Black Heart – Chapter IX Part II
by Steppen Sawicki
The agents roamed the city that night, capturing leftovers – demons that had escaped them previously. Everyone took to it energetically, an end in sight, nothing hopeless about the struggle this time. Even Connors was less fidgety. Bryan didn’t pass on Sonia’s misgivings to anyone but Harper; it could very well mean nothing, that spike of energy. But his and Harper’s eyes were glued to a monitor displaying live feed from the synagogue. Only the “lab” guys were there, along with one Possessed and one Spotter just to keep them safe from any demon that might wander back in. They milled about the screen, gesturing and laughing.
It wasn’t that they all expected the plan last night to be foolproof. All four volunteers could possibly have veered off-course and not made it to the other side. If only one made it their equipment could have malfunctioned. More explosives were already prepared for use the next night if needed. But with not enough agents to contain at the gate, it was pointless to gather everyone there on the off chance it opened. They were of better use capturing.
“Hold on,” came Connors’s voice from the hall, and then in the room, “hold on. Ivers, are you even watching your mail?”
Bryan jumped at his name as if guilty of something. “What? Why?”
“You’d know if you were watching it. Potts got a bit overexcited and collapsed. Thankfully he was putting his possessor away when he did. But Logan Square is now open.”
“Oh. Um…” Bryan turned to his laptop. “Um, who’s in Humboldt? Can we – ”
“They’re busy. Which you would know if you were paying attention.” Connors waved his hand at the feed on Harper’s laptop. “Why are you wasting your time with that? If the gate opens, it opens. You aren’t going to change that by staring at that screen.”
“I know, but…” Bryan shook his head and dropped the subject. He didn’t want to worry Connors, and beside the man was right. Nothing would change whether he watched the synagogue or not. Still, he only managed ten minutes of actual work before he was staring at the feed again.
“You’re too stressed,” Harper commented, reaching for the laptop. Maybe we should turn this off.”
“No.” Bryan went to pull it out of her reach but stopped himself. Harper raised her eyebrows at him, and he sat back. “You’re right,” he went on. “But still…”
“It was likely just an anomaly in the regular construct of the thing. The readings bounce up and down whenever it’s open.”
“But this was right when they went through.”
He peered at her skeptically. “You really believe that, or are you just trying to destress me?”
She looked back at the screen. “I don’t know. But I – ”
She cut off, her mouth opening in shock, her eyes on the feed. Bryan looked to it to see wind tearing though the synagogue, sending papers and peoples’ hair flying. Bryan couldn’t see it, but he knew the gate had opened. And someone was on the platform, lying there as if they had fainted. The camera’s view was too wide, and Bryan couldn’t tell who it was or discern its aeon.
“He came through the gate,” Harper said weakly.
Bryan snatched up his cell, hands shaking as he pulled up Reddy’s number. It only rang once before it was picked up.
“Reddy here,” the Possessed in the synagogue shouted. The wind was starting to die down on the screen, but the agents had gone to the platform, kneeling next to the figure that had come through.
“Get away from it!” Bryan shrieked into the phone. “It’s Eternal!”
“It’s not,” Reddy said calmly. “It’s Cameron Knowles.”