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?


43. Chapter 42

July 25th, 2017
4:26 AM

The high screech of cars was out in front of him. He could hear the police chases like the wound up machinations of the gear rotations of the great clock. One tick, another dead, a second tick, two now. One after the other in the interim, all driving to the same place.

He could feel it, not so much know it. Consciousness can only take so much from the murky waters of its underside before it has too much and he had too much. Isaac was moving, turning, not thinking of the future in precepts of months or days, not even in hours. He was thinking in minutes, thinking, with the sweaty upper lip, how he could make the best of the next five minutes he had.

There was an argument off, somewhere in the other room opposite or next to him (the noise was too hard to tell in distance or location) and he put his fingers inside of his ears to try and concentrate. He shut the blinds, watched the keyhole on the door and let public television run in the background. An ad, a plastic smile. Two men staring back through the tube. They were selling turkey shears. Hundred dollar turkey shears. Fucking scissors.

Fucking everything. He had his hands to his neck with the tight pressure of a man holding a wound, though he did not bleed. His neck sat on the incline and the air conditioner stopped breathing out from the ceiling panels above. He was in a cheap motel, with the cheap flower wallpaper and the cheap carpet gone coarse and blotched in spots from whimsical cum stains, perhaps a stray spill of lean. Isaac thought about it, the only thing he could think of that would cheer him up. He wondered if he was under the influence himself, his body felt that wrong disassociation, like his stomach had gone up and flown away from him. No. Fear was the real drug here.

A fear that he got when he looked at the screen of his phone and the lone message from his father.

Whre r u at?

He needed to leave. It came to him when he reached into the midget fridge and the beer bottle inside.

It wouldn’t be hard to leave, there weren’t any memories to keep onto. But for Isaac, the problem wasn’t the idea, but the execution. It wasn’t where he would go, he had enough money in his debit card to survive him the month. Nor was he in want for any particular luxury, a bed and roof and food were good enough.

The hard part was the how. A bike could only take him so far, he reasoned with those two long fingers against his chin, rubbing the juvenile hairs.

The police would find him. And the police would not help him. 

So the hard part was finding the car, and finding the car was what he did. He ran. Slipped on his long jeans, then ran again to the yellow book in the corner of the room. A taxi service, he looked for one, a foreign one. One he could not imagine ever existing in this city.

Ishmael and Friends Taxi Service, Family owned since 1964

He rung them. Did not hear so much as a voice as he was too busy screaming out his address until he ran out of breath and was forced, exasperated, to speak clearly again.

“I’m at the motel six. The one next to the bowling alley, yes. I need to get out.” Isaac said. “As fast as possible, to the nearest airport. Train station, whatever is closer.”

“Airport? Airport. That’s long way.” His accent was thick. Polish? It didn’t matter. Except it annoyed Isaac, so maybe it did matter. With how often he had to repeat himself before the raspy metallic voice could say a-ha, yes, done deal.

He walked out, the rusted door flicked its loose handle back as if the room wanted him out too. He locked the door, at last, pushed it in a bit, then left. His neighbor came out, a young woman raised her middle finger then turned to Isaac.

“Fuck you.” She spat and left.

“Have a nice day.” Isaac said. His eyes were open, it was more of a murmur in the buzzing night, the fluorescent lights would not hush, the flies would not stop zapping themselves and dropping like small bits of ash against the beige floor.

He ran out, down two separate sections of stairs, past a couple kissing, past a young boy being slapped upstairs by an angry grandmother. He went down to the parking lot and the car, green with a white stripe, that honked at him. Isaac lifted the trunk. There wasn’t much in his hands, he never had much, just a backpack. In it, a copy of Paradise Lost and some underwear, a flash drive containing in it, in no order, lesbian porn, pictures of a book called Goetia (amateur demonology) and a PDF file with some plastered bible verses across the page. He held the small flash drive and then thought, Though I walk through the valley of shadow and death, I fear no evil. He slid across the back. Fell. Fixed his hair and entered, it looked like the motions of a salmon in the middle of its heated lust, dashing through the air in an arc.

"The airport. As fast as you can." Isaac slapped the back seat.

"Alright. That hundred dollars, long trip."

"That's what I'm hoping for. I've got the money, don't worry about it. Get me far away."

"Alright, sir." And they were off. Through the streets bustling with life, the drunk drivers swerving. He heard all manners of noise, tribal, animal, human, so similar to one another he could not tell them apart from beast or war. Bass, so loud it shook glass, women hollering, men reeling into purses and bags reconditioned into vomit bags, the taxi driver screaming out profanities into the honking streets where people refused to drive slow. They turned two corners, five until they were on and about the highway that bled into the forest. The trees looked calm in the still air like bulwarks, guardians. He hoped to see some kind of protector, elf, fairy. Lord knows he needed one.

He spotted a night owl, white and docile, who wrapped around a branch and turned its head a full a hundred and eighty degrees. He swore its eyes followed him as they got closer down to the ground floor and the mountaintops became the mountain floors, where the loose dirt skidded and broke underneath tire and metal.

A blaring noise.

A honk. The car turned, nearly bled paint as it touched railing. They were still somewhat high, the arrow tops of trees told him so. They were so close, Isaac could feel it.

"Ah, fuck, third time today." The driver said. A police officer blinded Isaac with the blue and red in the rear mirror. He could barely see into the car and did not notice the two men that came up to the driver.

"Step out of the vehicle, sir." One of them told him. Isaac could not tell them apart, they seemed like two brooding statues with the stone faces hidden behind night veil. Or maybe it was sanded off.

"For what, What'd I do?"

"Can you please step out, sir." The second one said. He was smiling, Isaac could see that, the teeth at least. He saw the fangs and his stomach turned with the feeling of disgust. The creeping of it, like his stomach was an overflowing well with the poisoned water slowly steeping out and killing the grass and flowers and trees. Isaac studied their face, it was beginning to boil in him. Nauseas fear.

But the driver, he did not know better. He stepped, couldn’t afford another infraction after all. His hands slapped each other as he bartered.

“Come on, it was dark. I sped a bit, let it go, would you? No one here.”

And the police officer smiled at him. One of them grabbed him. The other rose his hand and brought it down, a swing of the baton, like a scorpion bite across his neck. The noise of his skull hitting the floor was low, like a tremor in the floor, a tremor that rose to Isaac’s hands and feet. He turned the handle, nothing. He kicked, nothing. He kicked harder, the glass broke, trapped his legs and made him squeal with blood. Dragging his stabbed leg back made it worse, like tiny razors danced across his foot.

The two were just finishing their beating. The sound of skull and brain turned to the sound of mush, the beating of ground meat. Isaac could not see, did not want to. He held his leg and tried with the other. He reclaimed his leg, prepped it fire but stopped. The glass above him broke, scratched him and he saw the batons. Shredding, pulling away from the sheet of glass. He was grabbed by the hood of his shirt, then by the neck and slowly they worked until his whole body was out. One of them got the idea to open the door from the made hole, and by then it was too late for Isaac.

"They ain't ganna find you." One of them said. "Who knew all you needed were a couple orange cones?"

“Fuck off me!” Isaac shouted. The birds flew from and reduced the forest desolate. He threw a piece of glass at one of them. It made a wound, nothing more, a small cut on the lip.

“Don’t get so mad, sweety.” He said with a low wisp. “The game was rigged from the start.”

He looked down at Isaac. Pitied him, maybe. Isaac couldn’t tell what the bleeding smile/frown meant. He couldn’t stop to see it close enough to tell. He was shaking, shaking up until they tazed him in spasms and cuffed him and forced him to watch the taxi driver and the car speeding off. A brick, all you needed was a brick to kill a man. To hold down the pedal of the car, to make it raise off and through the railings. To explode it, into a shower of metal, like meteor showers of prehistoric days. The driver and the car, burned. The splattered brain, stained. And Isaac, Isaac with the two maniacs in a car engine roaring that bloodthirsty yell. Like a predator, warning others, with the lamb gripped by the neck, this one is mine. Steer away.

They did not speak much. Laughed, some. It was terrible. What terrible fate, to be surrounded by people yet to feel so alone.

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