The street was well lit in the cold November evening, throwing shadows across the walls of the numerous pubs open to welcome guests in for a recreational drink, or an extreme night of drinking. It was Thursday, so the latter was unlikely.
“Why do I let you convince me to do this stuff?” William Damarcus said, as he gazed uncomfortably around him.
“Come on, it’s a laugh!” Claudia Donovan jogged ahead giddily and spun to face him, “you’ve never watched me perform before!”
“That’s because I know it’ll make me cringe. It always does, watching people I know.”
“You’re just scared you’re going to be attacked by a nutjob in the night.”
“Not true. I could take whatever the night could throw at me. I’m just concerned something drunk might try to kiss me, female, male or unspecified.”
“Would you prefer either way?” She laughed.
“I have my preferences.”
They arrived at Claudia’s café, which doubled up as a bar, and entered through the front. Claudia strolled up to the man behind the bar and smiled at him.
“Hey Claudia. I’ve been waiting. You were meant to be here an hour ago.”
“Yeah, sorry ‘bout that. Something came up. So… when’s my time slot now?”
“I’ll need to tune up, but OK,” she strolled off, leaving William stood at the bar. Like a lemon.
“Can I help you?” the bartender asked.
“I don’t suppose you have any alcohol that could render me unconscious in say… ten minutes?”
“You her boyfriend?”
“Boyfriend. Husband. I forget.”
“She’s a good performer, you don’t have to worry about feeling awkward watching her.”
“Yeah I know. It just makes me uncomfortable. And she’ll look at me. She might even smile. The thought terrifies me.”
“You’re an odd one. We like odd ones here. It’s why we let her perform. Take a seat and I’ll bring you over a pint. It’s not on the house though, don’t get excited. What’s your preference?”
“Bombardier. If you don’t have that then Carlsberg.”
“Carlsberg it is.”
William smiled and walked to a table. Ten minutes later she stepped up.
“Er, hi. Yeah. I’m Claudia and I have a song to play.”
Don’t talk to the people Claudia, William thought.
“It’s called Wake Me Up When September Ends. I’m a punk fan and…”
William stopped listening. It took all his willpower to stop himself from saying that Wake Me Up When September Ends is in no way punk, or that Green Day hadn’t released a proper punk song for three albums by this point. He bit his lip, glugged some beer and turned his attention back to Claudia.
She was looking at him. God it terrified him.
“Summer has come and passed. The innocent can never last. Wake Me Up When September Ends.”
She could sing, he’d give her that. His phone buzzed. He looked down. When he looked back up she was glaring at him in such a way that no one but him would ever even know. What a performer!
He read his text: We have a problem.
It was Artie. It seemed that his favourite phrase recently had been ‘We have a problem’.
William replied: What?
Artie: We’ve had four pings. One is very near you. Not sure what it is yet or why the Warehouse detected it as there have been no reported incidents of anything strange.
William: I nicked some Warehouse 13 technology and tagged it on to ours. That’s how. I wanted our second Warehouse to be as amazing as the original.
Artie: Right. Me and Steve are off to check out a random storm. Pete and Myka are off to a shopping mall where people are being turned to stone and Francinia, Andrew and Jack are off to find who keeps killing people by starving them of oxygen. You two, keep safe and stay alert.
William: Will do.
Claudia grabbed him and yanked him out of his seat, knocking over his pint. There was a stream of lava gently spreading across the floor. People were just starting to notice and just starting to scream. William felt suitably embarrassed that he hadn't noticed, but didn't let on. He liked his phone.
“Is there a volcano near here?” he asked.
Claudia sighed, “Somebody is using an artefact that was stolen last week called the Pompeii Amphora. It spews an endless stream of lava.”
“Why can’t it be anything pleasant, like an endless stream of fluffy bunnies?”
“’Cause that wouldn’t be very Warehouse 13y. What do you think the label would say on the shelf: 'this is the Rabbit Amphora. It spews an endless stream of cuddly domesticated pets'?” William grabbed her arm and dragged her outside. Then just as suddenly as it had started, it stopped. And the lava turned solid.
“Right. Whoever started it is still here. Let’s find them.” Claudia glanced around her.
William turned to see a man running away. Quite fast, and holding what seemed to be a jug. “That who we’re looking for, by any chance?” He asked.