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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20. 2:02 AM

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that back there.” Dion said.

“Shut your mouth. It doesn’t matter now, none of it does.” Apollo said. Dion listened. His head was held at an angle as his ear followed the low roar. 

The fumes felt hot. They rode up Apollo, up from his leg and all the way out at the top of his suit where it was caught beneath his mask. The sweat collected on his collar as small stains and gave the illusion of rain. He did not know if the heat made him this wet or if it was the danger that raced across the streets, red-colored, like a comet plucked from the black sky. He could see the creature well as it hung low with many legs and many furred ends to his limbs, the tongue shot out at the car and stabbed it, a rapier's deadliness. The car hiccuped. The driver jumped. It fell into the dips of the uneven road and crashed into a fence whose metal dragged along the front of the car and filled the ground with sparks. Then it jumped again, past a factory, past another fence, into a culvert. So fast, so hot it went down, sliding against the diagonal walls of the culvert. 

Apollo saw it all but waited atop the safe balcony because he was scared. Every bone snapped into position. His whole body refused to move. Until he felt the rough hand. Until Dion tapped him forward.

“What are you waiting for?” He said. Apollo looked out to the screeching car. Dion was putting his mask on. Both wore the ivory on their face, rough and simple and chipped. It stopped the wind against their red eyes, it hid them well, it made them anonymous ghosts across the rooftops. They jumped off brick and concrete pillars that held the freeways above, they ripped through fences that dangled off their feet like caught weeds. It did not take long to find the car again, speeding into the small sewage shoot. Apollo took out his blade as he ran and rested it on his shoulder. The wind currents grazed it, scratched him until he was finally low and lean and his blade no longer suffered the molasses of drag. He was a half crescent moon. A failed abortion of the celestial bodies, half in shadow and half in blinding moonlight. Dion followed the searchlight his partner left to him. 

He tucked his shoulders and raced forward, his guns pointed to the floor. They looked like dogs, acted and hunted like them, heads forward, weapons forward as if in a four-legged sprint. Dion galloped, his mouth open, he felt his tongue dance and he shot at the height of his jump. The beast felt one of its legs go. It passed their racing bodies and drizzled blood. The beast did not jump. It had too many legs, to even feel a loss of speed. 

Dion shot again. The car honked. The creature shot back. 

It stabbed its tongue into the ground, the mighty Excalibur of a weapon it held. It vaulted. Turned, faced them, whipped his tongue around the floor and watched the rocks shoot out at them like an anchor sweeping against the ocean floor, uncaring of all the fauna and creatures harassed by its wide move. They put their arms in front of their faces and lost sight for a moment. It gained on the car. Three dogs after the shiny object.

“Don’t fucking miss.” Apollo ran ahead.

“I’m trying not to.” Dion watched him. Dion shot again. The air pushed Apollo’s hair. And he missed and missed and missed. And Dion spat. A clever animal it was, hiding behind the body of Apollo as the meat shield he was. And Dion grew hungrier. He went forward, past Apollo and nearly pushed him away. Rage was in his hands and his legs that raced forward. The wind snapped and broke at his ears as he was approaching the pace of the car with those inhuman muscles.
 
Forty, forty-five, fifty, sixty miles per hour. 

He shot twice. Too wild though. Too unrestrained. The floor looked molten where his bullets ricocheted and missed. The casings shed off. He was getting closer. His heart pounded. He forgot to breathe. His red eyes were stuck in that glazed craze like the drunkards before, so intoxicated by adrenaline.

He pulled the trigger. Click. 

Click. 

Click, click, click, click. 

Out of ammo. His tension died and he was afraid he would too. 

The creature turned. He stared. Dion was searching inside his coat for bullets that spilled to the floor. The barrel withdrew, the smoke rose. Red hot, steaming. He was about to be thrown away and stomped on the floor, turned to ash. Dead. He was going to die. The beast opened its mouth and Dion saw the circular teeth like a shark, a vortex, a blender, a black hole. Dion thought, a precious brief thought. The last thought. He asked himself, would the world die with me? 

The blade-tongue shot out. Apollo shot out. 

His shoulder pushed Dion aside. His giant steel was held firm in front of them. It did not matter. Through the steel, it went. Breaking the reflected light into a thousand brilliant flaws laid on the floor like a water surface. It stabbed through to Apollo and they all saw blood color the cement floor. Dion was still. The beast charged forward to the car.

Apollo was still on the floor. 

“Hey, come on.” Dion shouted. 

He was still. His body looked stuck into deadlock, crooked on the floor. But Apollo breathed. Dion breathed.

Apollo raised his hand. The hand went to his mouth, he was trying to hold what ever was spilling out. It felt like teeth, teeth in the river of blood, like paled-struck people dragged along flood waters.

“My hucking hace.” Apollo said. He had no bottom lip to say f. The mask was embedded in him and he his head could not stop rattling. 

“Let me help.” Dion said.

“Go.” Apollo shouted. "Go!" Or at least, Dion figured. Apollo laid out, he grabbed his face and shook it around, shook the pain, tried to make sense of his throbbing skull.

“Alright.” Dion said. There was a loud crash and Dion stared at the hot streaking marks. The smell of ruin was intense as if he was baptized in gasoline. He could smell so well he began to taste the bitterness, ash mostly, in the back of his mouth. Dion ran faster as he saw the creature inspect the car. He was looking inside. It would have grabbed her had the bullet not sounded off and had the rear mirror not snapped into the air. It hit the graffiti-laden walls and the creature took offense.

It shouted out, high-pitched. Like an after blast shock of a missile, a loud horror in the night, the stuff myths were made of. The devilish choir bells, here to alert everyone to the congregation of chaos. The fires that rose and danced like Satan’s tongue, the smell of sewage emanating from the dark hole behind the two, the dying woman, burning and bleeding. It was primeval. 

It spat. It ran. It raged. The rustling of it's furred face frightened Dion. It looked like a chimera, half-reptile, half-lion. It wore the crown of hair around its body. Yet it had no pride. It disappeared into the hole. 

Dion looked back to the crashed car, to the woman. It was like before, with the men, with a heart that could not decide. Or he thought at least, that it would be a hard choice. He thought his mind could argue better. But his adrenaline was too much, the thought of failure was too much, the thought of killing the monster was too much. 

He looked to the car. All he could see was blood on the windshield or what was left of it. It looked like netting. Though it caught no one, only piece of someone. A wheel rolled away, tapped along the surface like a drum line, and fell flat.

‘She’s probably dead.’ He thought. He reloaded his guns. ‘Yeah, she’s probably dead.’  He reasoned. 

He prayed for her.

"I need to go." He said. Like a child reasoning for play, for his toys, for his fun. Dion smiled. He walked into the hole, dipped his feet into sewage and his form disappeared into the darkness. 

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