May 4, 2014

Demons Ascension - Stan's Favor

[Posted by Ted H]

I've been sitting on this particular story line for a few years now. Some characters were made up based on people I knew. Others were created just because and given a random name I decided upon....then once every so often, I'll meet someone in real life with the same name and shitty personality as my created character and wonder if it was just a premonition on my part once upon a time....


[Demons Ascension - Stan's Favor]

            James never ran marathons or trained in any serious manner, so several blocks later he had begun to slow and sweat profusely, but he kept at it. The ice cold air caused his sweat to almost snap freeze as he labored on, refusing to slow. By his estimation, he lad little over a day left to stop Croatoan, and Chicago was far enough away to eat too much of the clock to get there.
            Multiple cars had been passing by to no notice of James, but one had slowed down near him and revved the engine as James looked over to see a red SUV with the passenger window roll down. Ty stuck his head out and shook his head at James as he stopped running. "I guess it would be asking a bit for a ride?" he asked as Ty said nothing. The driver killed the engine and both men stepped out.
            "I got better things to do, Ty," James said as Ty stuck both arms out and thrust into James, pushing down towards an alley. "You honestly thought you could hide out and make everyone think you skipped town?" he yelled as James stumbled to his feet and down the alley. "You can't make Sal wait forever," Ty continued "And the longer you make him wait, the more hurt you end up. And believe me Blake, you've made Sal wait a long ass time, and we're gonna make you feel every second of it."
            Fatigue and the burning pain in his stab wound were beginning to take their toll on James as Ty took a swing and punched James in the side of the head. He went to grab him to hoist him into the air as James threw a leg up and kicked him away. "You fucking think you can fight back?" Ty screamed as he stepped back and let his partner walk forward with a lead pipe, slapping it into his free hand repeatedly as he cracked his neck.
            "Fuck him up," Ty said "But leave him breathin." James slowly rose to his feet as the man approached. There was no easy way out of this alley and he was almost guaranteed not to be able to get passed both men as they closed in. Suddenly a nearby metal trash can toppled over, spilling its contents around as it rolled about.
            "What the fuck was that?" the partner asked as Ty shook his head. "It's a cat or something. Who cares?" Just then another trash can jumped over, traveling several feet in the air on its way down. The first trash can then kicked into the air and bounced end over end down the alley. All three men peered confused by the phenomenon as James then noticed a growing darkness on the ground by where the cans originally stood.
            "I don't think they're cats," the other guy said as other shadows began appearing around. Six moved about and soon surrounded James. Then they began to build their way up and form humanoid shapes. "Holy fuck," Ty said as he and his partner backed up as six pitch black figures towered over James. "uh, guys?" James asked "A little help?" The man with the lead pipe stepped forward and swung as hard as he could into one of the figures. It did not flinch as the pipe bounced off harmlessly as the man dropped it and cried in pain as he held his arms. "What the hell are those things?" he asked as he backed away and into Ty.
            "Fuck this," Ty said as he grabbed his partner "Go!" Both men turned and sprinted for the SUV. James watched with a cold sweat as they disappeared out the alley, then heard an engine roar to life and saw a red blur pass by. The six figures however stood still and did nothing as they remained all around James.
            The figures then slowly stepped away and allowed James to stand up. Three then walked to the end of the alley and started to merge into one another while the other three appeared to melt back into dark spots on the ground and move their way back into the shadows. The three at the entrance became one single dark void, blocking anyone from the outside from even seeing the alley entrance. Just as they completed, Stan emerged from a shadowy point behind James farther down in the alley.
            "You have such wonderful friends," he said as James brushed himself off. "These guys with you?" he asked as Stan smiled at the dark void at the entrance. "A little privacy was in order, I think." James patted himself down and pulled out his cigarettes. "Allow me," Stan said as he produced a lighter and ignited a full flame that radiated enough heat to make James momentarily forget how cold the rest of the world was.
            "I guess it's your turn to hold me down for a chat," James said as he took a long drag and savored it.
            "I'm happy to see you've been caught up to speed on who my associate is," Stan said as he produced a cigarette of his own and ignited it.
            "You could have told me yourself about Croatoan."
            "Did I not?"
            "A guy named Crow, that was your hot hip. Why make me waste time finding everything else out on my own?"
            "Because to stop him, you can't just rely on everyone else to hold you by the hand and point where to go."
            "From what I gather, isn't that how it went the last time? Divine intervention?"
            "Yes, God took an interest last time, but humanity will not be afforded the luxury of his presence anymore. Lucky for you though, I am still here to aid where my fellow mighty refuses."
            "Protecting you investment," James remembered said as Stan smiled and blew smoke out from his nose "What makes you think I want your help though?"
            "Clearly you're doing this for your own self preservation," Stan said as he paced around James "If you fail, then everybody loses. If you succeed though, find the final sacrifice and keep them hidden, then you merely buy humanity a little time before he tries again."
            "What are you asking me for?"
            "To find a way to permanently stop him from ever trying this again."
            "And how would I manage that?"
            "You know the identities of many of the previous sacrifices. The priest has a family line that is woefully small. Three other members who could be acceptable sacrifices in future attempts. Or if that next attempt is farther along down the road, then those three become potential breeders for future sacrifices. Croatoan will ensure that a member of that bloodline will be around for his next effort. Stop Croatoan now, and I will be grateful. Stop him from ever succeeding in the future, and I will be in your debt."
            "Cuz I'm totally gonna make deals with you."
            "Why wouldn't you want to?"
            "Prince of Lies? Your track record?"
            "You seem to be misinformed."
            "Am I?"
            "Everything you've ever been told had been fed to you by the other side. You don't think a little bias has been snuck in?"
            "Maybe, but are you trying to tell me you haven't made deals that require the other persons soul?"
            Stan smiled. "Not every dealing requires a soul, but it's the only currency humans have that I find valuable."
            "And I'd do you a solid because..."
            "Because your soul isn't on the table. You do a task, above and beyond what you're already trying to accomplish, and I'll personally owe you for it."
            "What, you don't want me soul?"
            "Hmm, it's pretty much a done deal that I'll be laying claim to it eventually."
            "I don't plan on killing anyone in cold blood for your information, so you can forget my soul."
            Stan laughed, a deep throat laugh that made James only a little uncomfortable. "You seem to be mistaken again, he said with a knowing smile "Your soul isn't desired by the higher power. Your ultimate fate is already decided."
            "I don't believe you." James said, wanting Stan to wipe that grin off his face.
            "Hello, Blake," Stan said with a different voice, girlish in nature "Do you remember now?"
            "I have no idea who you're supposed to be," James lied. Stan's demeanor changed as he adjusted his hips and glared with a different smile, almost like he was really a woman. "You killed me, Blake," Stan said "You honestly don't think you won't answer for that?"
            "You shot me first," James said, not knowing why he was having an argument with a dead woman.
            "And here I am now," Stan said "In my final reward. Don't worry though, I'm not alone down here. That slut Meg is with me and we're just waiting for you to come join us."
            "This is ridiculous."
            "You shot me in cold blood, Blake. I never had a chance."
            James stood in silence and waited Stan out until he blinked a few times and returned to his original stance and voice. "I already know that I'm getting your soul," he said "The least you could do is make the most of the offer I'm presenting. Who knows, maybe you can ride this out to something worthwhile."
            "And this is the point where I request you spare my soul as the favor, right?"
            "No. Not my call. The man upstairs has no desire for you, so it would be asinine of me to also reject you. Then where would you go? At least I'll give you a warm home."
            "I'm still not killing anyone, my own fate decided or not."
            "How foolishly noble. You have time though, deal or no deal, stopping my former associate still takes priority."
            "Fantastic talk, Stan," James said as he walked towards the black void which was slowly sinking into the pavement, allowing James to exit.
            "Think it over!" Stan called as James paid him no heed. "Just remember, both sides of the religious coin are corrupt and tainted. My side is at least straightforward about it."

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