Marcus was driving the van that reminded me of the bandwagon for swats, while Simon was sitting next to Marcus keeping him awake. Half the van was filled with high tech computers that Timothy was using, but honestly, he was playing the latest first person shooter game. I don’t understand how he could get bored so quickly, especially since he has a game he can play during the whole trip.
“Are we there yet?” Timothy whined for the twentieth time for the past couple of hours.
“Shut up Timothy or I’m going to cut off your tongue!” hissed Crystal, as she waved a dagger in front of his face.
“Hey, chill. We don’t need to resort to violence, you know,” Timothy halfheartedly chuckled, gulping in the process. “If you’re not careful, heh, you might poke someone’s eye out.” He pushed the hand holding the dagger away from his face.
“Then shut up. I’m trying to sleep.” Crystal stashed away her dagger, leaned back into the seat, trying to get comfortable. She closed her eyes to get some well needed sleep.
“Sheesh, someone got up on the wrong side of the bed.” Timothy brought up his headphones and went back to playing his game.
We weren’t the only ones in the van: Crystal, Jones, and I were sitting on one side of the wall, while four more familiar faces were sitting on the opposite side. They were Kathy, Jessica, Sara, and James. For some reason, Simon’s team consist of mostly girls, he actually has more girls on his group of followers that any male would get jealous of.
Kathy Elson, No. 54, was a typical blond hair female. Big boobs, bombshell of a curve, and very red lips. Even her looks were first class, though the Dragon Scale suit that she was wearing made everything a bit more accentuated. And, thankfully, she wasn’t the stereotypical blonde either. Instead, her hand was busily flipping her knife back and forth, while popping bubble gum. I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to her, but that was only because she rarely spoke. Timothy had attempted to try to talk with her, but failed every single time.
Sara Bihar, No. 62, had a slight northern accent. On the middle of her forehead, there was a red dot called a Bindi. She told me it was a it’s commonly worn on the female population of India, she said it’s a sacred symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state. Not only that, this was the exact area that Zheng talked about the third eye. At the very least, one thing that differentiated her from the other girls was that she’s always reading. I never seen her without a book.
Jessica Simmons, No. 88, was quite small, possibly four feet eleven, and looked close to a young teen. She had confessed that she is over twenty five years old, but it’s quite hard to tell because of how she looked. The soft eyes, cute puffy cheeks, and even straight brown hair that was pulled back into a ponytail didn’t help, especially when she twiddled her hair with her fingers. The worse part of it was her voice that sounded like a pubescent child.
Finally, James Toronto, No. 55, was quite a decent guy. He was the complete opposite of Simon and radiated positivity when he wasn’t speaking. Not even passing six feet, he was also quite buff with a nice combo of a beard and moustache. Every time he smiled, even the end of his eyes start to crinkle up along with his smile, reminding me of a santa claus.
They were quite a mishmash of people, I wondered how Simon was able to get these three people together without a pretty severe clashing of personality. Then again, my group wasn’t considered the best when it comes to socializing and working together. We were barely passable, but somehow we managed to pull it off fine.
I on the other hand couldn’t sleep. The rough bouncing of the road made it difficult, especially because I heard Illinois had one of the worst roads out of the many states. It seems even in one hundred forty-nine years since I went to sleep, nothing had changed.
Daisy was tucked away in my side pocket, curled up sleeping. It’s a strange place for her to sleep in, but she was my contracted spirit. She knew instantly that there was something going on. Even though I left her behind, she somehow made her way to the van, and snuck in my pouch. It wasn’t until we were halfway to to Springfield did I heard a small meow.
I thought I was going crazy, until Crystal pointed it out. She was playing with Daisy for awhile until she was satisfied. After that I couldn’t do anything about her, she stuck close to me as if it wasn’t a big deal. Plus, she wasn’t just a normal cat anyways, so there wasn’t too much of a problem.
“Hey,” James called out towards me. I sat up straight, looked around me to make sure that he was talking to me. When I pointed to myself, he nodded.
“How often have you went out demon hunting?”
“Three times. I wanted to go test out my strength you know.”
I was shocked. For someone to deliberate go out and risk their lives weren’t normal. My guess it was either an adrenaline high when fighting or was forced to go out because of the higher ups. The second option sounded about right, but from his voice the chance of it being the first option was unusually high.
“Wait, why go through all that trouble to risk your life? Were you forced to go?”
James leaned forward towards me, his hand folded on his lap. A mischievous smile erupted on his bearded face that told me that there was something more to his words. “I wasn’t forced. I volunteered.”
“Why?” I asked confused.
“Why wouldn’t I? Fighting a life and death battle is an exhilarating feeling that you can’t get enough of.”
A pure out battle junkie that was what James was. These type of people looked for trouble or jumped into a bar fight without a second thought. They were considered troublemakers, riling the people around them into a brawl. Hopefully, James wasn’t the crazy type that egged the demons on and bulk up their powers for that extra rush of adrenaline. I have heard people maxing out on their motorcycle, hitting up to 210 mph on the highway just for the pure adrenaline rush. That in itself was a death trap if one wasn’t careful, and being careful at that high of a speed limit was impossible.
“Fighting isn’t everything you know.” I replied; even though, it sounded a bit half-assed. “I wouldn’t want to fight the rest of my life.”
“I do, the stronger they are the more challenging and fun it gets. Don’t you have a goal in your life?” He stopped and stared at me, waiting for an answer. When I didn’t speak, he continued talking. “Mine, has always been living on the edge, finding a purpose to this wretched world.”
“Finding a purpose doesn’t need to end up in a life and death battle, you know.”
James grunted, he chuckled as he shook his head. “It is a life and death battle. Sometimes you don’t find it until the last moment and it hits you where it hurts.”
My hands unconsciously tightened, frowning at what he had said. “I’m more of a passive-aggressive type.”
“Either way, this is one of your purposes in life and it’s fighting demons.”
He had a point, right now my second life revolved heavily around demonic forces, and I don’t see myself getting out of this any time soon. That in itself was a very depressing thought, just fighting for the rest of my life, but then again that was life in general. Fighting to find a purpose, fighting to just survive, fighting to get something to eat.
“Yea, I hope that’s not all of it.” I replied with a half-hearted sigh.
“Don’t worry, killing a few demons here and there would eventually numb out your mind.”
“Don’t listen to this muscle head,” said Jessica with her childlike voice. “All this guy does is fight and fuck.” The way she said the last word made my eyes became wide to the point where I thought it would fall out from disbelief. Hearing the F word coming out of her mouth made the whole experience surreal, it was like hearing a taboo word coming out of a mouth of a child. You just want to scold her parents for even teaching such foul language to her in the first place. Not only that, I was becoming even more conscious of swearing, thinking about how I needed to curb my tongue in front of her and for my own self interest.
“Don’t forget booze!” He bursted into a chuckle.
“See what I mean,” Jessica pointed at him with an annoyed expression. “That’s all he thinks about. I wouldn’t be surprised his descendents becoming some kind of intellectual idiots.”
“Little girl, that’s the three things all men needs and their set for life.”
“Don’t call me little girl!” Jessica pouted, puffing her adorable cheeks. Her hands rested on her hips, and she stuck out her chin at him. “I told you, I’m a woman!”
James snorted. “Woman, my ass. A good woman needs a nice rack and…” He paused for a moment as he looked at her, a sly grin creeping up his face, “an actual butt to go along with it.” His hands waved in front of him as he did a smacking motion, “Oh, and soft hands.”
I was a bit taken back with his last statement. For a moment there, I thought he would say amazing face. His santa claus image was ruined, I wasn’t sure if he would pass as one now.
“You disgust me. This is why women hate you, you know.”
James snorted at Jessica, “This is why you are still a kid. You don’t understand the beauty of all this.” He waved to himself.
“Uh huh, sure.”
“Anyways…” I tried to deter the topic away from this strange conversation. “Did you guys know the plan for the demon hunting for today?”
“Nope, but I’m looking forward to punching them with my fist.” James chuckled. “I asked for a heavier set of fire power and adding a few more enchantments on the gauntlets.”
“That’s just a waste of sigils. You should’ve instead added a bit of speed, strength isn’t everything you know.”
“I know, but this is what I wanted. I can compensate the speed with what I already have.”
“You’re going to get yourself killed one day.” Jessica curled her fingers around her hair. “And when that happens, I’ll be laughing over your grave.”
“Kid, that’s why I have you watching my back. Plus, I have Kathy and Simon as well. We’re a team.”
Jessica grumbled under her breath as neither of us caught what she had said.
Suddenly, a squeaks of the wheels started to slow down, and eventually went into a complete stop. I heard the door opening and slamming in the front door driver side and passenger side door. Footsteps walked around the van, stopping in front of the back door. With a rough wiggle, the door was forced open.
Everyone was fully awake, waiting for Marcus to speak. He climbed inside the vehicle with Simon following behind as he closed the door. Taking a seat right next to me, he spoke, “We have arrived at our destination.”
Quite a few of us were literally on the edge of the chair, listening in on every words that Marcus had to say. Even I had my hands gripping hard waiting for what he would say.
“We’re going to split up into two teams. Simon is going to lead one, while I take the other. Timothy bring up the blueprints of the abandoned mansion.”
“On it boss.” Timothy quickly typed on the keyboard, and brought up a digital hologram in the middle of the group.
It was a two story mansion with thirty rooms, ten bathrooms, a large kitchen and recreation room. Even nicer was the wooden patio that was integrated with a hot tub. With the 3D blueprint rotating slowly in 360, Marcus pointed out where we would be entering.
“My team will go from the front entrance, while Simon’s will go around from the back. As we enter, we’ll split up and take each half the building.”
“Wait, what about people who aren’t that good with fighting?” Timothy replied, shaking his hand over his head. “ Like me?”
“You’ll be staying behind with Kathy, and giving us surveillance from afar.”
“So only eight of us are going in?” Jones asked, not liking the thought of being separated. He shifted uncomfortably from one leg to the next sitting down. “And how many demons are supposed to be in here?”
“Timothy start the Demon location radar.”
“Roger that.” Timothy clicked and red dots were moving around in the mansion. They were quite a few underground, making me wonder if there was some kind of tunnel as the red dots just disappeared without a trace.
“Crystal and Jessica will be staying with you guys, setting up point to sharp shoot strays that come out running from the mansion. It’s only going to be the six of us.We need eyes in the sky, and to make sure that we didn’t miss any of them.”
Jones was counting the red dots and groaned. “There over twenty of them and six of us are going to get rid of them all?”
“Of course. This is easy as pie.” Marcus wasn’t phased by the sheer numbers of demons crawling around the mansion. “Not only that, see how the red dots disappear underground?”
Majority of us nodded, looking towards where Marcus was pointing. Quite a few red dots were going back and forth disappearing.
“There is an underground railroad tunnel made in 1845.”
“You’re kidding me right?” Jones eyes became wide. “ We’re going towards a haunted slave house?! Do you know how crazy that sounds!”
“Calm down,” Marcus raised up his hand to calm Jones. “It’s not as bad as you think.”
“I’m going to be straight up with you, there is a reason why demons are living there. You know just as well as I that the place is infested. The only reason it’s filled heavily with dark energy is because of the history behind that house!”
“History?” Crystal asked. “What history? I heard about the Civil War, and a bit of history of America, but what exactly are we talking about?”
“Demons are attracted to areas with high pools of negative and dark energy, especially of traumatising events,” said Simon. “The more evil the acts are played in the area, the more dark and negative energy are pooled in that one spot.”
“That makes more sense.” I replied. “So, the Cat Demon appeared because someone played with black magic, so in turned summoned darker creatures that shouldn’t be there are born right?”
“Exactly.” Simon snapped his fingers.
“So, what’s the story behind the mansion?” Crystal reiterated back to the question that she was asking.
“Everything.” Jones groaned. “This is like the worst mission for me.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” Simon replied, “the mansion has a history of woman’s being murdered for the past century.”
“Great. Thanks Simon.” Crystal glared.
“What? That’s what the facts state. Every thirteen years, the owner changes. Supposedly in the 1799 it was owned by a white family who had large plantation. They were rumors of females being murdered in the house as the slave woman started to disappear one every thirteen years. It wasn’t until 1888 did the owner changed hands and made into a hotel. Following after, the hotel had the same recurring pattern of deaths that just don’t seem to break.” Simon leaned back with his head resting on his hand. “So far, the mansion went through fifty five different owners until 2045 where they shut it down. Ever since then, it’s been abandoned.”
“Great. We got a few demon fanatics that is going to go after us.” Sara didn’t seem so pleased, her eyes were squinting when she heard Simon’s story.
“Pretty much.” Simon replied.
“That’s good to know.” Crystal shook her head, “though what happened after 2045? Have there been any more deaths?”
Simon stopped and stared at Crystal dead in the eye. He slowly leaned forward as a small smile erupted on his face. “What do you think?” His smile gave me the shivers, making me wonder how much he knew about the haunted mansion.
“You’re a jerk, you know that?” Crystal grumbled.
“You’re welcome.” He chuckled.
“Okay, enough with the horror stories.” Marcus cut in and waved the stories aside. “Our priority is to wipe the place clean of demons, cleanse the house of dark energy, and go back home.”
“You make it sound so easy,” said Jones.
“Because it is easy,” replied James. “Nothing like a good skull bashing.” He snickered, enjoying the thought of fighting.
“Why do we have to go out hunting at night?” Jones whinned. “Can’t we wait until morning?”
“Absolutely not.” Marcus snorted. “You know just as well as I that the demons rarely show themselves, especially when we’re hunting a large number of them. We want to get as many as them while they are awake. Plus, during the day, half of them wouldn’t even be able to manifest themselves.”
“Yea…still….” Jones bit his lower lips, scrunching his eyebrows. “It will be best on our end to have the initiative to hit them during the day. Right now, we’re playing on their playing field.”
“True, but we wouldn’t be able to get the source. For some damn reason, these demons like to hide. Cleansing it during the day will only get half of them. By the time we finish, we’ll be too tired to get the job correctly don. They spawn like rabbits if we’re not careful..”
Jones sighed. “Fine…but we’re not splitting up.”
“Of course.” Marcus nodded, understanding fully well. “Right now, breaking away from our own team to go by themselves isn’t something I have planned when we entered.”
“Good.” Jones slowly nodded his head, a bit satisfied by Marcus’ answer. “That’s better than nothing.”
Marcus clapped, catching everyone’s attention. “Well then ladies, let’s go kill some demons shall we?” He grinned as he pushed opened the door as he effortlessly got out with a thud. He reached over and took out a gun on the side of the van.
Simon followed after, and the majority of us streamed out from the van. I noticed when we stepped out that not too far away from us was a broken metal gate, stating ‘Welcome to Laura’s Paradise Hotel’. Overgrown plants tangled around the gate, holding up the half broken sign. Chain linked fence were stuck out from left-to-right as far as my eyes could see.
Off in the distance was the giant mansion, looming under the moonlight. It had an eerie beauty about it. History was still standing proudly as if the land was its own. Half the building looked still brand new, while the other half was broken down and weathered by storm. It was as if the building was rotting from one side and slowly moving over towards the other.
“Everyone got a radio?” Marcus asked, handing each one of us an ear piece with a mic.
I took one and hooked it around my ear.
“Let’s move out.” Marcus waved his hand.
Everyone brought out their weapons while Timothy and Kathy, closed the door to the van. Crystal and Jessica had a sniper rifle. They both split apart, either climbing up a tree or scaled on top of the Van.
I reached over from my back as I drew out my sword. Plasma lights appeared on one end to the other, connecting the metal together. Daisy was wide awake as she meowed at me once and went silent, watching everything that was going on. We moved together, watching each other’s back. Simon pushed opened the broken gate as it creaked open.
All of us passed through and continued heading towards the mansion. Quite of few of us had a flashlight holstered onto the gun itself, giving us a free hand if needed. Even my sword glowed with bioluminesce light, giving it a dim lighting around me.
As we continued walking forward, a blood curdling scream howled in the dead of the night and we all froze.