The Daemonicon has been stolen. Jack and Lennox, enraged by the violation of the Lair and the death of their friend, are furiously looking for answers. Standing in their way is a loathsome, part-demon fiend who is Hell-bent on stopping them. With an army of foul creatures at his command, he is relentless, an ongoing torment who is a major threat to all of New Sanctum.
Will Jack and Lennox find a way to defeat him and gain the answers they seek?
Here’s a random snippet:
“Who is there?” Jack demands of the darkness. “What do you want?”
The laughter continues unabated. No answer is forthcoming.
To Jack, it seems like the temperature has dropped, and the odor of sulfur and rot grows perceptibly stronger. Jack glares into the darkness with a snarl of anger already twisting his lips. He knows what has happened. He and Lennox have stumbled into a trap.
The Ducati’s headlamp lights only part of the road. Other than that, it is too dark for him to see, but he can hear movement in the shadows. It is like rats creeping over crumpled newspapers, or shy beetles chirping to each other in the blackness.
It is an unnerving, ominous sound, made more so by the way it is coming from every direction at once.
“Lex,” Jack says, his voice low and tense. “Let’s see what this darkness is hiding.”
Jack is more than irritated. More than angry. He has been fighting creatures from Hell for most of his life and hates it when something happens that he failed to predict. He hates such failures almost as much as he hates the creatures he faces themselves. And yet, hate is not his only emotion. Despite everything he has been through, he can’t help but feel a shiver of fear.
The darkness, the cold, the creepy laughter all combine to give him a sense of foreboding beyond what is normal even in a world filled with supernatural dangers.
In response to Jack’s suggestion, Lennox pronounces words in an ancient tongue that is awful to hear. Somehow, the words she says taste metallic to Jack, as if he has a mouth full of his own blood. It sets up an uncomfortable resonance within him that grates at the base of his skull.
It is as discordant as a death metal song played in reverse, but it has impact. Almost at once, a ball of angry, red demon fire appears in between Lennox’s hands. The ball swiftly grows to match the size of the helmet Lennox has looped about her elbow. It becomes bright enough to cast a red glow over the road, bringing what is hidden into view.
The first thing Jack sees is a man standing in the shadows.
As wiry and unkempt as Jack himself, the man looks like a homeless person in his tattered overcoat and torn, dirty jeans. Yet the most obvious thing about him isn’t his clothing. It is the way that the lower half of his face is covered in a black, oily substance that looks like tar.
The man reminds Jack of Samuel. Not in build or appearance, but because of the blackness on his face. Samuel’s Hellfire burns had given him a similar look.
To Jack, it is unsettling to see, made more so by the knowledge that comes with it. This man, this tar man, has demon blood in his veins. It is something that Jack has been able to sense for as long as he can remember.
As fast as thought, Jack draws his gun and aims it. “Who are you?” Jack demands, unconsciously echoing his earlier words. “What do you want?” And then, as the thought comes to him, “Was it you who stole the Daemonicon?”
The tar man just laughs even harder.
Jack snarls in anger. He wants to pull the trigger out of nothing but spite and a deep-seated feeling that this man is dangerous. Before he does so, he hears Lennox stifle a gasp.
“Look,” she says in a voice that is both shocked and disgusted. “His hands.”
Jack glances down and immediately sees what Lennox has noticed. Like the lower part of his face, the tar man’s hands appear covered in a thick, gelatinous blackness. But unlike on his face, the oily substance at his fingers is moving. It is dripping onto the road as globs of putrescence. The tar man is exuding it as if it is sweat.
And the globs of putrescence are alive.
As soon as they leave the tar man’s fingers, they start to grow. Within seconds, they are as big as a man’s head. They are repulsive to look at. Somehow wet and slimy, almost glittering in the darkness. They are like slime molds given life and mobility. There are dozens of them, more, and they already cover large parts of the road.
All of them are slowly heading toward Jack and Lennox. To move, they extend pseudopods out in front of themselves, tendrils with which to pull themselves slowly along.
“What in all of Hell?” Lennox mutters. She has managed to get the ball of glowing fire in her hands to be self sustainable, at least for a moment. Her tone is filled with disgust and loathing, and she takes an unconscious, fearful step back.
“Demon spawn,” Jack spits. He now understands why there is so much of the slippery sludge on the ground. These vile Hell creatures secrete it, like slugs secrete the slime that helps them to move. The tar man has set the trap that Jack and Lennox have sprung. He has been conjuring these loathsome things as he hid in the dark. And the cry of fear Jack and Lennox heard had heard was the worm on the hook.
The realization is enough to turn Jack’s anger into rage. Without hesitation, his finger tightens on the trigger.