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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38. Episode 4 - Chapter 37

The Priest
July 24th, 2017
5:03 PM


At five in the afternoon, for the last three days, the Priest was always at the ready. He stood in front of the door and knocked. And by five-twenty in the afternoon, he would leave. It was like that. He felt like a debt collector.

It wasn’t unreasonable. He just wanted to know what had happened. The news didn’t share much information about anything, other than the number of corpses found and the destruction wrought by the burning building. He wanted to hear it from Apollo. But Apollo would not say it. He did not open his doors. Not until the fourth day, when he had patience, when the bags of his eyes receded into soft wrinkles. His body was slop. His hood dragged down on his back, sweatpants tore at their bottoms, made him slide as they wrapped around his feet.

“What in God’s holy name is this.” The Priest entered the door. Apollo had just unlocked it and had not even given him the courtesy of opening it.

“You’re a mess.” He said. Apollo sat in his chair, marking maps and throwing empty white bottles of orange juice to his side and into the trash can. He rimmed them, though did not land them. They lay, the bottles, in groups like dead seagulls at the shoreline. 

“What do you want?” Apollo asked. He was drawing circles over pictures of men. Suspects, the Priest presumed. There were other papers on the floor, ripped in half or stained black with coffee. 

“What do I want?” The Priest walked forward, past the desk and to the window. The blinds were closed and lay stuck at the bottom by a truss. He broke the rope and the handle and watched as the cloth ziplined up and all around the room, the cold dark air thanked him. A ray of gold cut the murk like a water jet, slicing through the coal-colored darkness. The dust particles were illuminated, they flew gentle and serene and dissipated.

“It's like a temple.” The Priest looked to Apollo. “And you’re the mummy living in this sarcophagus.” 

“I don’t need a nanny, I don’t need a maid. Why are you here?” Apollo asked again. He ran to the table, he wrote a number down. His hairs were uneasy, he hadn't slept. Unwieldy.

“We haven’t spoken in a few days. Though I always expect that of you.” He said. “It’s Dion I’m worried about. I haven’t seen him come to church to pray, I haven’t spoken to him at all.”

“Why do you care?” Apollo asked. “You called him an animal the first day we were here. Or was it monster? I forget. Anyways, are you surprised he doesn’t want your company?”

“So what? I don't feel ashamed one bit by saying it.” The Priest stepped in front of Apollo. “I still think you two are monsters. Half-demons, ridiculous. Agents of god, they want me to call you that.”

“Not half-demons. Only part.” Apollo walked passed him. He tore a taped photo on the wall, it looked pixelated. “And for the second part of your question. It's not my business to know what Dion does, as a matter of fact, I think it's for the best.”

“He’s your partner.”

“Was. We had another spout.”

“You always have a spout. Your like cats, like children."

"Like animals or monsters?"

"Yeah, but at least you're half sensible. I trust you more than I trust him." The Priest said.

“Not my problem.” Apollo said. He looked around, his eyes fell to the floor. “Not Dion, not this city. None of this is my problem.”

“What are you talking about?” The Priest asked. 

“Don’t worry about it.” 

“Don’t tell me what to worry about. My coming here for Dion was only half the issue.” The Priest dragged a chair around the room. It was a small complex but it felt bigger without Dion, without the presence of his laugh or his kneeling body on the bedside. 

“I’m here to talk about the fire.”

“What about it?”

“So you admit it’s your fault. Is that why you’ve dodged me? So you wouldn’t have to answer for it?” The Priest asked.

“We burned a building down and captured four degenerates. Rats, they weren’t even people.”

“And then?” The Priest’s eyes focused on Apollo. He could feel his stare burning the back of Apollo's head. A magnifying glass. 

“And then the place burned down and the four went down with it. Or five. I forget.”

“There was another body though.” The Priest rested his head on his arms and leaned forward. “A small girl. Do you know anything about that?”

Apollo stood. The pen-marker in his hand fell and he looked to his side for it. It rolled some paces away and he went to go grab it but the Priest grabbed him. Held him firm.

“What happened?” The Priest asked.

“A murder happened. Dion lost it.” He undid the grip. “He knocked me out. Prick has a nice right hook."

"And then?"

"Then, well, I don’t know what happened after that. I woke up a few buildings away. In a dumpster, of all things. There was no one left. Just a howl of sirens, firemen, police... Paramedics.”

“The bodies were mutilated. You think he had anything to do with it?”

“Ask him.” Apollo swerved from him. He went to his suitcase laying on the bed. It indented the mattress and left it concave, the springs recoiled into a harsh swing up as he picked the pounds. He was looking for shoes, a shirt and undid his hoodie. The sweater revealed his lanky body. Thinner than the Priest imagined, scarred too, burned, mostly. Striped like camouflage, like the rouge of soldiers and commandos in the thicket of the wartorn jungle. Zebra striped. Brown skin, black marks.

“I want you to answer to me.” The Priest stood. Apollo walked up to him, he fixed his tie and set his tired eyes on his face. The air in the room felt swallowed, vanished and the Priest could feel his head empty as if in a vacuum. He was waiting, wondering, if his eyes would pop out, if his eardrums would shatter into bloodshed. 

“I answer to no one,” Apollo said. “Not to the girl, not to her prick grandfather. No one. Fuck this city. Fuck it’s deranged people, fuck you. I’d let it all burn if it wasn’t tied to my payroll, believe in that.” 

The Priest would have been afraid. If he didn’t notice his eyes blink, shift, scatter under the word girl. He rolled a bead of his rosemary. A prayer, not for him. For Apollo. 

“You’re lying. I smell it. I’ve sat through too many confessions to not tell the quiver in your conviction.” The Priest said. “It doesn’t matter though. Lie or not, finish your job. I don't care what you fight for. Alright?”

“Stop bothering me and I might.” Apollo went to the door. 

“I don’t expect anything else from you."

"Yeah." Apollo's voice was faint. Exasperated, the air was cold and steam came from his breath.

"I guess my prognosis was correct, huh?" The Priest said. "Your kind really are more demon than man. Degenerates.” 

“Yeah, you old fuck. I guess you were right.” Apollo waved his hands. "Aideu, shithead."

“You machine man. With your machine heart. Follow your programming. Do your damn job.” He screamed out the door. There was no one there, just some footsteps that faded into clatter down the stairs. He slammed the door shut. Then realizing it wasn't his home, opened the door in shame and shut ut gently. 

"At least lock your own door." He shouted down, to a car driving away. It skipped a red light and roared down the road.

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