It all revolved around the fish, but George couldn’t quite see the connection.
His abilities didn’t extend to fish, either, unless you count a certain amount of sympathy for their position.
In front of him, the pentagram made from a school of in sardines frozen in the ice continued to stubbornly exist and demand an explanation. The rink operators were more than a little put out. The figure was too obviously planned to be any kind of accident. Moreover, they were not in the habit of using seawater for their ice surface, and even if they were, it was highly unlikely that fish would have been included. And that is ignoring their provocative positions, lined up neatly in rows, under the mirror smooth surface of the rink.
No, this was deliberate.
The occult connection still seemed strong. There were too many sardines to easily count, so if there was significance in their number, it wasn’t going to be spotted soon.
Although it had happened swiftly, it also had to have been carefully planned.
The rink is outdoors, and access to it is hard to control completely. The park is closed after midnight, but that is only enforced against someone causing trouble. It was simply too much work to patrol the park other than a cursory sweep to verify that all the concession operators were following the rules. The rink was just another concession, operating where an open field would once again be found in the spring.
George looked around, and stepped away from the clumps of concerned citizens so the rest of his team could report in.
“Nothing to see here, boss,” grumbled the sleepy frog. It really was too cold for the amphibian, but he had insisted. “No one I can find saw a thing.”
“Same for us,” chimed in the owl. “We saw the prey, and thought it was funny that it was still. Decided it must be a human thing, and ignored it. That was after most people left, but before all the fuss broke out. The guy left on the ice seemed a little dodgy, so we kept our distance.”
“People aren’t going to like this when they find it in the morning.” George glared back at the ice, as if it could be forced to spill it’s secrets though intimidation.
The rink was the same shape as it was every year. It was installed after the first hard freeze by laying out a pond liner on the field and filling it with a couple of inches of water over several days. Refrigeration lines went down in the bottom layers to help it freeze faster, and to preserve it across the inevitable occasional warm rainstorm. It could be set up inside of a day if there was a reason to hurry, but letting the last half inch or so freeze slowly made for clearer and better ice.
It was cold enough tonight that any tampering with the ice would have frozen back over fairly easily.
And the area around the fish did not seem particularly disturbed.
He went back and shooed everyone back and off of the fish. He knelt down and examined the ice carefully.
And there it was. Near each corner was some spilled wax. It had escaped notice earlier because it was natural paraffin, and was a pretty good match for the color of the ice surface. There was enough there to make it clear that candles had been used, and for more than just a few moments. Someone set this up for some ritual purpose, had used it tonight, and drew enough attention that here we all stood in the cold.
Someone had gone to a lot of effort. Perhaps the fish had been there for a while and only been revealed tonight?
A strong enough glamor or “look away” charm could have been placed along with the fish to keep most people from noticing. But perhaps whatever was done tonight was too big to be ignored and the charm was broken?
A little more inspection revealed the shards of silvered glass in the center of the figure.
So whatever else happened, the mirror had broken.
Whatever (or worse, whoever) came through this portal was here to stay. And the City was going to need to be told something they could understand…