Dresden Files – Hot Summer Nights
The story opens with Rebekka, Ethan Idris, and Reg headed to Curios of the Third Eye for a book signing. Unfortunately, they find the shop entirely closed down. Curious about the situation, they knock at the door, and it is answered by the proprietor, Linda Kronsage.
Linda explains to the group that the signing had to be cancelled, as the artist was found murdered in her house earlier in the day. As she has a small clientele, Linda thought she had notified everyone, and was very sorry for wasting Rebekka, Ethan, and Reg’s time.
The group is understandably concerned, and more than a little skeptical of the whole situation. Linda is too upset to offer much help, so Ethan suggests that they speak to a friend of his at the police department, Officer Michaels.
At the station, Michaels is reluctant to help, explaining that the investigation is being headed by Sheriff Fletcher, who is quick to anger and has no qualms about ruing a persons day, and his career, if he feels slighted in any way. That said, Michaels gives what information he can…
Meanwhile, deep in the swamps, Jacob is settling in for the evening when he hears swamp boats in the distance. Knowing how rare it is that someone should travel so far into the bayou, he heads out to meet the boats, where he is waylaid by a group of armed thugs in ski masks. Without the slightest hesitation, Jacob shifts to his alligator form and tears into the assailants. It takes little time for the thugs to realize that things aren’t going their way, so the biggest of them fires up the boat and takes off into the swamp. The remaining (conscious) thug flees into the swamp, where Jacob captures him before he hurts himself, and drags him back to his cabin to talk. But what of the escapee in the boat, and the assailant who ran towards Jacob’s cabin at the beginning of the fight? They’re nowhere to be found.
Later that night, Sheriff Fletcher comes by with a couple of the boys to round up ol’ Jacob. The thing is, Jacob doesn’t feel inclined to go willingly, even though they’ve got a warrant. Right in front of God and everyone, Jacob drops into gator form, and high-tails it out of there, taking a bullet for his troubles.
Deep in the swamps, Jacob runs into Luke “Benny” Benoit. Benny heard the commotion from the family plantation, and headed out to investigate. After rounding up Jacob and convincing him to come along, Benny heads back to the plantation. Unfortunately, Sheriff Fletcher has made it there already, and is rounding up The Family. Knowing he doesn’t want any part of that, Benny steers clear of the plantation. Together, the two flee the swamps and head into the city to keep their heads low.
Meanwhile, back in the city, Rebekka, Reg, and Ethan have headed over to the artist’s house to investigate the murder. Getting into the crime scene proves to be difficult, however. But all is not lost. While the group is driving around trying to figure out what to do, Officer Michaels calls and notifies them that the death has been chalked up to a voodoo cult, members of which have been rounded up in the bayou. One suspect, however, evaded capture and is still on the lose. That suspect is Jacob. While investigating Jacob’s house, police found a kidnapped man and a bracelet that belonged to the artist.
Jacob is not unknown to the group, but he will have to be dealt with later, as the police have left the crime scene, and it’s time to go in. Breaking in through a back door proves easy. Inside the “investigators” find a grisly scene in the bathroom. Burn spots mark the room, and a human-shaped char spot is found on the floor next to the bed (and the telephone). In the bathroom, Ethan finds a toothbrush on the floor, the handle of which has finger marks smashed into the melted plastic. On the wall, written in soot is EX2218. Rebekka immediately recognizes the Bible verse Exodus 22:18
“Suffer not a witch to live.”