They all walked upstairs to the fourth floor; Alexus walked over to room 342. His hands searched the side of the door frame as it snagged against the wooden frame. A piece of the frame fell out into his hand with the key right behind it.
He was glad that the key was still there but surprised that no one else had found the hidden spot for over 150 years. He slipped it into the keyhole using the key, hoping it would open.
Jolting it a little the way he always does, the door clicked, telling him it worked. The others looked over, interested in what just happened.
As Alexus opened the door, a loud creak followed as it swung open. What welcomed him was an empty room with nothing in it. He knew he shouldn’t be too surprised, but it still hit him like a sledgehammer to see all his stuff gone.
“Well then,” Kim stated. “I’m guessing the only thing leftover was the key….”
Putting Jesse down, she walked closely behind him. Her hands reached over to grab onto Alexus, worriedly looking around. Everything she had gone through for the past twenty minutes had turned her meek and silent. Not a peep of sound came out of her mouth like usual.
With a plop, Alexus walked over and sat down next to the wall, resting his back against it. Jesse followed after, sitting on his left side. She was tired; her head leaned against his shoulder as she was quickly lulled to sleep.
He felt a bit guilty for what she had gone through, especially because she was forced to leave the safety of the church when they had arrived. But at the same time, they needed to leave; eventually, the barrier around there wasn’t going to last long in the first place.
The whole tense ordeal of running through the city, watching his back for demons, was a tiring experience. Having Crystal’s demon ward was a great relief to have to recuperate their minds and tired bodies.
Alexus could see that the others were exhausted from the event. Each of them found a corner of the room and made themselves comfortable. The only person who was still up and moving was Crystal, who peeked out the window from the side, and she started with a serious expression.
“Is everything alright?” Alexus asked.
“For the most part.” She replied, stepping away and walking towards Alexus. With a plop, she sat down and stretched. Her Dragon Scale suit made some odd popping sound. He heard a slight whirring mechanized sound as her suit glowed momentarily blue.
“So…..” Crystal asked, a bit more relaxed than before. “What do you have in mind for us all?”
“Well…” Alexus thought it over for a moment. “We’ll head towards the Union Train station. It leads straight towards the south where we need to go.”
“Wait. Wait. Wait.” David heard them talking, and he jumped in on the conversation. He was sitting not too far from them but on the left side of Jesse with Rye in his lap. Rye had curled up into a ball, sleeping away as if nothing could wake him up. “You don’t mean Chicago’s metro station, right?”
“Yes….” Alexus slowly stated, wondering what he was going at.
“You’re crazy. That place isn’t somewhere you want to go.”
“Please explain; I do not like being called crazy until I know why.”
“Look, I understand you have amnesia and all, but this is the one place I highly discourage going,” David replied with a grim expression. Something was on his mind, and the thought of going to the metro station was bothering him immensely. “That is where the majority of the demons thrive. I wouldn’t be surprised if that place is a nest for them.”
Alexus was baffled at this information. For Union Station to be packed full of demons wasn’t something he had ever expected, but then again, the entirety of Chicago was filled with demons to the brim. There was no way going around this, and to get out of here, they needed to move fast.
With an annoyed sigh, Alexus thought over what he had said. What was another way to get out of this wretched city without being overwhelmed by demons? He wasn’t sure, but he had to think it over longer. The weight of everyone’s lives was balancing on his decisions, and it wasn’t something that he wanted to gamble away so easily.
“Then, do you have any idea?” Alexus asked, hoping that it would spark some kind of conversation and idea that could benefit all of them.
“Um….” David wasn’t sure; his mind was frazzled while he scrunched his brows. His hands crossed in front of him, and he sighed. “None.” He shook his head.
“We could just follow the regular train tracks leading south that the commercial trains use.” Kim voiced his opinion. Maze leaned on his shoulder, closing her eyes as she was resting. She moved a bit to get herself comfortable, and I knew she wasn’t asleep yet.
“Did you forget…..the demon’s nest?” David replied.
Kim nodded, understanding what David had said, but that didn’t stop him from continuing. “I know a few things or two about trains.” He replied. “If we can get to one of them, I’m quite sure I can start one up.”
“Wait, what?” Crystal spoke, surprised by what Kim had said.
Even Alexus was dumbfounded by what he had just heard. So Kim wanted to start a train? This was quite unusual. He didn’t expect any trains to still function in this part of the city. But, at the same time, David had said that it was filled with demons, making this trip dangerous.
“My dad was a conductor for the Union Train Station before he passed,” Kim replied; his voice was tense, and he could tell that he was trying his best for his voice not to crack. “He and his group attempted to bring out the remaining stragglers in Chicago, but that didn’t happen. We were more than just what we had here.” His hand waved in front of him. “There were ten more adults with us…..before the accident.”
Kim shuddered; even David cringed as his head was lowered in loss and sadness.
“We tried to make a bolt for it awhile back, but……the demons were waiting for us before we could escape. So we went out the back door during the day, hoping they wouldn’t find us….but it was too late.”
“Wait,” Alexus spoke, a bit confused. “Why didn’t you all go through the secret passageway?”
“That wasn’t found out until later. We thought that the demons would be weaker or possibly wouldn’t come out; not even ten minutes outside, we were swarmed on all sides.” His voice went weak as he stuttered slightly. “The first to go was my father…he p-pushed me aside to get me o-o-out of the way….before he….”
Kim couldn’t say anything anymore. Maze was awake; she squeezed his arm as she tried to calm him down.
“I’m alright.” Kim breathed in deeply, letting go of his sadness as best as possible. Then he looked over towards Alexus’ direction, his eyes glazed over with dedication. “If we make it there, I am 90% positive that I can start one and get us out here.”
“Are you sure about this?” Asking, hoping that I didn’t just hear things. “They’re demons. Plus, aren’t trains slower than a car?” he was sure there was a huge difference in speed between regular subway trains and those on the outside.
“Yes, but it will have a constant speed, heading straight to where we need to go without the obstacles in our way like abandoned cars. Not only that, we won’t have to worry too much about a large number of demons.”
Thinking over what he had said, Alexus didn’t think it was a bad idea. However, the only problem was the loud sound they would make, causing demons to be attracted and the nest full of them.
“Don’t worry too much about it.” Kim cut my thinking off. “Once we pass the city, it’s smooth sailing from there. All we need to do is get there.”
“Where exactly would that be?” Crystal asked.
“It’s south of here. Few miles away.” Kim stopped for a moment, taking a breather. “The Union Train Station is where we need to go, though; we should be there during the day. It won’t be a good idea if we leave at night.”
“We’ll leave at daybreak then.”
The other nodded, knowing that they needed every second of rest. Even Alexus couldn’t help but get sleepy.
“Go to sleep.” Crystal replied, “The demon won’t be able to get in here for a while. Also, our suit will help us detect any suspicious activities inside this building by giving us an alarm.”
Alexus nodded. “Thanks.”
“Don’t worry about it. I thought this would happen, so I installed all the Dragon Scale suits to have this function. We need every second of rest we can get.”
Having Crystal here with Alexus gave him more reassurance than when he would have been alone. He was glad that she was here because he wouldn’t have known any of these functions that she had installed; having another person covering his back during the dangerous time was a load off his mind.
Sleep eventually came as he slowly went to sleep.
“What’s the situation?” Alexus asked; it was already 8:35 am. Crystal was checking outside through the window. The bright sunlight cast upon her face and body, giving the Dragon Scale Suit and glow as it also amplified her beauty. However, the metallic sheen of her suit gave her a dangerous look.
“Not too bad, though….” Crystal scanned to the right; her left arm rested on the window frame.
“I believe there is some hiding, waiting for us to step out.” She frowned as she bit her lower lips.
Alexus walked over next to her and saw what she meant. There weren’t many demons prowling on the edge of the barrier. Only two or three of them stood around as they gazed up at them. A sudden chill could be felt from their expressionless gaze; he knew instantly that they saw them.
The hatred and perverse evil spilled out of their body and aimed directly at Alexus. This wasn’t something he ever got used to; it always made him shake in his boots. He had to choke up his fear, covering it as best as possible so the demon couldn’t see that he was scared.
Their transparent bodies wavered back and forth from existence to nonexistence; he felt that the longer they stood outside, their body would eventually disappear into nothingness.
“How many did you see that’s not outside prowling on our front doorsteps?” Alexus asked, scanning around for other demons.
So far, he saw one demon hidden in the shadows, right next to the bent street lights. It was almost unnoticeable until he felt a strange uncomfortable feeling, scanning across the land. Then, without a second to process what he felt, he knew what it was: A Demon.
“There is one by the building on the left side,” Crystal pointed with her fingers, directing Alexus towards where she wanted him to check out. “Then two more inside the building, two blocks down. I saw them leave and go in there.”
“I see….” Waiting for her to continue, Alexus examined the area some more. Finally, he found a few more, hidden away in the crevices or behind walls. It was a bit difficult to find them, but he could still pinpoint them.
“We’re going to have to fight our way out.” Crystal replied. “I don’t see any other way.”
Alexus thought over what she had said, and he knew that she was right. There was no other way out of this place except the front door.
“How long do we have left?” If Alexus remembered correctly, the twelve hours should be up very soon, and he didn’t want to be caught off guard.
“Twenty….minute.” She brought up her wrist, checking her time. “We should start getting ready to leave, or we’ll attract more tonight, making it harder to escape tomorrow.”
Nodding, Alexus pushed off the wall and headed toward his room. The door was hanging off the end as it looked like it was about to fall off. The empty room with a few graffitied walls was present with broken bottles. Searching around, he went towards the half-broken closet and reached in towards the back.
His hand reached around, shuffling the loose board until he could take it down. Then, putting it towards the side, he reached once again, rummaging through the hole as he felt around until he drew out what he was looking for.
In his hand was a small wooden box engraved on the side was the word “savings.” Opening it up, inside of it was forty-nine dollars, a dragon pin wrapped around a crystal ball, and a map.
Alexus pushed aside the money, took out the crumpled map, and picked up the pin. The pin was an old memory that he had left of his childhood dream, but now that dream was over, and he had to live with what he had now. He took the pin with him, pinning it to the cloth part of the suit itself.
Putting the box back, Alexus left without thinking much about the money anymore.
“What did you get there?” Crystal asked, looking towards the map in his hand. “A map?”
“Yes,” Alexus laid it out on the floor so that everyone could see.
“You know I installed a basic map into this watch, right?” Crystl spoke; she was surprised to see the old map that he had in his hand. From its looks, one could tell that it was ready to fall apart if handled too roughly. “Did you forget?” She asked curiously, wondering if he did.
“I know,” Alexus replied, knowing the function that she had installed. If it wasn’t for her watch, they would have lost one too many times, but this map that he had sprawled out on the floor was slightly different. The ink was fading, but he could still see what was written on it.
Bringing up his wrist, he clicked a few buttons on the watch as a holographic display of the recent map was brought out as it beamed down towards the hand-drawn map on the floor.
Crystal saw what was happening, seeing the lines match up in a different route to the holographic map. A stunned expression was shown on her face, surprised that there was quite a difference between Alexus’ map and hers.
“I was out one day drunk and found myself in the most unlikely places,” Alexus replied, scanning the map slowly and taking everything in. It was a Saturday night when he was bar hopping with one of his closest friends but found himself somehow in the sewers. There was no memory of how he ended up down there, but that was something that he never figured out.
“Drunk?” Crystal gave Alexus a strange look. “I don’t see you as the type to get drunk….ever. Hell, you look like a goodie two-shoe to even drink.”
Alexus wasn’t sure if he should take what she said as a compliment or an offense. Sometimes it’s just hard with her.
“No offense. Just saying.” Crystal held her hands in front of her, telling Alexus that she didn’t mean any harm. He just shrugged it off and focused back on what was in front of him.
“Look.” Alexus got on his knees, pointing towards what they needed to see. It was a tight space in-between the building with barely as much to maneuver. He could remember that day trying to squeeze past the two with a bit more difficulty because of the number of thrown away furniture stacked on top of each other.
Crystal glanced at the map and back at Alexus, a little confused. “Shortcut?”
“Yes. I usually used this way to get to work in the past….”His voice went soft, and he remembered his old memories from the past slipping through his mind like a waterfall. It made him frown, but he shook his head side-to-side, trying to get rid of it.
“You alright?” Crystal looked at him with a bit of worry. She knew that something was wrong.
“Yea.” Alexus held up his hands. “Let’s get going.” The watch beeped, telling him that scanning the map on the floor was done. Picking it up, he twiddled through some more functions on the watch as the tip of his fingers opened up as a small lighter. He clicked, allowing the paper to catch on fire, burning the paper away into a crisp.
“What?” Crystal asked, confused. “What was that for?”
“Safety,” Alexus replied as he turned around and left the room with Crystal trailing behind.
They quickly made it into the living room, where everyone was ready to leave. Jesse and David both were peeking out the window, staring.
“We got trouble,” David spoke aloud, looking over his shoulder and motioning towards Alexus.
Alexus didn’t like the sound of what David had said and quickly walked over to see what he meant. Looking through the half-broken blind, Alexus saw more and more shadows walking around in broad daylight.
“That’s not normal,” Alexus Whispered to see so much more than before.
“They can sense it.” Crystal replied, her lips puckered, and she frowned. Then, shaking her head as her hair slid towards the back away from her face.
“Sense what?” David was confused about what she had just said.
“The barrier will be falling soon.”
Everyone listening in on our conversation tensed up, knowing full well that this was going to be a problem. Leaving the house to meet the shadows head-on made most of the people worried.
They knew that they could get possessed and become monsters; such thoughts weren’t something that they wanted. Ever.
“How soon?” David asked in almost a whisper as he gulped.
“Less than ten minutes….”
“Wait, ten?!” Kim voiced his opinions, afraid of what was about to happen. “We need to get out of here now!”
“Yea, I know.” Crystal snapped, shutting Kim up. “I have a plan, but we need to head towards
“You got something, Crystal?” Alexus asked, wondering what she wanted to do.
“Yea.” Crystal went out the door and into the hallway in a hurry. The others got up on their feet and rushed behind her, not wanting to be left behind.
“Good,” Alexus nodded, walking next to her quickly. “I feel that we both have the same thing in mind.”
“You think so?” Crystal asked.
“Yes,” Alexus stated confidently. The gears in his head were quickly turning, and the only option that came to his mind was one of the few routes that he also thought up.
“We’ll see.” She replied with a sly grin on her face.
As they neared the stairway, she reached up towards the talisman that she had put up and ripped it off in one go.
The others who saw her do that gasped in horror at the thought of the loss of protection.
“What are you doing?!” Kim yelled in shock. “Are you trying to kill us?!”
Crystal didn’t say anything anymore and just went down the stairs in a flurry.