the tree glowed bright this time, the outline filled with green ink that had spread from her touch.
LaWanda stepped back and waited for what would come.