Heathens

Apollo and Dion, a dysfunctional rag-tag pair of demon hunters have been sent to investigate the city of Havenbrook and its inhabitants.

The mission is simple: to find the cultists responsible for a recent string of murders and to bring them to justice. Even if it takes killing dozens of demons on the way there.

But things are never that simple when you deal with the dark arts. Cultists, demon pacts, sacrificial murders all stand in the demon hunters' way as they search for the truth. A truth that will force them to question their own identities, a truth about the absolute evil lurking beyond heaven and earth. The question is, if they find the truth, will they be strong enough to handle it?

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13. 11:23 AM

He sat removing the contents of his burger. The lettuce first, onions second, tomatoes and finally pickles last which he put in neat piles around the plate. Dion entered the table with his own plate, staring at Apollo. His face convulsed as he looked at the man picking at his food like a confused surgeon. He looked around at the people who stared strangely at them now, to the customers who spilled out of their seats. The smell of grease lingered around them and around the orange and yellow restaurant whose mascot, a hot dog holding an onion ring, looked terribly happy and almost insane. 

Apollo looked out at the statue. You’d have to be insane to work here all day, he thought. Dion sat across from him and ate with giant gulps. 

“We’re finally talking? You were gone for a while.” Dion said.

“It’s your fault. You didn’t listen.” Apollo ate a fry. “I told you to wait and what do you do? Rush in. No plan. No anything but a hope to win.”

“I helped two people.” Dion ate. He was nearly done with the burger. “If I hadn’t come, they’d be in a grave with the freaking bells on top of their coffins.” 

“Don’t say freaking.” Apollo rolled his eyes. “It’s such a terrible word. We all know what you mean to say and what you mean to say is ‘fucking’. You put the word in our heads, fucking, but you save yourself the guilt of saying it. Terrible.”

“I freaking helped those two.” He grunted with the fries sticking out of his mouth. Apollo was just starting on his lettuce pile. 

“And what if we didn’t kill that thing? What if we were too impatient and it managed to get away. We’d be dealing with more than two deaths.”

“You already told me this. But I’ll tell you again, that didn’t happen so why does it matter?” 

“Everything matters.” Apollo brought his hammered fist down to the table. Dion looked at him and the eyes that seemed to look into a far reaching memory. “I know exactly what happens when we make mistakes, when we lose control of the situation or ourselves.”
 
 By now the other guests had begun to look around and with their curious eyes peered around the corner of benches and leaned towards the two noisy hunters. A woman came by with the baggy white pants and the bright Colonel Weiner hat that made her seem like a half-peeled orange. She smiled and stood carefully away from the table. 

“Is there an issue?” Her voice was peppy and nearly hummed at the end of her words. 

“No, thank you.” Dion smiled. She smiled back.

“No.” Apollo grimaced. Her face fell as she looked at Apollo and she retreated back. They waited a moment for the nosy eyes to look away and in the silence the two forced boredom upon the restaurant. 

“They really sent me some new guy.” Apollo shook his head.

“Who cares man. I held my own, I fought. As far as I’m concerned, I have as much experience as you. I’ve been practicing this stuff for nearly two decades.”

“There’s a difference between studying something in books and living it. I’ve shadowed under a mentor, I know these fucking things inside out. Their origins might be different, but deep inside, past the blood and guts, they’re all the same. It’s a mindless violence that grows in them. I can’t even call it evil, they’re too senseless for that. It’s more like instinct. They’re animals.”

“You're not as bright as you think you are, I could have told you that. I saw that last night. I know that.” Dion said.
 
“A one time affair doesn’t make you an expert. I have years of this stuff under my belt.”

“Years? We’re both twenty-four.”

“Physically, sure. Mentally, we’re about a century apart.” 

“Forget that, forget you.” Dion rose suddenly. He nearly spat and foamed at the mouth. His eyes narrowed to Apollo who was looking around nervously and beginning to feel the grip of attention at his throat. The people scared him more than Dion. His throat became dry. 

“Calm down.” Apollo said.

“Don’t tell me to calm down you hypocrite. I won't be lectured by you. I don’t need a lesser man who pretends that hiding and letting innocents die is any kind of sound strategy. Yeah, I rushed in and yeah, I’d do it again. A hundred times over, I would help a stranger out.” He got the words out and spat with his voracious mouth. The people again stared. The woman behind the counter shook her head and the manager nudged her to talk to them again because he had become nervous now. Dion was now aware of it all, finally and sighed.

“We should go.” Apollo lifted his tray before Dion stopped him.

“Don’t waste food.” Dion said.

None of them could believe it. Dion at the counter carefully putting everything in within the brown bag that soaked with grease at the bottom. He didn’t seem to care for everyone who watched, slurping their soda through straws that made an annoying draining sound.

“What the fuck is wrong with you. You’re not emotionally sound.” Apollo opened the door for him. They both left, Dion finding the nearest homeless man. A stray who wandered about with a half full cup of pennies. He handed him the bag. 

“That wasn’t yours to give. I believe that was my food.” Apollo said.

“And I gave it to those that need more.”

“So you’re still pissed at me.”

“This has nothing to do with you, narcissist. I helped him out, fed at least for a day.”

“And he’ll be starving the next, you should get him a job application instead.” 

“Is that why you brought me here? To make fun of me, of homeless people of all things?”

“I’m not making fun of anyone.” Apollo said. “I came to see if you’re willing to work like a professional.” 

“Always.”

“So you’ll listen to me this time around?”

“Maybe. If it’s morally sound.”

“Morality is flexible. Very few people ever think they’re evil. Even the rapists, or the pedophiles, or the murderers.” Apollo stopped him at a corner they were turning into. “I’ve come up with a few leads here and there, you’d be amazed how often evil makes friends with evil. A murderer can know a drug dealer, a drug dealer a corrupt politician, and so on and so forth. You start to wander around the underbelly of the city and you realize it’s like a facebook hang out for every piece of shit in a fifty-mile radius.”

“How’d you come up with a name?”

“If I told you what I did, you wouldn’t listen to me because I would not be moral. By your standards at least.” Apollo said. Dion was already rolling his head in disbelief and making a turn into the opposite direction.

“Hey, I don’t want you helping me either.” Apollo said. “But I believe in getting the job done and I’ll take whatever help I can get. I don’t have any pride or concern for anything but the job. I’m asking you if you’d like to help, if not, fuck off and go get me someone who will. Otherwise, we’ll meet up at our apartment tonight and leave.” 

“You wanted to ask me out?” Dion asked. “Send a love letter next time.

“Is that a yes? Do you want to cooperate?” 

“We’re not helping anyone, are we.” Dion murmured. 

“Is. That. A. Yes?” 

“Yes. Yes, whatever. The sooner we get this done the sooner I can get away from you.” 

“Great. I hope you enjoy clubbing.” Apollo said. “I know I don’t.”

 

Author's Note: Don't worry, it's all calm before the storm.

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