Note to self: when running away from the most insane place on earth...run farther than Ireland and change your name, also, make sure that your idiot guardian angel has not forgotten to tell you something crucial, like the fact that your new body is still wanted by SuPo.
Three days ago I had been in Ireland and my biggest problem was the fact that I was on first name terms with the local fire fighters because our house had a fire at least once a week. This of course was normal and the situation was under control. I was living with Katja and her son Luka, was working as a policeofficer and yes... I think I was happy, I had managed to escape the madness, got rid of Johanna and had almost normal life. Then SOMEONE decided that Turku needed some law and order and because SuPo can not operate in the town without considerable risk of getting possessed by angels, blown up or going insane they decided to send someone who knew the place, knew the crazy people and had a police background. Someone who had successfully survived Turku in the past. Someone who could be blackmailed to take the job. Who'll fit this description, I wonder? Me of course, I just can't win can I?
I was back in Turku. This did not fill me with joy and delight. Someone was pulling my strings and threatening the only two people I truly care about. This sudden transfer from Ireland to Finland and promotion to chief inspector in SuPo reeked to high heavens. So did my orders. "You'll know what to do when you get there, talk to people, sort that mess out, you know the drill." Sure, I'll be done before teatime, no problem. It's not like pacifying Turku is impossible...oh wait, yes it is. I had no idea what the loonies had cooked up this time but I was going to find out, arrest people if I had to, threaten the rest and then proclaim that things were under control, everything was back to normal and hope like hell that everything would hold long enough so that I could vanish into Canada with Katja and the kid. I hate to admit this but maybe Kari and the rest had one good plan to every situation. That is: cover it up and run like hell. This is Turku, it cannot be made "normal citizen friendly place", the occult equivalent of Chernobyl will sooner or later revert back to utter chaos and apocalyptical beasts are going to pop up everywhere. That's why you have mages, they called the demons here and they can bloody well escort them back to their proper dimensions. I'm just here to see that they do so without exposing civilians to other dimensions and occult occurrences that would be hard to explain to general population. That's how I see my new job, I'm aware that other people have radically different views.
Well, if this occult shit has again decided to ruin my life I'm not going to suffer alone, oh no. When I get pissed I find interesting ways to spread the unhappiness around with a big shovel. I'm going to find out who's behind this and demonstrate just how much I like the fact that they threatened my family to get me here. I'll sic Johanna on them if I have to, that will be easy, I just have to tell her that those people over there are really in need of her help and have heaps of chocolate, then sit back and watch the fuck-up with a smile on my face. You do not want to mess with me, I have a loaded Zoroastrian living fire avatar, proto-seraph or whatever who owes me a big favour! Somehow I doubt this threat will work and anyhow using Johanna to solve any problem will automatically result in creative and interesting catastrophe that will make you feel that you would have been better off with the original problem no matter how horrifying the situation was before Johanna decided to "help". So I was in this shit alone. That was fine with me, I like to keep my family out of potentially dangerous situations.
Luckily the place I had used last time I was in Turku was free because the occupant had decided to return to Australia so I got the keys and put my luggage down. I decided to inform the resident blood-sucker that I was in town, always smart thing to do if you don't want to have a sudden urge to leap from tall buildings or do other self-destructive stunts because you pissed off a vampire. I did not have her number but I contacted a few lawyers and asked to talk to her or some representative. Then I called Hilkka and informed her that I was in town and wanted to talk. If she still dabbled with the occult she would know what was going on, I was willing to bet on it. Shame to shock her with my current employer, but it could not be helped. I was not going to skulk around playing secret agent. I'm a police officer not a wannabe-James-Bond and I was going to take care of this mess my way. That was not going to make me very popular, but I'm used to being treated like an unwelcome guest who asks far too many questions.
Before I went to Hilkka I bought some beer, I would have bought whisky or gin, but could not find a liqueur store. The least you can do before telling someone you work for a secret service or some other panic-inspiring organisation is to offer him/her some alcohol. While I was walking to Hilkka Laila Kokko called. News travel fast, she had heard that I was in town and probably wanted to make sure I was not carrying any hidden fire-angels with me. I assured her that I was here to negotiate on behalf of a concerned organisation and was going to leave as soon as I could and no, Johanna was not with me. Hilkka was working for Zen Genesis now that would simplify things. When I got to Hilkka I opened a beer and placed it in front of her. Drink it up, you are going to need it in a few moments. Then I showed her my badge. She nearly choked on her beer as did the other Zen Genesis employee Mirva. I can read people quite well and the expression on those two faces is best described with the word BUSTED. So...you have done something you don't want SuPo or me to find out...I wonder what that is... I dutifully noted that little bit of information because they shut up tighter than clams after that. "No, we don't know anything about anything, honestly, things just are...weird here. Yeah, we just woke up one morning and found out that Turku had all these people mysteriously missing and...well...what can you do?" Coming from two people who were going to do some rituals right after I left, that really was a load of crap but I decided not to push it. Sadly Finland does not have a law that forbids chanting and waving candles about so I couldn't do anything about it.
I walked home feeling somewhat gloomy. Would I arrest all my old friends if I had to? Sadly the answer is yes, if you have done something wrong and I find out about it and happen to be on duty then I will arrest you no matter who you are. I missed Katja and Luka. Missed reading a bedtime story, missed the way she smiles. They were so fucking far away and I had left so suddenly with only a call from airport. Be strong, it could be worse. You could have Johanna in your head, you could have Sini and Satu peeking over your shoulder giggling, you could be a helpless civilian with a broken back. At least I have a badge and the people I care are safe as long as I do my job here.
I woke up hoping that my coming to Turku was a bad dream. It was not. Damn. Well, back to work. I inspected Hansa and found out that the decorators had truly gone crazy. Looks like fairy-art to me, so the rumours about Turku leaking to all sorts of interesting dimensions were right. I decided to get a proper breakfast but found out that the only place that serves them did not open till 1 o'clock. Damn Finns and their erratic breakfast-times! I had to cook my own breakfast so it was burnt and unhealthy but eatable. I met one of the lawyers, explained the situation and arranged a meeting for later. I had to talk to a lot of people so why not do that in one place and all at once? Some people I wanted to meet alone before the meeting though.
I located Milla Mortis and went to meet her. She seemed to be every bit as competent as the files had labelled her, some kind of death-god or something. I learned that there was a serial killer loose in Turku (this place sure attracts all the weirdoes) and that at least one missing person, Tatjana, had been found and was now working as a secretary of Milla Mortis. Somebody looking after her? Good, then that at least is not my problem.
Milla told me about a ritual, that was supposed to call help to Turku. One champion of light and good and one champion of dark and evil, they should be getting here any moment...riiight, so you just called here Superman and Lex Luthor without thinking of civilians that get smashed by falling buildings? In that case I'm going to support Luthor, simply because supporting Superman is not cool and I hate that guy's dress-sense. Turku was really in need of help, because it was apparently full of portals that leaked everywhere. Pad plumbing, tell me about it. We searched for clues that this serial killer had left, but found none.
The meeting was postponed and moved to Hilkka's place because of "bad vibes". Hilkka and the rest of the bloody hippies simply refused to come anywhere near the lawyer's office. If they tried to piss me off, they succeeded. I was about to arrest the lot for hiding evidence. Those lawyers would have gotten them out of jail in a heartbeat, but at least I would have gotten some hours (maybe even days) of peace and quiet knowing that the worst occult idiots of Turku was somewhere where rituals were not allowed. The meeting went awkwardly, suddenly everyone had made a oath of confidentiality and could not tell SuPo anything. Figures. I informed them, that I was willing to listen and help if my kind of help was needed and that I was here as a cop, not as a secret agent. SuPo wanted Turku back to normal as much as everyone else here. I did not stress the fact that I would arrest anyone caught doing something illegal, I assumed that they already knew that.
I decided to get something to eat and test if I still had the ancient and horrible curse of eating Chinese food. The curse activates when I get a plate of Chinese food in front of me and immediately my phone rings and someone tells me something that will assure that I have no appetite to finish the meal. This had happened frequently when I was last in Turku. Sure enough, when the food was in front of me my phone rang. One of the lawyer's informed that the person who had arrived into Turku from a paraller universe was ready to meet me now. Sigh. Sure, I'll be there shortly, just let me finish eating. I relocated this person to a witness-protection program and returned to my flat.
Hilkka called and told me that she had resigned. That was nice, Zen Genesis and their inconvenient oaths of confidentiality were really starting to get on my nerves. Milla and the rest of the "teenage occultist's" were patrolling the cemetery in hope of finding the serial killer so I invited them to have a cup of tea. Tatjana was with them, but went away to meet someone called Eeva. It took us while to realise, that we had just let the most dangerous teenage occultist walk through the door...she was probably half-way through a ritual by now and one more ritual and Turku would part from reality. After her! But where the hell is she? No clue. Then I realised, that I was a cop and that grants certain privileges concerning other people's privacy. SuPo, find the cell-phone that has this number, now! Cell-phone was somewhere in Kupittaa park, the most leaky place in all Turku. Shit! The Park was too damn large, but we managed to find Tatjana in time. She told that this Eeva had lured her there, knocked her out and tried to frame her for doing forbidden rituals. What kind of complete idiot goes alone to meet a person she has never met before in the middle of the night when there's a serial killer on the loose? Apparently Tatjana was a grade Johanna idiot. I escorted her back to my place, got my spare mattress and informed her, that she would sleep here and leave this town tomorrow morning. Turku was not safe and I did not want to spend all my time looking after her. I told her that all attempts to sneak out or do rituals when I was sleeping would result to being handcuffed. Milla and the rest did not find the serial killer, they found one more missing person, Nison Buznikin, or more correctly: the ghost of that person. I was willing to offer him tea as well (I'm not sure if ghosts can drink, though) and perhaps get a few hints of who had killed him and where his body was, but he disappeared before I could invite him in. It was a normal night at Turku I guess.
I made sure that Tatjana got into a bus to Helsinki and arrived there. One problem solved, temporarily at least. I still had about two million problems left, so I made a few calls, requested information, got a map of leaky places so I would know where the monsters would break through and did other things, all the while hoping to be somewhere else. I hate my job. I hate Turku. I hate most of the people here. Luckily hate makes me very efficient and I never seem to know how to behave when I'm not angry. Being terminally pissed-off would probably result into stomach ulcer, that is, if I don't die of cancer or get killed by supernatural beasts or crazed occultists first.
I had gotten disturbing news. It seems that the vampires, mages and other occult people in Helsinki had decided to remove Turku. Right now all you really need is a little push and the town parts with reality and vanishes to some limbo. I really can't blame them, Turku has brought them nothing but grief, with all the apocalypses, dimension-hopping monsters and angels, vigilante mages--- but removing all the innocent civilians as well---that did not feel right so I had decided to do my best to keep Turku in this reality and dimension, as stupid place as it is. This decided I only had to come up with a plan to save Turku without letting the vampires, mages or SuPo know, that I was not cheering them on and doing my best to assist them in this clean-up operation. Luckily I was not the only one fighting the good fight, one of the lawyers called and told that they had received some instructions. People in Turku had to show that they could control this chaos, someone had to take control. Crazy place, bad plumbing---any takers? Apparently some blood-sucker called Ahlgård was interested. Splendid, let's paint the walls, arrange some mild-mannered model citizens to represent the people of Turku, wait 'till he signs the papers and run like hell leaving him in the middle of this mess. Vampires are good at controlling whole cities and telling other people what to do so--- Hmmm---the ritual that Milla mentioned had apparently called the champion of dark and evil and as I predicted I was ready to support him wholeheartedly. I had yet to locate the champion of light and good. After the weekend I realised who that probably was and spend some time laughing hysterically.
I tried to get some sleep and did the tactical mistake of leaving my cell-phone on. Text-messages came pouring in, waking me up every time I managed to drift to sleep. "We were supposed to meet tomorrow, but do you want to meet now?" In the middle of the night, what are you, a vampire? No chance, I'm sleeping. "I think I'm being followed---feeling paranoid, help!" Just lock the damn door and if somebody breaks in call the police. The OTHER police, thank you. Not me. Sleeping. Or trying to. Every kind of SERIOUS threat would of course force me to rise from my bed like a long-overdue zombie and stagger to the crime-scene, but luckily I got none of those kinds of distress calls. Well, if you don't count the one that I got near one o'clock in the middle of the fucking night! The caller was Harri, one of these other dimension space-time travellers, apparently coming from Turku that was filled with Nazis or was it Communists? Really paranoid and really annoying. He was, of course, just waiting me to threaten him with a gun, oppress his rights and make him disappear in mysterious circumstances. Sorry to disappoint, but not tonight, honey. I made him tea and told him that paranoia was understandable, but in this case he would be better of with the witness-protection program. He did not believe me but when Turku might disappear under me worrying about one lone crazy is not very high on my priority list. After Harri left I finally managed to get some sleep.
Tatjana was still convinced that someone was stalking her and the killer still on the loose---well, I'm not busy or anything, how about I add the duties of an armed bodyguard to my to do list? I invited her and her friend Eira for breakfast at my place. To better protect them of course (bullshit: I wanted to keep them where I could see them). I arranged the meeting to be kept at my place since I suddenly had these bodyguard duties. Milla, Zen Genesis and the lawyers were aware of the situation. Good. Now do something useful and I shall assist you. We ended up walking to Kerttu to get a late breakfast. Except that they had apparently stopped serving breakfast when we got there (I just can't get a decent English breakfast in Turku, no hope). I decided to be of some use and try finding the killer with Milla and Thomas. If Mikael and Christa stayed at my place and guarded Tatjana we could patrol the riverside in the evening. It would be dangerous, but calling SuPo swat-team would not do. Those guys are far too trigger-happy. Here I was in the middle of serial killers, vampires and maddened ghosts. Turku was ready to part with reality and I did not feel at all confident. I needed back-up. Back up that could be trusted to stay unnoticed, would keep me from getting glamorized by vampires (I don't care if you are the future Prince of Turku, out of my head this instant!) and in the worst-case-scenario could start evacuating people very fast. As bad luck would have it I actually know a person who can do all that. Johanna, Zoroastrian living-fire avatar and part-time guardian angel. I tried to think a reason why getting her to sit very still in the back of my head would be a bad thing and got only the classic "she generally fucks things up". I should have remembered that, I should have counted on it in fact, but I was stupid, I actually thought she could be of some use this time. Silly me, from this point forward I shall remember the sacred rule of universe: "Never ever use Johanna to fix anything. Johanna "helping" you will only result to a catastrophe ten times bigger than the original emergency."
I returned home with Thomas and Tatjana and started planning my actions. It was no longer full moon so I could contact Johanna via mirrors, safer than doing a direct prayer. I am not a devout Zoroastrian, so getting the right words proved to be difficult. When in doubt, use the internet. Amesha Spenta, Ashem Vohu---good thing that they still have the ancient texts here---now for something that mentions fire--- "Yasna 36: The Fire of Ahura Mazda art thou verily: the most bounteous one of His Spirit, wherefore Thine is the most potent of all names for grace, O Fire of the lord---" That would do. I scribbled down the parsian version of the prayer and went to do some unauthorized rituals in my bathroom. You will do as I say, not as I do. I joined all the double standard occultists with my actions, but I have experienced the power of vampire glamour before and ended up paralyzed from the neck down after that so excuse me while I make unnecessary paranoid arrangements so that no-one will ever do that to me again.
I said the words, burned some incense and waved the "bait" in front of the mirror. Come and geeeet it! Sure enough, the chocolate was enough to get the attention of my very own guardian angel. I explained the situation, showed her my badge and told her to keep quiet and keep the wings tucked in. If I was in danger to do something stupid because some vampire told me to, only then was she allowed to come forward and stop me. Is this understood? No talking, no waving, no chocolate, no wings, no fun! Johanna agreed, she's one of the easiest "people" to talk into things, and of course she wanted to keep Luka's godmother in one piece, otherwise she'd never hear the end of it from Katja. The fire in the mirror disappeared and I felt once again the presence of her inside my head. No flaming wings sticking out? Good, let's go.
The night came and we set out to do some patrolling. No sign of homicidal maniacs, Thomas could not smell anything relating to the killer and Milla did not sense anything strange. We refused to give up however. Milla got an invitation to meet the vampire and returned amused. He had apparently tasted her blood and had not liked it. I hoped that I would not have to meet this Ahlgård, I'm edgy around vampires, they are scary, manipulative and better off dead. Really ashes to ashes dead. Not that I would say that directly to them, especially when I want them to take Turku off my hands. I even let the future Prince to use my flat as a meeting-place when he unexpectedly chose to come calling. Luckily I did not have to see him or talk to him, we had arranged him a first-class secretary to take care of everything. Well---maybe not first-class because we had simply recruited Tatjana's friend Eira (a distant cousin of Senja apparently) but goths and vampires get along well, don't they? Hilkka dropped by and was thrilled to find that Johanna had returned. I allowed them to talk for a while but when they started gushing about Johanna's baby I politely asked them to stop all the hugging and giggling.
At nine or ten p.m we decided to give up. The killer was somewhere else. We returned to my place but got called out to meet the ghost Nison. He wanted to kill Thomas who had killed him in self-defence. Great. Go to the light, find your inner peace or go to hell for all I care, but stop bothering people! I had the knife Nison was after, it had mysteriously appeared in my flat, and I was almost willing to hand it over so that I could get rid of at least one problem but we had no time to discuss that. My phone rang. The caller was Thomas, Tatjana's friend was running somewhere near my flat with the killer after her. Shit! I started to run, all the time hoping to get there before it was too late. I located the girl and Thomas in student village's parking-place. The killer was gone and maybe it was just someone wearing black clothing and a large hat, someone who just looked suspicious. Milla, Mikael and Christa had run after me and there we were all in plain view. Then Nison appeared out of thin air and attacked Thomas. Christa did something and the explosion destroyed Nison, who disappeared, only to appear next to Thomas apparently unharmed and ready to fight some more. My phone rang and someone with a really raspy voice said something. I told him to call again and slammed my cell-phone shut. I was in a middle of a monster mash, no time to talk!
I had no time to yell everyone to settle down or threaten to arrest them because Mikael did something and Christa was trapped behind a force-field of some kind. Then Milla got angry and suddenly we were all going to die---My first instinct was run like hell, exactly like Thomas did, but then Johanna took control and I no longer felt the fear. My phone rang again and Johanna answered. The serial killer? In my flat? What? What the hell was happening here? I realised too late, that saying something like "I'm waiting you in the place where Sarah sleeps" is an invitation to Johanna, who has no self-preservation instincts whatsoever. I was walking to meet the killer---or Johanna was. In my body! Did I mention that at this point my body was sprouting three fiery wings? I glowed like a beacon, no-one, absolutely no-one would buy my "oh, I just happen to look like the fire-demon SuPo has been trying to capture" after this one---I was ruined, no doubt about it. I would never see Katja again or we would have to live like wanted criminals, hiding somewhere--- I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that I had completely forgotten the catastrophe at hand and so we arrived at my door. Do not open-too late. The hinges melted and my door was pushed aside. Do not go in there! Johanna did not listen. There were two people waiting, dressed in white, cloaked like Ku Klux Klan members, holding knives. They moved slowly, staggered forward silently, looking more zombies than alive people. First one raised a knife. Um---you really should not do that---hey guys, back off already--- My idiot guardian angel was trying to talk to them?!? When they did not listen there was only fire. White-hot wall of flame that burned them alive.
It is very easy to forget that Johanna is not human and does not react like a human in all situations. I would have simply retreated, maybe kicked the attacker, called help, not simply snapped my fingers and killed them. The fire died leaving behind the sickening stench of burned human flesh and two partially burned corpses. I have witnessed arsons and the like before so I did not throw up, wanted to, but didn't. I took control of the situation, removed the singed hoods that had miraculously survived the fire and saw two students that had gone missing earlier this week. Their tongues had been cut. Okay---zombies maybe? My phone rang and I answered. The killer called to gloat. I informed him, that yes I was still alive and would be coming after him. Then I arranged Thomas to dump the bodies in the mirror-space that Johanna had access. Destroying evidence? Hell yes, let's not forget that it was me that had torched them to death (I was possessed by my guardian angel is an explanation I'm not going to say anywhere anymore) and "killing zombies in self-defence" is pardonable offence in movies only. So---mysterious fire, people hallucinating that they had seen me with fiery wings, remarkably wolf-like dog loose in parking-lot, some fireworks going off in the same parking lot---think they are going to buy those explanations at SuPo? Well, not the fiery wings one, but the rest---maybe? Maybe not. I was done for, I could either run and hide or face the interrogation squad. I decided to do the latter. Johanna could take Katja and the kid and hide them, SuPo would have their hands full questioning me. They would not find anything, once Johanna would leave my body I would no longer have any pyrokinetic powers, but at least I could buy some time---
I grabbed my stuff and decided to spend the rest of the night in a hotel. The rest of the people were still trying to get rid of Nison. Mirva wanted to do some rituals---great, bloody great, some more rituals. Hand over the cursed knife, we're going to poke more holes to the universe with it! I lost it and started to yell, told them that they could kill themselves with the knife for all I cared. I handed the knife to Milla and walked away. Screw this, screw all the bloody mages and their rituals, I was finished. There was nothing, absolutely nothing that could make this any worse. I was wrong, my phone rang. It was one of the lawyers. His highness, the future Prince of Turku wants to meet you. It took all my crumbling sanity not to giggle manically. Fine, let's meet, I can't wait to explain all this! If I think hard enough I may even have a explanation that does not lead to popular conclusion "this person is crazy and armed with a living flame-thrower, kill her as quickly as possible". I had hit the rock bottom. I was too tired to run, too tired to lie. So I went to meet the Prince. I smelled of smoke and burned human flesh, my clothes were singed and I could not rub all the soot away. I felt like Bruce Willis or Clint Eastwood after a really hard night. Want to bite me? Make my day! I told them what had happened, how Nison had triggered more than one safety systems in the parking-lot and how my back-up had killed two zombies in self-defence. I told them that after this night I would not be held in high esteem by SuPo. They wanted me to be there for the trial nevertheless. Fine, I'll be there, I won't guarantee I'm going to be there sober though---
I found a hotel, got a room and spent the rest of the evening drinking those ridiculously small bottles of alcohol that minibars are stocked with.
I woke up with a hangover. Tatjana called and we decided to have a few drinks before the trial. Cop and teenage-occultist sitting peacefully together, trying to drown their sorrows with alcohol---beautiful really. I was in that blissful state when you just know that nothing you do matters anymore. Everything is so thoroughly fucked up that nothing can fix it. Johanna was really sorry of course and I had already forgiven her, she cannot help the fact that she has no brains. Everything she touches turns into a bigger mess, I should have remembered that. Too late now. Nothing to do but wait for the SuPo officers that would come to arrest me for arson and terrorism. Ironic. Well, Katja and Luka would be safe, that was the important thing.
I sat through the trial and pretended that I actually cared. Well, I cared enough to complain about all the unnecessary rituals and accused Mirva of being drunk while doing magic but that was about it. Everyone present wanted to keep Turku in this dimension so it was really just a show. Does anyone object? Good, we now have a new Prince and all wrongs will be officially punished. Don't do it again, you can go now. Johanna wanted to call Kari. Fine, call him, he can't help. Turned out that he could, he simply suggested that I put up a show and drive the bad firedemon away heroically like a good cop should. Hmmm---Johanna, feeling suitably dangerous and supernatural today? Manifest with the wings and the flames, rob a candy-store or something and then I can drive you away, saving the day and saving my ass. I was possessed, but I managed to drive the fiend away nevertheless--- can I go and have a sick-leave? Please? A long shot, but it might just work--- and once I was out of the country I would get my family and relocate somewhere that did not have any contracts with Interpol, Canada perhaps.
Johanna went back home with Hilkka after I had heroically banished her. She did rob a candystore so I hope that Kari, Anne and the rest of the gang in Marocco are prepared to have their guardian angel back giggling and in sugar-high. If they are not, tough luck. I named Mirva as the occult expert of Turku. When SuPo has occult problems, especially with drunk teenage occultists they will be calling her, hopefully waking her up in the middle of the night. Just my little going-away present for the Zen Genesis--- No, I'm not a nice person, never claimed to be. I left my two-hour (there was no way I was going to wait two weeks!) notice and headed to airport. I wanted to see how much Luka had grown when I had been away and wanted to listen to Katja yelling at me for not calling and not allowing her to come and help. The most beautiful sound in the world, if you ask me.