Black Heart – Chapter V Part IV
by Steppen Sawicki
Harper was waiting for him in the hall, half-asleep. She hadn’t slept well in that chair, had probably only gathered about three hours of sleep from it. But she hadn’t left him.
“Well that was pointless,” he told her as she stood.
She didn’t respond as they walked, but she stole glances at him out of the corner of her eye.
“Stop fucking staring at me,” he finally said.
“Did you tell them you spoke to it?”
He stopped to face her, huffing. “I shouldn’t have even told you.”
“Ivers, what were we told when we caught our betas? That they can speak, that they’ll say anything, that they’ll lie. That they’ll try to gain control.”
“Right. Don’t listen.”
“Right. And here you are, chatting with the thing.”
“It’s not a beta.”
“It’s worse than a beta.”
“It’s the only avenue we have to gain information.”
Her eyes actually turned sad, but maybe they were just tired. “Is that really why you talked to it?”
“Yes! Why else would I? You think I want to talk to it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Look, I don’t need this psych bullshit.” He turned and started walking again. “They know what I found out. That’s what matters. This gamma isn’t what I’m worried about right now.”
They had reached the elevator, where a couple of agents were waiting for a lift. Because of them, Harper changed the topic. “Are we still containing the synagogue tonight?”
“Yeah. Those plans haven’t changed. The neighborhood’s already evacuated.” He had completely forgotten about that plan until it cropped up at the end of the meeting, just an Oh yeah don’t forget type of footnote. All Possesseds were going to try to contain the demons coming through the gate at point of entry. Same idea as was mumbled by crazier Possesseds at the discovery of the synagogue. If they could pull it off, there wouldn’t be any need to chase them through the city. If they couldn’t pull it off, they might cancel out the outward force that propelled the demons from the gate, leaving them all swimming around in one building.
Estimates were about 130 demons per gate opening. What happens when you let 130 demons loose in the space of one hundred feet?
“I think we both need something to eat before then,” Harper said.
Bryan was pretty sure he hadn’t eaten in twenty-four hours. “Gonna agree with you for once.”
The elevator doors dinged and opened and in the group that came out of it was Cam. He seemed absolutely astonished to see Bryan.
“Jesus,” he said. “Am I glad to see you.”
“What have you heard?” Bryan moaned as the elevator left without him and Harper.
“That you turned up in the lobby raving and bleeding a river.” He looked Bryan over. “You don’t look hurt.”
“It wasn’t my blood.”
Bryan sighed. He wanted to give Cam the story, but he was tired of telling it and, to be honest with himself, he was having trouble keeping it straight at this point. “They’re going to release a statement at the synagogue this evening, before the gate containment.”
Cam’s face fell, leaving him looking wounded. “I’m going to have to wait for a statement?”
Bryan chewed his lip, noticing that two agents now waiting at the elevator were listening in. Not even bothering to be discreet. They were looking right at him. What version of the story could he even tell Cam?
Tell him everything, so he can blab to everyone what you did.
“Ivers? You okay?”
“I’m fine,” he snapped. He twisted around, heading for the stairwell, and after glancing at Cam Harper followed. He didn’t feel fine. He was thinking of the way raw muscle ground between his teeth. He felt like vomiting again.