Black Heart – Chapter VII Part XII

End of this chapter.

Novel: Horror

There was no one watching his cards, no one watching the gamma, no one watching anyone’s totems.  They had twenty-one Possesseds left and they all needed to be out capturing during the night and recuperating during the day.  Quarantine was simply a lower priority; considering the world was ending, it didn’t matter if by some small chance a totem broke and a Possessed here and there went mad.  It was a very small chance anyway.

Keep telling yourself that, Bryan thought as he passed empty rooms, each with a pile of totems on them.  Laity’s, still in the hospital, and Rudd’s, on psychiatric leave, and Demasi’s, who had a complete meltdown last month, all unguarded.

And his cards.  And his card.

He walked up to it and stared it down.  The demon in it was watching him, looking him over calmly.  Bryan felt a pull in him towards it, towards its warmth and vivacity, the things he no longer had.  And it was pulled towards him.

We’ve already come close.

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Black Heart – Chapter VII Part XI

Novel: Horror

At the office they set him up in an inner room, one with no windows.  Bryan liked it; it was dark.  It had only the desk, deskchair, and a couch.  The people guarding him set up right outside the door.  He collapsed into the chair and fell asleep, and only woke when Harper returned with a pizza.  As expected, he didn’t dream and he felt worse than before he had fallen asleep.

“Shit,” he mumbled, swiping the screensaver off his – Hussein’s – laptop and checking the time.  “I can’t believe I slept for…an hour?”

“You were exhausted,” Harper said, setting down the pizza.

“It didn’t help.  And the group’s capturing.  I should be…tracking them or something.  I don’t even know.”

“Eat first.”

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Black Heart – Chapter VII Part X

Novel: Horror

He screwed his eyes shut and cursed himself.  A couple of Possesseds gave up and quit the containment, as if they might run, and with his eyes closed Bryan could feel the containment flicker and falter.  He opened his eyes and stepped forward to the edge of it and spoke, desperately hoping it wouldn’t work.

The gate opened immediately.

The pull of it produced a wind that whistled through the broken windows of the synagogue, but other than that there was dead silence until Connors shouted “Back to the plan!  Drop wide containment!  Start capturing!”

Bryan hadn’t expected it to take so much out of him.  He could only hold it open for half a minute.  When he let it go he fell to the ground, blacking out for a second.  The demons did as they were supposed to, and shot out from the synagogue.

But no one breathed a sigh of relief.  No one helped Bryan up.  When he looked around every Possessed was staring at him.  Even Harper, whose usually so blank expression held accusation.

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Black Heart – Chapter VII Part IX

I’ve taken to using the word “aeon” to indicate a lifeglow, as differing from an aura.

Novel: Horror

“Doctor Rollins, chemistry,” the woman said, holding out her hand.

Bryan frowned at it.  “You never realize how many people want to shake hands until you don’t want to do it yourself.”

She held up the hand.  “Say no more.”

“Fuck.  I mean sorry.  That was rude.”

“You’re not the first Possessed I’ve held a conversation with.”  She crossed her arms.  “Is Agent Hussein running late?”

“Hussein was killed last night by a type of Possessed that can travel through the gates with the demons.”

Rollins’s hand went to her throat.  “God.  I’m so sorry.”

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Black Heart – Chapter VII Part VIII

Andrade going full Counselor Troi here.

Novel: Horror

Bryan didn’t react.  He wasn’t sure how to react.  “That’s impossible,” he said, not sure whether it was impossible.

“We were unloading them,” Connors went on, “and I noticed they were particularly light.  So I unscrewed the lid off one and… no body parts.  No blood.  Completely clean.”

“Are you sure those are the right containers?”

“I saw them packed myself, like I could forget.  And we labeled them.  They’re the same ones.”

“Was anyone watching them in quarantine?” Harper asked.

Bryan and Connors looked at her blankly.

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Black Heart – Chapter VII Part VII

A name I never did figure out: Renella is Ruggeri.  I just keep switching back and forth, unable to decide.  Today it’s Renella.

Novel: Horror

Bryan went to Andrade, and she noticed him approaching almost immediately.  Had probably been keeping an eye on him all along.  But she didn’t balk at his approach, even if the other two Spotters with her did.

“Can I talk to you?” Bryan said.  It wasn’t a rhetorical question.  She might very well say no, that she couldn’t handle being in such close proximity to him.

But she said “Sure,” as if nothing was amiss and stepped away from the others.

“I’m glad you’re here,” Bryan said feebly, grasping for something to say.

“I have to be here.  If there might be any way I can help…”  She bit her lip in that charming way, but Bryan was dismayed to find it did nothing for him.  “I’m sorry for how I treated you before, in the cafeteria.”

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Black Heart – Chapter VII Part VI

Oh god, this conference call.  The prospect of writing this scene picked at me for months.  I’m still not sure if I should leave it in.

Novel: Horror

“Why weren’t we notified?” Cowen demanded from DC.  He sat in the middle of a row of DC Office reps, all of them glaring sternly.  They sat in a block on the monitor, right above the blocks of only slightly less people in LA and Vacouver.

There were only two people in the room with Bryan.  Connors stood to the side, looking like Bryan felt.  Harper sat beside Bryan, in a fresh change of clothes and only a light scent of blood and flesh about her.

“There was no time,” growled Bryan.  He had opened with Hussein’s and the others’ deaths, and went on to say that the Eternal was interrogated, when Cowen had interrupted.  “Which you’ll understand if I continue.”

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Black Heart – Chapter VII Part V

Novel: Horror

Bryan looked back to the doors of the break room.  “They don’t know yet.”

Connors followed his gaze.  “No, not yet.  But the information will leak out.  Too many of us were there to hear it.”

“And the other gates.  The people at those will need to know too.”  Bryan took a deep breath and leaned against the wall.  “How do we not start a panic?”

Connors thought about this.  “No one outside an agency will care.”

Bryan scoffed.

“It’s true.  The media never did believe any new development in the demons unless the death count was high enough.  Now there are monster Possesseds that will eat everyone when the gates let everything through?  They’ll think we’re pressing for funding.”  He paused to run a hand over his bald head.  “And if it does start a panic, what does it matter in the long run?”

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Black Heart – Chapter VII Part IV

Novel: Horror

You lied to me.  The thought was fierce and burning.

The reply was cool.  Of course I did.

You planned this.


Bryan had to fight an urge to tear up the card.  That would have the opposite effect of what he would be going for.  You wanted this?  His accusation had been tossed out in anger – a wild anger he hadn’t felt for days – but the response made no sense to him.

Certainly.  Any demon would.

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Black Heart – Chapter VII Part III

Novel: Horror

The room broke out in a commotion.  Mouse shouted “That’s in eleven days!” as if no one else had figured it out.

“You’re lying,” Bryan breathed.

“It matters not whether you believe me, just as it matters not whether I tell you.  It will happen all the same.”

He had barely heard her.  The room had exploded.

Shut up!” he yelled.  They shut up and looked to him, for guidance or help or something he couldn’t give.  He had nothing to tell them.

Eleven days.

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