Out of the Frying Pan!
'From a darkness came a hellfire blazing, shadows looming, doom bringing; and it snaked its way like a predator lusting for its prey, its scales shining.'
Below on the pallid ground her undulating silhouette lingered.
Her feet trudged the dirt-covered path, a string of black rocks floating upon rivers of molten ash, dust swirling from under her leather shoes. Fumes rose from the fiery chasms that surrounded the squarish rims of the rocks, black as shadow, the billowing smoke trying to cloud her vision. But she remained undeterred and moved on as if everything was but a trifle not worth to be given a thought too. Jumping from one rock to another, covering a wide span with one leap as if gravity did not matter to her, she made her way towards the ashen gate that marked the beginning of the road to hell if one came from the other side. She had found a way to escape, finally. The gate neared, a barricade of iron rods, a metal that could seriously harm a demon. But she was unlike any of the others. Perhaps the door wouldn't harm her any more than it would do a mortal, not that any human in living form would dare approach the gates of hell. Fear of The Devil and tales of the tortures he inflicted terrified a human.
Whenever she thought about humans, she found them curious, unlike many other residents of the netherworld who looked at the denizens of the death-ridden world with disdain, in denial with the fact that they once were humans themselves. So much for being a distortion of the human soul after being tortured in the dungeons of hell!
The distinction between her and the other demons made her the envy of others. And thus she made no friends, but a lot of enemies. Most would have her head, torture her if they could get hands on her, but she was powerful in her own right. No one would even dare try to fight her. Not to mention her clout in the netherworld was something no demon could enjoy save some. But in all the time she had been in hell, which seemed like eternity, she had made only one friend, an ally one could call in times of need, who was not much since he was a young soul by count of years. His name was Zeke.
She could hear him now: an almost inaudible footfall followed occasionally by a short rumbling of pebbles that even sometimes hindered her way. She had hoped he wouldn't follow, but he was her loyal follower, willing to be her lackey through thick and thin. Of course, he would follow, but she wouldn't let him close in. Quickening her pace, she jumped faster, the gate drawing nearer by each second that passed.
For his sake, she hoped he wouldn't get close to the gate. Even if she would pass through unharmed, he probably wouldn't. And he, being one of the youngest among the hellish oppidans, would only get harmed more than any elder demon would.
The barrier protecting the gate became visible, a pale oval that shimmered with a dim white light. Her lips curled in a wide grin and strengthening her resolve, she slid through the barrier with a deft movement of her feet after she made the final leap and escaped the closing iron bars that had somehow sensed her coming. But Zeke, she knew, had not been so fortunate. She could hear his screams, loud and clear. Worry assailed her heart and she turned to see a skull-like figure kneeling at the gates beyond the barrier, slowly being accosted by huge rock-made fingers that erupted out of the gray walls and holding down her friend like an escaped prisoner refound. She wanted to save him, but hesitation crept into her. Her one chance of escape depended on the feeling of loyalty that she knew she was supposed to have for Zeke. But feelings: they were anathema to the demonic way of life. Even though she wanted Zeke safe from harm, she started to think more about herself, for one time in her bleak existence being selfish in her thoughts and actions, and turned away from him, who cried desperately for her help.
Her heart turned cold as she shut off all emotions concerning her agonized friend and moved on towards a narrow bridge that spanned a wide, dark chasm whose depths lay in nowhere. The portal was near and with a focused thought, she bid her ears close off any incoming sound from the gates of hell, especially those friendly to her. In no time, even as she walked the bridge, Zeke's cries seemed far away and then, suddenly, they were rendered mute.
Her ears pricked up at a rumbling noise that came from above. Through the ashen mountain in front of her, flashes of white light fought through the thickness, making small gaping holes and starting an avalanche that sent rocks tumbling down its stony slopes.
The rocks seemed to have a mind of its own, she thought. The aura around them was strange yet they bore a familiarity that she could not shake. It confused her. They all hurdled towards where she stood and the bridge that separated her feet from the dark deep abyss.
If allowed to come unhindered, she knew that the rocks were capable of destroying the bridge and she would as well die rather than be trapped into nothingness, a vacuum she could do without. Even as she started to run, she brandished a sword that gleamed with hellfire, its flame bearing a crimson tinge at its edges, and turning it in her hands, she smashed the rocks one by one as she came. Each of those rocks splintered into pieces and fell into the chasm, disappearing into the blackness.
Beads of sweat trickled down her brows. Panting, heaving a deep sigh, she lowered her blade, its tip scraping the barren ground, and closed her eyes.
'Well, well, if it isn't the Daughter,' called out a male voice, hoarse and loud.
She opened her eyes, shuddering, shocked to hear a living soul breathing outside of the gates of hell, where she had expected none, and turned towards the man, black of face, spiked hair, dressed in white, with gray wings behind his back.
'Angels!' she cursed. 'Didn't expect to find you near the gates of hell.'
The angel laughed. 'Didn't expect to find you outside them.'
She smirked. 'Shoo away, bird, to the nests above, and let me pass.'
'Can't let you do that, my love. Orders from Above. Hell isn't a freeway, you know.'
'Huh! Then I shall pay for my passage with your life,' she grunted and took out the small blade that shone with a golden yellow light. She smiled as she saw the shock writ on the angel's face, his brows contorted.
'Where did you get that?' she heard him snarl.
'This toy?' she asked, her eyes peering at the sharp tip of her blade. 'A wonder, isn't it?'
'Give it to me, girl. Doesn't belong to you or to this accursed place.'
She scoffed at his demanding tone.
'This baby has been with me for years. I so want to drive this into someone.' She stared into his eyes and saw in it a reflection of her own, a glint of green dancing. 'I think it's good you came in. This blade...it hurts angels, doesn't it?' She laughed. 'And thus my passage will be paid,' she declared as haughtily as she could.
The angel in front of her drew his own blade, which she saw was similar to hers, only longer.
'Time to play?' she asked, her body snaking to make herself ready. Swirling the blade in her hands, she rushed forward and with a swift push of her legs, jumped towards the stone where the angel stood. Her blade met his, the clanging noise echoing through the hellish chambers.
Deftly, she moved and parried each of his strokes, even though hard-pressed to match his strength. She had always heard that angels were more powerful than demons, a fact she had often chided, but now, she was learning the truth. The angels did possess more power. Was it because of the heavenly benedictions? Or was it because a demon was nothing but a distortion of the human soul?
Beads of sweat trickled down her brows as she held her blade high to block the angel's swipe that was aimed at her head. Twisting and turning, she elbowed his stomach. She could feel the puff of air leaving out of his mouth as he exhaled. The angel had been driven a few stones away.
She smiled. Was winning over an angel so easy? Twisting the blade in her hand, she jumped high and landed on the stone on which the angel stood. He came at her, sword circling in his hands. She ducked as he tried to separate her head from her body and with a swift move, she brought up her legs and kicked him on his shin. A scream she heard, making her close her eyes. The next moment she cursed as the angel's sword slashed the skin on her left hand, dark blood oozing. It had been a mistake and only in time had she swerved a little, sensing a movement of his hands. She rose from the ground, her eyes now red and staring at the heavenly denizen with the contorted face.
Step upon tiny step she retreated, heaving a deep breath, and then as if hit by a force from behind, she pierced the rock with her blade, her head close to the hilt. A red chasm appeared on the slashed rock and sped towards her enemy, throwing him away from her, his cries reverberating through the hellish walls.
She heard him clash against the boulders a few ways yonder. A smile on her face, she walked, step upon narrow step. Wary she was, despite her sense of victory. An angel can never be killed so easily, she knew. She had to think of something. And then as if on a cue, she looked towards the ceiling.
The white light still flashed above, signaling a portal she knew through which she could escape the confines of hell. She jumped to a stone above and scrambled to find a spacious ledge from where she could make the final jump. A cold wind gusted from above, its force driving her to the ground from whence she had come. Her spine crackled and she screamed aloud in pain. Her breath came in gasps.
The angel stood above, the point of his blade to her.
'Goodbye, girl,' she heard him say, and closed her eyes as he drove the sword into her.
Pain surged through her body. She could feel the warm gush of blood trickle down from the crimson wound the blade had made while it pierced her. Her breathing became heavy and her heart pulsed slower. Vivid flashes of red clouded her vision, a force compelling her to seek the refuges of hell once again. She knew that she would not die, not here. She would only be returned to hell. She wouldn't be able to escape again.
The angel laughed above her, mocking her daring to fight one of his kinds.
Amidst the flashes of black and red, she felt in her hand her blade and smiled, albeit a painful one. With a swift movement of her right hand, she swiped the blade through the angel's legs. She heard a cry, more like a shriek. She saw the angel on his knees, staring at her in complete surprise.
'Well, I will proudly say...that I have brought an angel...to his knees,' she gasped, and swirling the blade in her hands again, cut off the angel's head, which tumbled into the deep chasm. She breathed a deep sigh and waited for the white light to pull her through. The portal was circling above her, silver lightning flashing in it.
Shut the Music Down!
'Through the hellfire came a shadow calling, winds drumming, and a black smoke trailing; and each made its way to the tranquil streets of an infested city, following their prey, with a skill that would shame even a bloodhound.'
If only she didn't have to work...
Being late to home was not something usual in her life. After all, she worked in a cafe, serving customers, most of the times impatient, especially if they were alone, cups of cappuccinos and pastries made of chocolate. Carrying those trays was a headache, more so if the customers had come to the cafe irritated. Such people annoyed her to no end and she wished them gone. They didn't pay her good tips either. How was it her fault if the food takes time to prepare or the cafe is doing so good in business that orders take time to serve? But she got blamed for everything and the management did not like it when people complained. She sometimes got annoyed that she once had lashed out at her manager, resulting in a warning. If only she had her powers...she would work things in a jiffy.
But then again, magic was a fickle thing, an unknown that humans feared. If she used it, maybe she would be branded a witch. A witch...that's something she would not be. Offsprings of demons and humans they were, with a feeling of entitlement. More so than the denizens of hell. Many times she wondered if her father was right in ridiculing the humans. Being a year now in the mortal world, after having come through that portal bleeding with the wound the angel had given her, her opinion about the earthly world had not been good. When in hell she had displayed curiosity for the earth-born, but now, she was not so sure.
Her bones complained as she walked, tired of carrying trays upon trays of food. When had she ever grown so weary before? Never. Only the year that had passed so quickly she had lost sense of time.
When she had come through the portal, she had landed on the ground, naked, and found by the groundskeeper who had been kind enough to feed and clothe her with what rags he had. Days after, she had wandered the streets like an orphaned beggar, eating food out of the trashcans. And that sucked, because she had lost her powers. A few months passed living thus, all the while finding out that the mortal world held no real charms as she had believed when she was in the nether world, convinced that the world could not be saved except by the corrections in the actions of men. And then a family had taken her in, pity for her welling in their eyes. She had lived with them since.
Her foster-family they had become, who thought that she was but an orphan, and they were unlike any human she had met. They had been warm and kind to her, a testament to what she had believed when her abode had been down under.
She turned towards the house to her right and walked towards its gate, a wide smile on her face. The lights were still on and music blared loud from the floor above. Her foster-brother had been a music aficionado, listening to all things rock and heavy metal. Some people called it the devil's music. She could not fathom why.
About to walk through the open gate, she knelt on the ground, feeling a sharp jab of pain where her wound had been. Blackness assailed her visions, a surge passing through her body, her hands on her stomach pinching her skin hard. But she wouldn't scream. Her face contorted and her eyes shut hard, silver tears streaming down her cheeks.
Just as it had come, it had gone. Heaving a deep breath, she stood up and faced the house. No one had come out. If any one of her family had, they would wonder what had happened and she couldn't have that. No use worrying them over matters beyond their understanding, she thought. She could not tell the real truth, of who she was and why she felt the pain sear through her mortal coil every now and again.
When she had first faced the pain on Earth, she had been right in thinking that a shard of the blade had remained within her despite the wound having healed. She had had it removed by a witch named Adrianne, who practiced the dark arts, which she reviled but had no option to turn to. But she felt the jabs every now and again. All ideas had escaped her and tonight it had happened in front of her house. The doctors would never diagnose it rightly; they would say the feelings were just spasms.
Sweat trickling down her brow, she walked to the house as if nothing had happened, only hoping it would never come again.
She made to knock on the door, but it opened without her ever doing so, revealing a woman, looking endless even in her old age.
'Mom!' she cried as she stepped inside, giving the woman a hug, before rushing into the living room.
'Lucy, you're late!'
She looked back and said, 'I did call.'
'Yes, you did, but still...it's my prerogative to tell that you're late.'
She smiled at Eva, her foster-mother. 'Of course it is. But then I did follow the rules. Cut me some slack, please.'
Eva laughed. 'Cut you some slack? Fine...fine, now go and change your clothes. Dirty you seem. And come, dinner is set on the table.'
'Am not that hungry.'
'But you must eat. Look at how thin you have become.'
'Did it occur to you that I'm on a diet?' she asked, her tone as jovial as she could keep it.
'Which is what I find ludicrous. How will you get enough nutrients if you don't eat?'
Like I need them. She smiled. 'Worry not, Mom, I won't famish.'
Music blared loud again.
'Oh God!' she heard her mother say, almost wincing at the second word. 'Your brother, I tell you! Lucy, see if you can ask him to shut the music down please.'
She nodded. She understood her mother's annoyance.
Turning, she climbed up the stairs, step upon tiny step, and as she passed a window mid-story, patrol cars raced on the streets outside.
A cold wind gusted in the dark night, making a tall man shiver. He wrapped his jacket more tightly around him and walked on the empty streets of Stratford, aiming to reach the comforts of his home and the hearth underneath it before the stroke of midnight.
His paces brisk, his shoulders erect, his demeanor was that of a haughty man, content with his fares at the café he worked on the Dufferin Street. His confidence seemed to know no bounds and he walked as if he owned the streets. Lucy would have admonished him, his wife would have hit him with a club for being so, but he couldn’t help feeling so smug. He felt he had a right to be so. The business had never been so good before. If the same numbers repeated every day, all his debts would clear and he could live a successful life, providing all he can to his wife and two children. And perhaps even Lucy, the waitress he had been seeing at the café.
Another gust of wind made him frown at the clear nightly sky, the moon full and the stars twinkling bright, wondering what was wrong with the weather of the world. And then he just shrugged and moved on. For a moment there he had felt that the breezing wind was just a trick of the weather, unusual in this time of the year as it was, colder than the ones that swirled in the winter. Something seemed amiss. If he believed in the mumbo-jumbo some others spoke of, he would say otherworldly, but even that thought seemed to him ludicrous. But he carried on, shrugging, waving any such thoughts off his mind. They seemed worthless in front of the news of joy he bore his family. How happy would Laura be! How the children would dance around him in joy, crying ‘Papa! Papa!’!
He turned left on Brydges Street, empty as the one before, the streetlights on it flickering, making a buzzing sound as it did. Looking at them he stopped and gave a smirk. He had seen it all in the horror flicks he loved to watch with Lucy, they lying on beds in all their naked glory, his hands squeezing her breasts and hers on his penis. Scoffing, he stepped forward to move again, each happening on the silent roads bringing back to him memories of the times he had cheated on his family. Yet he felt no guilt.
He wished they would stop but the flow was so fierce that they flooded in his mind, every night he had spent with the beautiful waitress replaying in his mind so much that he could not help but have a hard on and wonder where Lucy was. Probably reached her home and having a good night’s sleep, much-deserved.
‘Stop! Stop!’ he cried, his voice coming out in a mumble.
In the distance, a trash can fell, making a loud thud.
He stared at it, a frown on his brows. ‘Who is it?’ he shouted.
No one replied. Utter silence.
Wary and alert, he quickened his pace and started sprinting to his house, which was but half a mile away.
The trash can fell with a thud, revealing a black phantom-like creature that looked at the man in front of it with crimson red eyes, which bore the lust a predator had for its prey. Seeing him flee on foot, it smiled and flew into the sky, the winds drumming around it, shadows called to it, and a black smoke trailing it.
'Out of the depths of hell came a red streak, crimson flowing, blood dripping, and the silver shimmering; and each found itself in front of the hunters, armed to kill.'
A cold morning dawned after a wintry-like night. The whole night a chill had raced up her skin despite the warm blankets she had covered herself with. The dawn turned out to be no different.
Still in her night lingerie, a black sleazy gown with narrow straps over her shoulders, she stepped out of the comforts of her bed, placing her feet on the parky marbled floor. Drowsy still, she could hear the sound of the TV downstairs. Eva had already woken up as was her wont. She, on the other hand, was lazy, preferring to wake up in the late mornings. Sometimes, she awoke in the early afternoons too, earning Eva’s ire upon herself.
Taking out a jean and a green tee from the wall-mounted wardrobe, she hurried into the bathroom.
‘What’s up, Mom?’ Lucy asked as she pranced down the stairs in her newly changed clothes, none of them ironed.
Eva had been watching TV through the night, she could see.
‘Haven’t slept?’ she asked again.
Her foster-mother turned towards her. ‘Oh, Lucy, it’s you! Er…what,’ she replied, as if shaken out of a trance. ‘Uh…sleep…no, haven’t slept. There was a murder yesterday night, right about the time you arrived. Sirens kept me awake.’
‘Yes, Brydges Street.’
Brydges Street. That was but a block or two away, she recalled. Now she could see why Eva sounded worried.
‘You go to sleep, Mom. Being up through the night doesn’t suit you, it does only Jonas.’
Eva laughed. ‘Yes, it does, doesn’t it? Where is Jonas by the way? Hasn’t come out of his room. Not even for the occasional pee.’
She raised a brow.
Jonas. Not coming out of his room, not even for pee. It was unusual. She remembered that the boy regularly, like it was a custom he dared not break, came out of his room every morning at 5 A.M. But why not today?
‘You want me to check?’ she asked.
Eva relapsed into her thoughtful mode for a while, her brows contorted and her lips pouted, and said, ‘No, let him be. But you’re up early. What brings your Highness out of the cozy bed?’
‘The cold dawn.’
‘Ah, unusual for sure. Something I would rather have in the winter than summer. But the weather is what it is and we cannot do anything about it. Trust me, I have faced worse. But I’m sorry on its behalf for having disturbed your sleep.’
She laughed. It was good to listen to Eva talk like that. Her foster-mother was perhaps one of the few humans she loved to be around. Most of the other humans only ended up annoying her.
‘That’s ok, Mom. But you need to sleep.’
Eva raised up her hands. ‘Fine! What’s with daughters acting like mothers these days?’
She smiled and gave her foster-mother a playful shove on her shoulder.
As Eva left, her attention turned towards the blaring TV, which showed a female blonde reporter speaking on her microphone and beside her a short clipping showing a crime scene with the cops trying to dispel curious onlookers.
Her ears pricked up as she listened to the news with interest, which she almost never did.
Brydges Street witnessed a gruesome murder yesterday night. The victim, a Mr. Desmond Gnawfeld, 38 years of age, a resident of Stratford who had his house down the street, was returning from his ten-year-old cafe late at night when the tragedy struck. The police are on the scene, blood all around, and are confused as to what might have killed the kind-hearted soul as he was said to be. The motive and the style in which the killing has been committed is something unlike the usual crime and speaks of a cult intervention. Weird symbols are seen, a couple of them silver pentagrams, around the body, which could not ordinarily have been identified. Were it not for his identity cards, the police might never have.
The forensics are baffled as they have been unable to find any DNA evidence as to who might have killed him. We spoke to Mrs. Laura Gnawfeld, wife of the victim, who could produce nothing of the attacker, saying she did not know who could do this to him. We also talked with the neighbors and could get nothing save that one remarked on how the victim had gotten in fight with a Mr. Conan a couple of days ago. The police have interrogated him but found nothing that could incriminate him. Right now, everything is a mystery, and we hope that the Stratford PD works fast to grant the victim his justice.
Desmond Gnawfeld. Shock grasped her as she heard her boss’ name. She sat down on the sofa, air whooshing out of the soft pores that lined the skin of the sheet that covered it.
Weird Symbols and Cult Intervention. This peaked her interest. She began to wonder what they were. As far as she knew, Desmond had been a good man, far aloof from the sort that worshipped the Devil through sacrifices and symbols. And it was beyond her acceptance that her boss would ally with a witch. The murder, so near where she lived, troubled her mind. It felt like the crime scene was begging for her intervention. She knew of some murders and killings done in the name of religions and cults, crimes born out of passion for the non-mundane.
Silver Pentagrams. This intrigued her the most and brought in her an ardent desire to see the crime scene. She wanted to know whether the pentagrams were real or fake. If it turned out to be the latter, there wasn’t enough cause for her to worry. If they were real then she would want to think twice about continuing to live here. No human would ever dare touch a silver pentagram, let alone create one. A witch might, provided she practiced the darkest of arts like sorcery or necromancy.
But why would anyone place a silver pentagram near Desmond’s body? Why would a cult or a witch kill him? Especially with such a modus operandi? And so near where she lived? She sensed something fishy going on.
I have to visit the crime scene. She whispered to herself. She had to know what was going on.
The cops might not let her see the body, but she had to see the body, to know the truth about the pentagrams.
Perhaps the cops might even let her. Considering she worked at the café, they might want to question her. A sliver of hope rose within her. She rose from the sofa and walked out of the house, closing the door behind her with a loud thud, careless for a moment.
She had almost touched the road when she heard her name called out from behind.
She stopped, closed her eyes, and then turned. It was Jonas, her annoying brother, running towards her. He had combed his hair today, she noticed. Very rare for her brother to have done so.
‘What’s it, Jonas?’ she asked, showing not a bit of patience. ‘I’ve to go somewhere.’
'I comin' with,' he replied in a tone that meant he wasn't asking for her permission.
'No, you are not,' she said, putting her hands on his burly chest. 'Go your own way, Jonas.'
'I didn't ask for your permission, sis. I am comin' and you ain't stoppin' me.'
She sighed. There was no way that she could stop him from coming with, not without her powers. But then she thought: Jonas might be of some use. After all, he had a way with words and he could talk the cops into something, maybe even provide a distraction. All she needed was to take a peek at the body to understand what the hullabaloo on the television was about.
Brydges Street wasn’t far away from home, only a couple of blocks away.
Ten minutes after she had asked Jonas to come, they reached the crime scene. Yellow ribbons, bearing a sign that said ‘Crime Scene. Do Not Cross’, dotted the area around what she thought was the outline of a fallen body. She couldn’t see the whole body from where she stood. Even though bereft of much crowd, except for two or three who scouted the perimeter, a couple of policemen obstructed her vision. They seemed to be talking about something, presumably about the victim, which she couldn’t overhear.
Wishing for her curiosity to be sated, she turned her face hither and thither, but could not see a thing. Except for the uneven circle of blood that had pooled on the ground.
‘Wait here!’ said Jonas with a smile, looking amused by her efforts.
She frowned. ‘What are you gonna do?’
He did not answer.
Jonas had only one goal --Distract. He knew that Lucy wanted to see the body. What for, he knew not, but if his sister wanted it, he would see that she does get it.
Lucy had been as warm to him as he was to her. Never had she failed him and he did not want to fail her now. It was his duty to fulfill her wishes now. It was time to be a brother.
He crossed the yellow barriers. Fortunately, nobody noticed him enter. Yet.
Ricky stood over the mutilated body. The gore surrounding the victim was unbearable to him. He almost had a mind to puke, but he controlled himself. It wouldn't do well to throw out his intakes especially when it could make him the butt of jokes in his department. His partner, Detective Rachel Ramirez, seemed to be holding herself well. Now he knew he could not falter. What would Rachel think?
He could make neither head nor tail of the scene. Who had attacked poor Desmond? What was he doing so late at night, roaming the streets when he should have been at his house, sleeping or watching TV? Why hadn’t he called his wife he would be late? And who could do such a hateful thing?
The signs around the body – the weird symbols – suggested a crime committed by some cult. He felt disgusted by it. How could anyone believe in things so much that they formed a whole cult about it? And if there was indeed some cult behind the murder of the victim whose case he was given to solve, was Mr. Desmond part of some cult? He knew that people often hid their proclivities, even from their loved ones. But as far as he had investigated in the short time he had, he found nothing that suggested to him that he was part of one.
He had questioned a Mr. Conan and found that the fight had been trivial. He had immediately disregarded the shabby-haired man as a suspect but asked him to remain in the city while the case was still active. Now, he was back to square one and this was going to be a high pressure one. He had no doubt about that. The nature of the case would be a media focus and his superiors would want him to close it as soon as possible. But looking at the scene again and again since the morning had led him nowhere. No leads presented themselves to him.
He saw his partner speaking to the residents of nearby bungalows, who seemed to have heard a disturbance sometime around midnight, which coincided with the time window his M.E. had placed the victim’s death in.
Who could do such a thing? Questions like these assailed his mind and he had no idea what to do about them.
Just then he saw a young man enter through the yellow lines and his sharp eyes contorted. ‘HEY, YOU! STOP!’ he shouted.
'HEY, YOU! STOP!' he heard the detective call.
Jonas stopped, his right foot held mid-air. His mission had been achieved. Now, his sister could see the crime scenes clearly.
'What are you doing here?' asked the detective. 'Can't you see this is a crime scene?'
'Sorry, Sir,' he responded, keeping his tone as apologetic as he possibly could. 'I have...color blindness, you see.'
The detective frowned. 'May be you have, may be you haven't. In either case, I would request you to step behind the barrier, Sir.'
He smiled and stepped back. 'Okay, Sir, no problem. I wouldn't want to impede on whatever is goin' on here.'
She saw Jonas having an altercation with the detective and thought this was the right time to do her own investigation. She had to satiate her own curiosity. The article about silver pentagrams had intrigued her so much that she knew that her heart wouldn't stop pulsing so much if she found out whether they were real or just imitations made to scare. She hoped it was the latter.
All her hopes seemed to have been dashed into nothingness when she saw the silver pentagrams hovering above the mutilated body of her boss.
Shit, it is real! It was real. A silver pentagram would appear affixed to the body if the person who saw it was a mortal. But to a resident of hell or heaven, it would appear to be floating in the air, a few inches above the person who was marked. Who had branded him? Even witches did not hold such power. Those powerful enough had been burned in Salem centuries ago. Were there other demons abroad, escaped from hell? But how?
And then it dawned on her. Of course. When she escaped, the bridge had broken, and for all she knew, the bridge had taken along with it a piece of stone that held the gate tight. Sensing an opportunity some demons would have escaped. She grunted. If that had happened, the world would be soon be in grave trouble. But then, for a year, nothing had happened. Why now?
A thought entered her mind: Had Zeke managed to escape too?
Even as she saw the pentagram, she felt a modicum of power return to her. Her body seemed strengthened all of a sudden. The pool of blood suddenly turned into water in front of her eyes and in it she saw her own reflection. Her skin started to shine and her eyes blazed with a crimson light, even if for a small moment. And just as it had turned to water, it reverted to the red it was, and her reflection wavered and darkened.
She frowned and wondered whether her powers were returning. But how?
Standing, she focused on the blood. Nothing happened. Sighing, she turned and saw Jonas returning with a smug face.
'Saw?' he inquired.
She nodded. 'Let's go.'
Somewhere else, near Redford Crescent, a black smoke-like phantom prowled behind a woman in broad daylight, its face shining with the lust of a predator looking for food.