CONNOR DEE: a Wizard
MELISANDE AMEE ST. SIMON also known as EMMA: a Wizard
PRESTON BAGLEY-VANCE: a Wizard
SEAN TAUBE: a Werewolf
JOCELYN TRISTANE, also known as COPPER JOSS: a potent Empath of uncertain Origin
In the early evening, approximately half past seven, each one of our heroes receives a call from their phone, with a single long and unceasing ring to announce it. The call is the same, although the voice is different—to each her or his own, in fact. In their own tone and accent and diction, the message repeats:
“This is a Message. Listen, please. This is all I can do, now. Look to the sky, at midnight. Wait until there’s no more stars, and count. Please, please, please count. There’s still time. It doesn’t end for you, you can still change everything. This isn’t how it ends, but that is how it begins. This isn’t real, but I can’t leave. I don’t want to, anymore.”
Each of them is uncertain of the origin of the call, and uncertain of how to respond, save to find a space to stargaze, come midnight, and see what the voice was talking about.
Fairmount Park, it is decided by each one individually, is the best place: both relatively nearby and with a good view of the sky
Our heroes gather—unaware that they’re gathering—at the park; one by one, they encounter each other, and slowly begin to realize all of them are waiting for the same thing, the same call, if with different voices. Most of them are together in the same place, by a fountain—save Dee, whom Sean knows is nearby—when it happens:
On clocks across the eastern time zone, lopsided pairs of hands are raised up, straight up in worship.
You aren’t sure when, really. That part is hazy and so hard to remember… it might’ve been before or after, like in movies where the old cop and the rookie argue if it’s “On three, one two then go, or one, two, three, go”, but nonetheless the result is the same.
There are no stars. The sky can’t even be called black, because that would be something.
The sky is dizzying, vertigo-inducing. Yet, you must count. No matter what, your desperation was clear. One.. two.. three…
What are you counting? Seconds? Heartbeats? Ten… fifteen…
it’s amazing how soon your neck hurts from just looking up for too long.. thirty.. fourty..
After the 59th second has come and gone, the stars are there, as if they had always been.
The group is confused by what has happened, what it means, and still has no idea what the phone call was about in the first place. They ponder gathering the straggler in to compare notes, but there may be something more urgent to concern themselves with: something unfamiliar glimmers in the nearby topiary, and stinks of age and rot…