Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 36 – by lostandwhatever
Continued from Chapter 35.
Candice had called Carol before she left the shop.
“Hi, Candice,” Carol said, sounding even younger than she had only an hour or two before. “Did you forget to say something before?”
“I think I know where Mary is drawing her circle!”
“She’s going to use the streets of DC,” Candice explained. “I was just looking at a map of the city, and it would work perfectly for building a magic spell if you could draw it on the streets. I bet she’s going to do it today, too.”
“Wow,” Carol said. “I suppose using the city would make sense. Traveling to a desert or some other place like it would take too long. Still, it’s the Fourth of July. The city is going to be packed, and there’s going to be security everywhere.”
“Exactly,” Candice said. “It’s the biggest show in the country.”
“Oh, right,” Carol said. “Mary does have a flair for the dramatic. She would love a huge audience for her big show. I do see another problem, though.”
“How is she going to actually ‘draw’ the circle or shape or whatever it is?”
Candice bit her lip and admitted, “I’m not sure. I didn’t really consider how she would do it.”
“Wait!” Carol said. “A paint mixer!”
“Santa’s Village, the amusement park, it was missing a paint mixer.”
“Right!” Candice said. “So, she could be mixing something magical into the paint. Then, she could paint a line on the roads to form the spell.”
“That might take awhile to do with a paint brush, though,” Carol said. “And, it would draw a lot of attention.”
“How do humans paint lines on the roads, normally?”
“They have trucks that do that. Construction workers drive them around slowly painting the lines as they go.”
“Construction workers…” Candice said. “Why does that ring a bell? Someone we talked to mentioned construction workers.”
“Wait a second,” Carol said. Then, Candice heard Carol call for her husband. There was a brief nearly inaudible conversation between them before Carol said, “I just sent Chris to get my interview notes from the case. I think I know what you were remembering.” Seconds later, Carol said, “Thank you!” and Candice could hear the sound of pages flipping in a notepad. After a few more seconds of searching, Carol declared, “Found it!”
“What is it?”
“Chuck,” Carol said. “The real Chuck. He said he had a female cousin in DC that does road construction.”
“Do you think Mary found her?”
“It’s possible,” Carol said. “At the very least, if we found the cousin, she might be able to help us find out if Mary had stolen a paint truck.”
“Good,” Candice said. “We have another lead. Can you get in touch with Department 8 about finding the cousin?”
“I don’t know,” Carol said. “Last time we were there, the military was taking over. I don’t know if they would listen to us now.”
“Then, get in touch with Angela directly or anyone else on the team. Whatever else is going on, I know that they’ll help us.”
“Yeah,” Carol said. “They’ll help us. I’ll make sure that they do. What about you?”
“Me?” Candice said. “I’m at the airport. I’m supposed to be boarding a plane soon. There’s an elf here from the embassy that’s watching me right now.”
“Can you ditch her? We need your help on this. We can’t catch her without you.”
“I don’t know,” Candice said, looking back at the girl elf sitting next to Candice’s carry-on bag. “I might be able to.”
“Do it,” Carol said. “You know what’s at stake. You have to get out of there.”
“Right,” Candice said. “I’ll call you when I’m out of the airport… if I make it out. If I don’t call… well.”
“You’ll call,” Carol said. “You’ll make it. I believe in you. Oh, and the world might just end if you don’t, so make it happen.” And, she added in a cute toddler voice, “Pretty please.”
“I’ll do it,” Candice said. “Call you again soon.” Candice hung up and put away her phone. As she walked over to the girl elf by her bag, she tried to think of some excuse to walk away with the bag. Just saying she needed it to use the bathroom might be too suspicious. Then, she remembered what she looked like.
“Did you find something to read?” the girl elf asked.
“Not really,” Candice said. “Listen, I need to take my bag into the bathroom for a minute.”
“What? Why?” the girl elf asked suspiciously.
“Um,” Candice said in a whisper. “I think I’m menstruating.”
“Oh,” the girl elf said, looking both surprised and a bit disgusted.
“I packed a tampon just in case,” Candice said. “I’m going to take my bag to the bathroom so that I can get it out and…”
“Sure,” the girl elf said. “Go ahead. I’ll be waiting here. You go take care of… all of that.”
“Thank you,” Candice said. “I might be a little while, though. I’ve never used one of these things before.”
The girl elf held up her hands and said, “Just make sure you’re back to board the plane.”
“Of course,” Candice said as she grabbed her bag and wheeled it behind her on the way to the restroom. She looked back at the girl elf once and noticed her watching with a mixture of wonder and envy on her face.
Then, Candice entered the bathroom and closed herself inside of an empty stall. She opened her bag, fetched her sunglasses from it, and pulled out another adult-sized shirt. She swapped the shirt she was wearing with the one from the bag and put on the glamoured sunglasses. Immediately, her ears shrunk down to human sized and her hair turned a shade of golden blonde. She released her hair from its ponytail, shut her bag, and left the stall. When she checked her reflection in the mirror, she was happy to see that she did not recognize herself at all. Finally, she took a deep breath and walked out of the bathroom pulling her bag behind herself.
Act casually, she mentally told herself. Don’t even look at her. Although Candice tried to ignore the elf looking for her, she could not help but glance over her shoulder after she had walked a good 20 feet from the bathroom. The girl elf was still expectantly watching the women’s bathroom for Candice to appear again.
Candice wanted to cheer, but she kept quiet. Instead, she looked forward, smiled contentedly, and marched out of the terminal. She had made her escape at last. Now, she was hoping that it would be worth it when this was all over. At the very least, if Carol and the rest of them failed to catch Mary today, then Candice would be in deep trouble with The North Pole.
Candice called Carol as soon as she was outside of the airport.
“Did you make it?” Carol asked.
“I’m out,” Candice said.
“Good,” Carol said. “I just got in touch with Angela. It’s as bad as we feared. The military has totally taken over Department 8. She’s stuck there with them, but she did manage to get some of our team out of the building somehow.”
“I see,” Candice said as she waited for a taxi.
“They were able to find out some info about Chuck’s sister. Bill and Justin are on their way to Chuck’s sister’s apartment. Alice and Ken are going to check out where she worked. They’ve made calls to both places, but no one is answering the phone at either place. Where do you want to go?”
“I’ll check out the apartment. Mary might have been hiding out there. I might be able to find something useful if she left anything behind.”
“Okay, I’ll tell Bill and Justin that you’re on your way. I’ll also let Alice and Ken know to report to you if they find anything. We’re all going to be following your lead on this.”
“All right,” Candice said as a taxi pulled up. “Send me the address for the apartment.”
“I’ll text it to you right now. Call me once you check out the apartment.”
“Will do,” Candice said and hung up. She put her carry-on bag in the trunk of the taxi and got into the back seat as the text notification went off on her phone. She read the address to the driver, and he started driving. Candice briefly glanced over her shoulder as she put the airport safely behind her.