He dreamed of the endless waste. On the crest of a hill he could see below him the figures traversing the dust, the full moon swallowed in their black robes. Above him the stars were innumerable, so deep and so bright in the clear stillness.
His demon was beside him. It was a woman here, with long black hair and an angular face and freckles that would look more at home under red hair.
He was angry at her. Furious. But so furious he couldn’t put it into words or even screams. He was frozen with rage and could only watch the figures go back and forth below him.
“Don’t be angry,” the demon said. “I told you the easy way. You chose the harder route.”
He said nothing, his vision red.
“Of course there was a chance it could fail,” it went on. “I had never seen it attempted.”
“Have you seen an Eternal’s birth attempted?” he asked venomously.
“No,” it admitted. “But it’s simple enough.”
“Not if I want to keep myself.”
“It won’t be yourself and myself. It will be a new being, complete. You have never understood that.” It looked at him with such sorrow in its eyes his anger was eased ever so slightly. He was furious and hated it, but loved it so much more.
“Don’t think I don’t want to be with you,” he said as if it was the one that needed placating rather than him. “I do, so badly. I have to fight against it every day. But I don’t know what we’ll become, what the end result of all this would be.”
It did look petulant then. “Your talk with the beta.”
“I already knew beforehand. If someone wanted to close the gates by becoming Eternal, the gates would be closed already.”
“You’re different,” it said. “Can’t you see that? I can.”
He was becoming angry again. “You do nothing but lie. You don’t care what I become.”
“I only want to be with you.”
“You want to eat,” he spat at it. “You want the gates open so you can eat forever. And you hate me as much as you love me.”
He stood and descended the hill, eyes down to the dust. He was unsure of which side he was going down, down to the Eternals or to the unknown plain behind him that held darkness and oblivion. The demon called after him as if it could not follow.
Harper had slid off the couch and was now curled up on the floor. Bryan checked the time: 11 PM. Nine more hours, and no one had woken him. Perhaps no one was out hunting tonight. Perhaps even Connors had thrown in the towel, though he had told Bryan previously that he would be at the synagogue at 8, waiting for the armies to march through.
Bryan had asked him why. He didn’t have an answer.
Just had to see it for himself, probably.
Bryan slipped silently from the couch and out the door. Harper didn’t stir.
He went to the lobby and was shocked to see security running a full shift as usual.
“What are you guys still doing here?” he said to Johnson.
Johnson shrugged. “Our jobs.”
“Yeah, we know. But someone’s got to be here to keep the crazies out.” He stuck a thumb at the doors, where two cops were standing around outside chatting. “Protesters finally went home for bed at 10.”
“Good. I was worried I would have to fight my way out.”
“Why would you want to?” Johnson asked incredulously. “Whole city’s gone nuts.”
“I should see it.” Bryan clapped Johnson on the back. “Thanks, Johnson. For everything.”
“Just doing my job.”
“We all were.” Bryan exited the doors, unclipping and pocketing his badge as he went. The air outside was stale and held a hint of far-off smoke. The sky was hazy and glowing the reflections of ground light, almost like it was daytime and the dimness was only due to clouds. The cops eyed him as if they wanted to ask him a few things, and doubtless they did want to. But he didn’t look at them.