Originally broadcasted 2/8/05
Sir Cyril Rodham’s Office – Evening
Three Weeks Ago
“Come now, it’s not so bad.” Sir Cyril Rodham walked to his liquor cart and chose a nice sherry. “And we’ve made great headway thanks to your Tokyo junket. Why would you want to throw all that away? And your healthy paycheck? Hm?” He grinned patronizingly.
“I’ve told you already. I have something personal to attend to. It requires my presence and I’ve put it off long enough. The Organization will get along fine without me for –”
“We’ll do nothing of the sort!” Rodham snapped, dropping all pretense of pleasantness.
The phone on his desk began ringing. He stared at it for a few rings, then back at Ethan Rayne.
Ethan smiled benignly back at him.
Rodham gave him a dirty look and picked up the phone. “Yes,” he said quietly into the receiver. “Yes, I understand.”
Ethan walked casually over to the big brown, black and white dog lying on an imported oval rug. The animal’s head was up, eyes alert and ears pricked.
Rodham was absorbed in his phone conversation.
“My release orders,” Ethan told the dog quietly, nodding towards Rodham. “This is all for show. They want me to think they’re allowing me to go for a bit. But they have other plans –”
“That was the Organization,” Rodham said, hanging up the phone. “It seems your request has been reviewed and…” he paused, seemingly chagrined, “…granted.”
Ethan Rayne’s lips curled up in a sneering little smirk. “According to plan,” he whispered down at the dog.
Televised News Report
A male reporter delivered his voiceover on top of footage of black-clad mourners at a funeral. “This is the seventh such death in the Cleveland area, and people are all saying the same thing – they’re scared. Whatever this virus is or how it is transmitted, doctors are having a difficult time deciphering its true nature.”
“What’s baffling doctors most about these deaths is that they are instantaneous and unpredictable. There’s no warning that anything is wrong and no discernible cause. There is no pattern of age, race, gender or lifestyle. The only thing that seems to tie the victims together is that they were all considered ‘vibrant, ‘full of life,’ and ‘spirited’ by those who knew them.”
It’s easy to understand why Albert Seklar, sixteen-year-old brother of the latest victim, twenty-one-year-old Richard Seklar, would seek solace in this unlikely scenario.”
The report cut to tape of an interview with young Albert Seklar.
“It’s not a virus! It’s not anything like that! I saw it, I saw what killed him!” The young man cried out. “It was like air, if you could see it…It, just kinda – it just blew right through him. He just –” A sob escaped him. “He made this weird sound and then he just stopped. Stopped living.”
The screen shifted again to show a live shot of the reporter himself on a city street, holding a microphone in front of him.
“Tonight, we’re told that Albert Seklar is sedated and resting, while his parents struggle with the funeral arrangements for their oldest son. This is Matt Lanner for Eyewitness News. Back to you, Claire.”
Watchers Council – Giles’s Apartment – Night
Giles and Becca sat on the couch in his apartment, silently watching the news report. Once it was over, Giles immediately reached over to the phone on the end table and speed-dialed a number.
“Oh, um, yes, Rowena. It’s Giles. Can you put Willow on for a moment?”
“Well, where on earth –” He sighed as Rowena said something. “Well, we have a problem…What do you mean you have no way of contacting her? I thought she agreed to tell us where…very well. Meet me downstairs with the others…Five minutes. Yes.”
Giles hung up the phone and turned to Becca as she lay by his side.
She smiled at him and patted his leg, “I’ll keep the sheets warm,” she said.
Sir Cyril Rodham’s Office – London – Night
Sir Cyril Rodham grinned as he picked up the phone and dialed. “Is this James?” he asked when the other party answered. “This is Cyril Rodham. She’s told you what She wants, correct? Good. He’s a loose cannon that we can no longer afford, no matter how good a job he’s done for us in the past. Yes. But only when the job is finished. Don’t call us before.”
Rodham hung up the phone without saying goodbye. “Thugs!” he muttered, Then he poured himself another drink.
Fancy Apartment – Cleveland – Same Time
The distant, unintelligible sound of someone answering a phone could be heard through a telephone headset as it was held to man’s ear and mouth.
“Yeah, it’s Jimmy. Tell him we got a job for Il Papa.”
Jimmy Volano’s eyes flashed angrily at the reply on the other end of the line.
“No, not Giannini! We want the Pappagallo,” he said, slamming his hand down flat on the desk. “You gotta problem with that?” He settled back easily. “I didn’t think so. The guy’s name is Rayne. He’s in Cleveland two, three weeks already. Roadside Inn. No, send Papa here, first.” He hung up the phone and looked across the room.
“You’re a dead wizard,” he breathed into the air.
End of Teaser