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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19. 12:58 AM

The crowd of people around him jeered and laughed. They pumped their fists and drank from red cups and bottles that fell into lakes of broken glass. Dion watched a man come from this crowd, shirt removed. He was not thin nor strong, but very tall and drunk. The man looked at him, clenched his face and pointed his fists before he shot out. He was pushed forward. Then he found stride. He ran. He put his hand forward to him and aimed it at Dion’s face.

Dion stepped to the side and kneed him. He dropped almost instantly. The crowd was silent for a moment, wondering what would happen next and disappointed mostly. But the man stood again and held at his abdomen and breathed with a voracious appetite as all the contents of his lungs had been taken from him. He was not as forward anymore. He put his shoulder towards Dion, only had one fist to him and kept his to its side like a knife. He went forward and Dion stopped him. He kicked his forward leg and watched him limp. He tried again and again Dion kicked. It was more a tap for him, more of a hammer for the limping man who had to stop and feel if something had snapped in his leg. The man would not rest though. He was too drunk to feel it fully and this all excited Dion. Though he tried to hide his grin and hide the feeling of his gut that jumped up to his chest with the growing cheers of the crowd. He did not want to enjoy it but he did. 

And the drunk man? The drunk man jumped out again. He did not realize it this time, when he was punched square in the nose and shot back, he did not realize he was down. He only held his knee and rested his whole body on his leg as warmth and embarrassment spread out from his face. Shame was growing in him. The only pain a drunk could feel. A pain that made his heart rush. He raised himself, hoping to uppercut, hoping to do something.

He was slapped. He laid out on the floor.

His arms were shaking as they stood him. His lip was burst and his violent heart would not rest as the blood ran down his face. He could not win, he knew that. But shame would not let him leave. 

At that moment, with his feet dragged on the floor, the drunk man had found a knife in his pocket and lunged out to Dion. The two men shouted. They tried pulling back. He screamed. His eyes were bloodshot, yellow hued. He felt himself stop and felt blood spill onto his forehead and was confused for a moment on what or who or how it was there. He looked up, his eyes dragged and slurred and they stopped at Dion’s hand. The knife laid there, in his palm. It was bleeding, he saw. Then stopped, he saw. And the drunk walked back with wobbly legs, fear and injury both catching him and causing him to slip on street water. 

He hit the back of his head and was out. 

And Dion looked at the people with eyes open.

“I’m sorry.” He said. He put his back behind him, he put his whole back against a wall and watched the people now silent. Two of the drunk’s friends were dragging him out. A woman came out of the crowd to see the wound. 

“I’m a doctor, let me help.” She said. He would not give her his hand and nearly ran from her and stopped when he touched another person's chest. It was beginning to feel claustrophobic. With the people staring, not laughing or pumping their jovial hands, not entertaining themselves. They just watched. He wanted to push them all. He felt palpitations. He felt like he was dying and asked how he got himself here in the first place. Why he was here. Why he had ever fought. Somewhere in the middle of his zigzagging eyes, he found the reason. The beautiful, brunette reason.

“Thank you.” A young girl’s voice said. “Thanks.” She was raising her hands in the air. Dion cut through the crowd or rather they let him pass. And with him gone, the whole thing sort of disintegrated into nervous laughs and the phones of people calling ambulances and police. But the young woman was there. A brunette, turtleneck sweat, hoop earrings and a ponytail style in between lazy and mischievous with how wild the hairs flew out. 

“You didn’t have to do that.” She said.

“I did.” Dion smiled. He wiped blood on his face. 

“Let me see your hand.” She said. He held it back and she seemed mad at his doing so. He felt bad at lying to her. There was no knife anymore, no wound. He felt looking at her eyes and feeling good in his stomach. For next to her laid her boyfriend, or husband, or what he hoped was her brother. His cheeks were swollen and he was looking in a daze at the half-eaten moon and the slow appetite of the clouds.

“I’m fine,” Dion said. “I couldn’t leave it like that. They ganged up on your brother.” 

“My fiancé.” She said. Dion’s smile died.

“Let me pay for your hospital bill at least.” She kept bugging him. 

“It’s fine, I swear.” He was trying hard to seem neutral, trying to hide a growing discomfort. But in his guts and his pockets he could feel it, the buzzing of annoyance or maybe disappointment. He thought, that he no right to think she was single or that he was deserving of any kind of prize for playing the white knight. Then he felt terrible for calling her a prize and it grew, as his face lowered, it grew. More she kept pulling at his arm and thanking him. And more he felt terrible, head falling and drooping. He was lost and felt the urge to run away. At least the drunk had put a fight, he thought.

“What the fuck is this.” 

Dion heard from a distance. He saw Apollo and the cell phone on his ears and he saw him coming up to him with his angry, wide stride and Dion felt relief. He was salvaged. Like a wave crashing against the shoreline, dragging all the mirth and garbage into the depths. 

“What the fuck did you do?” Apollo asked. Dion sighed. He felt air at last. 

“These guys were picking on her fiancé. I stopped them.” He said. The woman looked at the two. 

“You beat the shit out of some drunk asshole. Congratulations. That must have been real tough, real grand for you.” Apollo said. “But I’ve been fucking calling you for twenty minutes now.”

“I was inside most of the time, why didn’t you just look around. I was by the bar.” He said.

“I wasn’t interested in staying, alright? What does that have to do with you not answering your phone anyway?” He said.

“My phone? Your phone is ringing,” Dion said.

“Yeah asshole, your phone was ringing. So fucking answer it next time. I need you alert.” Apollo shouted. His foot tapped. His legs were uneasy and shaky.

“Your phone is ringing.” Dion said again.

“Alright, you’re breaking my balls now.”

“No, your phone is ringing. Answer it.” The woman interrupted. Apollo shot a glare at her and felt his pocket. He looked at the screen and grunted like a savage man, lost to time, lost to place. His brows collected on his nose bridge and he pouted as he answered. And all the while, the shadows were collecting on his face as the desperate words were being spoken. But the two did not care.

The woman tugged at Dion and they both turned away from him. 

“If he hadn’t started the fight.” She looked the broken man on the floor. “If he just relaxed after the first few drinks, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt. I’m sure your hand isn’t fine. I’m sure it’s going to cost a lot.” 

“No, no, I swear I’m fine.” He said.

“I don’t like being talked down to. This isn’t a joke. I feel guilty and I wanted to at least help you the way you helped us.” She began working her purse. 

“Believe me, lady. I’m fine.” He said but she kept working her purse anyways and seemed more anxious as Dion spoke.

“If you need some money. Maybe a place to stay, any help, give me a call. I don’t like owing people debts, I don’t like owing anyone anything.” She handed the paper to him. He wanted to shout. All feeling came back to him. His depression died, stabbed in his stomach and the wounds were being filled with some new excitement. 

He double checked to remember which hand wasn’t supposed to be injured and grabbed it. He tried containing his grin and looked down at the lover and his spinning head. He shouldn’t have smiled but did. He shouldn’t have wanted the urge to call but would, though tried saying otherwise. And the two shared that brief moment, of politeness and humility. Yet Dion’s feelings were anything but just. He came in to shake her hand. He wondered if he was too sweaty. She leaned in to shake his and they both felt the brooding face of Apollo. Like a fucking sledgehammer.

“We’re leaving. Right the fuck now.” He said. The sirens were wailing in the background like the violent voices of a shade.

“I think I need to speak to the police though.” Dion said.

“Fuck that, we have bigger problems.” Apollo said. Dion opened his mouth but understood. He looked back to the girl.

“What’s your name?” He asked.

“Ophelia.” She said. Ophelia, he repeated, every vowel of the word feeding the fire in his chest. He waved and they were gone. There was another sighting and it was time for sterner men.

 

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