The stairwell was so cold I could see my breath. The roar of the crowd greeted me as I pushed open the door to exit the stairwell. I'd followed my mark to the Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and now had to find him somewhere inside this super-sized hockey arena. I was pretty sure the voice on the police band had said, "Gold Section 119, Row 4", but I could have heard wrong.
Looking out at a double ring of eighteen-thousand hockey fans, I didn't know what I would do if I was wrong.
The cold air in the stairwell had nipped at my ears and nose, seeped through my jeans and canvas runners, but as I pushed my way across a fully occupied row, I warmed to the body heat and excitement of the crowd. If I was right, his section was just over to the right and down a level. I didn't want him to see me coming.
The arena reeked of popcorn, beer and antifreeze. I'd just reached the end of the crowded row when the whole building jumped to their feet, screaming and cheering. An air-raid siren wailed alongside blaring rock music, screeching like dueling banshees. Coloured lights flashed. Fireworks cried out and exploded in a shower of sparks. In all the excitement, I wound up receiving a beer shower.
My hand dove into the large patch pocket on my now ruined coat, fingers wrapping around the cold grip of my M1911. My eyes scanned for my assailant.
My reaction was clearly not the usual way to celebrate the home team scoring a goal, and my posture earned me a few suspicious looks-- including the sharp eye of the security guard at the top of the row. I smiled in return, and eased my hand off my weapon.
I didn't have time for an interrogation.
I wiped my face with a dry spot on my coat sleeve, squeezed out my drenched ponytail, and tried not to take the shower personally. The excited fan had yet to notice I was there with all the hooting and hollering he was doing.
I focussed my attention, searching for the source of the fireworks. Found him. Just as the scanner described: Gold section, navy hooded sweatshirt, sending up fireworks without use of any seen devices.
Seemed to be some kind of fire faerie.
The security guards had wanted to move in and contain him. The police told them not to approach, but to keep an eye out and wait until a containment team arrived.
Containment team. I snorted. Yeah, team of one. Back-up was on the way, but I should be able to handle one little old faerie on my own.
Being a fire faerie made him Summer, and this being the prime of winter, he should be at the lowest of his powers. Hell, he should be practically hibernating. Yeah, I could handle him. Maybe not if it was Canada Day at Mel Lastman Square. But in the middle of this cold snap? I had this. I just had to get to him before he noticed me and made a run for it.