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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16. 9:05 PM

“Are you ready, Father?” A young woman said. They were not his children, rather, just children. They were in packs and in want of some knowledge. Four faces stared back at him, some old, some young, all with the same desire in their glazed eyes. Alestor walked past them. The dark room seemed to narrow as he went up the stairs and through the caverns of the halls. The light bulbs hung from the tops of the room as wobbling chandeliers. They did not light much, only gave a buzzing sound and parceled shadows across the walls. He was in a small room, it could not have fit more than two men at arms length but was wide. There were tables, mirrors that could not reflect in the obfuscation and the faint violet of flower bouquet resting upon one of the dressing room tables. He drained his sweat from a ragged coat hanging on the side of the table. He looked around, the rusted metal and brick whose rotted and chipped holes were homes for small hands of grass, lazy flowers. Alestor sighed and remembered the words, quality of a soul, he thought. It seemed to burrow into him. It planted a seed of some evil design in him, he knew it. He wanted to dig it out but couldn’t find a grip among dirt on his conscience. He looked inside of the table whose drawer squeaked. A black stole hung by the edge and he took it out and felt the velvet in his hand. 

He had germinated it, watered it, fed it. Man after man he had killed, picked up from the streets, murdered. He had started with suspects and criminals and moved on to the homeless and sick and now here he was. 

He felt his pocket. The knife was stiff. 

He remembered his wife then and there and the horrified face she made before she had died. Pinned against a tree by a car, a freak accident they said by a drunk driver. Alestor put the stole on his shoulder, wrapped it around his stomach and returned it to his side. He remembered the man who had killed her too. He had found him, had crashed his own stolen car into him. He had gotten out, felt the cool air and felt his cheeks which were colder still. He had walked to his drivers seat and dragged his hand past the dirtied car dice to the shit head's nose. He closed his mouth and watched his broken body squirm. He dodged the police, but would not dodge Alestor that day. The sound his wife’s murderer made when he choked on his blood, he had found to be too intoxicating. He was the first man he had killed, the killer of one love and mother of another. He was ashamed at first to have it in him, but grew with it and then the demon came after. Murder was always a small joy when they were evil.

But his joy ended today. There was no pleasure in this.

His head straightened up and the years of stress appeared like cracks on his stone face. He walked through two doors and settled it in his heart: there would be blood. 

The light was bright here, on the stage, or maybe the dusk of the halls had reared his eyes to blackness. Alestor put his hand to his face as he blocked out the overhead glare and looked up to the fleet of row where the plentiful sat. A symposium that stretched to the end of the rusty walls. Exhaustion pipes hung at the tops of the ceilings. This stage creaked. It was all cracked, jury rigged, this old theater that leered at him with broken gas tubing. 

He walked to a pedestal that stole his courage. His eyes were intense, narrowed, as he looked at the book… and the boy in front of him. The people around looked at him, their curious and doubtful faces painted white as he unveiled the child.

“We should begin then. Of mans first transgression, his rebellion and his freedom.”

 


Amongst the dozens there, only Alestor’s voice rung out.

 


Isaac watched his father from afar, from a balcony where the tattered red drapes were violent as the wind drafts roared.

“Our salvation, the morning sun.” The voice was loud.

Isaac looked below himself, at the steps and seats. He tried to remember their faces, but could only recognize the famous. The commissioner, the mayor. Everyone else was a strange to him and that frightened him. The idea that they ran around in his city, that they were here now like anonymous emissaries slithering around with invisible streaks of filth. 

When he saw an eye come up to him he froze. He laid on the floor, waited for something to happen but was made calm as he heard his father’s voice again. He was not found. There was no disrupting the murder. 

Isaac brought his head up again and he put his hands over his mouth. His eyes felt like popping out of his skull and all he could see was the red, waving above him. The red, wrapping over him. Red everywhere. 

He urinated himself, he only noticed it an hour later after the violent throes of death. After the noise and clapping. 

He was quiet up in the balcony with the golden rimmed edge and the ruined Victorian design. Time had eaten it away. He sat on his belly, on the floor for hours now. Heavy steps, light steps, monstrous steps. He heard them all. He begged his heart to stop. He put a second hand over his mouth when he realized he was crying too loud. And soon all he heard was his crying.

When there was absolute darkness he had wandered out. It was an hour before midnight and by the time he had made it to the main hall of this ruined theater, he had wished to get caught just to die and rid himself of the images. He pulled his hair, stretched his face. 

His feet were dragging and he fell.

“This is dad.” Isaac said. He looked around at the fauna and forest surrounding him. He looked westward, his red eyes pointed that way. There were no lights here, deep inside of nature, where the vile tendrils of nature reclaimed and wrapped over him. He was swimming in grass as high as his waist. He had trouble finding his bike and even more trouble riding it as he fell constantly on pocket holes and wild roots. 

Color was draining from him. He swore he could hear the voices in the silence of the forest. He heard it in the silence of the city. Death throes, monstrous screeches, his father’s roar. 

He thought for a moment of where to turn. Not the police who had betrayed his trust, not the city. Not the journalists, nothing made him safe. He wanted to run away, looked through his phone and began searching for the nearest train. All he saw projected on the screen, through his warped imagination, was the young boy dead on the altar. Burned. And the thing his body bred. 

He cleaned mucus from his phone screen. He cleared his face and looked up. He would confess. He rode on. His brain echoed like a mantra, confess. Confess. Confess.

He threw his bike when he saw the doors and slammed his body against them. He slapped with his hand. He punched. His bit, he tried everything and felt his face drag down the walls. Dirty, smelly, moping on the floor. He held his head and waited for a death that would not come.

But there was a crack. Then a tired, groggy voice. 

“Yeah, yeah. What can I do for you?” The Priest’s face looked out at the boy. He tapped Isaac on the shoulder. “My child? What can I do?” 

And he shook him.

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