There had to be a way out of this life. Yancey had worn a trail in the hallway in front of his young son’s room. He had prayed for guidance, that path just lead to more bodies. The darkness hid the paint on the walls except around his son’s room. A nightlight cast a bit of illumination.
Yancey would stop here before departing every time. Hearing the soft breath of his greatest legacy put the violence in perspective. Maybe the guidance was meant to make the world a better place for the next generation. A chill ran through him, or even worse maybe the family curse.
“He will pay the price for your deeds.” The wife’s soft whisper reminded him of the true cost. “When word gets out of your deeds he will wear the mark of your sins in his signature.”
“If there was a choice, do you think this is the path I would have chosen?”
“It does not matter if you decided to walk this path, it is done. There is no way to avoid the repercussions. Your damnation will be carried forward by your flesh and blood, and your wife. Do you not care for us?”
“Every prayer uttered is for my forgiveness, and for your happiness and absolution.” The retort was quick with hints of displeasure.
“What about your victims? Does their blood not deserve your prayers?
“No innocent blood has touched my hand.”
“You do not get to judge that.”
“What if I am the instrument used to deliver that judgment?” Yancey grabbed his blade and headed out. The urges can only be held at bay for so long before they take control.
“The sheriff’s department handles prisoner transfers. You have other duties sergeant.”
Clemmons was not going to be dismissed. This prisoner had been linked to too much of the paperwork on Clemmons desk. “There is no way I am not going to be the one that closes the door on his cell. He has poisoned my home.”
“I understand but it is not your role.”
“Look, there are enough deaths from this guy. He found a way to avoid punishment for this long. I owe an old friend the assurance he will not find another escape.”
“You take things too personal.”
“This is my home. You are not from here you wouldn’t understand.”
“That is a common theme from cities like this. If you aren’t from there you won’t understand.” The Lieutenant hated being told this. Yes, he was there because it was an opportunity, but he still felt he did all he could to protect the city. “This is my home now too, I took the pledge to defend this city just like you did.”
Clemmons could only look down on the speckled floor. His eyes looking along the gold separation of tiles for answers. There were none. The veteran sergeant needed to find a way to convey his concerns. “Antonio struck close to home. He took advantage of those who were down on their luck.”
“They still broke the law. They will all have to come to terms with their punishment.”
“I feel his punishment should be more severe. Too much suffering had opened the door for men like him. Promising a fast buck, fishing with a bait that seemed too hard to pass up. You have never lived in a place where poverty is an upgrade in your finances, have you?”
“No matter how bad it gets I still obeyed the law.” The officer tried to hide the smugness in his response.
“You never ran into a man like our prisoner. Perhaps you were never desperate enough or angry enough but I grew up with people who came around looking for those exact things.”
“Are you justifying it?” The lieutenant held back a chuckle.
“Not at all. Everyone knows the risk. We enforce the laws, and I will do so without internal quarrel.” Clemmons was adamant in his dedication. “Those laws were designed to protect our community. Maybe some of those laws need to be rewritten or more added to protect people from getting that desperate.”
“You sound like you should be a politician.”
“Nope, I do my part to take care of people by removing threats like our prisoner. I would like for once to know the right one is paying the price for his deeds. I was just thinking out loud. We all need to look at our actions from time to time to figure out what some solutions would be.”
“Fine, this is your show, I will cover your shifts. Just don’t give the deputy too much gruff.”
The whole city was littered with train tracks. The skeletal reminders of the once thriving industrial base. Slowly the manufacturing body decayed leaving these iron bones. Trains still passed through, but no longer had a need to stop. The factories left empty no longer had goods to load.
Yancey waited at a road crossing. He had to get the car to stop. One threat was too great. Opening the demon to corrupt more spirits and opening bodies for more demons was not a welcome proposition. He had a purpose to stop the dark spirit before it reached the grounds to feed. Everything seemed so clear this time. He knew it would be his last kill.
Hiding behind an empty boxcar, Yancey would trigger the crossing gates. When the car stopped it would give him time to move quickly and eliminate the victim. He took out his last Bible. Flipping through the pages, it became obvious what should be marked.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
After the lake and the creature Yancey could only discern as a demon, he no longer questioned the urges. He just held faith he would be judged favorably. Prayers were uttered that his son would not suffer for his deeds.
Whispering as traffic passed through the crossing. “This must be done no sin goes unpunished.” When the car passed and it was not the target he let out a sigh of relief.
The task would have to be done. A problem would be doing it in front of two law enforcement officers. It would take a quick strike. But could he get away?
A thought struck the assassin for the first time. How did he know there would be two innocents with the target?
How did he always know?
Who was pulling his path toward the victims?
Before getting lost in thought, the Sheriff’s car came down the road toward the crossing. Flashing red lights meant the car would stop and Yancey would begin. Tracks did not delay his movement. For the cross bar had finished dropping and the car stopped, Yancy was there.
On clean thrust the metal of his blade pierce the rear passenger side door. The blade parted Antonio’s skin releasing the blood within.
Clemmons felt the car shake upon impact. He turned to catch the two burning eyes of their prisoner. The blood was secondary. Clemmons coiled back out of instinct. He was facing pure evil.
Antonio lunged forward to the police, breaking down the barrier easily. Dark augmentations made it little effort for the body. The sheriff’s deputy paid the price for the demon’s pain.
The sergeant could not get to his gun fast enough. Muscle memory met fear as Clemmons struggled to free it from the holster. The weapon was free of the restraint. Clemmons raised it high ready to put to several rounds into the abomination in front of him.
He was too late. The creature tore through the neck of the deputy.
Antonio thrashed as the smell of gun powder filled the car. Clemmons had lost count how many times he pulled the trigger. He kept depressing the trigger well after the pistol had run out of ammunition. Blood flew the creature writhed but did not stop. It tried to climb out of the car away from its assailants. The new wounds did not deter from it.
Antonio was free.
Yancey could not get in the vehicle fast enough to save the deputy. The door ripped off the car with ease. It was too slow. The target was out of reach. The policeman was still pulling the trigger when a last-ditch lunge was made. It wasn’t fast enough.
Antonio swung hard knocking Clemmons against the car door. The force rendered him unconscious. And smashed the door open. Protecting the two innocents was no longer possible. Eternal battle had claimed more.
Yancey paused. A complete understanding of his purpose was revealed. The torment of not knowing why the urges called for blood ended. With the past revealed, there could be only one future. All of it ended here tonight.
“I am here to banish you back from the pits that spawned you.”
Voices came from everywhere except the flicking forked tongue. “This isn’t your victory. The mortals choose us, time and time again. You can slay me but it will not change what goes on here. I will find a new shell, or they will replace me. Even if we are not here they will choose the easy route for their actions. Hatred is too strong, greed is too strong, lust is too powerful. In the end, you kill me so they can choose and they still choose what I wanted.”
“In the end.” He mocked the voices. “In the end, it is still their choice. The test is still in place. They decided how they will respond. They decide which path to follow. Which is what it has always been about their choice on how they deal with adversity.”
“And by not forcing them down a path, we win.”
“You cannot force morality, when you do it is no longer morals. It is subjugation.” The conversation allowed Yancey to get closer. The metal blade pulled from the car was lowered out of sight.
“I am sorry but I do not have time for this debate.” Antonio started to turn. “You will never see what I am saying. I am thankful for that, but it is a waste of my time.”
The flashing red lights reflected of the metal blade. It sung through the air its hymn of death. Removing Antonio’s head from his body. The head rolled to the ground, the body collapsed to its knees after.
Shadowy tendrils reached out from the severed neck. Encircling the removed head, they drug it across the ground toward the kneeling body. When it was within reach hands were clamped around its ears and it was positioned back to its neck.
“I told you I would send you back to the pits.”
“And we told you, that you would fail.”
The blade swung again answering the taunt. Slicing the body. Blood coated everywhere. It glistened in the night sky. The body tried to stammer to its feet. It was a losing endeavor. One more strike and the leg was severed.
Yancey leaned down to the body opening the Bible to his marked passage. Something else caught his attention, perhaps words to help those struggling. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Setting the Passage open at the head of the fallen demon. The final strike was made.
The faith placed in the book pinned the dark spirt and would not allow it to heal the body it inhabited. It was the first time Yancey understood why he always placed them on his victims. He felt less like a psychopath and more like a guardian.
Worry followed quickly. Were there really that many of these dark creatures about? What if he were not successful and the demon made it the prison, how many souls on the verge of salvation would be lost?
One step away from the body, Yancey watched the burning in the eyes fade. The shadows receded. The threat was over. With his new understanding, it would be possible to continue. That was when he heard Clemmons pistol click to lock the hammer.
“Freeze you are under arrest.”
Yancey had been caught, placing the Bible linked him to the other deaths. He could tell the officer was still trying to figure out what was going on. There were questions, so many questions. He was visibly shaking as he placed the cuffs on Yancey. Even the Miranda rights were full of broken sentences.
“What happened here?”
“Your prisoner was killing the deputy and trying to escape when I arrived. Not sure how he got free. You shot him before you were knocked out. I made it here and dispatched him.” Each word was shrouded in his soothing tone. He could see the officer believe everything. The nervous movements stopped and Clemmons uttered a silent prayer of thanks.
“Well I guess it takes a crook to stop a crook.”
“Something like that.” Yancey could not tell the truth. No one would believe him. “Don’t you want to let me go officer, I did save your life.”
“You killed a man, right there.” Pointing with a nod of his head, Clemmons presented the evidence.
“He was an evil man.”
“Every man good or bad deserves equal rights within the law. My job is not to decide, I will make note of how you helped me. But there is a body and we have been looking for you for a long time.”
A nod replaced any further words. It was his last murder. Thoughts rested on his son and wife. They would pay the price for his deeds. He wondered if his purpose would be passed on. When he was locked away who would carry on. If he was sentenced to death, what would happen to his family.
His free will had been taken away to protect that of others. As he was taken to the jail, the city was awaking to another day. More choices awaited the citizens. Yancey wondered how many would use their opportunities to do right and how many would go to waste?
Thank You Rick Rupert for the amazing photographs ( RupertRick@gmail.com)