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The Grace Project Revisited

By BJ Worth

Even the hill the house stood on could sense that the auburn-haired man was coming. All the shadows of the trees shuttered as his car drove past. They cringed of fear of the power he had. For the auburn-haired man brought with him tonight the power of light and of darkness, and it was given to him to cast where he would. The car stopped in front of the pealing paint and rotting wood of the Raver Estate, amidst the overgrown yard littered with the overflow of the party inside, the bodies of people not quite dead, yet no where near alive. The auburn-haired man surveyed the people around him quietly as he got out of his car, then entered through the once red front door.

As he made his way through the crowd, everyone did their best not to acknowledge his presence, yet he felt their sidelong glances. Long auburn hair in a place like this can only mean trouble. He made his way to a girl standing on the edge of the crowd.

"You haven't seen Pam around, have you?" he nearly shouted to be heard over the music.

The girl smiled a wicked little grin. "She's busy."

"What kind of busy?"

The girl smiled a bigger smile full of girly charms. "Busy with Baby."

The auburn-haired man looked around in thought.

"Ok," he said, "I'll wait. In the meantime, get me a drink. I'll go hang in the green room."

"You gonna make it worth my while?" she asked, always with the same smile on her face.

"Hmm, let's see. Oh, I know, how about I don't send you to jail?"

"Fair deal I guess. The green room might be crowded."

"I bet it's clear in five minutes."

With that, the auburn-haired man disappeared down the hallway.

True to his words, the he was sitting all alone when the girl found him in the green room. Instead of handing the glass to him, she walked across the room and sat down in his lap.

"You sure know how to scare them off. You're almost as good as me," she said, putting the glass to his lips and letting him sip at the rim of it.

"They scare too easy. I'm here to help, how many times do I have to tell you guys?"

The girl giggled. "Our friend the DA. I never read that one. Hey, I put my ear to the door as I was coming here, and I'd give her about five more minutes until she's ready. You want me to show you what she was doing?"

She caressed his face with slow fingers.

The auburn-haired man took the drink from her. "You're sweet, kid, but I'll take a rain check. I've got things on my mind."

"I'll just go get Pam for you then," the girl said, getting up. "If you change your mind later, I'll be around."

When Pam came in a few minutes later, the auburn-haired man was sitting in the corner, looking pensively out the window at the black curtain that had fallen over the scene. His fingers were picking at the skin on his lips, and his eyes didn't move.

"For once, you look like the one in trouble," she said, leaning on the door frame. He turned his head and smirked at her. She surveyed his casual dress and smiled.

"Well, your outfit's getting better, but you're still gonna stand out as long as you sit up straight and walk with your eyes up."

"Got a minute to talk?" he asked.

"I just came, and came hard," she said, settling back onto a couch, "so you talk, and I'll just sit here and agree to everything you say."

"Here's to your sexual exploits," he said, raising his glass in a toast.

"Oh, hell yeah, give me a sip of that. Someone out front got you taken care of, right? You need anything else?" Pam inquired, stealing the man's drink from him.

"Don't ask me open ended questions like that. I'm still the district attorney."

"I'm sorry, I forgot. I'm just feeling so good right now…"

"I'm sorry, too. I don't have my usual…this isn't going to be a fun conversation."

"It almost never is with you, despite what you think of yourself," she said with a smile. "You bringing me in?"

The auburn-haired man looked down at the lime carpet.

"No. I want you to shut this place down."

Pam stopped talking and just looked at the auburn-haired man. He returned her gaze, both lacking any emotion.

"That's not going to happen," Pam stated seriously. She sat up and leaned forward on the couch.

"Things change overnight, Pam. Volcanoes erupt all at once, earthquakes happen. The angry mobs with the pitchforks and torches are only a few steps behind me, and there is nothing I can do."

"Bullshit," Pam cried softly. "You're the DA."

"I'm just the DA. The people want you gone, and no one is going to stop them. It's a changing world, and a different time. And you people are no longer welcome in it. Now I'm trying to get everyone through this transition time without any bloodshed."

"Oh please, you're covering your ass," she said with a sneer. "You're scared shitless that people are going to find out you've been making deals with us."

"And don't ever forget I've had all of your backs for five years. Now I can help you. You can come work for me."

"And what about everyone else out there?"

"I can only help so many people. I'm sorry, that's the way it is. This is not my fault, but if you are going to go crusading, you'll get run over just like everyone else. Please be reasonable and let me help you."

"So I can end up like Gemma?"

The auburn-haired man cringed. "That wasn't me, I told you."

"You know what," Pam seethed, "forget it! If we're going down, we're taking your sorry ass with us. You got enemies who would die to have the kind of proof I could give. Now leave before we fucking murder you right here! Shut this place down…"

The auburn-haired man smiled. "Relax before you hurt yourself. You can rant all day; you aren't going to hurt me. Not here, and not tomorrow when the cops seize this place. If the enemy you're referring to is the doctor, you're out of luck. We shut him down. He's packing his stuff tonight and pulling out."

"You're lying…"

"You're right, I'm lying."

Pam sat on the couch, just staring quietly at the floor, trying to take it all in and sort it out, while the auburn-haired man stood up.

"If you're here in the morning, you'll be arrested, and then there's nothing I can do. Please come by my office."

With that, he left.

Pam was in a daze now. She slowly stood up as the emotions rushed through her veins and got her all fucked up. She went to the door, down the hall, into the living room, where the throng of dancers were shaking the whole house with their rhythms, and looked them over with maternal interest. These were her babies, how could she leave them? How could she tell them that by morning it would be over? There was no quit in this group and their downward self-destructive spiral, and nothing for them to live for…

Pam turned off the music and the whole place instantly died. Everyone looked over at her.

"Listen up everyone," she called. "It's the end of the world tomorrow. For us anyways." She looked around the room, at the eyes dulled with chemicals. Like animals about to be put down for good. It would be best to make it quick. It would be best to make it painless. "So we're breaking out all the reserves tonight. Let's burn this fucker to the ground!"

The cheer from the crowd made her cringe. They didn't understand, and for that she was glad. She just cranked the music back up, and went to find more drugs.