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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26. 8:24 PM

Pip’s death had made her angry at first. She blamed him for it, blamed his stupidity, blamed his meekness. It made her so frustrated she didn’t eat all day the day she found out. Then the next day came.  It made her sad, then, come morning when she was trying to remember a kind dream she had about him. She didn’t eat all day either. She committed herself to small things at least, to keep herself alive and sane. She showered, breathed, watched numbing television. She wept that night and she dreamed of Pip again. This one was a nightmare and this one she could not forget, though wanted to. On this third day, she was hopeless. She wandered to the police station asking questions to his death, to the whereabout of the rest of his body, to an answer, it took them an hour to get her off the premise. They almost tased her with how stubborn she flailed about. 

They said he was abducted, that they were on the case and that they had no suspects. She called them incompetent and came home late, her mother wasn’t home for the whole ordeal. So she spoke with Pip's mother instead. Mostly listened actually. Mrs. Pip was too busy crying to talk.

“I don’t know where he is.” She wept through the receiver. Sophie couldn’t answer her. No one knew where he really was, only where he had been kidnapped and only where they found a piece of him. The rest of Pip was out there and it hurt both of them. It was not enough to just die, but to be forgotten, to have an empty grave and a wandering soul. That seemed worse than just death to Sophie. She said sorry and hung up. 

She didn’t sleep much that night and on the fourth day, the twentieth of the month, she became resolute.


She spent all night planning it, there was no room for sleep and throughout the day she planted small siestas and naps whenever her racing heart allowed it. She almost slipped in the shower as fell asleep.

She had in her backpack, in no particular order: a map of the city, a fresh sweater and a few bags of treats. Candies mostly, she was still a child. She threw in a packet of jerky to pretend it was a healthy, good trail mix. She had the plan outlined, she rewrote it and redrafted in ten times throughout the day. It was simple, really, she wanted to know what happened to Pip. She thought it to be an easy plan, retrace her steps and interview the people around the scene of the crime. The places were named, Pete's Bakery, Lowdrie's Loundra-mats, The Devil's Tail. She didn't want to the latter in particular, it was a loud nightclub. But she would, like she would the other places and homes in the area.

“It’s not like the police are doing anything, right?” She said. She stood in front of her mother lounging on a sofa. A plastic clock ticked away, it was in the shape of a black cat and the pendulum tail swung for each second dialed. Eight twenty-four, it was about time to go. She looked down. 

“I’ll be back home soon. I left dinner for you.” Sophie said. It was just a styrofoam cup of noodles, now waterlogged. They looked like small slugs inside the cup. Her mother didn't care. She was snoring. It sounded like a cackle in the emptiness of the house. It was the first time she had ever felt the house to be too big but as she looked around, she felt small. The dark oak counters with linen cloths stained months ago, the rings of dirt that decorated the glass tables from cans of forgotten beer, the walls peeling their paint and paper like old bark. They seemed so far apart like small islands. Though she would miss it, horrible as the scenery was and she swore she would be back. It was enough to make her nose sniffle.

“You can’t even take out the trash.” She spoke low, her voice was strained. She walked to the kitchen and swung the black bag over her left shoulder. It was bigger than her but she carried it with ease. Her mother laid on the sofa, mouth open. There were green shadows around her mother's eyes from smudged makeup, her drooling lips dripped brown lipstick. Her cheeks were flushed red, though she was not afraid or ashamed or angry like Sophie was. Sophie found a cigarette bud on her mother's chest and flicked it to a glass cup. It had left a burned hole in her shirt. She kissed her mother on the cheek and wiped her lips of the taste of foundation and of rouge. Sophie wanted to put a sheet over her, the ugly sweater of hers, but her mother rolled to the side and dug her face into the soft cushions. 

“You’re all useless, aren’t you? The old men and the old women. You tell us to stop playing pretend and to stop playing games and here you are, years later, pretending to be good, pretending that this madness isn’t another kind of game.” She wasn't speaking to her mother though it didn't matter, no one listened. Her mother was too far gone in the drunken, tired, sleep. 

“I love you.” She finished. “I’ll be back soon.”  

Sophie did not sneak out. She did not play thief like all the Hollywood movies had made this kind of even to be. With tired, poor mothers like hers, she didn’t need to play false espionage. 

She walked out the front door, took out the trash until it laid on the edge of the sidewalk, and waved goodbye. She turned off the lights, closed the door and locked it and walked down the street. No one bothered to say anything to her, no one was there to care.

The broken lights of crooked posts rained down upon her pieces of light. She met travelers, some few minutes into her walk into the city who passed her smiles. Their teeth looked like daggers but she pressed forward, weak and wobbly, she moved on. 

She neared a park whose dry grass felt rough against her Achilles heel. She scratched herself going to the large tree at the center and climbed it like a conning tower and looked out to give directions to the worried captain, her heart, there was fear in her as she looked out to the thin veil of darkness and faced away from the wail of wild wind. There was curiosity in the small lights of apartments and of streets, like small stranded stars. There was mystery for her, but to you, dear reader, I will leave no surprise: Sophie would die tonight.

 

Author's Note: Over 2000 views, thanks!

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