6 March 2006
Based on what we learned from the ghosts, we suspected I could keep the truck busy and away from Akshainie. If it was focused on purging changes to the spiritual realm of the city, it would see my constant human habit of changing as a real threat. We didn’t even know if the truck was itself physically real (aside from interacting with brick walls and fences), or if it was occupied by human drivers, or what it was; it may not, in fact, even sense her, if she had no impact on the spiritual realm while in the flesh. After all, it didn’t seem to notice the walls or fences it crashed into, maybe it really had no idea of anything physical. We collected some information on how to get to a garage the cult members had bought back when they first arrived, I borrowed a sword from Akshainie, and we split ways shortly before dawn. I left first, ensuring I had the truck’s attention before I ran off away from the garage as far as the rooftops could take me. The truck took the bait, and as I glanced back to check on it I could see Akshainie slipping off the other way.
The town was not large, and while we had been fortunate enough to begin the chase downtown in an apartment above a shop, the rooftops I could reach with only human strength behind my jumps were quickly running out. I had never really thought about how much being slightly inhuman affected my physical abilities, until I was stripped of access to anything inhuman about myself. But when we were facing the Black Goat, Matteson hadn’t seemed as weak as I now felt. What is it, exactly, about him and I that we share that would cause such a change from the human normal?
I slid to a stop on the flat roof of a one-story pizza shop. The only way to go was back, and that only a few buildings before I’d have to find a way to get up another story. The alternative was down, and the truck was there before I could realistically consider it. Now that I was close enough to it and had a moment to think, however, I realized that the windows on the truck were completely black. Not tinted, but opaque; I determined that whatever was happening here, it didn’t involve direct human operation. What in the world did this cult pull off? And what were they gaining by it? I decided it was more important to stop it and then consider these questions than to wait around until I slipped up somehow. I pulled out my sword, whispered a quick prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, and then leapt down onto the cab of the truck.
The sword pierced the roof easier than I expected, and drove deep with the force of my weight behind it. My feet, on landing, didn’t produce the hollow clang of a normal truck, and I wanted to debate what this thing was made of but didn’t have time before it started ramming into the building in an apparent attempt to shake me loose. So it could detect the walls. Good to know.
As I held on as tight as I could, I noticed the sword slowly cutting a line into the roof where it moved during the impacts with the building. I also noticed the wall giving way. It was trying to rebuild itself, but the truck wasn’t giving it time to finish. I considered my options, considering I doubted I could really do much more damage from my current situation, and decided to wait and hold on. I braced my feet against the roof of the truck, held on to the sword, and prepared to jump. After a couple more hits, it backed up and rammed the wall harder, and I pressed my face as close to my shoulder as I could to shield it.
We broke through the front wall, and as soon as I was sure we were inside, I pulled the sword out and dove to the side. The truck roared and slammed into the back wall, which stopped it. Just as it began trying to back up, I lunged over and slit the front tire on the passenger side and then ran back to do the same to the rear tire. I jumped back and watched for a moment as it struggled to get traction and the wall we entered regained its structure. I slipped out the front door and watched for a moment, praying that the truck would be too limited to break walls on purpose, as it seemed to be when we were stuck in the alley. I saw the tires begin to reform, but the truck was still not pushing against the walls hard enough to break through. Its roar sounded more alive, more angry, as I ran off to meet Akshainie.
Evidence compiled for use during the trial of Father Benedict de Monte.