March 30, 2014

Demons Ascension - The Projects

[Posted by Ted H]

Oh my God...ACTION! Somewhat.....Anyone who knows me knows I like doing constant dialogue but I also love when shit goes down and any sort of struggle takes place, so understand how hard it was for me to wait until almost the halfway point to actually write some confrontation...

Also, Longtime readers of mine should recognize the setting, because it's leading up to the reveal of someone from my last novel. [Gasp! Continuity? Between writings? Who am I to build on a universe?]


[Demons Ascension - The Projects]

            James headed out and made his way back home, the brown bag of liquor tucked under his arm as he fished out a cigarette. He wondered if just being near a flame would ignite the skull as he lit up and continued walking. He involuntarily shook as he realized it had become considerably colder out than when he first entered the liquor store.
            "Schizophrenic upstate weather," he mumbled to himself as he used his free arm to close his jacket as best he could while picking up the pace of his walk. A large formation of clouds had rolled in and blocked the sun out, but James felt that clouds alone couldn't be responsible for the temperature drop.
            James then happened to glance behind him to see a person quickly duck out of view at the last second. Casually, he looked back forward and continued his walk home, taking great care to listen behind himself for any approaching footsteps. The rest of the way he didn't hear anything and all quick checks behind himself yielded no more sightings of a person following, but he couldn't shake the feeling that someone was still following him.
            Back in his apartment, James made sure to lock and deadbolt the front door. He lived on the second floor with no fire escape, so the only way in was the one door. To be safe though, he went around and made sure all the windows were locked tight. He wasn't sure if the person who may or may not have been following him had anything to do with Sal, but he wasn't taking any chances.
            Feeling more secure, James took out his Jagermeister and placed it into his empty freezer. He then took out and looked over the glass skull bottle. He decided he wanted to try his new expensive drink as he turned it over and access the knob. Where the knob was situated, it was almost entirely overtaken on all sides by the rest of the bottle and James was unable to situate his fingers in a way that would allow him a grip to open the bottle with.
            "Maybe it's called death because you need to kill the bottle," James said as he placed the skull down. He thought about taking a hammer to it as he decided he had better things to do than to drink some Russian vodka promising death. He decided to head out again, not enough money left for food but he didn't mind. Three in the afternoon wasn't quite the evening, but as Ed alluded to before, the evening would be coming sooner than expected. He grabbed a messenger bag and placed the book inside it, then slung the bag over his shoulder.
            James checked and double checked outside before leaving. There was no one around as he thought about taking John's car but decided instead to walk down a few blocks and wait for a bus. It was still cold out as he walked and he spied the occasional snowflake make its way down. He figured with the way the sky was packing more and more clouds into the sky, it would snow a few inches and melt away within a few days. It was far too early in the season for any sustainable snow.
            The bus pulled up and James gave one final look around for someone as he boarded. There were eight people on board and none of them seem to pay any attention to James as he walked passed them towards the back. A few seats ahead of him sat a homeless looking man in a trucker hat and some torn up gloves that had their fingers removed. He was looking out the far side window with his head turned, allowing James to see the side of his head as he inserted his index finger into his nose and start rooting around.
            James looked away as he caught the eye of a mildly attractive woman standing in the aisle a few feet farther away from the homeless guy. She shifted her stance on heels while constantly adjusting a halter top that was a size too small. The short skirt she was wearing was also inappropriate considering the weather. "I don't have any money," James said as she immediately turned away and paid him no more mind. The rest of the ride was uneventful as James found himself strangely drawn to the spectacle of the homeless man searching his nose for buried treasure.
            James got off around the projects district. He always admired the way the crack addicts looked over their shoulders at him as they crouched in the nearby alleyways, as if he was some important person in their lives that they didn't want to see them like this. As he walked through the parking lot of an apartment complex, he passed a black man sitting on a bench with a concealed bottle in a small brown bag. The man took a swig of his drink as James looked at him then furrowed his brow as he shouted "Boy, I ain't got nothin to say to you! Now get the fuck away from me!"
            "Charming," James said to himself as he walked. The apartment complex was run down, but not condemnable. The brickwork was covered in layers of graffiti and most of the ground level windows were boarded up from the inside. There was an iron gate with a broken latch leading into a courtyard. "Top notch security," James said as he used his foot to open the gate and slide through.
            A string gust of wind suddenly blew in from behind and the gate slammed closed. James looked up to see dark clouds roll over the sky as it became impossibly dark out. "Uh oh," he breathed as he turned to go right back out the gate, but it would not budge. Light sounding footsteps on the pavement behind him cued James in to him not being alone.
            As the footsteps reached him, James balled his right hand into a fist as swung wild as he spun around. The approaching person quickly ducked under and was behind James before he could even focus on the guy. What he did see worried him immediately as he took notice of the gray fabric of a trench coat. As James attempted to turn around and see the man's face, he was kicked and ended up tumbling forward several feet.
            The mystery figure then grabbed James by the back of his jacket and toss him into the brick wall as easily as one would pick up a baby. His head bounced off the wall but he did not fall because the figure then ran up and braced him against the bricks face first.
            "You disappoint me," the man hissed into James' ear "You were hyped so well, I expected more. Yet here you fall, more easily than a child."
            "Yeah well, speed and strength aren't my strong suit," James said as his face was slowly being grinded into the bricks "But I'm a snazzier dresser."
            "Not too bright either," he man said as James felt the tip of a knife poking him in the back. He felt the knife drag up towards his shoulders, then back down to his lower back. It then trailed slightly higher and to the right to where an all too familiar injury resided. "This isn't the first time you've meddled and paid the price, but I'll make sure it's the last," he said as he pressed the knife tip slowly into James, the same point where he had been shot by Suzan Daniels years ago.
            There was something else in play with that knife, James just could not tell what. He felt his entire body grow numb. The knife wasn't nearly deep enough to cause any mortal injury, but it was causing him untellable amounts of pain, and the man in gray had only just begun. James began to grow light headed as his vision started to black out. "As much as I would love to keep you around so you may suffer," the man said as he slowly pushed his knife inwards "There is far too much at stake to risk with petty ordeals such as having you around."
            James struggled to cough or scream as the knife pushed farther into him. Suddenly as light flashed behind his field of vision and he felt the knife withdraw. The man released him as he fell crashing to the ground, James lacking the energy to even raise his hands to brace his fall. His hearing felt clouded, but he could make out a different voice chanting something his didn't understand. The light intensified as James attempted to roll over and ultimately passed out. He knew he was still alive since he could hear his heart pounding against his chest.

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