July 20th, 2017
Dion heard his gun drop before he felt the bite on his shoulder like a bear trap had been clapped on the bone hinges of his shoulder, and left there to bleed him. It felt like liquid strength flowing out of him. And it was a pain so harsh he shot the floor. The bullet traveled through three different walls before exploding into shrapnel, the hole left was baseball sized.
With his other gun, he pointed it towards himself. He screamed. And shot.
He felt his shoulder dislocate, his arm hang, and the weight lifted off.
And behind him where the beast had been sent flying, it was already growling again. The wound in its mouth healed, it shook its wide, misshapen head and the blood came off its fur.
The air blew past Dion and with it, the smell of rotten skin. He looked to his side, the arm he was bitten on teetered. He could only move a pinky.
He shot at air, the smoke and the sound filled his ears with buzzing and made his nose stuffy. He turned his head to see where the creature dodged. It bounced around, blending in with the darkness of the room and when he finally got a sight. He pulled. Click. Nothing, his gun was empty. From a distance, he could see the creature growling, four yellow eyes facing back. It looked like a piece of the darkness, a cancer that grew out from the corner of the room it hid in. It was facing him, he could see it and the snarl and snapping mouth on its face like Lucifer’s wrath; Cerberus.
He shot, or tried. His gun was empty.
It did not let go of its gaze. It kept its lock on him. Dion looked down, he searched for the other gun that he had let go with his lame arm. Nothing, nothing immediate to him.
What about weapons?
Glass. A piece of wood. Dion’s face tightened. His legs locked, his knees were bent. He could feel cold from his legs to his thighs as if he had been submerged in the ice-topped waters of the arctics.
The dog ran lunged. And it felt like he sunk, deeper into the water. He felt cold everywhere.
The air whistled as its sharp face headed towards Dion. A torpedo, a giant nuclear warhead dedicated to Dion’s complete annihilation. Slobbering, hunger crying. Noises so loud the dust and smoke filled air displaced itself.
“Get your ass down,” Apollo shouted.
Dion ducked. It was easy, his broken shoulder was already weighing him down. His whole body fell like a ragdoll, a puppet cut from its strings. The wind flexed above Dion’s head. He saw the giant sword in the air, spinning, like helicopter blades. He saw it hit the dog and carry it further out. Go through one wall. Two! Before landing in a hall, submerged into the asbestos and the cheap wood.
Then, the sword lit up. Its fire running through the broken edges of the blade.
It exploded. The red torrent ran out.
Dion could see it, the fire go through the ceiling and the pipes. It looked like a jet engine exhaust, the way the flames flew out from every hole like small gutter pipes of glycerin. Dion covered his ears. It was nothing but crashing and violence and the explosion of metal and the ricochet of brimstone.
The shock wave pressed against his cheeks and stretched out his face.
When his eyes woke up, he looked to where the blade had been shot. Apollo was coming up. Both his arms were in rags, his skin and his suit. He disappeared in that darkness of smoke, his outline becoming a deeper shadow in the pillars of smog. The fires were just beginning to grow. And from one of the mighty torrents, from one of the waves and licks of the fire wisps, Dion saw a philosophers stone thrown out. It broke off, and Dion eyed it. He ate and his arm felt better for it, like morphine shot through him. His bones aligned, his muscles tied themselves back, and when all limbs and weapons were accounted for, he ran through the fire after Apollo. It felt like a carnival game, the burning ring. He wished it was just a ring. But every inch of the following floor seemed about to be swallowed. Glass broke from small congested rooms near him, the floor was holed up, and he walked on thin burning planks and tiles. It felt like an ocean vessel, tipping and cradling from a wound that had destined it to sink.
“Where’s the other dog?” Dion’s eyes skidded. His low posture right below the waves of smoke on the ceiling above.
“Who knows. We really can’t go back now.” Apollo said. “This place is going to collapse.”
“Then let it, we’re demon hunters, not construction workers. Let’s go hunt.” Dion said. He ran to the stairs where the fire had not reached.
“Take it easy. I’m sure he’ll be up there, with his master. But they’ll all get theirs. Trust me.” Apollo said. Dion eased. He coughed a bit.
“The Priest won’t like any of this.” He said.
“F*** the Priest. We’re not here for him.” Apollo said.
“You’re right. You’re right…” Dion’s eyes came up to the third floor, small clouds of black smoke were finding their way through the broken windows of this particular floor.
“If we can get em,” Dion said. “If we can just let the people have one good night of sleep…”
“I just want to get the f*** out of here already. The sooner, the better.” Apollo said.
They surveyed the stairs and the floors above. They pressed their ears against the walls, they could hear the fire eating away at everything. But Dion heard something else. Coughs, choking. And he smiled.