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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18. 12:33 AM

“Try not to make a scene. We’re getting some info and then we’re ditching.” Apollo said. Dion stared at the flashing lights on the sides and top of the building and the figure of a man slipping and stuck in mid-air. Above this man was the word, 'Tipsies'. 

“I’ve never been to a club.” Dion said. His eyes were engrossed and glossy with the bright red and orange of the lights. 

“You don’t drink, do you?” Apollo asked.

“Nope.”

“Let’s keep it that way. Just do what I tell you and stay put.” Apollo said and he knew by the curious look that that, would not happen. “The man we're looking for goes by the name Mr. Lovinski.”

“Is he Jewish or Russian?” Dion got out of the car and felt relief. 

“Doesn’t matter. He’s scum. That’s his breed, shit. Son of a mob boss, a drug dealer. I want the names of his LSD dealers, I looked into the autopsies of all the victim in the past month. Nearly all of them had it in them.”

“Right.” Dion took the lead and Apollo narrowed his eyes as he looked at the quick stride Dion took. They came to the bouncer who eyed them both. Dion cut in line, he was mesmerized by the sound that caused his skin to vibrate. He pushed past three people, two men with pants too tight and a girl with a skirt too short. They all seemed to rip when they fell to the ground and Apollo felt his hairs rise and a sudden need to slink back and disappear. He grabbed Dion by the hand. 

“Watch out.” He said. The bouncer grabbed Dion by his other hand too. The bounder wanted to tell him the same thing, in a more intimate way. He cocked his hand and punched Dion in the jaw. His hand broke and Dion stood bewildered. The oversized man slunk into the ground and holding two fingers that now limped, swollen and black and blue. 

“Get in before the camera sees us.” Apollo pushed him. The line behind them stared at the fallen man. 

The two fell into the crowd and began squeezing themselves between the hot bodies so doped on ecstasy and heat exhaustion that their pupils began to look like giant black craters, from the moon, from the volcanic nether of the earth. A young man collapsed, Dion caught him and found a nice seat to put him on. He slunk, pushed Dion away and looked for his spot in the amalgam. His perfect pocket in this giant ocean. 

“Don’t waste your time on these idiots.” Apollo said. “They love killing themselves.”

“Why?” Dion screamed. The bright lights made the music feel louder than they were. Their ears had long since collapsed and all they heard were muffled waves of bass crashing against them. 

“These people, they’re hollow.” Apollo said.

“They look like they’re having fun.” Dion said.

“And yet they’re hardly conscious of it. Anyone having fun would probably want to be aware of it." He said. "These people need this. They’re like fragile pipes, ready to break at any time. Too small and weak for the world. This is the shit they need to fit themselves properly.”

“Sounds like your kind of people.” Dion smiled. Apollo pushed him and walked towards the bar. He whispered something into the bartender's ears that made her wide-eyed. She ignored the brutish catcalls of the drunkards falling from their stools and brushed away women passed out on the wooden counter with a mixture of vomit and drool drizzling out of their mouths and nostrils. She led Apollo and Dion to a fleet of stairs and the small neon lights on the corners of the hall that eased them with a blue hue. 

Deeper they swam in the shark tank, deeper they turned, past rooms that banged and beds that creaked and the sad laughter of people hitting themselves against the walls. They stopped at a pale man who changed his color skin with whatever the DJ was deciding at the time. He was a chameleon. The light was flashing through some glass walls around them. They had taken the stairs to a sort of penthouse and behind this man were the red drapes, and further from that were the sounds of coupling people. Apollo stood against the chameleon, Dion stood a safe distance away from the both and looked down at the people dancing on the flashing tiles. 

“I’m here to see Mr. Lovenski.” Apollo said. “I’m with the cartel.” 

Dion’s eyes opened. 

“You're alright, but he," The chameleon pointed to Dion. "He doesn't even look Mexican." 

Apollo took out a wad of cash rolled into a cylinder and flashed it, the man saw the hundred dollar bill behind the rubber band and wanted to grab at it.

“The rest is in the car. Your boss should already be expecting this meeting.” Apollo said. The man did not move though was growing tenser as his eyes fluttered left and right. 

“Do you understand? Muévete. Hijo de puta. O, te mato.” Apollo whispered towards him. He lifted the curtains and Dion drew him to the side before he could enter, around the corner.

“What the heck have you been doing?” He asked. “None of this is right.”

“What’s right is what gets the job done.” Apollo said. Dion grabbed his arm and shook him.

“What have you been doing these past few days?”

“Networking.” 

“This isn’t how we should do things. What kind of justice is this? When you do it with dirty hands you just stain the whole thing.” Dion said. Apollo took back his arm.

“Then just wait here.” He said.

“The problem isn’t me being there with you, the problem is this being done at all.” 

“You said you would be willing, you said would listen to me, right? Well, deal with it.” Apollo said. “This is the only way I can get what I want, the most convenient and best way and that’s what I’m doing.”

“I don’t feel good about this.” Dion was biting his lips and chewing on the inside of his mouth.

“There are a lot of things you wouldn't feel good about. And they still happen day to day, all over the world.” Apollo said. “But do you lose sleep over every atrocity committed? Over every grand or small act of injustice? No. Because that wouldn’t be convenient. So just stay put and relax. Pretend like you didn’t see it at all, that’s the best way for moral people like you to get through the day.” Apollo walked towards the red curtains. Dion regretted everything, he regretted mocking Apollo earlier, he regretted climbing the stairs and in the confluence of his mind, between a curiosity and a fear and an anger he went down. Rushed down. Ran down. To the people, down to the counter with the drunkards because they seemed like better company that Apollo. And Apollo felt better with Dion at distance, at an arm's length he could grab though very, very away. He could finally breathe as he stepped into the room with the satin curtains and the man at the center staring at a pole dancer across from him. Apollo looked, he should bear witness to it all. He frowned and saw the man with a woman wrapped around his thin arms and two bodyguards with their buttoned-up shirts looking across. They looked like vacationers, with the tropical flower patterns all across the fronts of their shirts. 

“They lost a bet, I made them wear them.” Mr. Lovenski said. The bodyguards smiled. What right do they have to be so jovial, Apollo thought. Lovenski slapped a seat to direct Apollo. Apollo grabbed a stool and sat with the pole dancer behind him. It was easier to talk to the man that way.

“I’m here to discuss a deal.” Apollo said. 

“Come on, you don’t even want to get to know me?” He said. Apollo eyed him, he was ashamed to admit that he was not ugly. Or greasy. Or hairy like the movies had painted villains to be. He was rather handsome, he treated his staff right. He smiled and it was warm and homely and it only served to make Apollo angrier. Anger was coming onto him. Dion’s words were still in the back of his mind like a painful cyst. 

“I like doing my business quick. How much product can you move within a month?” Apollo asked.

“A hundred fifty kilos, maybe.”

“That’s a lot for such a small town.” 

“It’s all supply and demand.” Lovinski said. His hair was neat but the few strands that dangled above his right eye. “Why would you want to do business with us if we weren’t profitable?”

“You’re right.” Apollo said. “I can get some in by the week. We’ll supply, don’t worry about that.” 

“Don’t you want a drink?” Lovinski waved for one of the girls to leave. 

“No. I don’t drink.” Apollo said. 

“That’s terrible.” He said. “The only men who don’t drink are men with secrets worth keeping.”

“And that’s why I don’t drink. Is there anything wrong with being secretive?”

“No, it’s not. Mr. Lorenzo.” He said. Apollo was afraid he had jerked at the fake name, even if it was the name he himself had given out days ago. 

“It’s absolutely fine to be secretive if you’re with enemies.” Lovinski grabbed the woman's shoulder.

Apollo’s head was getting hot. Here was a small, handsome man, who made his wealth from the suffering of others and here was a Vicar, inhuman as could be. He could have snapped his neck at any moment, killed everyone in the room and it would not make Apollo feel comfortable. He felt like he lost in some way and leaned closer to Lovinski. 

“Are you suspecting me?” Apollo said. “I’m not police. I promise.”

“I know you’re not. Because I know every cop in this town. Some FBI agents. Some CIA even.” He said. “But someone from the cartel would know about that, right? He would know how big of a business drug trafficking really is.” He smiled. 

A girl came in and set down a drink in front of Apollo. Apollo felt the music on his skin like a strong surf and he was getting hotter. He felt the girl dancing behind him, and the small wafts of air come his way. He looked at Lovinski and his smile and took a sip, then gulp of the drink.

“It’s good.” Apollo said. It came to him immediately, the movements and the plan all at once. His muscles, flexed beneath his coat and his legs veiny underneath their socks as he planned it. And Mr. Lovinski smiled. He got closer to Apollo and took the drink in front of him. He finished it for Apollo, smiling. 

Apollo stood.

He punched the first bodyguard he saw in the jaw and felt it snap out of place like a broken jigsaw. There was no rattle of his brain. His face turned and he was unconscious. Apollo reached to the other man with his hand and grabbed and felt two bullets enter his thigh but the glass was thick and to the crowd was too intoxicated to notice. Apollo slammed the second ones head into the pole and watched his unconscious body fall, the gun went off again and shot Apollo's foot.

But his body was healing and already he could not feel the pain. He picked up the pistol and felt Lovinski shooting at his back. He did not flinch. He only hurt for a moment and with precise hands dissected the gun and threw its pieces at the chameleon who peered in. It hit him in his temple and the veil of darkness was over his dazed eyes. 

“I can’t believe I lost.” Apollo winced. The bullet casings were coming out of his back and rolling on the floor and the women could not move as Apollo came closer to Lovinski and his shaking hands that fiddled for another clip. 

“What are you?” He asked.

“Give me a list of names of all your LSD dealers. Last name, first name. And tell me how much product each of these fuckers moves.”

“Fuck you. I’m not saying shit.” He was calming down and his face bore fangs. This was the famous stone wall, truly a man who was used to interrogation. Apollo snuck his hand under the table, under the cloth that draped it and suddenly Lovinski felt ill. He jumped, he put both his hands underneath the table now too and Apollo flexed his muscle. There was a groan. 

“Get the fuck off me. You’re crushing them.” He screamed. He tried slapping, tried punching Apollo. He loaded his gun and shot two bullets in Apollo’s skull, the rest in his chest. The bullet casings fell to the floor and blood that should have been there on his cheeks retreaded back into his body. The holes closed.

“Not strong enough. You need more power than that.” Apollo said. 

“What are you?” He asked again. Apollo flexed his arm again. 

“The list.” Apollo said. Mr. Lovinski was shaking and drew blood from his tongue.

“Fuck you. I’m not saying shit.” 

“A normal man would have confused this for honor.” Apollo said. “But I know you for what you really are. You’re afraid they’d break much easier than you. And that’s all under the implication that I won’t kill you, right?”

The man huffed. He struggled through the pain that ran up his head and caused him to sweat. The women were crying.

“You’re right. I won’t kill you.” Apollo said. His arm shook, the table shook. The man shook. His mouth was open and he was surprised at the warmth. More surprised than pained, more curious over the feeling and the blood that trickled down as if the satin had turned liquid and spilled over. The woman to his shoulder wanted to peer. She wanted to know what it was that made Lovinski silent and that had made his face dumbfounded. She tried unveiling the cloth. 

“Don’t look.” Apollo stopped her with his free hand. “This is a secret between us.

Lovinksi finally screamed. Pain found him. His legs shook, his body rattled and he was scratching at Apollo and trying to pry away from his iron grip. 

“You still have one chance to be a father. Start writing.” The man writhed in his seat. The women were screaming, there were shocked gasps coming from the hall now, but people were too afraid to go up the stairs. And most of them were still dancing below, still filled themselves with each others touch. Lovinski slammed himself on the table. He scattered everything. Glass shattered. He pulled a napkin up. 

“I need a pen. I need a pen. Pen. Pen.” He was shouting. He looked around, everyone's faces showed despair. Silent. Gasping. “I need a pen you stupid bitch!” Apollo wasn’t sure who he screamed at. Him or the girls or the people below. Apollo reached into his pockets and threw it at him. He wrote and each time he stopped to think, Apollo shook underneath. Like whipping a mule. 

“That’s the secret about men, ladies.” He said. “They’re easy to handle if you get a hold of their horns.” 

Lovinksi screamed and pushed the paper to the side. Apollo read it and thought about letting go. 

“That’s all you want, right you fuck?” Lovinski said. “I’ll fucking kill you. I swear it.”

“Don’t make promises you won’t keep.” Apollo said. “You’ll never see me again. Live with that pain. You will never get revenge.” Apollo said. He looked into his quivering eyes and at once pressed again. It was all gone. The man, the girls. They all gave into screaming and Lovinksi sat in his seat, grabbing his bloody groin. Apollo let go.

“I saved you the sin of having children. You’ll never bear any kin to take hold of your rotten business. You’ll never pass it on. That’s good. I hope this whole shit show dies with you, honestly.” Apollo said. 

“I’ll fucking kill you.” Was all the neutered man shouted between his crying moans. One of the girls was calling an ambulance. Apollo looked around, there were no cameras and he felt calm at last.

“When they ask you. When they mock you. When you're dying, fatherless. When someone asks you about the origin of your troubles. Tell them. Tell them! It was the devil, come to take his dues.” Apollo walked out. He hugged the dark walls and steered clear of the light and found the nearest window to drop from. He looked below, he sighed and felt his bones press down. He stood. He looked at his phone and held it with his fingertips, trying to find Dion’s name among the screens. The light made the blood brighter than it was and he looked at his hands with disgust. 

He should have put his gloves on first.

 

Authors Note: What a ball breaker. Laughing emoji.

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