(2018-11-10) Into the Fire
After a conversation with Olivia, Elizabeth get propositioned by the cult that is targeting Calaveras.

Saturday night. A deputy's favorite time of the week. Drunkeness. Drug use. Violence. Dangerous driving. And that's just the police, never mind the citizens of the fair town. And it gets even worse with tourists in town, and with the first snow, they've started to descend like a plague of skiing locusts. Some of them must be out at one of more the remote cabins up Silver Lake way. Elizabeth was on patrol when she got the lucky command to go and check on a disturbance of the peace; loud music and partying.

And the worst part…she's going to have to head up that trail on foot. It all seems quiet as she approaches the house. Lights are on inside but no loud music.

Elizabeth pulls her coat closer to her body, scowling in the darkness as she slowly climbs the trail. "Who the fuck makes a disturbance so fucking loud that they can hear it at the next cabin in the fucking woods." She obviously isn't happy. A gust of wind sweeps through the area, blowing blonde hair wild in the dark. She pulls the hood up on her coat, treks the last few feet, swearing under her breath the entire time. She comes to the porch of the cabin and stomps up , dislodging snow from her heavy duty boots, and maybe to warn people inside that someone is…outside. She pounds on the door. "Calaveras Police Department, open the damn door!" She calls out.

It only takes a few moments before the door opens and a sweet old lady stands there, smiling beatifacally. "Hello, Deputy. Please, come in out of the cold. Can I get you a cup of cocoa? I just made some, so it won't take long to get another cup going. You poor thing, you must be freezing." She seems to be alone inside, a roaring fire in the fireplace, and some hectic knitting put aside so she could answer the door.

Elizabeth raises both eyebrows, tilting her head to gaze inside of the cabin. "Are you alone out here ma'am? I got a call about a noise disturbance." She walks in, rubbing her hands together as she crosses the threshold. "I don't really need anything to drink, did you call the complaint in and the got the addresses mixed up?" She scans the cabin as she steps in, moving toward the fireplace without really realizing it.

The little old lady closes the door behind Elizabeth, brow furrowing at the questions. "The police? Mercy, no, why would I need the police. Please, have a seat. Warm yourself up. You'll catch a death trudging back down the trail without warming up first. How about a cocoa with a little tot of rum?"

The two story cabin seems empty save for the old woman; but who knows what may be going on upstairs. Though there isn't any noise from up there either. "All alone. I was just doing some knitting. I've love some company though, if you'd like to chat."

"I'll take some hot chocolate if you don't have any coffee ma'am, but I can't drink while I'm on duty." Elizabeth shucks her coat, brushing her hair behind both ears. She watches the woman as she finds a seat, relaxing slightly. "I can stay and chat for a little bit, then I'll go up to the next cabin to make sure I wasn't given a bad number." She glances toward the upstairs. "Just you here, ma'am? Seems like a big cabin for one lady."

"Oh, it's not that big. I barely ever go upstairs" she smiles as she totters into the kitchen. "I don't think there are any cabins further up, dear!" she calls back, rummaging around for a few moments before bringing out a coffee. "I don't normally drink coffee myself. Drug, you know? Cream and sugar? Do you enjoy your job, Deputy? Must be very exciting."

Elizabeth glances out the window, frowning. "Coffee is a drug? No wonder I'm grumpy without it." She tries to make a joke, holding her hands out toward the fire. "Just a lil bit of cream if you don't mind ma'am." She requests, her eyes drifting over the contents of the cabin. "My job is a lot of give and take, ma'am. Some days are better than others. This is a nice town though, and mostly I don't have many problems when I go out and about. How long have you been up here?"

The old lady wanders off to grab some cream, returning to pour a touch into the coffee. "There you are" she smiles warmly before settling back into her chair. "I've been up here…ooh…a week? I try to come here every year if I can. So many wonderful memories." She sighs and resumes her knitting. "So you're happy being a police officer? Enforcing the laws and all that socially redeeming work."

Elizabeth picks up the coffee, taking a long swallow of the bitter brew before she sets it back down. "The way the snow is going out there right now, and the wind, it seems more scary than wonderful. I'll take your word for it, ma'am." She settles back in the chair, shrugging. "It has its moments. Some days you think that you can actually help people, other days…" She frowns and gazes down at her boots. "You question if you're any help at all, or part of the problem. If I knew back when I was a kid, what I know now? I wouldn't be a police officer."

"You wouldn't? Why don't you quit then, dear? Life is much too short to be doing something you don't want to do" the woman replies as she knits away, peering over at the deputy. "Snow is a wonderful purifier. Makes the world look like it is reborn. Of course, all the horrible stuff is still under there. What would you tell your child self to do instead?"

"Gotta pay the bills, ma'am." Elizabeth gestures out the window, laughing softly. "It does, and it gets really fuckin..pardon me, it gets really stupidly quiet out there when it snows like this. In a few hours the world will feel like it's holding its breath." She shifts her eyes to the woman, frowning. "I'd tell my child self to give up and stop fighting. You know.. ma'am, this isn't going to sound pleasant, but not every child has a good beginning. I thought that life would get better, and I'd be happier when I was older. Turns out I just think about the stuff that happened when I was younger."

"Many children have terrible lives, you don't have to be sorry about saying that. You only need to be sorry if you don't do anything about it" the old woman replies with a consoling smile. "You know, you're still young. Your life is far from over. Far from set into a rut. There are better paths, you just need to be made aware of them. Would you take a different path if it was offered to you, or are you stuck in your ways? Happy to be miserable? Where is your partner? I thought you all stuck together through everything."

Elizabeth watches the woman, reacting to her smile with a slight one of her own. "What kind of path, ma'am? I think a lot of people think that I like being miserable, but that's not the case." She lets out a sigh, brows furrowed. "He and I have been having a difference of opinion. He went home early tonight, not feeling good, so here I am."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, Deputy. What is the difference of opinion about? And typical of a man to run away instead of trying to solve the issue" the old lady giggles as she continues to knit; it looks to be a scarf. "Some people like being miserable. Do you believe they think you're miserable? Or do they think you angry? And anger is a perfectly good response to being misunderstood and lied to. But then you take the path of salvation, over the path of revenge."

"It's more we want to fuck, but he thinks it's a bad idea. I think it's a.." Elizabeth realizes the company she's in again and she blinks, clearing her throat. "Uh..heh.." She sits back in the chair and she chuckles softly. "They think I'm angry, and I am angry. It's been one thing after another, ma'am. I ..just want my life to make sense, and every time it starts to make sense something happens and it's turned around again."

"Oh…I see" the old lady snorts with amusement rather than embarrassment. "Fucking is often a bad idea. But, gosh, isn't it fun" she giggles. "You just need guidance, dear. A path to follow that is clear and certain. A path that will understand you, develop you, give you the strength to find who you really are." A wink to the Deputy. "And then I am sure your partner will 'oil the baton' with you."

"You know, he's the first guy I have given the time of day to." Elizabeth murmurs, propping her cheek on her palm as she picks up her coffee. "So this path you speak of, it's going to change me into something he'll actually want?" The hope on her face is a naked thing, her teeth pressing into her bottom lip. "For the first time in a long time, I've wanted to be someone that I'm not. Someone that he might notice, and think is safe."

"Have you looked in the mirror, dear? I think an awful lot of men, and probably some women, would be more than happy to notice you. But /you/ need to notice you" the old lady smiles. "The path will not /change/ you, it will /discover/ you. And if this man of yours does not find you attractive still…then he's an idiot. Or gay. And nothing wrong with that. There is no point in becoming what /he/ wants. Love yourself and everyone loves you."

"That's pretty catchy. Love yourself and everyone loves you." Elizabeth mulls that over for a few moments, and then smiles toward the old woman. "What is there to discover though, I've been me all my life, I ..have a pretty good handle on what is going on up here.." She taps her temple, setting down her coffee. "Or I thought that I did."

"You don't" the old lady assures the Deputy with a smile. "If you did, you would not be yelling at your co-workers. You would be fucking your partner instead of talking to an old lady in a cabin in the middle of nowhere. There is much to discover. A way to purify yourself so that the real you emerges…like a butterfly. You don't want to be a flailing moth all your life, do you? Trying to fly to the moon, never knowing it is so far away you will never get there. Or that it is a light. A trick to make you think you have reached the end of your journey when it is only a trap." She laughs at herself. "Gosh, I should write greeting cards. Are you interested, Deputy Rothschilde? Interested in the life you always should have lived?"

Elizabeth gazes down at her coffee, lips pressed together as she listens to the old woman and her words. Her blue eyed gaze shifts up to meet the woman and she manages an uncertain smile. "You make it sound like….everyone should do this, I want to get to the moon, I want to be a butterfly." She exhales and then furrows her brow. "What do..I'm interested. I am, but what do I have to do now?"

"You only have to open your heart to the path. Help that path appear by chopping away the corruption and filth that stain it. You are a deputy, this should be easy for you" the old lady smiles before frowning. "I don't know, Deputy, would you really be able to do that? If the only way to bring that butterfly out, is to destroy the maggots trying to drag you down, could you do that?"

"Ma'am, my heart is …cold, it hasn't had a path since I was six. If you can give me direction and help me figure out how to chop away at the bad things…" Elizabeth gazes steadily at the woman, swallowing visibly before she lets out a shaky breath. "Show me the maggots, show me the corruption, and I'll do my best to destroy them. Especially if I will be happy, I want to be happy so badly."

The old woman studies Elizabeth for a long time, eyes unblinking, before her warm smile creeps over her face once more. "Good." She produces a card from her yarn of wool, offering it over. "Call me tomorrow. There are maggots who wish to stop your path. Who wish to make you unhappy. They work with you. Lying in your ears. Corrupting your soul. Corrupting all who listen to their filth. I would like to know what they have been saying. What they have planned. Do you think you can do that, Deputy? For your happiness?"

Elizabeth gazes down at the card, memorizing the number in case she has to ditch the card. "I can do that easily, ma'am. They tell all of us their plans, and I hear a little more because I was at two of the crime scenes, they call me into meetings." She shoves the card into her back pocket. "Is there anything in particular that you need to know? They expect me to ask questions."

"We need to know what they know. We need to know what evil they intend to do" the old lady replies before contrmplating a little. "Can you get the names and addresses of the demonic court? Those who wish to keep you, and all of us, miserable. Those that bewitch others into following a lie. He has arrived, but we must keep him safe until his power bathes the world in love."

"I'll find out, and I'll call you." Elizabeth promises, sitting back in the chair with he rbrow furrowed. "The addresses are easy, I have most of them on my phone already." She folds her hands in her lap, her eyes on the old lady. "He has already arrived? How is he going to bathe the world in love?" She tilts her head, looking slightly innocent. "Do you promise, that I will discover myself?" She asks, her tone timid and unsure.

"His words will bring out the love that lives in us all" the old lady assures with a joyous smile. "As long as we cut away the vines that try to cover the path. Yes, you will discover yourself. The love within you. And the love that exists in us all. Perhaps you would let me look through that phone? Oh…" She rummages around in the couch to find her own phone. "You can send them all to this one, can't you? I'm not very good with phones."

Elizabeth nods, gazing down at her phone as she taps a few things, sending phone numbers and addresses for almost all of the police department. "There. I hope that helps, and.. I hope I don't have trouble finding the love within myself, I..look forward to seeing what I can do to help you. Especially if you're going to help me in return."

"Of course we will help you. You are one of us now. One of the Chosen who will clear the Path for all." The old lady seems quite ecstatic about all this. She rolls through all the names and addresses, nodding happily. "Do you have the details for the Federals? They need to go away and leave us to our Paradise. Don't you agree?"

"The woman doesn't trust me that much yet, but I bet I can get her to." Elizabeth blinks at the old woman, a smile working its way on her face. "I can lure her out as well, if you wish it." She takes a deep breath, nodding slowly. "I would like her to go home, she's making a very big mess of things here, giving people ideas, not good ones."

The old woman smiles as she slowly nods. "Yes, we should lure her out. Make her realise the error of her ways. We will send her home. All of us." She picks up her knitting again. "Tomorrow, when we talk, you will tell us where and when. We shall greet her and show her the error of her ways."

"I'll call you early." Elizabeth gets to her feet, walking forward toward the old woman. She slowly extends her hand, palm up. "You know my name, what shall I call you, ma'am?" She asks, the same easy smile on her face. "Do I try to get her alone, or …she might have people with her."

"If they are all liars, then they must all be dealt with" the old woman replies with a shrug. "You can call me…Mary." A saintly smile for the Deputy. "Have a good night. We shall talk tomorrow."

"We shall, Mary. Enjoy your knitting." Elizabeth picks up her jacket, pulling it back on and securing the front. She walks toward the door, pausing to glance over her shoulder to nod at Mary. Opening the door she frowns and then steps out, crunching her way back down the trail.

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