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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89. Heathens - End

August 23rd, 2017

The smaller corpses were the first to rise. They came in pairs, thirty-five in total, all mutilated and wrecked; gashes, bites, bludgeoned skin and torn muscle upon them. 

Bartholomew saw them as he came up from that darkness, each passing body a blur in his peripheral. The water burned his eyes. His limbs were weary. His lungs painfully exhaling as he staved off a collapsing consciousness. He felt a fog come over his eyes and brain. It made everything blurry. His body felt light, weightless even and for a moment he felt the pull, a pullback down to a Hell that waited for him. 

And at last, with the last of his air escaping, at last, he broke the top. 

He shivered along the waters and drifted through the corpses, each one passing him by or rubbing on his skin. 

It made him scream out loud, to a boat off at the distance and the Fisherman standing on it, spitting water out of his mouth. 

“Help.” The boy screamed. “Help me, please.”

The Fisherman raised his head up to the edge of the walls and looked down at the child who swam towards him. He was afraid, for a moment, that the boy was just another body. But a constant flailing and desperation made him reassess. Just a boy, the fisherman thought. 

He looked for throw-ring in his boat, the hope shaped like a white circle, and tossed it at the boy. The boy, who grabbed it with his small, scarred hands.

He came onto the boat, struggling. The cold shaking off of him. A fresh blanket came over him, it stuck to his skin. He looked away from the bodies, down to the pink water spilling through the boat boards. His body closed off, shoulders coming inward, face coming down to his knees. 

And in his ball, with the Fisherman standing shocked and worried at sharp end of his boat, he cried. Alone.

The Fisherman gave him room to. He turned the boat around and away from the gruesome scene of corpses and drove. The engine sputtered two giant walls of pink, before they zoomed off into a roar. 

The boy cried as loud as he could, as loud as he wanted, for the engine overwhelmed everything.

It was thirty minutes before the police arrived, who believed the call (and for a very brief moment, the scene itself) a prank.

A volcano of dead people. The Fisherman had yelled into the telephone. 

Two police officers arrived, green and young. They vomited at the sight of the corpses circling around the water surface and left a trail of their green and brown particles back, as they retreated to the cop car. Ten minutes later, three boats arrived and a legion of cop cars. A few moments after, the water surface became cracked and shook by the intense spinning of helicopter blades hovering over. News stations, mostly. 

They littered the lake with sounds so heavy they shook the boy. 

Bartholomew was left inside a small shabby shack next to the lake, his face plain looking as the police officers went over him. Asking him questions such as; When did it happen? Where did it happen? What happened? 

Too long ago. In a place with too much evil. Things that should not be spoken. 

He stayed catatonic, not out of the trauma of the whole event, but out of a stubbornness towards the strangers. 

And they begun to rub their faces when they realized the boy would not talk. And one by one they left the small shack, disappointed and annoyed and growing more nervous as the bodies continued to rise above.

An officer came around after some time, offering coffee and a call from his mother. He put the phone up to her, her pleading “It’s been weeks, oh my god. Bart, is that you?” (Really, just two weeks? It seemed longer). Him saying nothing, just a solemn “Hello”. Her saying, “she thought he was dead”. Him thinking, a part of him was. 

The voice said, at last, in between joyous tears, “Is that really you Bart? It doesn’t sound like you? Oh, please tell me, it’s you.”

He looked at the phone receiver and his arms and the small cuts and bruises decorating him like military accolades. 

“Yeah, mom. It’s me.” His voice, calm and collected and worn and tired.

He put the phone away after his mother suggested her to pick him up. Then he looked outside to the police officers who circled the building, suspiciously, muttering the words, “It’s that dead cop’s kid.”

They annoyed him more than the beeping of buttons and the dead static noise from the radios amongst the shack.

He stood up and away from all the officers and all the sound around him. They didn’t seem to mind, some even preferred it.

He went out, observing the newest fleet of cop cars, they must have gone through four different groups of police officers. A whole rotation. Most of them couldn’t tolerate the image or the smell and most of them ran away crying or vomiting.

Bartholomew came to the dark waters, standing on a boarded walkway. The creaks and whining loud below him. His mother would be here soon, the day was coming to an end and his reflection was molded behind the color of the dying sun; a hazy red. 

He took a deep breath. It was over, he knew it. And he exhaled easy.

Behind him, an officer approached, in the midst of his meditative state. A seasoned man whose white beard hid a sympathetic frown. 

He walked up gently, waited a bit for the boy to pay attention and knelt down to him when did.

“Did anyone else survive?” The officer asked.

Bartholomew looked down at the water, his hair still wet and weighty. He looked onto that bleak surface, at the center of the heart of darkness where the red sun glared its reflection across the waterfront.

“Yeah,” Bartholomew said. “Yeah, I think so.”

“Can you tell me who?”

“No, not really.”

“Alright.” The officer pulled down his hat to nod. “We’ll keep searching then.”

Of course, they wouldn’t find them. But he was confident, as he stared into that dark abyss, with a long-lasting grin stuck on his face. Confident of what? An idea, a small feeling, one that would help him through the days and weeks and months and years to come, an idea, somewhere in the crevices and annals of his mind that would sate his tears and sighs and silent trauma, an idea that in this giant dark lake there lived a light. 

And maybe, just maybe, it wasn’t so dark after all.

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