Black Heart – Chapter IX Part V
by Steppen Sawicki
I haven’t posted for five days because I can’t figure out how timezones work. I’m still not sure I have these specifics right. I has a dumb.
In the hall Bryan stopped and looked down the corridor. It was silent, only a nurse and the agents. Victims of demonic attack didn’t get a second chance. They didn’t get put on oxygen and ferried to the hospital to fight for their lives. They were sucked dry as bones, there one second and gone the next. The silence of the hallway pressed that into Bryan’s mind.
“It’s over,” he said to Harper. “We have two nights. We don’t have anything new to do.”
“We’ll send out this video,” she said. “Someone might have an idea.”
“Do you really think so or are you just saying that?”
She didn’t answer, as if she wasn’t sure herself.
He thought about the silence in the corridor, about Cam surrounded by Eternals and the darkness and the nothing. “I have to talk to it again.”
“You can’t.” There was a note of panic in her voice. “It’s changing you every time you do. Even you know it.”
“I do know it. But I have some things to say.”
“Like what? That it lied again? What purpose will telling it that serve? It wants you to go back to it, no matter what your accusations are.”
“Maybe I can still get something out of it.”
“It’ll get something out of you.”
Bryan turned on her. “You know nothing about it. You haven’t had to live with it. You haven’t had it in your head. So don’t tell me what not to do.”
She grabbed him by the collar and slammed him against the wall. The agents at Cam’s door gave them glances and sighed at the Possessed behavior. But Harper spoke low instead of shouting. “I’ve heard my father’s voice every day I’ve been partnered with you, telling me I’m not doing enough. Telling me I need to let him in so I can do more, so I won’t disappoint him. I hear him in my dreams. Sometimes I’m not even sure if I’m remembering my father as he really was or if it’s the demon. Every day I’ve been here I’ve lived with it. And you know why it does it? Why it tricks me and leads me on? Because it wants me. Not to help me, not to help any of us. To help itself.”
She let him go and he slumped against the wall. “It has no answers,” she said.
“I know,” he admitted.
The sun was rising as they left the hospital, and when it hit him Bryan shouted and covered his eyes and threw his coat over his head. Harper had to lead him blindly to the car. It was as if the sun was emphasizing Harper’s point. The demon was already such a part of him; what would more talking with it do? But when he fell into the car and Harper sat beside him, she had the grace not to say I told you so.
They dived into a rush to stop the second round of bombings. Bryan had to speak with Cowen in DC and relay Cam’s story, and then there was a flurry of more phone calls. Agents were being choppered into Nigeria and Somalia, and they had to be informed to pick everyone up and go back out of the zone. It took most of the day, and in the absence of anything else to do it seemed the most important task, to make sure no more agents went through the gates.
The volunteers in Bogota had already gone through. The remaining agents that had been there to support them throughout the night had been overpowered at some point, leaving them all overtaken or comatose by the time morning broke. That had been expected, and they had all known the risks going in, but they hadn’t expected that it would all be for nothing.
In the afternoon he lost Harper and went to his gamma. But he didn’t go close to it. He just stood watching it as if it might bounce off the table.
There is a much easier way.
If it was so easy, why hadn’t it been done before?
Simple. Because you’d become Eternal, and you wouldn’t want to close the gates. You wouldn’t damn yourself to eternal starvation just to save some lesser humans.
He could sense a protest tickling the back of his brain. The gamma, feet away, trying to argue. But he was right, and he knew it. How many of those Eternals beyond the gate had been in this situation, had grabbed hold of their demons and become one of the mass?
Had he thought that? Or had that been the gamma speaking? He turned to leave and nearly ran into Harper.
“I knew you’d be here,” she said.
“You’re right,” he said. He was thinking of her words – Sometimes I’m not even sure if I’m remembering my father as he really was or if it’s the demon. “It has no answers. Just the usual bullshit.”
But he wasn’t sure if he was right.