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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28. 9:00 AM

“Puta madre.” Apollo cleaned the specks of blood from his chin.

“What’d you do that for? He’s half-dead.” 

“He said he knew something about the murder.” 

“So you beat it out of him?”

“No. I gave him a good reason to use that wheelchair, then I got it out of him.”

“What’d you find out?”

“Nothing. Really.”

Dion looked at him. He rolled his eyes and shook his head around. He was staring across the parking lot, at a man whose teeth now spread out across his shirt. He looked to Apollo and the growing concern of people now walking towards the beaten man. He started the car, it roared and they drove off. 

“You learned nothing?”

“Well,” Apollo spat out the window. “He said there was a police officer at the theater during the crime. It just confirms my suspicion, honestly. You can’t commit that much murder without the police knowing something or another, they had to have had men on the inside.”

“So what do you want to do?” Dion asked.

“Take me to the crime scene. I want to see if anyone's tampering with the evidence.” Apollo said.

“How do you expect to do that?” 

“Very quietly.” Apollo put a finger to his lips. “With you as lookout.”

Dion stuck his arm out of the window, he looked for the nearest road that drained into the wild lands along the edges of the city. The mist was growing inside and Dion looked up, he was surprised to remember that it used to be sunny. It seemed like the whole earth was steaming, bleeding smoke from the many cracks and crevices of the broken town.

 


La Croix Theater 4025 Mulbarry Drive, Havenbrook CO

The address was written in bold. It lay crooked on the side of the fence now half-swallowed by high-grass. Apollo fixed his fingers into the small gaps and looked at the two police cars parked at random around the premise. He found his mask from under his coat and wore it.

“You text me if you see something that looks like trouble, alright?” Apollo said.

“What does that mean? What’s trouble?”

“A small army, that would be pretty bad. If it feels wrong, you just tell me, alright?”

“I have the right mind to just leave you here,” Dion said. “That would be a fair sentence for your actions.” 

“Well, you’re not exactly of right mind, choir boy.”

Dion honked the horn. Apollo turned, eyes wide like a cat, to the police across from them. 

“Are you fucking stupid, shut the fuck up.” Apollo said. He shouted as loud as he could, under his breath. A very silent scream. Dion smiled and found a phone in his hands to fiddle with as Apollo climbed up the fence. He stretched his neck out and scanned the horizon. His body hung low. His body was a flash, white, that danced across the grass. He found a gutter pipe and climbed it, heard it snap out of its bolted place and dug his hands into the brick walls. Every step was a new hazard, the walls were falling apart. The long Roman pillars next to him showed this best of all. They were half broken, one even laid lopsided on the dirt. 

“Beauty doesn’t last. Nothing does, huh.” Apollo said. He carried himself to a window and propped it open. He slid in, he was above the set and standing upon the metal lattices hung by rusted metal wire. He heard the policemen and they heard the snap of metal. They looked up.

There was nothing.

They flashed their light, dragged it across but no one was there. Apollo had hidden behind the large cardboard set piece, a giant cherub, red blushed with his bow and arrow pointing down to the four policemen in the room. 

“I don’t think this place passes infrastructure safety protocol.” One of them said. He was fidgeting and making sure to stand below nothing, but even that seemed pointless. The ceiling was dripping small chips of wood like brown hail. 

“Don’t think too hard about it, things are only bad when you think about them.” Their voices were confusing from high above. Apollo couldn’t tell them apart. 

“That makes no fucking sense. Of course, everything feels better when you’re willfully stupid.”

“If you’re that lazy and afraid to look around the place, why don’t you go fuck off outside.” 

“Well, alright then.”  

“You all should go outside.” One of them hunched over the floor, above Pip’s chalk outline. His face was tense and he pointed to the two wide doors. 

“This job is fucked.” The clenched man said. All three gulped, the searchlights went across and Apollo found himself behind the curtains. “There’s nothing left for us to find. I’ll go call in the detective, he can deal with this rock-bottom shit hole.”

The three looked at each other. Some of them were relieved, others more curious. But the leader did not allow them a line of questioning, he walked back to the scene dock. The muted blue of cardboard clouds littered the floor, beyond them was the wardrobe room. He stopped there, Apollo saw. The other three had walked down, their steps filled the auditorium with the loud bangs. Apollo kept himself close to the single individual in the room. He followed him, climbed down the sky room and the metal jungle, he was hanging by rope and he fell a bit. The bags of sand tied to the end came up halfway to him and he held his breath. The policeman looked around.

“This place is falling apart.” He mumbled. Apollo breathed. He waited and kept still and saw the man feeling out the brick wall with his palms. He was a human seismograph, one ear to the wall and both hands to slap and feel the clay bricks. He stopped at one. It did not look particular, it was at the end of a long wall that had profanity and graffiti stretched across. ‘DIE YOUNG’ was in bold red, there was an Anarchy symbol right above. 

The only thing particular about this brick was how unremarkable it was, except for the single purple flower that grew from its cracks. The man took out a pocket knife, he chiseled around the brick. The worn stone fell, he inched his fingers in the gap and put the brick on a counter near him. His arm navigated the whole and Apollo watched to see how deep it was, it swallowed the whole arm before it came out. The object of interest: a knife. He was too far to tell its design, he could only see the crescent sneer like a cat’s smile and the reflection of light that came off it. 

The man looked for a pocket to put it in, he was about to tuck it in when he heard a sound. His body snapped and looked up. He was licking his lips, the nerves were growing on him. His shoulders looked like bad drum symbols, rattling and shaking mindlessly. 

He looked up again and didn’t realize his chest slammed the floor. His hair was held by its length, Apollo stood on top of him with his knee carefully placed on his back. It was lodged against one of his shoulder blades. One hand on the scalp, the other on his carrying hand. Apollo squeezed, the knife fell out. 

“Rock bottom is a myth. There’s always a way for things to get worse.” Apollo said. 

The man did not respond. He tried turning his head but it was locked. He turned his eyes, he could see the black leather of gloves, nothing more. But he knew who Apollo was. 

“What is that knife for? Who’s is it?” Apollo asked. He could hear a chuckle and slammed the face down on the wood. The floor was beginning to give way like the stage trap doors. He raised the face again. 

“Aren’t you tired, Vicar?” The man said. “Aren’t you tired of this circular life?”

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“There is no secret to it. I asked, are you tired? Living life moment to pre-destined moment? Living the same existence over an infinite stretch of time. You’d call that prison, wouldn’t you? Every particle, every action, every decision already made. The path of all matter, all humanity, coming to dark oblivion. Isn’t that horrible? Don’t you want more?”

Apollo could feel himself sweat. 

“Shut the fuck up.” He tried breaking his fear. “Who does that knife belong to. What’s it for? I can’t imagine you’d stop at child killing, you fucking losers.”

“We’ve known about you two. We’ve known for a while now. He told us, He knows.”

Apollo slammed down again. He could feel the officer's mouth wobble and yield, his lips flinched. 

“Who the fuck knows?” Apollo asked. He out-stretched the officer's arm. All either of them was grunt as if it never hurt at all. Apollo felt the flesh of this man, his body was limp, he was like the sandbags from before, hotter but just as reaction-less. 

“You’ll meet him soon. You don’t have to worry about it, it’s already been destined. Astyanax has willed it so.” The officer curled his broken face into a smile. His free hand inched for his gun. Apollo let his face fall to seize the arm. Both were behind his back and both made him still, almost gentle, in the harsh caress. 

“Put your hands up.” 

Apollo heard the voice behind him. A gun was pointed towards him. 

“That won’t help either of you.” Apollo said. The broken man below him gargled blood, he was clearing his throat to laugh. He sounded like pond or lake vomiting a geyser, the blood splattered everywhere, the teeth like pearls rested between the gaps of floor. 

“It’s time, Michael.” The broken man said. "You're too arrogant, Vicar." 

Apollo switched glances between them, he could feel something in his stomach. 

The officer standing at the edge looked to his rear, the two officers were barely approaching. Their footsteps were far, an echo only. 

“Nam amor sui.” The broken man said. 

“Hold the fuck on.” Apollo let go of his hands and reached for the one pointing. He was too far. 

“Nam amor sui.” The armed officer said. There was one bullet, it splattered red across the graffiti and the floor. Apollo put his hand forward, he lunged. Bang.

Two corpses laid, their brains scattered, mush and pink across the walls. The body fell, the contents of his skull spilled out from the bullet hole, an open dam now flooding the wardrobe with the raging red waters. 

Apollo could not hold his surprised face for long. He was still longer than he wanted to, the two officers were fast approaching and he looked around. His eyes narrowed at the floor and he moved, his body, a giant blur of black across the room he dashed. 

When the two officers arrived. They called in more support. The fidgeting man fidgeted worse. The stern man kept his gun close to him as he went across the room. But there was no one, Apollo was low, below them. He went through the trap door, went through the floorboards that rained the blood of two lambs. The suicides, the promised. 

He was out before Dion could make his pocket rumble with warnings. He was out before he could think too hard about what just happened. All he knew was in his hand, the ornate knife, dried with old blood.

Author's Note: I think I'm going to change these chapter titles so they make more sense. thinkingemoji.jpeg

P.S.S. Religious Batman does it again. This chapter was fun to write.

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