End of this chapter, and end of Bryan moping around, at least for now.
It wasn’t until the third team possessed a second time that the gate opened. Everyone in the conference room hushed and leaned forward as people on the laptop screen barked orders to possess. It was strange to see it this way, with nothing to actually view as everyone in the synagogue was rocked back by a force invisible, as they all stood and some waved their arms about at air. Some shouted “Over here” and “Help with these.” To anyone with lesser knowledge of the scene, it would look ridiculous.
But everyone was holding their ground. No one appeared to be in danger. So why did Bryan still have that sick nagging alarm?
“I have to say, Hussein,” Cantrell said in that rasp of his. “Your team is actually performing decently for once.”
Hussein leaned back in his chair. “Why Cantrell, that’s actually civil of you for once.”
“Don’t get me wrong, Hussein. I don’t want to see these nightly excursions busted apart by department infighting. Getting all of these Possesseds in that little space.” He waved at the screen. “It’s incredible they haven’t killed each other.”
“He has a point, Hussein,” Ruggeri said.
Hussein watched the screen. “It’s not them killing each other I’m worried about.”
“We couldn’t have predicted Skinner’s and Coates’s deaths,” Bey offered.
“Couldn’t we have?” Cantrell argued. “We knew those things were out there. Are out there.”
Bryan was watching Hussein. He saw his eyes darken, saw him ready to blow. But he didn’t get the chance. Harper leapt to her feet, knocking her chair back. She cracked a walnut shell in her teeth and almost fell back down.
“In the hall,” she said, quietly, though all eyes were on her so it was as if she shouted. “Sir, possess.”
Hussein jumped up too and brought out a match, snapping it.
The door crumpled into itself like a black hole had appeared inside it, splintering into a ball that was blasted into the room. It was like a shrapnel bomb going off. Harper shielded herself, and Hussein shielded Bryan and Ruggeri, but the directors were pumped full of splinters of wood. And in the doorway stood the woman – the Eternal. Bryan could see a hint of her crimson aura. He would have seen it earlier had he not been staring at the damned laptop.
It happened so fast, and Bryan saw little of what was actually happening. He wasn’t possessed, couldn’t see or detect the energy thrust against energy, and Hussein and Harper both jumped in front of him and blocked his view.
But Harper was tossed back into the wall, her already injured arm striking a stake of wood that stuck out. She howled and fell with the chunk through her forearm. And then Hussein was shielding the two of them.
Ruggeri fell in a spray of blood, and hit the floor already dead. Bryan was spattered with blood, but it wasn’t from Ruggeri.
Hussein fell in front of him, slashed in a dozen places, and as he fell his demon leapt into Bryan. And Bryan knew Hussein was dead.
Bryan saw the Eternal now, hood thrown back from the force of the fight, hair long and red, eyes burning. Bryan felt an incredible rage pound through him, but in the rage was calm. He bounded over the table towards the thing, and it slashed ribbons of manifestations at him but he bounced most of them away. The ones that did find him and cut him didn’t bother him. He would see this thing destroyed, again. Like in the rain in the street.
She tried to fight him off with tooth and nail and he fought with the same. He tore her arm and she snapped at his neck and he clawed at her face and she bit his side.
She paused for the faintest moment, as Harper tried to contain her, but it was long enough for Bryan to get his teeth in her neck and tear it open. He ripped into the muscle and bone, but with purpose to mangle. He didn’t swallow the blood or flesh, because he knew it would do him no good to ingest it. He was brutal, but his thoughts were clear. He knew what he was doing and why.
When he stopped and stood he took inventory of the room. Hussein was dead, but he knew that already. Everyone was dead but Harper, who stared at him with eyes wide. When his own eyes fell on her she backed hard against the wall.
“It’s okay,” Bryan said. “I’m still me. I just had to immobilize her.” He looked down at the body. The bits and pieces and blood were already dripping and pooling back into the thing. “You’ll have to keep chopping her up,” he told Harper. “While I find out if anyone in the lobby is still alive.”
“What are we going to do with it?” Harper’s voice shook. It sounded odd coming from her.
“We’re going to get some damned answers,” he said.
Everyone in the lobby was fine. Nothing was amiss. They all balked at blood-soaked Bryan and two of them possessed, unsure of what to do as he approached.
Bryan wanted to scream at them: You let her in! But he recognized that he was soaked in blood with a demon in him and that wouldn’t be the best course of action.
“She got in,” he said, struggling to keep his voice level. “She’s upstairs, in pieces. What the hell were all of you doing?”
The guy that had jumped at a mouse the other night spoke up. “We saw no one save agents enter and leave.”
“Bullshit,” Bryan spat.
“It’s true,” Jones chimed in from beside the metal detector. “I saw only people I recognized tonight. Not even a member of the press came by.”
“Whatever. All Possesseds get upstairs. Now.”
The three Possesseds looked terrified of him, and at this point that suited him just fine. They followed him to where Harper was stabbing the body with force blows. Mouse actually cried out and ran to Hussein.
“Check all the bodies,” Bryan ordered.
“Hussein’s dead,” whined Mouse.
“I know that. Check the rest.”
“Cantrell’s breathing,” someone said.
“Of course that bastard would survive.” Bryan pointed at the one still standing at the door, as if he didn’t want to come in. “You, call 911 and get the first person you come across in the hall to take over Cantrell’s health. Then join back with us. Everyone else, we’re moving this Eternal elsewhere. Somewhere we can fit all the Possesseds.”
“Where?” Harper gasped, out of breath.
There was only one room they could comfortably do what Bryan planned. “Break room.”