Forgive me, for I have never written much about the basement before now. There was always something about it that made me wary. I was never frightened of the basement, even after the dreams started. I could go down there and do laundry and change the filter on the furnace and the rest of it. But I always felt like a not unwelcome guest in that space, and I instinctively comported myself accordingly. So naturally, Wayne and his fellow cultists (I assume) simply clumped down the stairs with me in tow, and with all the solemnity and dignity of a flock of pigeons.
I was led to the one chair and allowed to sit while the cultists did what they thought were preparations for what would come next. I was honestly unsure why they bothered. The circle that they drew on the floor threw off no resonances whatsoever to my now-enhanced vision; and as for the candles? I suppose that they looked very dramatic, but I already had perfectly functional light bulbs down here.
But I give them credit for swiftness; it took them no time at all to scribble salt and drip wax all over my planned magical workspace. And then they did it again, apparently just to change their work by the merest fraction. When it looked like they were ready to nitpick a third time, Wayne cleared his throat.
“Enough,” he said. “We are not the ones doing this Great Work, after all. We must leave it to him” — he pointed his chin at me — “to finish what he started.”
I thought about making a short, bitter laugh, but I cannot always do it properly. I instead said “Ah. I was wondering how you planned to proceed with this.”
Wayne smiled weakly, torn between trying to be either ingratiating or menacing, and managing neither. “We planned to have you do it, of course. You will find us very persuasive –” and then he stopped in mid-threat, confused, because I was shaking my head in clear exasperation.
“This is getting tedious,” I said, and admittedly peevishly. “I will do the ritual. Which I was going to do anyway, before you all arrived. May I have these ridiculous handcuffs taken off, please?”