DETECTIVES OF THE 9TH PRECINCT
“THE DEVIL BELIEVES IN YOU”
She was not hard to find, after all this is what he does. Find people. But then again he had to think, if he can find people, why can’t he then find the one person that he so wants to find.
They seem to have vanished into thin air from that vacant lot leaving no traces behind. Except. Steve’s Saint Michael’s Medallion, a gift from Ruby, the Patron Saint of Police Officers that Steve always wore. Always.
He had to think clearly and he had to let that detective side of him take over and she was really his last hope, they were in the wind and he was left here to pick up the pieces, scattered as they were.
In the diner he took a seat at a table in the back then he picked up the menu and took a look at it and just as Neal was making himself comfortable she came out of the kitchen. Carrying two plates of food for the customers at the counter when she just happened to glance at the table in the back. She hesitated, recognizing Neal then she recovered nicely, smiling at the customers as she set the plates of food down in front of them. Turning from the counter she grabbed the coffee pot that was behind her then she walked over to the table.
“Coffee?” Sara asks.
“Yes Thanks.” Neal replied as he turned the coffee cup over.
“How did you find me?” Sara asks as she leans over to fill the coffee cup.
“I’m a Detective remember?” Neal replies.
“It’s fresh today.” Sara replies as she takes out her order pad.
“What? What’s fresh today?” Neal asks.
“The apple pie.” Sara replies as she glances back over her shoulder. “A La Mode right?”
“Yeah right.” Neal replies. “Sara I need to talk to you.”
“Not here okay.” Sara replied.
“I need your help it’s about Steve.”
“I know what it’s about but not here.” Sara replied as she glances around.
“Alright. When then?” Neal asks with just a touch of desperation.
“My shift ends in about an hour or so. I can meet you somewhere.” Sara replies as she writes.
“Alright that’s cool. My car is parked around the block, I’ll be waiting for you there.” Neal replies.
“Fine.” Sara replies as she rips the page from her order pad and sits it on the table. “I’ll bring your pie to you right away.”
After the pie Neal went back to his car to wait for Sara to get off of work and it was the longest hour of his life. Watching the people walk along the street oblivious to the fact that a life was in danger, going about their lives when Steve was slowing losing his. For all Neal knows it could already be lost. Neal glances at his watch. Time seems to be dragging. Neal contemplates turning on the radio but decides not to at the last minute. There are magazines in the back seat but he lacks the energy to reach for them.
Neal needs a cigarette but when he searches his pockets and the car he realizes that he is out of smokes. There is a little store on the corner. When he finally makes up his mind to go to the store he is startled by a slight tap on the window, looking over he sees Sara standing there. He leans over and he unlocks the door for her.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to startle you.” Sara replies as she gets into the front seat.
“No, no it’s alright. What’s all that?” Neal asks as he watches her put her bags on the floorboard of the car.
“Dinner. I mean when you work at a diner you get the leftovers.”
“Oh sure.” Neal replies as he nods.
“These are for you.” Sara replies as she hands Neal a pack of cigarettes.
“For me?” Neal asks as he takes them.
“Yeah, you were thinking about them, right?”
“Yeah, yeah I was. Neal replies.
“I’m sorry about that back there but they don’t know about my….” Sara moves her hand in a circle by her head. “….You know.”
“I kinda figured that out for myself. Do you want to know what else I figured out for myself?” Neal asks.
“What?” Sara asks.
“That you lied to Steve about why you were in the hospital.” Neal replies. “It had nothing to do with migraine headaches did it?” Neal asks as Sara looks down at her feet.
Which causes Neal to lean closer to her as he says, “Did it?”
Sara then turns her head to look at him. “No it didn’t. If you already know why does it matter?”
“It matters to me and I want to hear you say it out loud.” Neal replies.
Sara takes a deep breath as she looks up. “My parents had me committed there.”
“A 72 hour hold, right?’ Neal asks.
“Yes something like that. My parents don’t believe in this psychic ability that I have and they thought I was having a nervous breakdown.”
“Were you?” Neal asks with a serious tone.
Then Sara turns in her seat and she looks at him. “Let’s say one day Detective you wake up and you go to work and you suddenly know what will happen to all of your co-workers. Cheating wives, car accidents, impending doom all around everyone. Loved ones you try to warn but they don’t believe you, so now, you knowing all of that don’t you think just maybe you might go just a little crazy? And no I wasn’t born this way.”
“No?” Neal asks surprised.
“Three years ago I was in a car accident and I was in a coma for six months and when I woke up I saw the nurse who was attending to me and I knew at the end of her shift she was going to walk out of the hospital and get hit and killed by a car! And there was nothing I could do about it!”
“Save it! Why are you here anyway? You said you don’t believe in psychics. Grasping at straws Detective?”
“If you want to put it that….” Neal starts to say but he is interrupted by Sara.
“What other way is there to put it?” Sara asks.
“Alright damn it! Yes I’m grasping at straws here! And yes I was skeptical about this whole psychic thing until….” Neal stops then he looks out the window.
“Until?” Sara asks.
Neal looks back at her. “Until you helped us find the Professor’s body. The people that took Steve seems to have fallen into a hole in the earth and then the hole closed up around them. Nobody remembers talking to them, or seeing them or having anything to do with them, it’s like, they were born yesterday! Right now Sara, you are the be all, end all.” Neal reaches out and he holds her by her hand. “I need your help.”
“You don’t know how much that scares me, somebody needing me that much. Putting all your hopes on me. Neal, I know that it took a lot for you to come here.”
“Oh Sara you will never know how much.” Neal replies as he rubs his face.
“You really love him don’t you?” Sara asks.
Neal nods his head. “More than you will ever know.”
“Do you have something of his?” Sara asks as she puts her hand on Neal’s arm.
Neal reaches into his jacket pocket and he takes out the Saint Michaels’ Medallion and he places it into her hand. Once the medallion was in her hand she closes her hand over it and then she closes her eyes.
Neal can see the concentration on her face as she holds the medallion clenched in her hands. “Desecration.” She says as Neal leans in closer.
“I see desecration. Evil has taken over this place.”
“Where? Can you see where….” Neal starts to say but Sara raises a hand to stop him.
“This is an ancient evil. This place is old. Big. Reaching up towards the sky. Many horrible things have happened there. I can see lights of the city from there.” Sara begins to shake her head. “No one goes there, no one dares to go there, no one that is alive.”
“No one that is alive?” Neal asks. “Sara where is this place?”
“Three hours outside of the city. It was never finished, they didn’t finish what they started. Go east of Eden and you will find it.”
Neal writes this down on his notepad.
“I see….” Sara replies but stops.
“What? What Sara? What do you see?” Neal asks.
“A celebration? Yes it’s a celebration. Time. There isn’t a lot of time left. They have preparations to make. The sun. The sun rises as far to the northeast as it ever does and sets as far to the northwest.”
Neal writes this down as well. “Sara, do you see Steve? Is he alright?”
Sara turns her head slightly as she looks at Neal as she says, “For now. He wants you to find him. To come to him. The sun rises as far to the northeast as it ever does and sets as far to the northwest. The sun….”
“Sara what does that mean?
Then suddenly Sara laughs. A laugh that is evil and ancient. Guttural. It’s a laugh that Neal recognizes well and as Sara laughs she turns and looks at Neal.
“You’re a fool.” Sara replies as she looks him up and down. “You’re a fool to think that you’ll be able to save him. He’ll be one of us very soon.” Sara replies.
Neal sits up straight in his seat. “No you’re wrong!”
“Oh come now Detective his death will be a gift! Our Master will be very pleased by him and when he is done with him then we will come after you and, what is her name? Ruby?”
Neal, blinded by anger, reaches out and he grabs her by the upper arms and he pulls her to him as she continues to laugh.
“Oh you like to play rough!” Sara replies as she laughs.
“If you hurt them….”
“You’ll do what exactly Detective? Hmmm? There is nothing in this world that you can do….nothing! It’s the good old summer time Detective and time is ticking away!” Sara laughs again.
Neal gives her a shake then he slaps her hard across the face. “Sara! Sara!”
Then just as suddenly as it began it was over. Sara, with one hand on her face, her mouth open she looks at Neal with a look of shock on her face.
“Sara I’m sorry….”
“What….what happened?” Sara asks as she slips from Neal’s grasp and she settles back down into the seat.
“I don’t, I don’t really know you just started to change. It was like you were….”
Sara raises her hand to stop him. “Did you get what you wanted?” Sara looks at him.
Neal looks at Sara. Her hair has come down from her hair clips, her cheek still red from where he had slapped her and her eyes. Her eyes begging Neal for some sort of release. Had he gotten what he wanted? Her answers were cryptic at best and what he really wanted was clear directions. Go to Main Street and hang a left and Steve would be there, waiting. He felt like Hansel to her Gretel, leaving bread crumbs of a trail to follow. Pieces of the puzzle were missing, but he had worked with less before.
Looking at her he didn’t think she could handle anymore even though he was a man dying of thirst in the desert so he did the one thing he always fell back on….he lied.
“Yeah Sara I think so.”
“You can have this back now.” Sara hands him Steve’s necklace. “You have to be careful Neal, these people are dangerous.”
“I know that already.” Neal replies as he puts the necklace back in his pocket.
“They always get what they want.” Sara replies.
Neal shakes his head. “Not this time.”
“They will be waiting for you.” Sara replies.
“I hope so….where are you going?” Neal asks as Sara opens the car door.
“Let me drive you home.” Neal replies.
“No that’s alright. It’s only two blocks away and the walk will help me clear my head.” Sara replies as she grabs her bags then she gets out. She is just about to shut the door and walk away when she turns around.
“The answer to the question is not many.” Sara replies.
“What?” Neal asks. “What question?”
“In the hospital. When Steve asked you how many lives you two have left.” Sara replies.
Neal sits up straighter in his seat as he feels the hair stand up on the back of his neck.
“How….?” Neal starts to ask but then he realizes who he’s talking to and what she’s capable of and he already knew the answer to the question.
“Be careful Neal because this time….”
Neal looks up at her.
“….It maybe not be alright.” Sara replies.
All Neal can do is look at her as she says the standard line that he had said to Steve at least a hundred of times then he watches as she finally shuts the car door then she turns and walks off, adjusting the bags she is carrying. Neal sits there for a few minutes thinking everything thru, trying to decide where his next move should be. As he starts the car he decides to go back to the beginning. The place where all of this crazy stuff started. He needed to see something for himself.
“Sir! Sir! I told you, you can’t go in there!”
The secretary says as she runs behind Neal who by now has made his way into the office of the Chief Director of the University.
“What’s going on here?” The Chief Director asks as he rises up out of his chair.
“I’m sorry Dr. Weaver I couldn’t stop him.” The secretary replies.
Neal by now is confused. “Who are you?” Neal asks.
“Excuse me sir I should be asking you that question.” Dr. Weaver asks as he points at Neal.
“He says he’s a Homicide Detective….” The secretary replies.
“I am a Homicide Detective.” Neal replies as he searches his pockets for his badge then when he finally finds it he shows it to Dr. Weaver.
“Oh yes this must be about Professor Clark. I was so sorry to hear about what happened to him and I wish I could have been here….”
“Wait!” Neal throws his hands up in the air. “What’s going on here? Who are you?” Neal asks.
“I’m Doctor Jeffrey Weaver Director of the University. Detective are you all right?”
Neal wonders if he was all right. Something is wrong with this picture. This Doctor Jeffrey Weaver is not the same Doctor Jeffrey Weaver he first met on that night here at the University. The other Doctor Weaver was a tall man with abundance of salt and pepper hair and this man, this Doctor Weaver, who was now standing in front of him was a short, dumpy, balding man.
Neal raises his hand to his forehead as he feels the room do a tip to the right then a tip to the left, causing him to reach out and grab a hold of the desk.
Doctor Weaver rushes around from behind the desk and grabbing Neal’s arm he helps him into a nearby chair.
“Detective? Alice get him a glass of water.” Dr. Weaver replies. “My poor man you look dreadful.”
Alice returns with a glass of water which she hands to Neal who drinks from it slowly. “Who was the other man?” Neal asks.
The Doctor looks at Alice. “Man? What other man?” He asks.
“The man I saw that night here at the University. The night that Professor Clark’s office was ransacked. He said he was Dr. Jeffrey Weaver! Tall with salt and pepper hair, well dressed.” Neal asks as he looks up at him.
Dr. Weaver shrugs his shoulders. “I don’t know anybody by that description Detective but I can assure you that I am the only Director of the University and my name is Jeffrey Weaver. It is an odd coincidence that you show up now.”
“Odd? Why do you say that it’s odd?” Neal asks.
“Well you see when all of this happened to Professor Clark I was out of town on sabbatical and I was just going to have Alice call the Precinct and see if they could send somebody out to tell us….Detective where are you going?”
The Dr. asks as Neal stands up and he finishes the glass of water then he hands it to him.
“You don’t look well maybe you should stay here for a bit.” The Dr. replies.
“No, no I’m fine I just wanted to see for myself.” Neal replies.
“I don’t understand? See what for yourself?” The Doctor asks.
“This was fun and games for them! They were playing their parts and having fun at our expense!”
“Who? Detective I really don’t understand any of this! Could you please explain what’s going on here?” The Doctor replies as he follows Neal out of the office.
“Not now Doctor I have to go!” Neal replies.
“But Detective I have so many questions, where are you going?” The Doctor asks.
“East of Eden.” Neal yells back over his shoulder.
ST. MARY’S OUR LADY OF SORROWS:
Neal was waiting. As it was with most things today. Waiting. Neal made it to the Church just before Mass was ending. Neal managed to slip into the back and after the crowd had left he approached one of the altar boys who directed him to, and guess what it was called, the waiting area. Imagine that Neal thinks as he looks around. Finally the person he came to see comes into the room.
“Yes son. I was told someone wanted to see me. Are you here to give confession?” Father Murphy asks.
“No Father, although that might not be a bad idea, I don’t have that much time.” Neal takes out his badge and shows it to him. “I’m Detective Schon with Homicide….”
“Homicide? Has something happened to one of our parishioners?” Father Murphy. “Schon? You’re Neal aren’t you?”
Neal smiles slightly as he puts his badge back in his pocket.
“Yes Father I’m Neal.”
“Stephen has talked so much about you.” Suddenly the happiness in Father’s Murphy’s face disappeared. “I hope nothing has happened to Stephen.”
Neal sees the concern in his eyes. “I hope not Father.” Neal looks at the floor as Father Murphy puts his hand on Neal’s arm. “I could use your help. I have questions that I need answers to.” Neal looks up. “Steve said that you were something of a historian.”
“Yes of course. Please let’s go into my office.” Father Murphy replied as they walk a short distance into his office and once inside he shuts the door behind them.
“Does this have something to do with Professor Clark? Please have a seat.”
Neal sits down. “Yes Father it does. Did Steve mention it to you?”
“He really didn’t have to, it’s been all over the news and in the newspapers. That poor man. I have known Stephen for awhile and he acted in a way that I have never seen before.”
“How was that Father?” Neal asks.
“He was scared.” Father Murphy replies.
“Scared?” Neal replies.
Father Murphy smiles. “You sound surprised. After all wasn’t it you that told him it was a stupid man who wouldn’t be scared?”
Neal smiles at the memory. “Yes. And he’s not yet stupid.” Neal and Father Murphy both say at the same time.
A moment of silence then Neal says, “Steve….has disappeared.”
“And you think the people that killed the Professor….?” Father Murphy asks.
“Yes.” Neal looks up. “You see Father everything I know to do has been exhausted. All the leads I have dried up. The people I am looking for has ceased to exist and Steve is with them. All I have is problems and I need solutions. I thought in matters of heaven and hell you would be the one I could turn to. This morning I was looking thru the Professor’s notes and I found something I had overlooked before. He said he had been having meetings with a Father M at a local Church. That was you wasn’t it?”
“Yes I have had talks with the Professor, he wanted me to consult on his new book with him. I told him it was not a good idea to proceed.”
“Then maybe you can tell me what this is suppose to mean.” Neal takes a piece of paper out of his pocket and he hands it to Father Murphy who unfolds it. After he reads it he looks at Neal.
“Where did you find this?”
“In his office at his house. Steve and I we thought it was a code of some kind but we couldn’t figure it out….”
“S.M. 75226.” Father Murphy replies. “So he was really going to do it.”
“Do what?” Neal asks.
“I was hoping I had talked him out of it.” Father Murphy replies. “But I see now….”
“75226 is the date for the summer solstice. June the 22 1975.” Father Murphy replies.
“The summer solstice? Isn’t that the longest day of the summer?” Neal asks.
“Yes. The sun rises as far to the northeast as it ever does and sets as far to the northwest.” Neal looks up surprised by this.
“But what does it have to do with the Professor?” Neal asks.
“Neal what do you know of satanic rituals?” Father Murphy asks.
Neal shrugs. “Nothing.”
“According to the Satanic Holy Calendar….”
“Holy?” Neal says.
“Yes Holy. According to their calendar the Summer Solstice is one of the most significant days of the year for them.” Father Murphy takes a deep breath.
“Significant how? Father?” Neal asks liking less and less where this conversation is going.
“It’s when they perform a sacrifice.” Father Murphy looks at him in the eye.
“Yes. A human sacrifice.” Father Murphy replies which causes Neal to come up out of his seat.
“A human….? You can’t be serious?”
Father Murphy gets up out of his chair and he leans over the desk in Neal’s direction.
“Yes they are serious. During the Summer Solstice they perform a human sacrifice to please their Master, they believe they can summon him. This sacrifice is a gift to him and in doing so they believe he will give them what ever it is they want. This shows him that they are in loyal service to him.”
“What do they want?” Neal asks.
“It can be fame, money or even….eternal life.”
This is where Neal starts to laugh. He can’t stop himself. It all just sounds so ludicrous, crazy, wild and totally unbelievable.
“Eternal life? I’m sorry I just don’t….”
“Believe? There is no prerequisite that you have to. It will happen whether you believe it or not. It has been happening for centuries.” Father Murphy replies.
“And the Professor?” Neal asks.
“The Professor, somehow, had found out where they were going to have the sacrifice and he wanted to go there and photograph it. I told him it was a bad idea.”
“Where Father? Where was he going? Is that what the S.M. means?” Neal asks.
“Yes it’s a nickname.” Father Murphy takes a another deep breath. “It means Sebastian’s Madness.”
“Sebastian’s Madness?” Neal asks.
“Yes it is something that the Church doesn’t talk about, they would like to forget that it ever happened.”
“What happened Father?” Neal asks.
“Come with me into my library and I’ll show you some things.”
Father Murphy motions for Neal to follow him as they go across the room to another door which he opens. Father Murphy turns on the light then they enter the room. The room contained a desk, a chair, a sofa and walls and walls of bookcases. As Neal goes into the room his mouth drops open.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many books outside a library before. This is just incredible. Have you read all of these?” Neal asks as he walks around the room.
“Oh no not all.” Father Murphy replies as he looks at one of the bookcases then he begins to pull out a few books and he carries them over to the desk.
“Sebastian’s Madness refers to a priest who had grand plans to build a huge church outside a small town called Eden.”
“Wait? What? Eden?” Neal asks.
“Yes Eden. As a matter of fact during the building of the church he became mad.”
“Why? What happened to him.” Neal asks.
“On that subject they were a lot of speculation and rumors. Some say that the intense planning of the Church and the town lead him to a nervous breakdown still others believe that he was possessed by a demon during an exorcism that had failed. Still others believe that he chose to be led astray by his lust for a woman. He was corrupted. Here I have a picture of the church.”
Father Murphy opens one of the books and he shows Neal a old photograph of a unfinished church that rose high into the clouds.
“That is Sebastian’s Madness.”
“It’s huge. Why was it never completed?” Neal asks.
“That is part of this story the church wishes would go away. They was a murder committed there, right there on the altar.” Father Murphy replies.
“Who?” Again Neal gets that feeling of the hair standing up on the back of his neck and he knows he’s not going to like what comes next. “Who was murdered?”
“She was a young nun. Father Sebastian and the nun were said to be having an affair and she was the one murdered on the altar, some say as a sacrifice, and some say she went willingly.”
“Willingly?” Neal asks.
“Yes that is when it started and after he killed her, he killed himself.”
“A murder suicide in a church?” Neal asks.
“Yes and after that the place was desecrated. It was abandoned. The only time anybody set foot on it was to erect a chain link fence.”
“If the Church hates it so much why don’t they tear it down Father?” Neal asks.
“Even tearing it down would be to acknowledge it. Acknowledging the evil that existed and still does. It is better to ignore it, out of sight out of mind as it were. God will take care of it, sooner or later.”
“But how can a Priest be led astray like that? I mean he was supposed to be a man of god, right?”
“Yes but Neal you are forgetting the one thing we all have in common.” Father Murphy replies.
“What is that?” Neal asks.
“We’re all human. And we all have the failings of the human flesh. I think there is a picture of Father Sebastian here somewhere.” Father Murphy flips thru a few pages of the book until he finds what he is looking for then he turns the book towards Neal.
The minute Neal looks at the picture he gets that sick feeling in the pit of his stomach and he feels himself start to sweat. The picture is old and shows a young, good looking, man wearing the collar of the priesthood and even though the picture is black and white he can tell his hair is salt and pepper. Neal lets an audible gasp escape him.
“Neal son are you alright? You look like you have seen a….ghost?”
Neal at that moment takes a step back from the desk one hand up to his mouth his eyes wide.
“I have seen him! I have! I….I saw him at the University and then again at the Precinct!”
“Neal calm down.”
“The nun! What does she look like? Do you have a picture of her?” Neal asks as he approaches the desk.
“Neal I don’t think that is….”
“I want to see a picture of her!”
Father Murphy looks at Neal. He is worried. Worried that Neal isn’t far from falling off that edge. Father Murphy looks thru the book until he finds a old newspaper article from the time of the murder suicide that had a picture of the nun on it. Father Murphy takes a deep breath then he turns the book around for Neal to see.
It was an old black and white picture included in the article. It was a young woman who was dressed in a traditional nun’s habit and Neal recognized her immediately.
“It’s Lydia! Oh my god that’s Lydia!! I saw her! I saw her too!”
“Back then her name was Sister Teresa.” Father Murphy replies.
“I don’t care what her name is, it’s her!! But how….how can that be? The year Father Murphy, what year did that happened?
Father Murphy puts his hand on Neal’s shoulder. “Neal it happened in 1905.”
Neal’s eyes widen as he look at him. “What? But how?”
“If you saw them then that means they are very powerful.”
“Oh my God! I just realized!” Neal replies as he walks around the room holding his head. “Today is June the 22nd! Father when do they have the sacrifice?”
“Two to three hours after sunset.”
“You have to tell me how to get there!” Neal replies as he holds him by the arms.
“You can’t go by yourself son it’s too dangerous.” Father Murphy replies.
“I have no choice! Please Father you have to tell me how to get there!”
“Yes alright I’ll draw you a map. But before you go I want you to have Communion.”
Neal smiles. “I’m not Catholic Father.”
“At this moment I don’t think God would care. Come on let me draw that map for you.”
SOMEWHERE EAST OF EDEN:
Steve remembers driving. Driving to the address that Lydia had given him. The Professor’s body had been found and he wanted her to find out thru him, not thru the nightly news or the newspapers. He was here to make the death notification. But it was odd. Odd because he had trouble finding her address. He went up and down the street, checking and rechecking the other houses addresses until he finally realized. It was a vacant lot. He gets out of the car and he walks around the vacant lot….looking. Until. Until now.
Steve looks up. He is hanging. By his wrists. His wrists are tied by rope and the rope goes up to two hooks that are suspended from the ceiling. His clothes are gone and have been replaced by a robe. Something similar to a monk’s robe but more ornate. This place could be called a dungeon. Big, stone walls that held candle holders, there are also strategically placed big candle holders around the room with lit candles giving off an abundance of light. This room has no windows so Steve has no idea if it is day or night. His concept of time has been skewed, he has no idea what day it is. Is it the same day that they took him from that vacant lot or a day later or even a week. Along with that he has no idea where this place is. When they took him somebody put a bag over his head. Standing in that vacant lot he didn’t even see them, one minute they weren’t there then the next….they were.
He was taken off a busy city street. With the city moving and churning around them he would have thought that somebody had to have seen something. They would have called the police, reported it.
Looking around the room there were a few pieces of furniture, a table to his right and a bed behind him. So far he has been unharmed. But hanging here is getting old, he can’t escape, he tried. The rope is too tight. He has stop struggling a long time ago. Steve closes his eyes. Trying to will himself away from this place. Neal. Neal will find him.
“Really Stephen did you have to break his nose?”
Steve didn’t hear the door open and when he opened his eyes he saw two people wearing dark, hooded robes arranging things on the table and a third, standing in front of him. This person was also wearing a hooded robe but this time it was white. Steve couldn’t see their face but their….
Voice sounded familiar.
The person standing in front of him raised their hand to pull the hood away from their face….
Lydia smiles at him as she pulls the hood away. “You seem surprised to see me Stephen.“ Lydia replies as she brushes some hair away from Steve’s forehead. “Did you have to break his nose, hmmm? We don’t want to hurt you. He was only trying to bath you.”
“I can bath myself besides he was getting too familiar with that washcloth.”
Lydia laughs. “You had to be cleansed for the ceremony.”
“Ceremony? What ceremony?” Steve asks as Lydia leans in closer.
“Do you want to make love to me?” Lydia says in Steve’s ear.
“No.” Steve replies.
Lydia turns her head to look at him. “No? Are you sure? You can do whatever you want to.” She then runs her finger down his chest. “I wanted you from the moment I saw you and I know you felt the same way about me.”
Lydia then kisses him but when he doesn’t respond she stops.
“You really flatter yourself you know that.” Steve replies.
“You don’t like me Stephen?” She replies.
“Your lips are cold and don’t call me Stephen, you haven’t earned the right.”
Lydia smiles as she plays with a strand of his hair. “Soon Stephen you will be begging me to say your name, to make love to you, to be with you always.”
Steve laughs at this. “Not in this lifetime baby.”
“Hmmm I was so hoping that you would say that.” Lydia replies as she moves over to the table.
“What does that mean?” Steve asks.
Lydia looks back over her shoulder at him. “You’re the Detective haven’t you figured it out yet?”
“I’ve figured out you are aren’t the Professor’s niece.” Steve replies.
“Oh but didn’t I give you a convincing performance? I’ve always wanted to be a actor!” Lydia replies. “As a matter of fact, Stephen, the Professor had hung where you are now.”
Steve looks up. “Really? Why did you kill him?”
“Because he had been snooping and taking pictures. He had been warned but he didn’t stop. So we stopped him.”
Steve can’t see what she’s doing at the table but he can see that she is doing something but what he doesn’t know. Then he sees her open a box and whatever it is in there she takes out then she places it over her head and when she turns around Steve can see she is wearing a pentagram necklace and she has another in her hand.
“What are you going to do with that?” Steve asks as he tries to back away but he can’t.
“It’s for you.”
“No I don’t want it! Take it away!” Steve replies.
“We have to get you ready for the ceremony and you have to wear it.” She moves closer to Steve and she places it over his head.
“Take it off!” Steve replies.
Then just as quick as she put the necklace over his head she suddenly had a knife in her hand. Steve didn’t know where it came from but it was there and she was showing it to him.
“Does this scare you?” She asks him with a slight smile on her face as she turns the knife back and forth in front of him.
“No. This necklace scares me more than that knife.”
“Why is that? This knife is sharp and it can cut you and this is just a necklace.” Lydia replies.
“The flesh can heal and I’ve been hurt before, shot, so that knife means nothing to me but this necklace….I like my soul where it is.”
Lydia runs the knife over the scars where he had been shot. “Your scars are beautiful, pain is beautiful as for having a soul….it’s overrated.”
“You would know since you don’t have one.” Steve replies and just as quick the knife is at his throat.
Steve didn’t know where the hooded figure came from but he was behind him untying one of his wrists and he brings his arm down where Lydia can reach his hand. As Steve watches Lydia turns his hand palm side up, then retrieving a cup from the table she holds it under his hand, then with a quick movement she deeply slashes Steve’s hand, letting the blood run into the cup.
Steve winces. “I thought you said you weren’t going to hurt me?”
Lydia laughs. “We aren’t going to hurt you, Stephen we’re going to kill you.”
Steve looks at her in the eyes. “Then do it! Do it now! Slit my wrist! I want this over!”
Once again Lydia laughs. “Oh don’t be silly! Where is the fun in that?” Lydia lets go of his hand and the hooded figure behind Steve retires his wrist. “This is your special day! A lot of people will be here to see you die! You can’t let them down.”
Lydia goes back over to the table where she begins to mix something in an old goblet.
“My special day?” Steve asks.
“Yes it‘s the Summer Solstice and you’re my gift to the Master!” Lydia replies happily. “He will be very happy with you and in turn he will give me what I want.”
“What do you want?” Steve asks.
“You.” She replies as she looks back over her shoulder at him. “He will give you the gift of eternal life. We will be together forever.”
Steve looks at her and then he can’t help himself, despite the situation he starts to laugh which causes Lydia to look her shoulder at him.
“You are one crazy chick you know that baby? So I’m suppose to be some sort of sacrifice, is that what you’re saying?”
“Wonderful you figured it out!” Lydia asks as Steve continues to laugh.
“Why would you want to live forever?” Steve asks.
“Just think of all you can do and see without the limitation of time running out. To never grow old, to always be young. To always be like you are now.” Lydia replies. “To never die.”
“But you’ll have to watch everyone else you ever knew and loved, grow old and then die? What good is it to live forever if everybody else is gone?” Steve asks.
Lydia laughs. “After you are reborn you will forget about everyone else. We will have each other.”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you baby but my partner will be here to stop your ceremony so you might as well untie me now.”
Lydia comes over to him holding the goblet in her hand. “Neal? We hope he shows up because we’re be waiting for him. He’ll be like a bonus. Now drink this.”
“What is it?” Steve asks.
“Oh it’s just something so when we do untie you won’t run off. We can’t have that now can we. Open.”
Steve just looks at her.
“It’s not poison.” Lydia replies.
Steve thinks about it for a minute then he opens his mouth and she pours it into his mouth. Steve closes his eyes due to the bitter taste and after she finishes he closes his mouth.
“Now that wasn’t so bad….”
Before she can finish Steve spits it out onto the floor.
“Now that wasn’t nice.” Lydia says as she raises her hand in the air and in the next minute the hooded figure was behind Steve again and this time he grabbed a handful of Steve’s hair and he pulls his head back.
“Open.” Lydia replies.
“Go back to hell.” Steve replies.
The hooded figure puts his hand on Steve’s chin and he forcibly pulls it down then Lydia pours some more of the liquid into his mouth. Then before Steve can spit it out again he clamps his hand over his mouth.
“Swallow it!” The hooded figure says to him.
The hooded figure leans in closer. “I said swallow it!”
This time Steve doesn’t have a choice but to, the minute he does so he is let go and he starts to cough.
“Crazy B….” Steve replies in between bouts of coughing.
“Ah now be nice.” Lydia replies as she lifts Steve’s chin to look at her.
“Do you really think Neal can save you? Hmmm? Do you?”
“He’ll be here!” Steve replies.
“He couldn’t save you in the car so what makes you think he can save you now?”
Steve looks at her. “In the car?”
“Oh poor baby I forgot you don’t remember the accident. Well you see it wasn’t a deer Neal tried to avoid, you did it! You….wrecked the car!”
Steve looks at her surprised. “What? But how? Neal told me….”
“Neal lied to you! We took you over that day. For that moment in time you belong to us!” Lydia replies.
Steve shakes his head. “No!”
“So you see you were there but then again you weren’t there! Isn’t that fun? You were the one driving the car! You really gave Neal a good scare!”
“Neal. Don’t hurt him. I’ll die however you want me to, do whatever you want me to, just don’t hurt him.”
“That is very noble of you. Promise?” Lydia asks.
Steve nods his head. “Yeah, yeah I promise.”
Lydia raises her hand and before Steve can blink he has been untied and taken over to the bed where Lydia sits down next to him.
“How do you feel?” Lydia asks him.
“I see two of you. Are there two of you?” Steve asks.
“No there isn’t two of me.” Lydia replies as she moves closer to him then she kisses him and this time she feels him respond.
“Wait.” Steve pulls away from her. “Promise me. Before we do anything I want you to promise me that you won’t hurt Neal.”
Lydia kisses him then she says. “Will that make you happy baby?”
“You want your toy to be happy don’t you?” Steve asks.
This causes Lydia to smile. “Toy? Hmmm I do like the sound of that. Yes I promise you that Neal won’t be hurt.” Lydia replies with one hand behind her back and her fingers crossed. “Now, let’s finish what we started. “ Lydia pushes Steve down onto the bed. “I like to be on top.”
SOMEWHERE EAST OF EDEN:
Neal followed Father Murphy’s map to the letter, it was a long drive, and he got to the shell of the church twenty minutes after the sun went down. The town of Eden was a ghost town. Lonely, old empty buildings, the remnants of someone’s dream, Neal had to get out and move barricades so he could drive thru it.
Even before he got to the church he could see it. Sitting high on the hill, a desolate sentinel, a witness to the evil that had been done there and Neal was surprised that it was lit up. Lights pouring out of it. Candle light more than likely Neal thought. And music.
Father Murphy didn’t want him to come here by himself so he told him to wait thirty minutes after he left and call the precinct. Father Murphy wanted Neal to have backup but Neal wanted time. Wanted time to do this by himself. Somewhere in that evil place was Steve. According to Father Murphy the sacrifice would take place in the sanctuary and all Neal had to do was to get there in time.
Neal coasted to a stop, with the headlights off, next to the embankment and the chain link fence. Before Neal got out of the car he checked his gun to make sure it was loaded and after putting it back in the holster he got out. Standing next to the car he looks up in the direction of the church, after saying a silence prayer he begins to climb the embankment and keeping next to the chain link fence he follows it until he comes to an man made opening in it. The chain link peeled back like the lid on a sardines can.
As soon as he crossed over he could feel the difference. The air was charged, the hair stood up on his arms as his eyes adjusted to the dark. The trees and grass surrounding the church was overgrown and hard to maneuver thru but he couldn’t stop looking at the church. It was drawing him to it. The music and raised voices, the sounds of a celebration was calling out to him. But Neal knew he couldn’t let himself be distracted, Sara even told him they would be waiting for him and like any good, Satan worshipping coven, they would have posted guards around the perimeter of the building.
He slowly made his way around the trees trying to be quiet when he saw a hooded figure not too far in front of him. He could see just enough to know that he seem to be alone. Neal crept up behind him and he grabbed him from behind, his hand covering his mouth as he struggled.
“This is going to hurt you a lot more than it will hurt me.” Neal whispers in his ear. Then with little effort Neal snaps his neck like a twig. Once he is lowered to the ground Neal removes his robe and he pulls it on over his clothes, then he starts up, what used to be a walkway, but now is overgrown. Making sure the hood covers his head.
Neal makes it to the door and he has the sobering realization that it was too easy. He soon found out how easy it was when the door was open from inside and there more people behind him pushing him into the church.
Looking around the room it was huge and at one time it was beautiful but now, trees somehow how found their way into the room, along with weeds and dirt. The floor was stone and in the middle of the floor was a huge pentagram and Neal hopes it was drawn with paint. Next to the pentagram was the altar, decorated and ready for the nights festivities. Behind the altar, hung upside down on the wall was a cross. From the corner where Neal was he could see a lot of hooded people, milling around and chanting. He watched as they went to a table and picked up a candle then they went to the candelabra and lit the candle then they came back to the circle.
When in Rome you do as the Romans do so Neal, trying to blend in, made his way over to the table and he picked up a candle and as he reached up to light it, all hell broke loose.
Someone yelled and then Neal realized too late his mistake, he forgot to take his watch off. They were on him like ducks on a June bug. They held him by his arms as he struggled. The group of hooded people closing in on him as they chanted louder and louder.
At the sound of this voice they all, except for the two still holding Neal, fell to the ground on their knees. He recognized the voice, he didn’t have to look up to see who it was. Neal did see as he walked towards him the people on their knees moved out of the way for him. His hand reached out and pulled the hood off of Neal’s head.
“Well Detective Schon I was so hoping that it was you.”
Neal looked at him. The smile on his face. Neal now knows this to be Sebastian the one time priest now turned into what? He wore, long white ornate robes and he seem to have some authority over these people, since they were on their knees.
“Maybe you were expecting frigging Emily Post there Sebastian?” Neal replies and for good measure he was slapped across the back of his head.
“Show respect! He is the High Priest!” One of the hooded ones holding him say.
Neal laughs. “Oh High Priest is it? That is kinda funny don’t you think? Considering you were once a man of god!”
Sebastian comes closer to Neal. “God won’t help you here.” Sebastian then reaches to the cross that Neal is wearing around his neck and he rips it off and he throws it across the room. “Tonight is a special night and you are our guest.”
“You have a funny way of treating your guests.” Neal replies.
“Bring him to the circle.” Sebastian orders.
Neal tries to fight against them dragging his feet. “No!”
“Oh what is wrong Detective? You don’t believe in any of this anyway, so why does it bother you now? Bring him to the circle!”
Neal does his best to fight. He struggles, drags his feet, anything to stop them. He doesn’t want to go into that circle. “No!!”
Unfortunately for Neal they are a lot stronger than him and they manage to get him into the middle of the Pentagram. Still struggling.
Sebastian walks over to him. “Does this scare you Neal? After all it is just a design painted on the floor. It has no power over you. You don’t believe in it, isn’t that right, Neal?”
Just the way he says his name makes him ill. This thing on the floor, these people chanting, this place. This place that was intended to be holy is now vile, desecrated, the altar. Underneath the fancy decorations, Neal can see stains. The blood of many people who were sacrificed.
Neal takes a deep breath. “The Lord is my Shepherd….”
This causes Sebastian to laugh. “You are a pathetic, sad little creature aren’t you? God isn’t here. He can’t save you or your partner. Now you have to give your loyalty to the Master, on your knees.”
Neal starts to shake his head. “No! I won’t! My loyalty is only with the one true god! The Lord and Savior! Do you want to see what I think of your-so-called Master?” Neal then spits on the floor. In a second he is hit from behind, a good, old fashioned shot to the kidneys, and now, as much as he doesn’t want to he is brought to his knees.
Sebastian kneels down in front of him and he grabs a hand full of his hair and he violently pulls his head up.
“Now Neal, since you are a guest, you will have a very good seat to see your partner die!”
“STEVE!!” Neal yells his name at the top of his lungs.
Sebastian laughs. “You will see him soon enough. Tell me Neal do you know the story of Cain and Abel?”
Neal looks at him surprised.
“Surprised? You didn’t think I would know the bible? Hmmm let alone repeat the stories from it? Did you?”
“I….” Neal replies but doesn’t finish.
“Do you know the story of Cain and Abel?” Sebastian asks him again.
“Yes.” Neal nods his head. “One brother kills the other.”
“Neal….” Sebastian lowers his head closer to Neal’s. “Steve….he is like your brother….isn’t he?”
Then all of a sudden a wave of sickness hits Neal, he begins to sweat, and he sits up straighter on his knees looking Sebastian in his eyes. The realization of what he wants finally sinks in.
“It will be a great surprise for your partner….” Sebastian replies.
“I won’t do it!!” Neal replies loudly.
“….That you would be the one to sacrifice him! It is most clever don’t you think? Just imagine the look in Steve’s eyes, the recognition, when he sees you! His partner! The one person he had to count on to save him! And now you are to be the one….to kill him!! Hmmm it makes me excited just to think about it!”
“I can’t do it!!” Neal replies near tears. “Please….I can’t.”
“Please? Are you begging Neal? Hmmmm are you? Say it! Say it louder so all can hear you!!”
Neal takes a deep breath then he cries out loudly, “Please!! Don’t make me do this!! I can’t!! I’m….” Neal stops short.
Sebastian gets closer. “You’re what Neal?”
“Begging!! I’m begging you!! Please!!” Neal replies.
“Tell me Neal who do you love more? Ruby and your unborn child or Steve?” Sebastian asks.
“What?” Neal replies.
“You heard what I said! Who, you misguided fool, do you love more? Hmmm? Choose!”
“You insane bastard!!”
“Neal remember what the Professor looked like when you found him? Picture that happening to your wife!”
At that moment Neal lunged at him but he was stopped short by a arm around his neck pulling him back.
“Before this night is over, you evil son-of-a-bitch, I will kill you!!”
“Oh Neal, you can’t kill what is already dead. Now!! Time is running out Neal!! What is it you always say Neal, hmmm? Oh yes, they can run but they can’t hide?”
“Yes!! Alright!! You son-of-a-bitch!! I’ll do it!!” Neal replies.
“You’ll do what Neal? Hmmm?”
“Bastard!!! I’ll sacrifice him!! I’ll do what you ask!! Just leave my family alone!!”
“Lock the doors!” Sebastian yells out loud. “Let him go.”
Neal looks back over his shoulder to see two hooded figures pick up a huge board and place it into two holders on the door.
Sebastian yells and a few minutes later she comes from behind the curtain carrying a white robe like the ones they are wearing.
“Neal! It’s so nice to see you! How’s the family?” Lydia asks as she smiles.
“You bitch!” Neal replies.
“Oh now that isn’t nice to call the future wife of your partner a bitch, now is it?” Sebastian replies.
“Wife?” Neal asks.
“Oh yes we hope you can be there for the consummation. Do you like orgies Neal? I am sure that Stephen wouldn’t mind if you joined us.” Lydia comes closer to Neal then she takes one hand and she puts it on the back of Neal’s head pushing him to her and she kisses him.
Neal pushes her away as he wipes his mouth as Lydia laughs. “Give me that black robe and put this one on.”
Neal pulls the black robe off over his head and he throws it onto the floor then he takes the white one and he puts it on.
“I’ll get the altar ready.” Lydia replies.
“The sacrifice?” Sebastian asks.
“Yes he is ready.” Lydia replies.
“Good!” Sebastian grabs Neal by his arm and pulls him out of the circle. “Let the ceremony begin!”
Sebastian announced loudly and immediately after the coven formed a circle around the pentagram chanting.
“Hail Satan! Hail Satan! Hail Satan!”
“Come with me to the altar!” Sebastian takes Neal by his hand and he pulls him to the altar just as Lydia returns with a tray covered with a cloth. Lydia puts the tray on the altar. Sebastian stands in the middle with Lydia on his right and Neal on his left. On the tray are three small glass filled with a reddish liquid.
Sebastian claps his hands loudly and from behind them come three, hooded figures carrying trays filled with glasses of the liquid. After everyone has taken a glass off of the tray Sebastian hands one to Lydia, and to Neal and then he holds his glass up.
“Brothers and sisters! Followers of Satan! Tonight is one of our most important holidays! The summer Solstice! Tonight we call our Master, the Exalted one, Satan to walk among us! To grace us with his presence! And in his honor and to pay tribute to him, tonight my brothers and sisters, we shall have a sacrifice!”
“Hail Satan! Hail Satan! Hail Satan!” The coven replies.
“To you Satan, Prince of Darkness and King of the world.” Sebastian replies.
“We dedicate ourselves to your service and glory!” The Coven replies.
“To the Demons of the abyss, wondrous with Satanic splendor.” Sebastian replies.
“Carry these words into the world as we worship of our King.” The Coven replies.
“This is the blood of the sacrifice!” Sebastian says to the Coven as he holds the glass up. “We all shall gain power from it as we drink!”
Then everyone in the room, except Neal, drinks from their glass.
“Deliver to those in need of Satanic Blessings, these words in our Master’s name. We call upon the four crown princes of hell; Satan, Lucifer, Belial, Leviathan to accept this sacrifice that we humbly offer! Bring out the sacrifice!!”
Neal looks to where Sebastian is pointing and in a few minutes he see Steve come out from behind the curtain by Lydia, who is leading him by the hand.
“Hail Satan! Hail Satan!” The coven replies when they see him.
“Steve! Steve!” Neal yells at him as he tries to go over to him but he is held back by Sebastian. “Steve!!”
But Steve seems oblivious to everything and everyone except Lydia who has by now walked him over to the altar and once there she helps him to climb up onto it then he lies down. Once he is prone on the altar only then does Sebastian let Neal go.
“Remember what you have to do.” Sebastian says to him.
“I’m betraying my best friend….” Neal then gets an idea. “….Like Judas did to Jesus….” Neal sees Sebastian smile. “I want to kiss him goodbye.” Neal knew he would like that little touch.
Neal goes over to Steve and standing next to the altar he takes his hand as he leans in very close.
Neal can see that Steve is barely there as he turns his head and slowly opens his eyes to look at him.
“Neal?” Steve brings his hand up to touch his face. “Crying? Why are you crying?”
“Steve can you hear me?”
Steve laughs. “I might be stoned but I ain’t deaf.” Steve turns his head and he looks at the crowd. “Look at all of these people! I always thought I would die alone.”
Neal turns his head back to look at him. “Not today. Do you feel what’s in your hand?”
Steve looks at his hand then he nods his head. “Yeah.”
“I’ll tell you when to use it okay?” Neal replies.
“Okay. Can you save me now? I want to go home.” Steve replies.
“Do you trust me?” Neal asks.
“You know I do.” Steve replies.
Neal puts his forehead on Steve’s. “Forgive me Steve.”
Steve looks into his eyes. “Forgive you? For what?” Steve replies.
“Hopefully for nothing.” Neal replies then he kisses Steve on the forehead. “I love you no matter what happens.”
“Okay I love you too.” Steve replies.
Neal lets go of his hand forming into a fist then he lies it down by Steve’s side then he stands up and he and he looks at Sebastian. “I’m ready.”
“Excellent!” Sebastian replies.
Sebastian takes Neal’s place as he moves to the left and Lydia stands by Sebastian’s right.
The coven lifts their candles in the air.
“Satan, may our magic be bless with your flame. May your wrath pour upon the earth. Lucifer, bless our words with your enlightenment. Carry our voices upon the wind. Belial, bless our ritual from the dark earth. Unleash your wrath upon those who would desire to bind us. Leviathan, bless up from the watery depths.
Allow us to drink deeply from your chalice at the gates of hell.”
Neal standing there at the altar he thinks he feels a slight tremor or vibration but he dismisses it. It has to be all the people here, moving as a sea that is making the floor move, he watches as Lydia uncovers the tray and she lifts up the knife high in the air to the cheers of the coven then she hands it to Sebastian.
Sebastian holds it high in the air as he says, “Blessed are those who heard these words; for the unfit shall flee from the sound of his truth. Blessed are the believers and practitioners of Satanism for they command the darkness to fulfill their every desire. Blessed are the Satanic brothers and sisters working diligently to nurture and ennoble evil for Moloch. For the blood of this sacrifice shall bring forth our Master, on the altar of Moloch, we shall deliver so that we may descry the Highest. Hail Satan!”
“Hail Satan!” The coven repeats.
Once again Neal feels the floor tremble. He looks down at the floor knowing this time he didn’t imagine it.
“We, as one Satan, the great destroyer and the Master, offer up to you this soul of this sacrifice! We pray that you find it worthy!”
At that moment Sebastian takes Neal by his hand and he pulls him to where he was standing and he hands him the knife and he moves to where Neal was standing.
“Satan! Satan! Come forth! Walk among us tonight! Accept this sacrifice as a offering to your greatness! Walk! And Come forth!” Sebastian replies.
“Hail Satan! Hail Satan! Hail Satan!”
Everyone chants as Neal, holding the knife in both hands, slowly raises his arms above his head looking down at Steve.
“Hail Satan! Hail Satan! Hail Satan!”
Then at that moment Neal noticed the chandelier swaying to and fro. The floor now begins to tremble and vibrate. The coven chants even louder and faster. Neal can feel the building shake as if from an earthquake as a crack begins to form in the middle of the pentagram.
“He’s coming! Hail Satan!” Sebastian cries out.
Neal has a firm grip on the knife, he takes a deep breath as he brings the knife down quickly towards Steve’s chest and just inches from piercing his chest, Neal pivots to the left and he plunges the knife into Sebastian’s chest. The look on Sebastian’s face was enough for Neal, a look of shock and surprise. Sebastian’s hand move up to his chest as he fell backwards onto the floor.
Neal wasn’t sure if the noise he hears is from Lydia screaming or the sound of the floor as the crack now opens wider and wider. The wider the crack gets some of the hooded figures standing around the Pentagram now fall into it.
“Neal!” Steve says as loud as he can from the altar as he raises himself up on one elbow.
Neal looks behind him and he sees Lydia with a knife in her hand coming at him. He barely has time to react as he grabs her by her wrist, holding her hand up in the air as she pushes him back onto the altar. Her other hand trying to claw at Neal’s face as he turns it away. Now Neal can see her true face, drawn, evil, skull like as she continues to scream at him. For a supposedly dead person Neal thinks she is strong. Very strong.
“Steve! Do it now!” Neal can barely get out as he tries to hold Lydia off.
Steve still on one elbow leans closer to Lydia and he takes out of his hand what Neal had given to him. Steve flicks open the lid to the Zippo lighter and it didn’t take much. Steve touches the lighter to the sleeve of Lydia’s robe and one spark was enough because it went up like a roman candle. Lydia screams a blood curling scream as the flames burn away the sleeve and she back pedals from Neal, still screaming, turning in circles until she is caught up in the curtain.
By now the Coven is in chaos. Trying to run from the ever growing fissure in the floor which now is producing smoke. The curtain, that Lydia had gotten caught up in goes up and the flames jump from curtain to curtain. Neal grabs Steve off of the altar just as the rope that holds the chandelier up, burns in two and plummets to the altar below.
Neal half drags and half walks Steve thru the running, screaming mob over to the far wall where they are enough out of the way and they can catch their breath.
“We have to get out of here.” Steve replies as he rests his head on Neal’s chest.
Neal looks across the room to the big wooden door which is locked by an even, bigger piece of wood. The floor around them shakes and rolls as the place on the floor where the pentagram was is gone, replaced by a fire belching hole that is big enough to swallow a truck, but instead it swallows the altar. The altar seems to scream as it splits in two and falls into the hole.
Steve and Neal cough from the acrid sulphur smell that is coming out of the hole and their eyes are burning as Neal tries to stand but Steve stops him.
“Neal! Neal! Something is coming!! Look!” Steve’s voice rises in fear as he desperately clings to Neal as he points to the hole.
They cling to each other in fear as they watch a hand come over the side and then a few seconds later another hand. Whatever it is pulls themselves up and Steve and Neal see what seems to be a goat head then it swings one sinewy leg up and instead of a foot they see a clove hoof.
“Neal!!!” Steve screams as he holds tighter to Neal.
Neal buries Steve’s head in his chest as he closes his eyes.
“Steve don’t look! Don’t look at it!”
It came out of the pit and it stood there growing to it’s full height it’s wings now open.
The stench it gave off was sickening as Steve and Neal fought off waves of nausea. They could feel it’s shadow on them as it surveyed the area and when it took a step towards them the floor trembled beneath it. Steve and Neal wished they could blend into the wall as they felt it come closer, their backs as far against the wall as they could go. It came closer to them and then it bent over, looking at them, with one boney finger out as if to touch them.
Steve and Neal huddled together could feel it’s hot breath on them as it inspected them, the stench would kill them if they didn’t died from fright.
“Our Father, which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Neal says then Steve joins in with him.
“Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven.”
By now they are shouting it from the top of their lungs.
“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses.”
The Thing stands there for one moment longer then it backs off. Steve and Neal can feel it and hear it’s hooves on the floor as leaves them alone. Steve and Neal continue to recite the Lord’s Prayer and when they finish it they take a collective deep breath.
“Neal?” Steve whispers. “Is it gone?”
Neal shakes his head. “I don’t know. I don’t think so.”
He doesn’t want to but now it becomes a case of have to. He doesn’t want to look but he has to be sure that it is gone. They have to get out of here so Neal slowly opens one eye. Thru the fire and smoke he can see the Thing from the pit standing over Sebastian’s body and then Neal watches as it grabs Sebastian by his arm and picks him up. Like a rag doll he slings Sebastian’s body over it’s scaly shoulder and it walks back towards the pit. Once at the edge of the pit it stops and looks back at Neal.
“I have always believed in….you!” It laughs with an sadistic laugh that echoes thru the room causing Steve and Neal to cover their ears, then it jumps back into the pit, it’s tail high in the air.
The second it is gone Neal helps Steve to stand and to run over to the door and to the huge piece of wood that locks the door. Steve stands on one end and Neal on the other and when they both try to lift it, as heavy as it looks, it was light as a toothpick. It was like a third person was in the middle helping them to lift it. After it hit the floor they swung the doors wide open and went outside Neal holding Steve up.
The fire was spreading quickly consuming what was left of the roof and when it fell in the sound it made was inhuman and evil.
“Don’t look back Steve.” Neal says as Steve tries to look behind them. “Come on Steve it’s just a few more feet.” Neal replies as he helps Steve to walk.
“It took you long enough to find me.” Steve replies slowly.
“It wasn’t easy to find you.” Neal points out.
“Okay well how many abandoned church’s are there two hours from the city?” Steve replies. “Neal.”
“You saw it too didn’t you?” Steve asks.
Behind them the fire rages on causing more of the church to collapse onto itself and as it does so they a chorus of screams as the church dies.
“Neal what’s happening?”
“It’s burning to the ground Steve that’s all.”
“But the screaming Neal I can’t stand it.”
“Don’t talk.” Neal replies. “Save your strength.”
“You did see it didn’t you? Neal please I feel like I’m losing my mind….”
“Yeah Steve I did see something I don’t know what but I did see something.”
“Neal I feel faint.”
Neal wraps his arm tighter around Steve as he helps to hold him up as they make their way thru the moonlit landscape.
“Hang on buddy we’re almost to the car and then we’ll get you to a hospital.”
“Neal don’t let me die out here.”
“No, no buddy I won’t….Steve!”
Steve suddenly becomes dead weight as he faints and Neal has no choice but to let him drop gently to the ground.
Neal checks his pulse. “Alright Steve hang in there I hope you haven’t gained any weight because I’m going to have to carry you down to the car.”
Neal takes Steve by his arm and he sits him up then he leans over and he drapes Steve over his shoulder then he slowly and carefully stands up staggering just a little under his weight.
“Hang on Steve just hang on.”
Neal carries Steve thru the woods using the moonlight and the flames from the church as his light sources as he makes his way to the car that he had parked down on the road. Once there he managed to open the car door to the passenger side and he laid Steve down on the seat then after he slammed the car door shut he ran around to the driver’s side. Once in the seat he gently places Steve’s head in his lap then he starts the car.
“No Steve you aren’t losing your mind because I saw it too and I hope whatever it was died in that fire….I pray that it died in that fire.” Neal replies as he looks back at the fire. “Come on let’s get you to the hospital.” Neal says as he drives off.
TO BE CONTINUED…..