“What?” I didn’t like the sound of how serious Crystal was, her face paled as her hand was quickly getting towards her gun. My instinct was telling me that something serious had happened and we didn’t have a moment to lose.
“This is not good.” Crystal replied again, she quickly ran over towards the window, where she peeked out the boarded up window as best as she could. She had to look around and swivel her head in a bit of a weird angle to get a good look outside, but when she did, she gasped. “Not good. Not good. Not good.”
The others started to get up, coming towards her, wondering what was going on.
“Shit! Everyone get down, now!” She shouted, dropping to the very floor.
All of us dropped to the floor, except Rye who was standing there confused. Jesse had to go to him and yank him on the hand, causing him to stumble and drop down.
Boom! The sound of glass breaking could be heard, followed by a splintering sound of wood could be heard. Suddenly, we heard impact, and finally the ground shook heavily.
“Kyyyyyyaaah!” Maze screamed at the top of her lungs, while she was being covered by Kim’s body.
“Shit!” David cursed, covering his head.
I was on the ground, covering my head from danger. Fear and adrenaline laced my soul, making me wonder what was going outside to cause such a loud bang.
“We need to get out of here now!” Crystal shouted. “The talisman is out of power! It won’t last another hit!”
“Are you serious?!” I was shocked to hear that the talisman that Timothy had put up was going to go out, so quickly too.
“Yes! The stupid idiot didn’t know he put a damn timer on it, meaning that it would eventually run out of a juice. He forgot to recycle and draw in the energy around the environment!”
“Shit.” I cursed, knowing full well what Crystal was talking about. Timothy was a good at creating complicated talisman, but they were times when he forgot the simple things. “How long will it stay up?!”
“One minute, before the whole thing comes down. We got to get out of here now!”
“What are you talking about?! We’re protected!” David was gazing towards Crystal completely confused. “It’s been up for over a year! It wouldn’t go down, right?”
“No, we don’t have time.” Crystal got to her feet, “We need to get to the next safe house or we’re going to be dead. Is there a way out of here?”
I got up as well, heading straight towards the entrance that we came in from.
“Alexus! Not that way!”
I snapped around, confused. “Why?”
“Because there are demons coming from that direction!”
“Are you serious?! Shit. Is there any way out of here then?” I looked towards David, hoping that he might know the answer to the question that we are looking for. We were running out of time and one to two minutes wasn’t enough time to escape out of here unharmed.
“Come on. Are you sure? Like I said, this place has been protected.” David stated, nervously. He was very worried about what Crystal had said.
“There is no time to dilly dally! Another one is incoming before it completely breaks!” Crystal was panicking her gun out in front of her ready to use.
My hand flashed towards my gun, knowing full well that we had a fight on our hand.
“Come on! This way!” Jesse shouted, she was the only one who had moved towards the direction of the back. She had a podium pushed backwards with a trap door opened widely for us to enter.
The church groaned, the shattering sound of the barrier echoed loudly throughout the city completely snuffing out what little power the talisman had left to protect this place. We all could feel the dreary power of dark energy, creeping into the church. It was as if it was alive, wanting to take over every inch of the room itself, making me nervous.
“Move!” I shouted, turning back towards the group.
Everyone was momentarily frozen stiff some even dropped to the ground, covering their heads.
Suddenly, a horrifying sweat breaking roar resounded outwards inside the city walls. We all knew what that sound was, it was a demon. The kids bolted into the trap door first in a hurry, followed by Crystal, Maze, and Kim.
I stay behind, watching our surroundings for any possible attack. David scooped up Jesse in a hurry, taking her with him.
The ground trembled, making me glanced down and then towards the bolted front doors. I could see it rattling stronger and stronger, telling me whatever that was heading straight towards this building was heavy and possibly big. It wasn’t just one tremor, but multiple and by the rate the ground was trembling I knew they were going to be here any second.
“Go! Go! Go!” I shouted, half jumping into the trap door. Reaching over, I grabbed the door quickly to pull it ontop of me and just when I was about to close the door, the front door was smashed open.
I gasped, staring at the monster before me. It was a giant demonic looking rhinoceros. Three jagged horns erupted on its nose and trailed up to its forehead. Large spikes decorated its back, giving it an ominous feel, even its feet were more cloven hoofed with scales running up to its tights. On its tail, a snake head moved side-to-side, hissing every second that it got.
Three pairs of eyes rolled around,going off into different directions until all six of them stared straight towards me. That moment of contact instantly told me that it had found me.
“Shit!” I cursed, slamming the door behind me as my feet slipped. My foot stumbled wildly in midair as I tried to get on the metal stairs. Catching myself just in time, my hand banged on the metal rail.
“What’s wrong?!” David asked, he was making his way down and jumped off. “What did you see?”
“A rhino demon, that’s what!” I climbed down as fast as possible. Dust and dirt fell from overhead as the trap door trembled. When I glanced around, it was pitch black with the exception of the flash light on by each one of them. There were old wooden beams holding up the tunnel as the stale air slammed into me, causing me to cough.
“You serious?!” David asked, appalled in what he had heard as he slammed his fist into the wall. “Shit! Why couldn’t it be something else?”
“You know something about it?”My Dragon Scale glowed, brightening up the darkness inside the tunnel. The others were waiting for me as they started to leave towards the exit one by one. I followed after David and Jesse as they started to head after Crystal who was leading the way out.
“Do I?” David sighed, holding onto Jesse’s hand. “That son of a bitch isn’t a simple one to kill, especially with its nasty pair of eye sights from the snake head on its rear end, I have seen many Ouroboros get trampled by its big body.”
I wouldn’t be surprised if they did get trampled, its heavy body and twisted horns could pierce any man through.
“But that’s not the worse part.” David shuddered. “It’s the handlers that you got to be worried about.”
I stopped for a moment, staring at him strangely in what he had said. “What exactly do you mean?”
“The handlers are bad news. The rhino demon is just a dog to sniff us out. So many people had died from being found out by that thing, but it doesn’t compare to the handler….” David eyes seem to gloss over for a moment I thought I saw fear etched in his face, but I couldn’t quite tell. It was gone as quickly as it was there as Jesse squeezed his hands, catching his attention back again.
“We should go.” Jesse softly spoke, looking over her shoulders and up towards the ceiling. It shook and trembled, for a moment it went silent.
Even I followed Jesse’s gaze, and stared for a moment. It was too quiet, putting all of us on edge. It wasn’t normal at all for there to be no movement, especially something so heavy like the Rhino demon footsteps.There wasn’t many things that could cause the whole ground to shudder so violently that I know of, and the Rhino demon was one of them.
“I don’t like this.” David whispered, watching the ceiling for any heavy movements, but there was none. He went back to walking quickly towards the others.
We continued to walk through the winding tunnel, eventually stopping in front of a metal door. It had been there for at least two centuries, and it was easy to tell. As Crystal began to pry open the door, it let out a high pitched shriek that reverberated throughout the hallway.
Crystal had to shake it and twist the doorknob to even crack it open.. Then, when she finally got it open, she was flung backwards as one of the hinges broke off.
“What in the-!” Crystal swore under her breath as she stared at her hand. The metal doorknob came along with her as she glanced back up at the entrance.
I was coming up from behind David when I saw Crystal get thrown backwards from the broken knob. Snapping my attention towards the open door, I smelled a thick lacing of pine sol cleaning supplies, making me cough a couple of times. It completely caught me off guard, causing me to wonder why they was such a heavy smell of Pine Sol.
“Cleaning supplies?” I asked, confused. Looking towards David, then at the other guys wondering if they knew the answer.
“I found this passageway five months ago.” Jesse stated proudly, she had her chest stuck out with pride.”I stumbled upon while looking for my cat friend.”
“Cat friend?” I tilted my head a bit confused.
“Yea,” She shook her head. “Her.” She pointed towards the white cat that somehow appeared out of the dark from the doorway that we were going to go through.
“Daisy?” I was shocked to see her. The whole time, I was wondering where she went and to find her here of all places made me wonder if she knew we were going to come here.
“Meow?” She replied back, yawning as she sat down. Lifting up her paws, she started to groom herself.
“Daisy?” Kim glanced towards me funny. “She’s your cat?”
“Yes.” I replied. Daisy turned towards me and Kim when she heard her name being called. “She’s my lost companion.” Lost wasn’t the right word now that I think about it, she had the knack of disappearing and reappearing wherever she liked and the worse part of it all was I didn’t ever know where she went.
“I wouldn’t completely say she’s lost.” He chuckled, staring towards Daisy as if she was an interesting specimen. “She’s been our neighborhood cat, coming in and out whenever she wants.”
“Neighborhood cat?” She was more than a neighborhood cat, but I didn’t tell him that. I wasn’t quite sure how he would take it if I told him that she was my contracted partner. It sounded more logical saying she was my pet, but I couldn’t really say that. Daisy wasn’t a pet, but a companion and contracted animal.
Daisy never acted like a pet around me, well sometimes she did act like the normal house cats, but she was too intelligent to be considered as one. I actually believed that she understood every single words that I spoke.
“Yes, I seen her running around with the other feral cats outside during the day. Though, they’re not as friendly as her.”
“Yep,” Jesse walked over, squatted down and started to pet Daisy. “She’s been my best friend since then.” Picking her up, Jesse gently rubbed Daisy between the ears and smiled. “What’s really cool about her is that she’s really smart. She was the one who helped me find this place.”
“Oh really?” I glanced towards Daisy.
Daisy meowed as if it was the most obvious answer in the world and purred.
“Not only that, I seen her fiercely chasing after demons!” Jesse cackled with laughter as she smiled widely right after. “You should’ve seen her chase after that bull demon! I swear, she had chomped down on its rump and wouldn’t let go!”
The others started to chuckle, breaking the tense mood that was in the air. We all started to relax, making us a bit more at ease.
“She’s been with us for so long, I thought her name was Gems. She always seem to be carrying some kind of stones and crystals in her mouth every time I saw her.”
“Yea, you didn’t know?”
“No…..” This was the first time ever hearing about Daisy carrying gems in her mouth. I looked towards her, searching for an answer. Daisy opened up her eyes, and didn’t reply back. For some reason, I got the feeling that she was saying, ‘You should already know this, Alex. I’m your contracted spirit!’ Which was a bit strange thought for me to have. I couldn’t read animal’s mind, but I was sure she was saying that.
“She likes to find shiny things and ferry them away somewhere. I tried following her, but I don’t know where she hides them.”
“I see…” Learning something new about my cat was surprising, I thought I knew her well, but it seemed that this past years changed her a bit.
Daisy meowed one more time, and turned around, heading back into the dark entrance.
All of us watched her leave, making me realize that it was okay to enter through. It was a gut feeling that I didn’t know how exactly to explain. I trusted Daisy, especially because she never let me down.
Taking a step forward, I went in first.
“Wait?!” Kim called out first, surprised to see me walk through without looking first. “There could be demons in there!”
I held up my hand and shook my head. “It’s fine. Daisy knows what she’s doing. She’s telling us to go in.”
“Wait,” Kim asked in disbelief. “You’re actually going to trust a cat?”
“Yes, though only specifically that cat. She never been wrong.” I replied. “Like I said, she’s more than just a cat. She’s my partner.”
“Whatever you say man.” Kim was shaking his head not completely believing in me. I didn’t attempted to clarify with him that there was something more to Daisy. There was no point without seeing it for himself.
“I believe you.” Jesse came over next, walking beside me. “I always found her unusual and very intelligent for a cat.”
“Thanks.” I replied, looking around to see what we stumbled upon. What welcomed us was a giant boiler like structures that were lined up in rows. There were even conveyor belts that had boxes still in place.
As I walked over, I saw a label that said Lemon Pine Sol cleaning supplies. I was right in thinking I smelled cleaning supplies, it was distinct that it was hard not to notice. It was overpowering that a couple of times, my eyes were watering.
“This place is a packaging store, but for some reason, someone dumped all those pine sols inside those giant containers.” Jesse pointed out. “I went up to check what it was, but all I found was water.”
It wasn’t easy to see everything inside the dark factory, the flashlight that Jesse and the others had only could show so much. There was a couple of times when the others tripped over boxes or stumbled into the large boiler like things. There was still a bit of light here and there in certain spots, telling us that the generator was still working, but it wasn’t enough to allow us to see beyond that.
“Where exactly are we?” I asked, because I didn’t remember there ever being a factory around here.
“I’m not quite sure.” David replied, “I haven’t lived here long enough to memorize the area. Also, with the street signs being blasted off by Gluttony and the other demons, it’s hard to tell what’s what. Most of us don’t live in Chicago, we were just visiting.”
“Really?” What was the chance of that? I couldn’t help but think that the world was pulling a couple of pranks on us. Sighing, I tried my best to take out the negative thoughts in my head and pushed forward.
“Yea, most of us live in the suburbs.”
“Then do you guys know any other safe zones around here?”
David thought it over, then he shook his head. “None. We rarely left this building. It wasn’t safe.”
“Then were you going to stay here forever?” I asked, understanding their predicament.
“We made some city runs for food, which there was a store near by, so we weren’t too worried about that, but this whole city is infested with Demons, especially during the night.” David frowned, the others nodded their head in agreement, reinforcing his words. “Walking out during the day isn’t always safe either. They were a couple of times when we ran into demons during daylight and it scared the shit out of us.”
“So, what if you ran out of food?” I knew that food wouldn’t last forever, plus they were basically going to be trapped in this one spot forever if they didn’t leave.
“Well….” David shifted in his feet uncomfortably. “We didn’t think that far ahead.”
“At least you guys are here, so we don’t have to worry much about it.” David grinned towards me, relieved that we were here. I wasn’t sure how I should take that feeling of safety, but all I did was stay silent.
Crystal came up next to me, scanning for any possibilities of demons. The others trailed behind us, knowing full well that they couldn’t do much to the demons and needed our protection.
“By the way Crystal.” I called out towards her, while she was flashing the right. She slightly turned her head towards me, looking over her shoulder while we walked through the dark factory.
“I was wondering, why didn’t the church repel the demons anyways? I thought that it always had the power too.”
“What are you talking about?” She looked at me as if I was saying something foreign. “An abandoned church without a priest and believers will eventually lose its holy power. It becomes like every other piece of land out there.”
“Wait, really?” I was shocked to hear something like that, especially because it was something that I had never heard before. “This whole time, I thought that all churches stay holy.”
“No. If it did, then the barrier wouldn’t be needed in the first place. Didn’t you ever wonder why there are churches out there that are filled with demons?”
“Um… now that I think about it. There were some churches that had a strange dark feel to it. At first, I thought it was natural for those few and didn’t think much of it.”
“Yes, usually those places are tainted and abandoned.. It’s the people who makes it like that. Plus, everything doesn’t last forever. Those are special places, I don’t know how to explain it but there is just a constant source of holy energy there. I’m not sure how, I don’t know if it’s fate or anything like that, but that’s how it’s usually been.” She shrugged her shoulders, “though I don’t understand everything so I can’t say much about it.”
“Ah, I see.” I thought over what she had said, realizing that there was a lot more than meets the eye. The whole concept of churches being holy all the time was wrong and to find that out was surprising.
We continued forward, carefully stepping through trying not to cause too much disturbance. Daisy was appearing and disappearing, showing us the way out. I was glad that she was still with us, instead of running off to do whatever she does best.
Climbing up a couple of stairs, we walked across the catwalk and saw the exit leading out. I knew this wasn’t the main entrance, but a side door. Everyone went silent, knowing full well that we were going to go outside. The chance of meeting a demon was high, and the thought of them being the one to draw the demons made them silent. They all knew the risk of leaving out this door. There was no going back to the church, especially when the Rhino Demon was there.
Both Crystal and I walked over, I pulled out my sword instead of my gun. While Crystal took out her dagger from her side. We both knew that staying quiet was more imperative in getting out of this place instead of drawing every demon in the vicinity. We could only hold off only so many, meaning that everyone could die. Having a non fighter to protect was a lot more difficult and stressful than I thought.
Sticking with the Ouroboros, who knew how to fight, made fighting a lot easier. I was glad that I had crystal to help me out with this heavy burden to share.
Crystal reached over, gently pushing the door from the side of the wall. She then peeked out the door, scanning around. With a short curt nod, she pushed the door completely open and slipped out. I followed right after her as the other trailed from behind.
The moment we stepped out, it was deathly silent. They weren’t a single sound of insects, only the high pitch sound of the wind blowing through the buildings, giving it a creepy feeling.
All of us were tensed, looking around for any disturbance. Daisy was trailing close by next to me as she slinked through the dark. For a white cat, she was like a ghost, disappearing and reappearing whenever she felt like it.
I noticed that we were in the back alleyway, in between a tight building space. Trash bins was still filled to the brim trash with broken pipes, metals, and even dirty paper were littered everywhere on the ground.
“Notice anything?” Crystal whispered as we walked through.
“None.” I replied. “It’s too quiet. I don’t like it.”
“So, where exactly are we going?” Kim asked quietly from behind. “I feel like we should’ve stay behind until morning.”
“No. The demon would’ve found us.” David quickly replied. “Especially if it’s a Rhino Demon.”
“Shit, you serious?”
“Damn.” Kim furrowed, while Maze held onto his arm even harder. They knew that what the Rhino Demon was and seen it quite often to know what it could do. The thought of it chasing them horrified them.
“Do you got any ideas where to go, Alexus?” David asked, hoping that I would’ve the answer.
“We’re going south and make our way towards the new Seventh Sanctum.”
<Previous | Next>