"Long story short," Stiles begins, "I pissed off a necromancer, and now my mom's in the living room."
Jordan rubs his neck. "That's not funny."
"No shit." Stiles steps away from the door. He's twitchy, sweat beading on his lip. A dark stain covers one shoulder of his t-shirt, spreads out across his chest.
Jordan's seen the results of a headshot too many times to mistake the blood and brain matter for any other thing. "Tell me what happened."
"You believe me." Stiles drags a hand over his mouth. "Good."
Jordan shakes his head. "I think somebody got shot, and you're confused." He reaches for Stiles, doesn't quite touch him. "It's okay. Tell me what you saw, we'll work it out."
"Fine," Stiles says, but he starts to calm, starts to breathe easier. "She came home. I didn't make it in time. When I arrived she was in the living room, and my dad had his gun on her. I told him what I told you, and he shot her."
The blood on Stiles' shirt is consistent with him being behind someone shorter when they were shot. "Okay," Jordan says, reaching for his gun. "Stay here."
"That's not all of it," Stiles says. "It didn't stop her. That's why I called you."
Jordan looks up in confusion. Someone's brains are splattered over Stiles' shirt. It's inconceivable that they're alive. "What?"
"It's not her. It just looks like her." Stiles breathes in through his nose. "It's a malevolent spirit. It's evil. It can't be killed. So either you get it out of her, or we chop her into little bits, bury the pieces in ten feet of concrete under the nearest construction site."
"You've lost your mind."
Stiles rolls his eyes. "Yeah, okay, whatever. Look, I'm wrong? Lock me up and throw away the key. But you're something. We don't know exactly what, if there's even a name for it, but we know you can do stuff, and I think you can do this. I need you to get that thing out of my mother."
Inside the house, Jordan hears a low feminine voice. He can't make out words, but the sound is soft, almost soothing. The expression on Stiles' face is profound discomfort.
Jordan lifts his gun as he rounds the corner.
He saw a photo of Claudia Stilinski once. It was just a glimpse, when the sheriff opened his wallet to a picture of an attractive, dark-haired woman and a small, smiling boy. The same woman kneels in front of the entertainment center, a long, low, heavy cabinet. Handcuffs pass under a leg, keep her low. There's a bullet hole in the center of her forehead and the back of her skull is missing.
A chill spreads through him as he starts to shake. "Sheriff?"
The sheriff's gun is in his hand as it rests on his thigh, but his eyes are on the woman. "Stiles tells me it's a copy," he says with a calm voice, but Jordan can detect the tension in the words. "It's not my wife, just looks like her."
"I don't know what you want me to do."
"Can you see it?" Stiles asks. "Feel it?"
Jordan shakes his head, never taking his eyes off the woman. "All I see is someone who should be dead—" He stops, the words catching in his throat when just for a second there's something there, something sharp and inhuman that makes him gasp for breath and instinctively lift his gun, finger tightening on the trigger.
"Yeah," Stiles says. He puts his hand over the gun, urging Jordan to surrender it. "That won't help." He passes it off to his father.
"I don't understand what you want me to do." Jordan eyes the woman on the floor. "She should be dead, and I don't know whether I should be arresting him or getting as far away from here as I possibly can."
"I don't know," Stiles says. "Say something in Latin, cast a spell, say the magic word."
"You want me to perform an exorcism?"
Stiles' eyes brighten. "You think that would do it?"
"No." Jordan shakes his head. "I don't speak Latin, for a start."
Stiles jerks, grimaces as his hands ball into fists. "When this is over, I'm locking you and Lydia in a room together until she figures out what you are."
"I'm a cop," Jordan says. He breathes in and out, slow and steady.
"Careful," the sheriff says as Jordan drops into a crouch in front of the entertainment center. "She offered to eat my face before you arrived."
The woman smiles. It doesn't reach her eyes. "You have no idea what you're doing, do you?"
"No ma'am," Jordan agrees. "But I'm going to try." He moistens dry lips. "Can you tell me what you are?"
"I'm hungry," she says, then grins, exposing white teeth. Her eyes flick up over his shoulder. "I thought about breaking his neck when he was born. I should have done it. He's got blood on his hands, and he feels every drop."
The room is silent. Jordan resists looking back to check. "Why are you here?"
Her eyes are like cold steel. "This is my home."
"I don't think you belong here." He reaches out.
She whines and shrinks away, strains against the handcuffs. "Don't touch me." She screams when he lays his palm over her temple.
Jordan locks his fingers in blood-sticky hair, holds tight to keep her bared teeth away from his vulnerable wrist. "You need to go now," he gasps, chest heaving as he struggles for breath. "Just go."
The eyes seem to burn brighter for a moment, then the light winks out. Jordan disentangles his fingers, shoves himself back as the body slumps sideways onto the floor, shimmers like a mirage and fades. The colors—dark hair, skin, clothing—swirl away into nothing.
Jordan looks up, heart pounding. Stiles' blood-stained shirt is the only lingering proof.
"Who needs Latin?" Stiles says.