After her last boyfriend, Royce, was consumed by madness while investigating arcane cults in Hong Kong, Macie thought I’ve got to stop dating supernatural detectives.
Before Royce, it had been devilishly sexy Max who’d been found babbling gibberish in the basement of a university’s occult archives collection. Before Max, she’d dated steel-jawed Harry, who’d been found in the Nevada desert, holed up in an abandoned cult compound with his eyes torn out. They said he did it to himself.
So, when Macie met Rocco, she couldn’t help but wonder What’s going to finally get him?
Oh sure, things went well with Rocco for a while. He was broad and tough, easy on the eyes with all that dark hair and that pensive, brooding face. He stayed out late at night investigating unspeakable things, stalking in midnight stakeouts and stumbling home bruised and riddled with nightmares. He drank too much. Rocco said he started the hooch after he quit the force, haunted by one too many unexplained disappearances. He had occult books stacked up in his otherwise bare apartment. All the signs were there.
Macie knew the whole thing was close to being over when he pocket-dialed her; all she heard on the other end was insidious, otherworldly whispering.
That same weekend, Rocco missed their dinner date and came tumbling into her apartment at 3 am, drenched in seawater and dragging black kelp. He shook her awake, seething from between clenched teeth: “It’s you—you’re the locus, the mad beacon!” After that, he keeled over in gibbering madness just like the rest of them, and for a second Macie was uncomfortable, thinking “Well, wherever you go, there you are.”
But then she decided to go back to bed and not worry about it until tomorrow, as that morning, of course, she had an important ritual to certain eldritch gods to perform, and she’d been working too hard on it to let one silly breakup ruin her day.