We sat watching the TV, staring at it, really, transfixed and horrified and growing more and more restless. The grainy film of the outside of the bank rolled on, the police moving back and forth, muttering to themselves, but not doing anything, not moving forward, not stopping what we could imagine was going on inside.
“Why aren’t they scrying?” Jin asked impatiently, leaning forward in his seat as if willing the people to move in. “If he’s a human, he can’t have blocked their senses.”
“Salt,” Sage answered tiredly. “A ring of salt will do it; oldest trick in the book, and a lot of banks already have salt built into their vaults for just that reason.”
“Salt?” Jin glared at the TV. “Then a firehose would do it, wouldn’t it?”
Before Sage or I could say something to this relatively-wise advice, the chief of police looked up as if slapped. “Firehose.” Even with the volume down, his meaning was clear. “Someone get that truck over here!”
I could see Sage, on the other side of our oldest, turning to look at him, mirroring me, but Jin was paying us no attention. He was hunched forward, focused on the screen, every bit of his attention aimed towards the front door of the bank while the firemen dragged the hose over and aimed it at the door.
This could go so horribly badly. This could end in blood and tears, and some of both could be Jin’s. If the monster inside were not a garden-variety human, if there were someone else that could follow Jin’s signature back to him, an accomplice or just opportunistic… I glanced at my husband, and relaxed as he began moving his hands in a pattern I knew well. I sank into a half-trance. If this went badly for purely mundane reasons, if the monster killed all the hostages, well, we’d have to deal with Jin’s guilt in a mundane manner. But until then, we had his back magically.
The hose washed through the front doors of the bank, sweeping into the building. Almost immediately, the picture-in-picture flickered and focused on the scene inside, the hostage-taker sitting on the blood-covered slab, holding his long, messy knife and waving it at the captives. In his left hand was a kill-switch, an old-fashioned dead-man detonator.
Jin leaned forward so far he was nearly off the couch, his left hand twitching in a series of movements that looked more like spasms than magic. “Gotcha,” he crowed happily, as every single wire in the building wrapped itself around the monster. “There!” With an exultant cry, my oldest child passed out.
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