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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37. Chapter 36

Apollo
July 20th, 2017
1:30 AM


“You’re surprisingly calm.” Apollo said.

“Well, we’re working, aren’t we? I’ve already messed up enough to know what it feels like to get burned.” Dion came around the corner, barrels pointed to the hallway. 

Apollo turned as well, finger pointed to his lips. They both stood on opposite walls, ears to the walls. They could hear breathing. The house was alive. They opened the first door and looked around the room so dense with darkness and mold that breathing felt difficult, it was the dusty wreckage of the years harassing him. 

“What’re we doing here?” Dion asked. “The fire is rising.” 

Apollo hushed him again. They both looked around the room and the curtains that wafted lazily, they hung by one metal ring and dragged across the floor. Apollo watched them again, eyed them, and the contours they made. He came up to them and they breathed out. It was a quiet voice, like a mouse, an auxiliary creeping. He dragged the curtains out and watched them fly towards the hallway centerfold. A man was behind it, his suit ruined, he was on the floor with both arms to his face. 

“Look at what we found.” Apollo said.

“Oh, you’re in trouble.” Dion rubbed his chin. 

“Don’t you dare, I’m being watched over. He’ll punish you.”

“Who will?” Apollo laughed. 

“Astyanax. The king, he knows and his eyes are everywhere. His form everywhere, he is the universe.”

“Right.” Apollo looked around at the silence. “You worship demons and you’re telling me he’s everywhere? Ready to strike?”

“Yes.” The man spat at Apollo’s shoes.

Apollo kicked him with it and rubbed it in his face. He dragged him out and towards Dion, threw him. He cupped his hand and put it to his ear.

“I can’t hear his voice. I can’t see his face. I can’t feel him onto him. Well, shit, I think you just got conned, buddy.” He twisted the sole of his foot into the man’s belly and watched the breath come out of his lungs. 

“It’s time to get judged.” Dion lifted him. He put him over his shoulder and felt him slump. 

They came out of the room. It was a small study, was, now it was torn and thrown along and soon to be burned along with the rest. The stained books and sheets of wood would go with the building, they knew as they looked out to the window and the weary fire now growing. 

They came to a corner where the smoke was dense and saw someone trying to run. Desperation was in his eyes, he held a white cloth over his mouth and kicked the rusted knob of a window. It would not lift. Apollo came closer to him and offered his hand, he broke the lever and broke the glass and reached his neck around to meet the man’s horrified face. 

“You looked like you needed a hand.” He said. The man screamed. He fumbled towards his belt and took out a knife, dropped it, picked it up again and looked to stab Apollo. He was inches deep into Apollo’s body. His scream was wild, a doe caught out in the woods on some maze of branches, with the bristles choking him out. 

He looked up to Apollo’s mask, a little proud. He saw nothing. No pain on the dark, lines around the eyes, nothing on the white porcelain. Apollo simply removed the knife and chucked it out. It fell. It clanked when it hit the floor. And the second man began to sink. 

“Say.” Dion said. “Do you think he knows where the rest are?” 

“That’s a great question. It really, really, is.” 

They both looked down at the slunk man and his sucked-in face. His neck was fat and he looked like he was frowning three times over. 

 


They were done. Four of them were caught, three in a rusted chain, bound together and hauled around like cattle. Apollo held the chain. The other was hog-tied on Dion’s shoulder.

“This one went better than usual.” Apollo said.

“We burned a house down.” Dion climbed upstairs to the final floor, and from there, the exit at the rooftop. 

“Yeah, those things happen in this line of work.” 

“I’m just glad we caught them.” 

“I’m just glad we’ll have someone else to talk to when we get back.” Apollo grabbed one of their chins and rubbed it like a small child, an encouraging nudge. 

“You’re not going to torture them, you hear me?” Dion said.

“No, no. I promise.” Apollo yanked on the chain. “It’ll just be a firm, very firm, interrogation.”

“Please, stop.” Dion shook his head.

“This could have been done sooner if you didn’t lose your cool the first few times we came up against their little monstrosities.”

“Well, I kept my cool today.” 

“Only because I was here every step of the way. I doubt you would have done it yourself.”

“Why can’t you just appreciate some good fortune for once?” Dion pumped the head of the man on his shoulder. It knocked him out. “See what you made me do?”

“I’m just glad that soon, I won’t have to see your ugly mug ever again. We’ll finally be leaving. I can taste it.” 

“You’re already assuming one of them will talk. I hate that arrogance about you, it’s uncouth.” Dion walked up the stairs.

“Oh, trust me, they’ll talk.” Apollo stopped at the fire escape door. The rooftop was in front of them. 

“After you.” Apollo pointed the way. Dion rolled his eyes. He put one hand on the door. He pushed. They were silenced. The fire burned diligently, it ate and ate and in the quietness, they could hear the digestion of the building. It sounded like brimstone, like hell. 

In front of them was the last hellhound and next to it, they saw Sophie. And in that burning heat, in the smog and smoke, in the warping fumes of the flames of the fire, they both stood still. Frozen. 

“Dion.” Apollo grabbed Dion’s shoulder. 

But it was too late. All he saw was red.

And all Apollo saw, beyond in the horizon of the dark, was the blue meteor bullet shot out. It lept from building to building, eviscerating them with its fury. It stopped, finally, at a sign. A man holding a donut, and it exploded into a swarm of sparks. Like a migration of red doves had finally made their stop and scattered. 

It burned. And the destruction was laid out in front of Apollo. He tried lunging for Dion to stop, in fear that it would not end with just the wreckage. But he was punched, hit in the jaw and he laid on the floor, absorbing with red eyes, an oncoming darkness.

He was unconscious and stayed that way until Dion was done with his maddened massacre. 

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