Black Heart – Chapter IV Part III

I still need to work out all the council members.

Novel: Horror

The demon blazed through him, burning his veins and the underside of his skin.  It crawled into him, burrowing, ripping out a space.  He would have screamed, but there was no air in his lungs, so he only croaked and fell to the floor on his side, fetal.

He sucked in air and released it, in a laugh.  It was shaky and low, almost like a cry, but it was a laugh.

“Bryan, can you hear me?”

He opened his eyes.  He hadn’t realized they were closed.  He looked at the people before him, taking in their lifeglow.

He was so hungry.

He laughed.


He turned his head up slightly, so that he could see the one speaking.  Hussein.  He glowed deep green.

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Black Heart – Chapter IV Part II

Here’s where I admit that I’ve never been drunk, and I’ve never had a hangover.  So I have no clue how these things work.

Novel: Horror

Bryan fell asleep on the couch as soon as he laid down on it, his mind finally quiet, his fears laid to rest.  He woke when the sun was low in the sky, to the sound of Hussein throwing up.  He was mixing pancake batter when Hussein came out of the bathroom, hand to his head.

“Good morning,” Bryan said.

Hussein grumbled under his breath and fumbled into a chair at the breakfast bar as Bryan poured him a mug of coffee.

“I’m afraid all I have to mix that with is cheap beer,” Bryan told him.

“If I were in anyone else’s apartment,” Hussein said, “I would be deathly mortified.”  He took a gulp of the black coffee and winced at how hot it was.  “Instead I’m only hideously embarrassed.”

“You act like no one’s ever been drunk before.”

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Black Heart – Chapter IV Part I

This was something of a get-out-of-writer’s-block-somehow part.  It’s kind of silly but I shoved a lot of useful information in it, so now I’m stuck with it.

Novel: Horror

He slammed the door shut behind him.  He let his bag fall to the floor, making a soft whump.  And then there was silence in the apartment.  He didn’t turn the lights on, only stood in the hallway in the dark and the silence.

Hussein hadn’t taken his decision well.  They had both of them tossed aside profession and shouted a barrage of curses at each other.  Then they had momentarily thrown a barrage of punches at each other.  Bryan might have clipped Hussein’s jaw.  Hussein did cuff Bryan’s ear and struck his left arm straight on before throwing him out of the room.  Bryan couldn’t remember much of what either of them had said, but none of it had been productive.  Only on the train ride home did he realize he had wanted to talk with Hussein.  He had wanted a real discussion about his decision – and it was his decision regardless of what Hussein wanted.  But Hussein had objected flatly and Bryan had gotten defensive and it had all gone out of hand.

He passed his hand over his face and walked into the dark apartment, found the curtains and pulled them open.  It was still dark out, but the city lights gave the room a dim glow.  He looked at the gray washed-out city sky and considered calling Cam, but he knew he would still be working, busy like a Possessed should be.  Not moaning about in his apartment in the dark.  He knew he should eat, but he had lost all appetite.  And besides, he was tired.  Deathly tired, but only in body.  His mind was still a mess, thoughts and regrets and dim memories swirling around in it.

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Black Heart – Chapter III Part VIII

Last part for this chapter.

Novel: Horror

“This is weird,” Harper said.  She had an open Miller in her hands but she hadn’t had a sip yet.

They were out on Dusable Harbor, feet hanging over the water, listening to the water lap the piers.  Watching the lights of the shore to their right, the lights of the boats drifting in front of them, and the absolute darkness beyond that.

“What is?” Bryan asked.

“I just…thought you meant you wanted to go to a bar.”

“Oh.”  Bryan couldn’t remember the last time he had been in a bar, save for a month ago when he had captured some demons in one.  The location wouldn’t have occurred to him.  “Naw, isn’t this better than a bar?”

She seemed to think about it, then answered “Yeah.”  She finally took a sip of her beer.

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Black Heart – Chapter III Part VII

They say the more a person curses, the more honest they are.  These characters are fucking saints.

Novel: Horror

He woke hours before sunset, tense and drenched in sweat, but he couldn’t remember what he had been dreaming.  His thoughts immediately turned to the events of the previous night, and he threw Howlin’ Wolf on his record player to distract himself.  He cooked Eggs Benedict and pancakes and grilled cherry tomatoes and ate a third of it all.  He didn’t want to head out early to the synagogue, but he found he couldn’t avoid it.  He didn’t want to be alone.

The place was swarming with agents.  Skinner and Phan were there again, but so were several other Spotters and Possessed.  And Cam was there, his jacket standing out in the crowd.

“How you holding up?” he asked Bryan.

“Well I’m walking and talking,” Bryan responded, thinking again of Gennick.  “What’s with the circus?”

“We were just about to head in.  We’re all here to observe the inside.  We hear some demons just popped up and vanished last night.”

“Something like that.”

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Black Heart – Chapter III Part VI

Novel: Horror

He was in a daze as he walked the halls.  So he didn’t notice a girl with a halo of dark curls dart out a doorway until she had run into him.

“Omph, I’m sorry!” she cried, looking up at him.  Then she exclaimed “Bryan!”

He was so out of it, it took him a moment to realize it was Sonia, the Possessed he had discovered.

“Or, I guess I should call you Agent Ivers,” she said.

“So you accepted,” he sighed.

“Yeah.  I mean, yes.  Though it’s just been lectures and meditation so far.  So much meditation.  Do you really still meditate that much?”

“Not much time for it, no.”

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Black Heart – Chapter III Part V

Novel: Horror

“That’s thin correlation,” Hussein said, leaning back and twirling a pen.  “I was in this business five years before you joined, and reports of death by demons can be identified up to twenty-five years ago.”

“I’m not saying,” Bryan said “that it started when Daniels joined the synagogue.  That’s only when it became noticeable.  Or started to become noticeable.  After that even.”

“Then quit flopping your words around and say what you’re saying.”

Bryan took a deep breath and tried to compose himself.  “I just think…that we’re on to something here.  And it very well could be a source or origin point for all that’s been happening.”

“An origin point, right here in Chicago?”  Hussein looked at him skeptically.

“Well…maybe…maybe it’s not the only one.”

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Black Heart – Chapter III Part IV

Oh god I am really self-conscious about this section.  I don’t really know much about Judaism or rabbis.  I’ve taken religious studies classes, but all of the cultural stuff here is only what I’ve learned on the interwebs.  If any Jewish people read this and are like WTF please let me know what I should fix.

Novel: Horror

They knocked twice before the door was answered by a slight man who seemed to be in his 30s despite sporting a head of gray hair.

“Rabbi Daniels?” Harper asked.

“Daniels, sure,” he said in a baritone.  “The jury’s still out on the rabbi part.”

“Ah, well I’m Agent Harper and this is Agent Ivers with – ”

“The Office.  Yes.  I already unlocked the doors for you all earlier today.  Come in.”

He moved aside and waved them in.  Bryan’s first impression was that the man was in the middle of packing.  There was sparse furniture, only the bare essentials – couch, chairs, dining and side tables.  And nothing on the tables, nothing on the walls.  Then he realized there were no boxes.  Everything was eerily and spotlessly clean.  He felt he was dirtying up the place just standing there.

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Black Heart – Chapter III Part III

Novel: Horror

Bryan stomped onto the stage and looked around yet again.  What was he even looking for?  The demons were gone, so what was his purpose here now?  What had he wanted to be here for this evening?  Had he thought he was going to solve The Mystery of the Synagogue by staring at it once night fell?  He looked down at the floor and kicked at the dust that blanketed it.  It was a lot of dust; it went up in a fog and drifted down lazily in Harper’s direction.  She looked up at Bryan in irritation.

“Ivers,” she started, and coughed and turned away down the aisle as the dust entered her mouth.

Bryan smiled, a slow grin that grew to feel slimy on his face.  He wiped it away.  “I really didn’t mean to kick it at you,” he told Harper as if apologizing for the grin.

She was still coughing, retching even.  She spat twice and pawed at her face.

“It wasn’t that much,” Bryan complained.

“No, but…”  Harper spat again.  “It tastes dead.”


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Black Heart – Chapter III Part II

Novel: Horror

Harper was already there when he got to the synagogue, alongside Skinner and Phan, the daywatch team.  The latter two were seated in a car across the street like they were working a stake-out, Harper talking to them through a window.

Phan – the Spotter – lit up when he saw Bryan.  “Ivers, man of the hour.  How ya doin’?”

“Leave him alone, Phan,” Skinner said.  She stifled a yawn as Bryan reached the car and peered through the window opposite Harper.  “I’ve had to deal with this all day.  Why are Spotters always so damned cheerful?”

“They aren’t,” Bryan said.  “It’s just comparison.”

“That right, Phan?” Skinner asked her carmate.

“Hey, it’s hard work propping up you guys’ attitudes,” Phan replied, putting sunglasses on over his eyes.  They were all wearing sunglasses, despite the sun having already dipped behind the buildings around them.  Still the fading daylight seemed too bright.

“But hey, Ivers.”  Skinner turned back to Bryan.  “You okay?”

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