and turned to stare at the NYPD Emergency Services Unit truck lumbering its way up the cobblestone streets.
The look of relief disappeared from Hexe’s face, to be replaced by one of alarm. The sight of New York City’s finest in Golgotham was as jarring as spying a centaur trotting through Central Park.
“Bloody abdabs!” he gasped. “What are they doing here?”
As the PTU responders stared in disbelief, an armed ESU squad poured out of the truck, riot shields and tear gas guns at the ready. At their head was a tall, muscular man with a gray crew cut, dressed in a Kevlar vest. He, too, was carrying a bullhorn, which he used to address the crowd.
“NYPD! Everybody freeze! Put your hands up where I can see ’em!”
Now it was the Kymerans’ turn to look bewildered. For a brief moment the groups of feuding humans and Kymerans were united in confusion as they alternately lifted and lowered their hands above their heads, uncertain which authority figure they were supposed to obey.
“I was wondering how tonight could possibly get worse,” Hexe said with a groan of disgust. “Now I know.”
The PTU commanding officer strode angrily over to the ESU leader. “Hey! Who do you think you are?”
“Lieutenant Daniel Trieux, New York Emergency Service Squad One, Lower Manhattan,” he replied curtly. “And you are—?”
“Lieutenant Vivi, Paranormal Threat Unit. This ain’t Lower Manhattan, Lieutenant—it’s Golgotham. You’re outside your jurisdiction. My team has things under control. I need you to stand down.”
“Sorry, no can do, Lieutenant,” Trieux replied sternly. “Nine-one-one received a call stating humans were under supernatural attack at this location. I’m under orders to extract all humans from the area and transport them to the Fifth Precinct.”
“This is a PTU investigation, and the only place anyone’s going is to the Tombs via PTU escort.” Lieutenant Vivi scowled. “You can pick ’em up from there. Like I said , we have things under control here.”
As Lieutenant Vivi argued with her NYPD counterpart as to who had the authority to haul the collective butts of the unruly crowd to jail, the Kymerans gathered outside the Two-Headed Calf began to mutter among themselves in their own language. Normally NYPD never ventured past the Gate of Skulls, leaving the peacekeeping in Golgotham to the Paranormal Threat Unit. Although I couldn’t understand what they were saying, it wasn’t hard to figure out that they were not pleased by the surprise arrival of New York’s finest. The same was true for the locals thronging the streets, who eyed the ESU team the same way gazelles size up a lion at a watering hole.
“They’re going to surrender me to the humans, aren’t they?” Oddo moaned, mopping the sweat from his brow with a filthy handkerchief. “They’re going to cut off my fingers because I attacked a nump.” He held up his hands, flexing the extra ring fingers that allowed Kymerans to work their magic. “I’m not gonna let that happen,” he said, his voice wavering on the verge of tears. “I’m not gonna to let them take my magic!” Before Hexe could convince him that his fears were unfounded, Oddo began pushing his way through the crowd, shouting at the top of his voice: “The humans want my magic! They’re gonna cut off my fingers!”
The wizard’s paranoia swept through the assembled Kymerans like wildfire. Within seconds what had been grumbling turned into full-fledged dissent.
“Go home, numps!” bellowed a Kymeran with a salmon pink afro. “Nobody’s taking our fingers!”
“Golgotham is ours!” yelled Skal. “Leave now, before it’s too late!”
“Everybody calm down!” Hexe shouted, trying to make himself heard over the sea of angry voices. “The police are just here to escort the humans out of Golgotham!” But it was no use; the mixture of alcohol, paranoia, and discontent had turned the unruly crowd into an angry mob.