The next day, Buxman approaches Dillon privately with a “situation” he’d like Dillon to look into. One of the church’s parishioners, Colin Taylor, had a recent tragedy in his life: he was accused of beating his wife to death with a broom handle. Buxman believes that Taylor is innocent and that there is something else going on, something that the police won’t be able to discover. Taylor is currently being held in the Washington County Jail. Dillon can go speak to him as a representative of the Archdiocese.
Dillon agrees to look into the situation. He heads to the jail and is able to get an interview with Taylor. Taylor, a man in his late 20s, tells Dillon that nobody believes him. He loved Kayla (his wife), he would never would have hurt her. At Dillon’s prompting, Taylor explains what happened that night. The two of them were alone in their living room. Kayla decided to turn in early with a migraine, but Taylor chose to stay up and read for a while. When he eventually went into the bedroom, Kayla was already dead. Taylor insists he didn’t hear anything from the other room; he had no idea his wife was being murdered. He also tells Dillon that there was an old man, Mr. Janos, who was attacked in the same apartment building a few weeks before his wife died.
Once he leaves the the jail, Dillon calls the Portland Police Department and asks to speak to the detective on Taylor’s case. He is transferred to Thomas Casing. Casing remembers Dillon from the strange night in the woods. Dillon explains that the Archdiocese is trying to help their parishioner. He manages to convince Casing to meet him and share what information they have. They’ll meet at Darla’s Diner. After hanging up with Casing, Dillon calls Yuriko and explains the situation. She agrees to join him at the diner.
The friends arrive at Darla’s and it is not long before Casing joins them. Dillon introduces Yuriko and Casing introduces himself as Tom. Tom explains that there are a lot of things that don’t add up about this case. Not one person claimed to hear any noises or disturbances the night Kayla died. However, the building has a bit of history as far as that sort of thing goes. A sexual assault took place in that very parking lot, but on one ever came forward to report the crime. The victim, Ms. Audrey Epson, later killed herself. When Dillon brings up the Janos case, Tom says that no one claimed to hear anything in that attack either. Mr. Janos said he never saw his attacker, but managed to get into the hallway to escape. According to his testimony, the door to Janos’s apartment was locked, so no one knew how the attacker could have gotten in. Janos has since moved to the Westminster Nursing Home.
The conversation turns to the night of the attack in Forest Park. Tom thinks the attack on himself was intentional. He also thinks that there was more to what he saw. Neither Dillon (nor Yuriko) can comment on Tom’s musings. It is decided that they will all meet tomorrow morning outside the apartment building. As they say their goodbyes, Yuriko notices that most of the clientele of Darla’s Diner are cops … or look like cops.
As soon as they are walking away from the diner, Dillon calls Nick to ask for his insights about the situation. It seems highly likely that some sort of supernatural force is at work. Nick informs him that, while usually many occupants of the Nevernever have difficulties passing over thresholds, the thresholds of apartments are not strong. This has to do with the transitory nature of the residents there. Yuriko interrupts Dillon’s conversation, asking if this could be some sort of ghost. After all, no one ever saw the attacker. Dillon asks if Nick could make something that could detect a ghost. Nick agrees to start working on an amulet that will detect ectoplasm.
After saying goodbye to Nick, Dillon and Yuriko speculate on whether or not it is a ghost attacking people. If it is a ghost, is it possible it is the ghost of the woman who was attacked in the parking lot and later killed herself? Perhaps she is out for revenge? Could Kayla and Janos actually been witnesses to her assault? The two decide to head to Westminster Nursing Home and talk to Janos. When they arrive, they find that visiting hours have just ended. Dillon is able to persuade the attendant to let them talk to Janos, as long as they keep it quick.
Janos is a bit puzzled about Dillon and Yuriko standing at his door, but he allows them into his room. Dillon explains that would like to ask him some questions about his assault, because another person has been fatally attacked in the weeks following. Janos explains that he was dozing off in his apartment, when suddenly he was being beaten. He tried to get out of the room, but eventually passed out. Dillon asks him if anyone heard anything. Janos says no. Dillon remarks that it “seems to be par for the course.” His words cause Janos to wince slightly. Noticing his reaction, Dillon begins to press harder. He asks Janos if he heard anything the night that Audrey Epson was attacked. Janos is reluctant to say, but Dillon, noticing the cross Janos is wearing, is able to persuade him to do the right thing by appealing to his faith. Janos admits that he did see what happened that night from his window, but he was too afraid to say anything. He was afraid of getting involved. There were three or four men. One had a bulldog tattoo on the back of his neck. Janos had seen the man with the tattoo hanging around the apartments before the attack, but not since then. The attack happened four months ago, close to 2:00 a.m. Janos, himself, was attacked closer to 11:00 p.m., the time when Kayla was attacked. Dillon convinces Yanos to talk to the police about what he saw.
After leaving the nursing home, Yuriko says that they should go to Powells. She wants to do research about ghosts. Once they arrive, Yuriko hits the shelves. After a bit of reading, she shares her findings with Dillon. Ghosts are usually manifestations of trauma or strong memories from the Nevernever. They can be affected by sunlight or running water. Usually, ghosts are strongest at night, especially at the “witching hour” (midnight) or twilight (right before dawn). They are often tied to specific places and can only be interacted with physically if ghost acknowledges you either by magic or by calling the ghost by name. Sometimes, a resolution of the initial trauma can eliminate a ghost. Otherwise, the ghost can be exorcised. Dillon calls Nick again. He can ignore the request for a device to detect ectoplasm. There’s a good chance they are dealing with a ghost. Dillon asks Nick about ways to defend or ward themselves against ghosts. Nick says he’ll look into it.
Both Yuriko and Dillon decide to go home for the night. When Dillon gets back to the church, he talks to Buxman about their findings. He asks if the priesthood has rites or rituals to exorcise ghosts. Buxman tells him that there’s nothing the Church can do in this case.
The next day, Yuriko and Dillon meet up and head to the Signet Apartments, where the Taylor’s apartment is still roped off by police tape. It is one of 10 units that overlook the parking lot. The two friends are not sure what, if anything, they can tell Tom. Their story would sound crazy to most people. When the detective arrives, Tom lets them into the small apartment and shows them around. It is quite obvious why Taylor was a suspect in his wife’s death … there is no way anyone could have sneaked past him into the bedroom. Dillon starts to ask questions about the Epson attack. He also shares what information they learned from Janos. Tom asks him if he thinks that the attack on Audry Epson is related somehow to the attacks on Janos and Kayla. Dillon and Yuriko exchange looks. Yuriko shakes her head and tells Dillon he might as well tell Tom, that either he’ll believe them or not. Tom listens, his expression growing incredulous, as Dillon explains about Epson’s ghost seeking revenge.
Before Tom can say anything, the sudden sound of a plate smashing stops all conversation. Everyone turns to the kitchen. As they watch, cabinets start to open and close, then a dish drainer flies across the room and crashes to the floor. Yuriko, her voice a few octaves higher than normal, asks Tom if he’s seeing what they’re seeing. A stunned Tom says yes. Yuriko, bolting for the door, replies that it’s time to get out of there. All three of them flee the apartment. Once outside, Yuriko sinks to a crouch with her face in her hands, her breathing panicky. “They’re not supposed to be in the sunlight,” she repeats several times. Tom starts to ask questions,but Yuriko asks if they can go sit in his car … away from the apartment building. Tom agrees.
They sit in his car for a while. Tom is obviously having a difficult time processing what has just happened, but he doesn’t deny it either. Dillon explains that they are working on ways to stop the ghost from attacking more people. There is a good chance that solving the original crime might do it. Yuriko asks if Tom knows how many people currently living in the apartment unit were also living there the night Epson was attacked. There may be more people in danger. Epson is also a lot stronger than they thought she would be. Tom says he can pass on the information Janos gave them to the detective who was in charge of the Epson case, but he’s not going to be able to say that a ghost is behind the recent violence. People will say he’s crazy. Yuriko tells him that they understand. Portland is a very weird place and sometimes you see things you can’t really explain.
That evening, the two arrive at Edgefield. The Black Rabbit Pub is “closed for a private event.” A line of guests dressed in an odd mixture of clothing wait to get inside. Standing at the doorway to the pub, a short, handsome man greets the party-goers. Yuriko notices that he is armed. When the two friends are at the front of the line, Dillon hands the man his invitation. The man smiles and tells Dillon that their host “is most interested in meeting you.”
Inside, an ecclectic group of people mingle and chat. There is something “off” about the crowd, but neither Dillon nor Yuriko can put their fingers on what that might be. In the epicenter of the room, a stunning Asian woman holds court. She has shocking green hair that matches her green backless gown. People are treating her with obvious deferrance. As Dillon and Yuriko approach, one of the party-goers asks the woman to extend her courtesies to “Her Majesty.”
The beautiful woman introduces herself as Abby Myazaki. She takes each of their hands in turn. At Myazaki’s touch, Yuriko is filled with a strong urge to protect her. Myazaki takes them into an adjoining office. She has sources that tell her that Dillon fought with a gruff in Forest Park. She is the Envoy of the Queen of Air and Darkness. When a denizen of the Summer Court is attacking mortals in her realm, the Queen wants to know why.
Gruffs are usually sent. The Winter Court controls the region of Portland. If Dillon would be able to determine why Summer has taken an interest in Thomas Casing, she would be in his debt.
She gives him Gordon’s cell phone number. If Dillon finds any information, he can pass it along to Gordon. When Yuriko looks at Gordon out of the corner of her eye, something about his appearance doesn’t seem right. Looking at Myazaki, however, does not have the same effect. The two are effectively dismissed and both leave the party.