Bacchus’ stomach lurched watching Pan blink in and out of sight, but soon enough the satyr appeared, huffing and puffing.
Pan gulped for air. “They’re too quick, Sire.”
“I thought the specters were supposed to be attached to her.”
“That appears to be—” Pan wheezed—“a figure of speech.”
“Maybe we’re going about this all wrong. I wonder if there is a way to lure them into a trap?”
“If the trap doesn’t include running, I’m all for trying it, Sire.”
Two hours later, Bacchus threw a half-melted carton of ice cream across the room, painting the far wall with swathes of pink, white, and brown. Perfectly good Neapolitan gone to waste.
Nothing he’d tried succeeded in luring the specters away from her for very long. Not gold, not cigarettes, not ice cream, though they’d been mildly interested in the pornographic movie he’d put on his the living room. Pan said they’d peeked around the corner, but the moment the satyr made a move toward them they’d scampered back to their host.
Bacchus tried to remember his last visit to Earth, prior to his downfall. For the life of him, he couldn’t remember ever having seen a specter. Pan had described the effort to see The Sorrows like scanning for a radio station. He’d had to find the right frequency, but once he’d tuned them in, he had a hard time tuning them out.
“I won’t even repeat what they said you could do with that ice cream.” Pan shook his head. “But they did appreciate the single malt scotch.”
“Always happy to please pure evil.”
“Sire, I think it’s time to reevaluate our approach.”
“I know, you’re right. I think we’re going to need some back up.”
“I took the liberty of inviting a few of your friends over. They’ll be here later for brainstorming, refreshments, and cards.”
“Why is it that you are always two or three steps ahead of me?” Bacchus smiled.
“Because it’s your job to perform in the now. It’s my job to make sure you don’t have to think about anything but the now.”
The former god squeezed his steward’s shoulder. “Were I given to weepy emotions, I’d be blubbering all over the place right now.”
“You should change for the party, Sire. I’ll take care of the mess here.”Without argument,
Bacchus trudged to the master’s suite. His thoughts weighed heavy on him, not that he’d expected this task of making himself whole again to be easy. At least they’d made a little progress.