Heckling Satan - Chapter two ('Professional Hunters' PG-13 Language warning. It's English by the way)
Posted September 17th, 2014 by rebecca
in Rivendell, the only place in Middle Earth that gets Wi-Fi
Meanwhile, about a hundred and fifty miles away, in pretty much the direction Chives headed in, a group of professionals were preparing to go on a proper hut. Their guns were not loaded with special bullets, just your ordinary 'shoot-to-kill' kind, the theory being you shoot enough holes in a demons borrowed body, it isn't much use to it any more. Shooting a bullet straight into one, however, wouldn't exactly slow them down much. For that, water pistols, filled up with a steady supply of holy water would do the trick. Their other weapons included a few machetes, some crucifixes, in case they did have any power, and an ancient edition of the Holy Bible: which, even if it didn't repel demons, could give them a pretty sacred headache.
These guys had military training, which they had adapted to the task at hand, with the obvious edition of water guns. Not exactly standard issue for the armed forces, are they? Exorcisms were too much effort and took too long, especially when you had the option of blasting your opponent to pieces instead. There were four men involved in this particular enterprise. So far they knew there was a pack of at least seven demons squatting in an empty apartment block.
“So, now we know the location, what's our plan?” The tallest of the group, a veteran of Afghanistan and their automatic leader pointed to a plan of the apartment block he had somehow acquired, quite possibly by sleeping with someone who worked for the Council. He wasn't saying who she was, and was in fact rather glad his friends had instantly assumed that she was a she.
His best friend, Zack, who thought tactics were the opposite of tictacs, shrugged, took a drink, and carried on playing Mario Kart on his DS. It was early afternoon, but in that line of work, being permanently drunk was fairly typical. You see so much darkness, both in war and on the hunts, the only illumination you can get is the light inside a bottle.
David, the aforementioned leader, was a man who looked a bit like a cross between a Viking and a sad lonely man who goes to conventions. No one was really sure about the former, but in regards to the latter, he wasn't. He just looked like he was. It was an affliction as serious as actually going to conventions. Except the people there have fun, not PTSD.
He looked at his friends and wondered what they were doing this all for. So demons killed people sometimes, however, so did other people. Demons were practically a part of life now, they looked human, most of them acted human, and if you left them alone, they'd do the same to you. You couldn't really kill them anyway, just displace them, give them a presumably one-way ticket back to wherever the hell they came from. But, of course, he couldn't voice his doubts aloud. Matty, the one with imaginative t-shirts, such as the one he was wearing now, depicting two unicorns mating to the caption 'UniPorn', was actually a Catholic, despite all evidence to the contrary, and believed the things were abominations, which of course they were. And Ryan had studied philosophy or something equally useless and believed in human freedom, which apparently meant demonic possession was ethically wrong and they must save as many people as possible; that was a load of bullshit right there, wasn't it, because they never seemed to stop the demons possessing anyone, and their efforts to 'save' them always ended with the person dying, didn't it? Zack just came along because he wanted to shoot things without feeling guilty about it. Killing people was wrong, but demons? That was pest control. Murder? No, it was a public service that didn't pay, never earned any thanks, and was bloody dangerous. Not that different to any other public service, when it came down to it.
At least, David reasoned, despite everything he'd done in Afghanistan, God could hardly turn him away from heaven now.
“They'll have a sentry on watch, right?” Matty interrupted his musing abruptly. “Probably on the top floor to get a better view.”
David nodded. “And definitely looking toward the road – here.” He pointed at a window on one side of the map. He presumed it was a window. It wasn't clearly marked out. It could be a gateway to Narnia for all he knew. “With a good view of the main entrance.”
“So we go around the back.” Ryan stood up, folding the corner of a page over and putting his book down, which made David die a little inside. What a nasty habit. “Break in through the fire exit, or one of the lower story windows.”
“Good, then what, charge up the stairs with no idea where they are?”
“Split up and search?” Matty ventured.
At this, Zack decided to offer his perspective on all this, which of course was intelligent and scintillating as ever. “Shit Matt, haven't you seen any horror films? We do that, we're done for, right?” he turned to David. “Right?”
As difficult as it was to agree with someone who used that logic, David sighed and nodded.
“So what do we do then?” Matty asked, annoyed. Ryan's phone started to ring with that song from the internet, the internet one, the one everyone sends to people when they want a friendship divorce.
“One minute, you guys carry on.” With that, he was gone, into the only available room, the bathroom, to take his call.
The remaining members of the group looked at one another.
“Demons don't like splitting up either. They're very like humans in that way.” David began. “They'll probably be in the same room as the sentry, or at the very least on the same floor. A little bit of surveillance should clear it all up, shouldn't it?”
There was a shout from inside the bathroom.
“Slow down Rachel, look, just put Kirsty on why don't you?”
“Who's he talking to?” Zack inquired, not taking his eyes off his game.
“Those mad teenage lesbians.” Matty muttered under his breath, his voice contemptuous and annoyed.
“No need for the homophobia, Mr Pope.” Zack pulled a face and went back to Mario Kart.
“Can you describe her for me?” Ryan asked through the bathroom wall.
Trying to get the meeting back on track, David sighed. “If we head over there now, we can find the bastards and go in quickly. Kill 'em all.”
“Head over where?” That lunatic he called his friend was more interested in the blue shell heading his way than important matters like the one they were trying to deal with right now. Before David could respond, Ryan came running back into the room, pale and shaking. It's hard to make a 6'4'' black man turn the colour of flour, without involving any actual flour. If it hadn't just happened in front of him, David would have sworn it were impossible. Ryan held the phone at arms length, as though it had grown teeth and was feeling rather bitey.
“What?” David was worried. Something terrible had happened, even if it was to those stupid kids, it was still important, wasn't it?
“I'm putting you on speaker.” Ryan said into the phone, his voice trembling. “Repeat what you just told me.”
“Um...about the demon?” Kirsty's irritating London accent made David cringe.
“Yes!” And Ryan now looked fit to explode, which worried David even more than his apparent change in race. He was normally so calm. This was...unexpected, so much so, it made Zack pause Rainbow Road for the first time since accurate records began.
“She was middle height, brown-ish hair, boring eyes...” That didn't help. “She had an awful smile.”
Now that did. A horrible feeling started to creep up the back of David's neck. It turned out it was only Zack's breath, yet that didn't make him feel any better. No. Please, no. “Neon blue vest top, denim shorts,” No. “Nebula leggings with floating cat heads on.” NO. “Sounded Northern.” What? “Oh, and she had rainbow Doc Martens, which annoyed me because I want a pair and-”
“Shut up!” David shouted.
There was a pause. “Why is this important?”
“Never mind!” Ryan snapped, and hung up. “It's her, isn't it?”
“Sounds like it.” Both men sat down in shock, heads falling into hands at the same time. “Just what we needed.”
The two innocents in this exchanged a look. Nobody spoke. Those in the know looked ready to shoot themselves. Rather that, than risk meeting her. Rather the worst torture known to man than being within a five mile radius of her. Anything. David would voluntarily castrate himself with a rusty spoon that had been soaked in raw sewage. He would rather catch the plague than so much as make eye contact with the unholy presence of Antoinette Chives. For years, she had been a story, something hunters laughed about and dreamt of meeting – although, given that the majority of them were sexually frustrated young males, those dreams often took a very different direction. Then, like an attack of the conspiracy theorists after some disaster, she appeared from nowhere. Only a few sightings nobody could confirm, given that all the known observers were slightly dead. One thing was consistent in all the stories, and that was the presence of a young woman in ridiculous clothing, whose very smile had driven some people to suicide.
Of course, these stories were usually regarded as nonsense. Matty didn't believe in her in the first place, and so didn't know or care about what was being said. On the other hand, their was Zack, who lived in a world of his own on Rainbow fucking Road.
“Oh God, you don't mean her, do you?” Matty caught on at last. “She's not real.”
“Can somebody fill me in?” Zack looked exasperated, probably withdrawal from Mario Kart setting in.
Matty turned to Zack and smirked. “Antoinette Chives, that's who. They honestly think-”
“If it wasn't Chives, who was it?” Ryan cut him off. “Those girls might be stupid, but they can do a basic hunt, even if they do try to draw salt lines. When they threw holy water on her, she didn't even flinch, which suggests...”
“Manifestation.” David finished.
“And she made a bad joke about heart disease, before giving Kirsty heart disease.”
“Demons can't do that, can they?” Zack queried, to no avail. He tried again. “Who is Antoinette Chives?”
“For heaven's sake, there has to be some explanation!” Matty screamed at them. He went ignored. David was beginning his tale.
“Antoinette Chives is the most dangerous demon we could ever encounter.” He took a deep breath. “Others demons like her, those strong enough to manifest, they don't bother. They sit on thrones in Hell and rule the armies. She chooses, however, to come up here, not like a fearsome monster, but an ordinary woman.”
“Oh, I remember her now.” Zack grinned proudly at his impressive feat of recall. “I had this dream about her once...”
Before Zack could fill them in on the fascinating details, David talked over him loudly.
“None of us ever thought she was real, did we, until the twins died, followed by Carver and Damien. The twins killed each other, Carver threw himself out of a window, and Damien tripped over his shoelaces and fell under a train. I was there. They all said they'd met her, they all described her, all their stories matched. She left them alive for a week after they met, and then she went back and crushed them.”
“She has the power to kill in any way she pleases.” Ryan continued. “Her chief favourites involve the brain – tumours, aneurysms, homicidal impulses...even being near her is deadly. She gives off this aura that makes you lose the will to live.”
An awkward silence followed.
“So what do we do?” Zack asked, smiling hopelessly.
David ran a hand through his hair. “We do the job and get out of town. She's not a team player, won't rush to their defence. Hopefully, she won't come here at all.”
“Are we running away from something that doesn't know or care about us and probably won't even come here?”
“Oh God yes.”
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