Molly and Harry have just returned from battling slime demons, and are cleaning things off. Harry sets aside his blasting rod and staff, as they're coated in slime, and throws his (nigh-indestructible) coat in the fire. Molly asks how she's going to get home, and Harry asks if she could just call her folks. It's Valentine's Day, though, so her parents are likely to be occupied. This reminds Harry that he has to get a birthday present to Thomas. He hedges on who the gift is for, but Molly, with her many siblings, knew they were brothers already.
They go to Thomas's apartment, but he's not home, so Harry gives him a call on his cell. Thomas is at the Woodfield Mall in Schamburg, doing a favor for one of his employees. Thomas was elusive as to what the favor was, so Harry decides to go to the mall, whereupon he and Molly notice several things that aren't right: the mall is closed, but there are cars outside; one of the shops is lit up, and has no curtain down over it; and the security camera facing the entrance is broken. As they're noticing this, two people in long black hoods walk into the mall, as though they expect the doors to be open. Harry takes out his .44 revolver and goes inside.
Inside the shop, Harry sees a group of people, all wearing lots of black, and thinks they may be vampires. However, he determines -- largely based on their acne -- that they're just people, in costumes. Raymond, apparently acting as security for the group, asks him what he's doing there. He says that he recognizes Harry, from six or seven years ago at Shoegasm. Right when it gets tense, Thomas and Sarah, a young woman from his shop, show up. It appears that the group is there to larp Evernight, and Sarah had asked Thomas to join in, as a straight vampire. Thomas and Harry talk to one side, and Thomas reassures him that it's all in good fun, and that he owed Sarah a favor anyhow.
"Ennui" comes up and addresses Thomas as "Ravenius". Thomas tells Harry to put his hand on his head; Ennui does the same, apologizes for interrupting, and walks off. (Putting one's hand on one's head while larping means the person is now out of character.) Harry turns to look for Molly, and finds her pressed against the entrance doors, facing away, in psychic shock. He and Thomas also note that Raymond was probably dead. They bring her inside and get her a coffee, to help her snap out of it. Between the three of them, they determine that something killed Raymond so fast that Molly didn't see it, and his neck snapped from the whiplash.
Just then, the streetlights go out.
Harry tries contacting Murphy using a phone in the back kitchen but it dies, along with the lights, music and heating system in the bistro. He then decides to take Molly and Sarah (who's uncle owns the place) to find the security office whilst Thomas stays with the larpers. Thomas mentions he saw something moving outside.
Just as the three step out, a car comes crashing through the glass entrance of the mall, about eight feet of the ground, and tumbles towards them. Molly moves herself, but Harry has to grab Sarah around the waist and pulls her away from the oncoming car. They run until they are around a corner and Harry signals the other two to be quiet whilst he listens. He hears footsteps coming from the entrance of the mall and walking on the crushed glass.
Harry, Sarah and Molly quietly walk further away so they can talk without being overheard. Sarah, who is very shaken asks if it was terrorists, to which Harry admits to them being "bad guys of some kind".
Sarah continues leading them towards the security office when the lights start turning on and off in different areas of the Mall "like watching a child experiment with the switches".
- Main article: List of The Dresden Files characters
In order of appearance:
- Molly Carpenter
- Harry Dresden
- Thomas Raith (in-game name "Ravenius")
- "Ennui" (in-game name)
- Constance Bushnell/"Drulinda" (in-game name)