Killian looked up at the edge of the knife Archer Post was holding above his eyes.
“You’ll find your mind tricks won’t work on me, demon,” Post said. “I want to know why you came here. If I think you’re lying or don’t like your answer I will slice your skull open.”
Killian briefly observed the others in the room. Jonah Judge was there as well as a woman he knew was Willow Bowman. He knew who Archer Post was and had to hide his shock that he was somehow still alive five hundred years after he stopped the apocalypse. There were still demons that cursed his name daily. Killian obtained their identities from Jonah’s mind as soon as they entered the room. He knew if the man whose mind he couldn’t read knew he was doing it it would mean the end of his life. Killian nodded.
“Why did you come here?” Post asked. His gaze never left Killian’s face.
“I needed help,” Killian said. “Jonah Judge’s name stuck out in my mind.”
“And why was that, demon?” Post asked.
“He’s one of the ones Hell wishes dead,” Killian said returning Post’s gaze. He could see Jonah shift uncomfortably out of the corner of his eye and the woman Willow instinctively moved closer to her friend. “I was injured badly,” Killian went on. “I knew he would either help me or kill me.”
“Why are you in New Millennium?”
“Leon Deskue,” Killian said. “With Deskue alive all your efforts to stem the flow of evil will be in vain.”
“Who is this Deskue?” Post asked not addressing Killian but not taking his attention off him either.
“He’s the founder of Deskue INC,” Jonah said. “He owns the building across the park from mine. He’s just a businessman.”
“Think,” Killian said. “What does Deskue’s company do?”
Jonah thought. “I heard it somewhere, but I don’t recall,” he said. “I’ve invested in his company. Something to do with the power grids maybe? I never invest in a company not knowing where my money is going.”
“Isn’t it odd that this man is so successful and rich yet you have no inkling of what he does or how he got there?” Killian asked.
“What is your meaning, demon?” Post asked.
“Leon Deskue is a powerful psychic talent,” Killian said. “He has this whole city brainwashed to funnel funds directly to him. This is why you can’t see how he got so rich and powerful. It was by his design. Now he is aiding demons, and with him by their side they will prove to be an unstoppable force.”
“Unless…” Post started.
“He is killed,” Killian finished. “Now that the sword of white fire is recovered it will only be a matter of time before Deskue is able to read it from Jonah’s mind and he turns every man, woman, animal, and demon in New Millennium loose on Jonah and The Post. If I was able to find this information so will he.”
“And you can help us?” Jonah asked.
“No,” Killian said looking at Jonah. “I can help you.”
Max Klennon looked up at the ceiling of his prison cell. This cell had been his home for only a few days, and there were many more ahead of him. Max will live the rest of his life and die in this cell. That was certain. Every day in this new hell felt like a year. He had been beaten. He had been raped. He had been humiliated worse than any human being should ever be. He cried into his pillow trying not to let his cellmate hear him. If he awoke another beating or raping was imminent.
He tried hard to piece together the fragments of the week long hell that led to his imprisonment. It all started the morning after Nilas had taken over his body to meet the woman in the coffee shop. He didn’t remember the conversation that Nilas had used his mouth to have, but he remembered the woman. The tall blonde sexy woman. He remembered the next morning at breakfast in his lush city apartment where his wife slammed the newspaper on the table with his picture on the front page under the headline “STOCK MARKET GENIUS TRYSTS WITH MYSTERY WOMAN!”
Max tried to convince his wife it was nothing. He couldn’t deny being there because the pictures were so obvious and clear, so instead he used that Klennon charm that had weaseled so much money from his clients. His wife wasn’t buying his story and she kicked him out and told him she had already called a lawyer and she’d take every penny that he had. The joke would be on her seeing as once his story went public so many of his clients tried to close their accounts that Max had nowhere to pull money from to pay them.
It was a shit storm like he had never experienced. Word was out that Klennon had swindled all of his clients and every single person or organization that invested with him was now suing or pressing charges. Max had to work fast to keep from drowning. To make matter worse his wife was claiming that she should get paid before his clients since she was owed too!
While all this was going on he was pushed aside every night from anywhere from two to eight hours while Nilas Nil took over his body to meet with Deskue. Max didn’t know what went on outside of the dark corner of his own head, but he could feel Nil’s presence in his mind grow stronger every time Deskue would enter their shared mind.
“Your training is complete,” Max overheard Deskue say one night. His voice boomed in his own mind. “There is no psy-power that could enter your mind. Mine or otherwise.”
“I thank you, Deskue,” Nilas said. “I will stay true to my master’s word. When the end to this retched city comes you will hold a high power above all men.”
“And I thank you,” Deskue replied. “Please let your master know I am at his disposal.”
“Oh he knows,” Nilas said before his presence slithered away from Max’s perceptions. Then Max was in the dark again. It was more dreary than his current cell, but at least he was the only one there. It seemed crazy to Max now, but he thought he’d rather be in that dark cell. He’d give anything to make a deal with Nilas Nil once again and give up his body permanently if it meant not spending one more day living in fear of rape or worse.
Max grasped his pillow tight and let the silent tears flow. He hadn’t heard Nilas in his head since that night. The night of his wife’s murder.
Max’s sight emerged from darkness. He vaguely remembered Deskue and Nilas in his head speaking. He registered a loud knocking on his apartment door and shouting in the hallway. He couldn’t understand what the man was saying, but he could tell by the tone the man was angry. He shook the cobwebs from his brain and looked at his hands. In one hand he held a large kitchen knife. The knife was covered in blood.
He looked down past his blood covered clothing to his blood covered wife on the kitchen floor. She was naked except for her panties and she had long gashes all along her stomach and chest. Before Max could scream the door burst inwards and two police men were shouting aiming their guns at him. He was still too stupefied to understand their words, but he knew well enough to drop the knife and let the cops cuff him and take him away.
His trial was short and his sentence was gleefully handed down quickly. He got a life sentence for the murder of his wife and his life was stripped apart. Even if he did make it out of this prison alive there was no longer a life left for Max Klennon on the outside. His fortune was taken away and his homes were being sold. Max knew there wouldn’t be nearly enough left to pay everybody he owed back. Max knew how some of the people he owed would react. It would only be a matter of time before someone on the outside would pay to have him finished off for good.
“Nilas,” Max whispered into his tear soaked pillow. “Where are you Nilas. Help me. Get me out of here.”
“No,” a voice whispered from inside his head.
Max perked up. It was the first time Nilas had spoken to him in what felt like ages. “Why not?” he whispered. “You’re stuck in here too.”
“We need to bide our time,” Nilas said. “I cannot tell if Killian ascertained your identity from my mind when we met. Deskue was not able to find out as well. Once I formulate a plan we’ll leave. For now this is the best place for us to be.”
“How long, Nilas?” Max said desperately, but all he got in return was silence. He began to cry again. This time it was loud enough to wake his bunkmate.
Gabriel connected the unit of armor designed to protect his good arm up to his elbow. He flexed fingers in both hands. He flexed one set of fingers and another set of robotic finger replacements anyway, but it felt the same. He had to hand it to Dr. Sands. It may be steel and circuitry, but he felt as if it were his own.
“How to the back plates feel?” Dr. Sands asked. “Are they light enough?”
“Yes,” Gabriel said. He was finally getting used to his new body and strengths. He still missed his flesh body immensely, but he couldn’t argue with the benefits of the suit. “I’d love to field test this sometime soon.”
“Are you sure?” Dr. Sands asked. “It was not too long ago that you ran off because you didn’t want to be used as a weapon.”
“I got some good advice,” Gabriel said. “Besides, I never said I wanted to go out and police the streets with that army of meat-heads. I just wanted to test my capabilities outside is all.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Dr. Sands said with a smile. He wrote something on the clipboard.
Gabriel wondered how long this could last. Sure, he was getting used to the exo-suit (as Dr. Sands called it) that encased his delicate body parts and robotic limbs, but he thought it would be short lasting. Soon he would long for this old body again and the men would take him off to blast criminal hideouts or chase bad guy’s cars or whatever else they had in mind for their state-of-the-art Gabriel Cogs.
He was also getting stir crazy at an alarming rate. They were watching him like a hawk since he escaped the other day, and he knew the chances of them letting him out were slim, but he had to stretch his legs (even if they were no longer his).
Dr. Sands looked at him from over the top of this glasses and scribbled something on his pad. “I think I’m going to head out early,” he said. “It’s a lovely night to catch the sights. I’m sure you can find your way back to your room. Have a good night.” He put his pad down and left the room.
Gabriel found Dr. Sands behavior a little odd and walked over to his pad. On top was a note that said “Shift change is at 11 PM. Password is seahorse11. Destroy note.” Gabriel tore the note into little pieces and dumped it in the trash. He then went back to his room and waited.
10:59 came and Gabriel got up. He used his new hearing to listen down the halls without stepping foot from his bed. He could hear the guards chatting to themselves as they walked down the hall. He heard the footsteps of the other men coming to relieve them. Gabriel supposed it would be harder to escape if he were in one of the cells, and thought he might end up in one next.
His next step would be to get around the security system. He closed his robotic eyes and concentrated like Dr. Sands taught him. Soon his internal computer prompt was in front of him. The technology he had within him amazed him every time he used it. Using only his mind he was able to hack into the DPA security system. When prompted for a password his mind typed seahorse11 and was given access. He once again opened his black and blue eyes and was able to keep the image in his mind while he raced down the halls. Whenever he was caught on camera Gabriel was able to hide his image. He didn’t entirely know how he was doing it, but he would finally be free and that’s what mattered.
Gabriel got out of the front door running, and in a flash of metallic blue and silver he was off into the night.
“This is a bad idea,” Archer said.
“If Killian is right we don’t have any other options,” Jonah said. He unlocked Killian’s cuff hours ago and he took his cloak and hook sword and left into the night saying there was one more thing left for him to do before he can begin Jonah’s mental training.
“Do you know how one is trained against psychic attacks?” Post asked.
“How?” Jonah asked.
“The demon Killian will need to enter your mind and train you from the inside,” Post said. “Otherwise I would train you in this defense myself. I do not find it wise for you to have a demon presence inside your mind. We still do not know what his true motives are.”
“I trust him,” Jonah said. “I don’t fully understand why myself, but I trust him. We do have a common enemy.”
“Or so we are being led to believe,” Post said. “Draw your sword. Let’s see how well you can use its power before the demon returns.”
Killian once again ventured through the sewers he was once imprisoned in. He furiously searched with his psy-power, but it was no use. Finally he made his way back to the two heaters he had made his home for a very short period of time and peered inside. Here he finally found what he was looking for.
The boy lay motionless. He was filthier than ever and the sweet aroma of death was on him. Killian kneeled next to the boy and felt his forehead which was cool to the touch. The boy couldn’t have been dead more than a day, and luckily the rats hadn’t done too much damage. Killian picked up the boy’s body and made his way out of the sewer. After his act of kindness Killian wouldn’t let the boy’s body rot here and become the food of the vermin that lived under the city.
Killian made his way across the city in silence carrying the boy in his arms. The boy had helped him when he was barely in any shape to help himself. A boy who was forgotten by this city much as Killian’s kin had forgotten him. Killian took a shovel from a utility truck and made his way to the river where he dug a hole about the boy’s length. He washed the boy in the water of the river and placed him on the bottom of the hole. He covered it with dirt and didn’t bother marking it when he was done. There wasn’t anybody else who cared enough about the boy to ever visit his burial site.
A tear rolled down Killian’s black cheek and he cursed himself for feeling anything for these humans. Especially sympathy. When he was done mourning the loss of a boy he barely knew he turned and walked away. He made a promise to Jonah and he intended to keep it.