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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12. 10:34 AM

Alestor did not want to be here, working, the therapy room was too cold for him but he had to be here. It was demanded of him, as everything was always demanded of him.

Seven times they had been at it, Mrs. Breyer and Mr. Alestor. She was confidant that today they would get to the root of her psychiatric deformity. That’s what Alestor called it anyways, a bump, a mutation they could easy cull. An over grown limb to be amputated. That expression always gave Mrs. Breyer confidence. But today was different. Alestor had no patience today and she was beginning to get afraid that they’d actually get close to her problem. Then she couldn’t laugh, then all of her treatment would be very sincere and that would be terrible for her.

She sat in a tight position on the leather chair too big for her small frame. Her knees were tucked in, her back was far into the seat in what she hoped appeared as a guarded stance. 

"We’ll begin the auditing process." Alestor said.

"Can we do it without him?” She pointed to a man in the corner of the room with a black blazer over his shoulders. Alestor sniffed, threw his pointer finger elsewhere and he was gone.

“Back to the auditing process.” He said.

“Auditing process?” 

Her eyes were glazed and her face was vapid like the contents in her skull had been siphoned out. There was music in the background and a small drumline of footsteps, the man outside mingling with more people. Alestor knocked on the wall and the noise stopped. Mrs. Breyer was worried now and her thoughts filled with curiosity over the noise. In between them was a coffee table. They were scooted close enough to embrace at any moment. Or to kill each other.

"Yes, Mrs. Breyer. The human heart has an affinity for delusion and blindness. We are here to cure that, to see what is in you. Both of us, hand in hand. This is the last step of our healing process." He said.

“Yes, I think today we can get somewhere. I feel it.” She began to sweat. Mr. Alestor reached into his pocket for the rattle of a gold chain. It was a watch.

"I will demand you look at me behind this moving stopwatch. All you have to do is answer my questions, that's it. The quest for inner most reflection begins with an honest question after all." He said. His voice sounded raspy, antique like the medals and goblets and statues and books that decorated the room.

"Well, okay." She looked away at first and fidgeted with her jacket, nervous things and twitches. He stared into her and it was not until she stared back that they began.

"What is your name?" Alestor asked.

"Emily Breyer."

"Where were you born?"

"Utah. But I moved here a few years back."

"I did not ask that." He said. She looked slapped her leg. They began again. 

"What is your name?"

"Emily Breyer."

"Where were you born?"

"Utah."

"Did you have a family?"

"Yes."

"How big was it?”

"We were four, now we're three."


"I did not ask how many there are, only how many there were." He barked. She twitched. She felt her throat tighten and wanted to leave but could not, something compelled her to stay. Perhaps fear drained her legs of strength, maybe it was the hope of salvation. He asked her name again. She stuttered, he barked. She cried. Softly moaning, it had been like this before but never as quick or as harsh.

There were tissues for her and as she looked around she began to miss the stranger in the corner of the room. She felt alone in the dim room with the lifeless color beige wall paper all around her. She began to breath fast and felt a hand over her shoulder, it was Alestor. He would guide her she reasoned. Mrs. Breyer breathed in and she stared into the stopwatch and its movement like a pendulum. Although she felt pressed, although her chest felt filled with cement she continue with the guiding hand in front of her.  

"There are only two things the soul demands, Mrs. Breyer." Alestor said. "Honesty and will. I’ve never seen anything as deadly to vice and suffering as those two." He lifted her chin and their eyes fell on each other. "We will do this together, again. What is your name?"

"Emily Breyer."

"Where were you born?"

"Utah.”

"Did you have a family?"

“Yes.”

"How big was it?"

"We are four."

"How many do you have?"

The air suddenly became thick. "Three."

"Of how many there used to be, name them all."

"Michael, Carter...and...Abel." She muttered in between the rapid mouth breathing.

"Which one was your favorite." He studied her face. “Between them all, who did you love most?"

"I..." She wanted to believe she couldn’t say what was in her. That it was beyond her. But it couldn’t have been, she had felt it in her heart as intense palpitations every time she was asked the question. Her eyes looked to the speeding watch like a metronome to her rapid thoughts and she felt she needed to move to the rhythm. It was false courage. 

"Carter, my oldest son was my favorite."

"And who was your least favorite?"

I cannot, she thought. Not this one. She had no saliva in her mouth. No air in her lungs. No feeling in her body. It felt like she cast away, floating atop a dark sea and now falling dangerously low to the ocean floor. She sat staring at the watch before he removed it and stood up, rubbing his eyes.

"We always stop here. It has been like this for the past five sessions, Ma'am." He stared at the ceiling. "You’ve traveling a dizzying river bend and you’ve forgotten where it started. Oh well."

She was trembling and could not contain herself, the emotion was coming out of her eyes and nose and mouth.

"Say it." He slammed the desk. "Who was your least favorite."

"It was." She was choking. "It was. It was.”

“It was?” Alestor tapped on the wood.

“It was Abel.”

"Did you hate him?" He asked.

"I..."

"Did. You. Hate. Him."

"...Yes. Yes, yes." It  came out of her, a decade of guilt..

"What did you do to him, Ma'am?" He took off his glasses and got on his knees in front of her. He held her hand and gave her warmth. She was shaking worse and the words were jammed in her throat. But he held on to her anyways. And the more epileptic she got, the tighter he gripped, almost crushing it.

"I let him die." She shouted and Alestor looked from within his corner with a terrified curiosity. The white in his eyes grew in this small shadow. The other man looked at the door, afraid that someone had heard.

"He was just playing in the river. I didn’t think he’d drown. I didn’t think he was a bad swimmer and I and I and I” 

“But you did know he was a bad swimmer, didn’t you?”

“I let. I let. I let him drown. And. A-and die. No one was around, I thought, I thought no one would care. I just hated him so much. So, so much. And and and then the water bubbled and then. Then. He was" He leaned in to hold her. He wanted to lift her, help her and just as he wrapped himself around her, they heard a knock. It reminded him of yesterday.

His face was neutral. There were no lines or cracks, all his features were softened as Alestor looked perplexed at the door. He walked slowly to it and opened it. It was the man from before along with another group of people who could only be described as, important: the mayor, the police commissioner, a mailman. Alestor’s mouth was open. He could hear Mrs. Breyer settling down and could hear the walls of her heart, once again, closing shut. He felt anger all the way to his shoulders like little bumps had collected on them. 

“Whens the next the sermon? They want to know.” The unimportant one mumbled. “They need proof of the beast.”

Alestor growled. He closed the door on them and looked back at Mrs. Breyer who now lost her emotion to the interruption. They were both sad in a way.

“I should be leaving.” She got up and started to the door. Alestor ran past her to his desk.

“Wait, wait. Hold on.” He opened the drawer. 

“I mean, we can do this again.” She said. Her eyes stared down. “We can, right?”

“We can?” Alestor said. He looked down himself, to the drawer. Amongst its contents, in no particular order was a bottle of chloroform, tablets of DMT, cocaine and a black bible. 

“Yes. We definitely can. I’ll schedule it in the front.” He said. 

She smiled a bit and dried her eyes. “Thank you doctor.”

“Don’t thank me yet.” He closed the drawer. “We’ll break through next time. I promise you.”

He lead her outside, past the men, to the cold waiting room where the secretary typed away and on his way back he could not hold his grimace. The men saw it but they walked forward to question him anyways. He slammed it again, locked it and screamed as loud as he could until he felt his lungs rattle.

“I almost had her.” He ran around the room, banging his head on shelves and walls, he felt his forehead bleed. The walls shook now and above he could hear the low sound of rattling metal. 

A goblet stood a top a shelf. He reached for it. He looked inside to what seemed like emptiness, then slowly saw it coming down from the sides of its lips. Black goop.

“I was so close. She would have been mine, I know it.” He spun the liquid. “And he’s been getting more demanding.” The carpet looked ruined with how hard his feet struck the floor and tore the hairs out. He put his lips to the cup. “Maybe I should just do it, right now. Fuck it.” 

And as the blood came down to him he saw in the corner of his eyes the white bird. Yellow eyed, staring at Alestor. He was at the window still and did not chirp, did not move even as Alestor got closer. The bird turned to him, squawked once and flew away, worms in its mouth. Once again he fell to his seat, like the night a few days back and once again he called in the group of idiots at the front. He looked down, put his hands behind his neck and said: He’s coming to meet me soon.

 

Author's Note: Setting up the real antagonist. Thinkingemoji.

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