Read A Deafening Silence In Heaven Online

Authors: Thomas E. Sniegoski

Tags: #Remy Chandler

A Deafening Silence In Heaven (9 page)

CHAPTER
EIGHT

T
he forever man paced about the forbidden library, careful not to disturb Malatesta as he worked.

The demonically possessed sorcerer sat in the center of the crowded space, countless tendrils of ectoplasmic webbing excreted from his body connecting him to the numerous esoteric volumes on the shelves. Simeon wanted to know everything that had been collected by the Keepers, and this was the easiest way to gather that knowledge.

He ducked beneath a large cable of woven strands connected to multiple bindings, reading the titles as he passed. He could remember when many of them were written, and he had even contributed some of the information gathered on the dusty pages. It would nice to be able to reference them again, but what he was interested in most was anything that could give him perspective on this Unification business.

He glanced away from the books to watch Malatesta as he worked. The sorcerer sat rigidly in the wooden chair, his eyes rolled back in his head as all the information contained within the multiple, multiple volumes flowed down the tendrils and into his body for storage.

Momentarily distracted, Simeon’s thoughts meandered back to Remy Chandler, and how the wayward angel could help him reduce the Kingdom of Heaven to ruins. Previous encounters with the Seraphim warrior had proven that the angel could be quite volatile. The forever man had only to figure out how to use that to his advantage, especially if this Unification ceremony was to be taking place.

Yes, Remy Chandler would be a most interesting piece on the game board, he mused.

“How close are we to being done?” Simeon asked Malatesta, suddenly impatient.

Malatesta twitched with exertion. “It . . . won’t be . . . long . . . now,” he grunted.

Simeon turned away and, stepping over the cooling corpse of Patriarch Adolfi, walked to a bank of video monitors on the wall. He was surprised to see two Keeper agents approaching the entrance to the secret chamber. “Make it snappy,” he demanded of Malatesta. “We have company coming.”

“Just about . . . done.” Malatesta strained, beads of sweat decorating his face.

Simeon raised his hand, tracing symbols of summoning in the air. It was as good as a cell phone call. The atmosphere before him rippled like a stone being thrown into the reflection upon a still river, and a yawning passage opened wide. He could the see shapes of three demonic entities in his service waiting on the opposite side.

“Sir,” Dorian said with a slight bow, motioning for their master to pass through.

The two other demons, the female Beleeze and the one called Robert, also bowed their heads to him in equal parts respect and fear.

Simeon stepped toward the pulsing orifice, then stopped at the entrance and turned back to Malatesta. “Are you coming, or should I leave you here for your fellow Keepers to find?”

Malatesta writhed in the chair, letting out an agonized moan before slowly opening his eyes. “Done,” he panted.

“It’s about time,” Simeon retorted, watching as the sorcerer yanked free of the ectoplasmic tendrils, which had already begun to dissolve.

The sorcerer lurched toward the forever man, careful not to tread upon the corpse lying on the floor as he joined his master.

Simeon gave the Patriarch one more dispassionate glance before following Malatesta into the passage. It slammed closed behind him as he stepped out in a penthouse suite of the Las Vegas hotel he had acquired after a rap star, facing financial ruin in the wake of the massive failure of his most recent recording endeavor, had slaughtered his entire entourage.

Blood spatter still decorated the walls, and the once boring, ivory white furniture was now livened with stains of crimson.

Stains of life.

It had been part of the deal that the suite not be disturbed, and for the amount of money that Simeon’s representative had offered, the sellers were more than happy to oblige. There was something about a place where life had been suddenly and unexpectedly taken that Simeon loved. He longed for the day when that would happen to him.

But until such a time, he would work on carrying out a promise that he’d made to himself a very long time ago. A promise that would see Heaven reduced to rubble and the Lord God Almighty vanquished.

“Beleeze, I’d like you to do something for me,” Simeon said from where he stood before the floor-to-ceiling window that looked out onto the lights of the Vegas strip. Flecks of blood stained the glass, and Simeon reached out, scraping at the smallest bit of dried life stuff with a perfectly manicured fingernail.

“Anything, my master,” the demon said quickly, standing at attention.

Simeon examined his fingernail; he could almost hear the screams of the one whose blood was beneath the nail. He brought it up to his lips, scraping the blood into his mouth with his teeth. He could taste the fear in it . . . taste the life as it drifted away.

“Find Remy Chandler and tell him I’d like to see him. Tell him we need to speak about Heaven, before something terrible happens.”

•   •   •

Francis opened the old folding chair and sat down to study the demonic assassin propped against boxes labeled
CLOTHES
in black magic marker.

Madeline’s clothes,
Francis thought, and that just made him feel all the worse. His friend had lost his wife, and now he himself lay dying in a bed upstairs because of this infernal piece of shit on the floor in front of him.

Francis didn’t know all that much about the Bone Masters, only what he had picked up by reading the cooked brains of the one who’d tried to kill his friend, but he was about to learn more.

“Open your eyes,” he ordered, leaning forward with a squeak of the metal chair. “I know you’re playing possum.”

The demon remained still, not a sign of life evident, but Francis knew better. He reached into the pocket of his suit coat and removed the pistol he had used to shoot the assassin. It was one of the most deadly weapons in existence, and his bond with it was something special.

“I know you’re still alive because I told the bullet I put in the back of your head not to kill you. I can feel that bullet lodged in your noggin, and it tells me that you’re conscious and pretending not to be.” Francis stroked the gun like a cat. “I wonder, if I asked that bullet to move, would you wake up then?”

The demon’s eyes flew open and his mouth formed the beginning of a shriek of pain. But Francis was faster, sliding off the chair and clamping his hand firmly over the assassin’s mouth.

“I don’t want to hear it, and neither does anyone else in this house,” he said calmly, though his words dripped with menace. “And if you even think about biting me, I’ll have the bullet start doing cartwheels.”

The Bone Master’s eyes registered that he understood, and Francis slowly took his hand away. “Good,” he nodded. “I like when folks listen to reason. Gives me hope that our little conversation here is going to be productive.”

The demon watched him with unblinking, reptilian eyes as Francis sat back on the folding chair and put the gun back into the pocket of his jacket. The former Guardian angel could sense the gun’s reluctance; it wanted to be used, wanted to kill this foul creature. The Pitiless pistol was something of great power, and it needed a strong hand to control it. It said quite a bit that Lucifer Morningstar had bestowed the pistol upon Francis.

He silently reassured the gun that it would only be a matter of time before it was needed again, and that seemed to satisfy the weapon, allowing Francis to focus fully on the assassin before him.

“Why don’t you start by telling me a little bit about yourself.”

He waited for the demon to respond but got only a blank stare, as if he’d said nothing at all.

“Okay,” Francis said. “I’ll give you one more chance before we take this in a different direction entirely. Who put the contract out on Remy Chandler, and what do I have to do to get it rescinded?”

The demon continued to stare blankly, and Francis was beginning to wonder if the bullet inside its skull had done more damage than he’d intended, but then there was the slightest hint of a twitch at the corner of the pale-skinned creature’s mouth, and a smile began to form.

“You can do nothing,” the Bone Master stated flatly. “The contract will be fulfilled. As long as there is a Bone Master in existence, the Seraphim will meet his end.”

Francis already suspected as much. “Not what I wanted to hear,” he said calmly. “Are you sure there’s nothing? No little piece of fine print that might be able to save me and your organization a little trouble?”

“He will die, and so will anyone who tries to keep us from our task.” The Bone Master continued to smile. “There is no escaping—”

Francis had heard enough. He dropped from the chair again and, in one smooth movement, had removed the special knife—the scalpel—from inside his coat and plunged the thin blade squarely into the assassin’s forehead. He wasn’t going to get anything more from the demon, so he might as well root around himself.

The former Guardian angel gasped as the flood of information from the undamaged brain flowed through the knife into his own mind.

What a twisted fucking piece of work,
he thought as he was made privy to the demonic assassin’s last few days, weeks, and months of kills.
Can’t say anything bad about his work ethic; I’ll give him that.

But Francis needed more and began digging deeper. It was as if safeguards had been put in place to keep certain information safe, for as he began to withdraw even more pertinent information, the threads self-destructed before he could read them.

The assassin’s brain was literally dissolving.

Fearing for his safety, the Guardian removed the blade, severing the connection. He felt a tickle beneath his nose and reached up to find a drop of blood from his nostril. Another admirable attribute—even the extraction of information could result in death. These assassins were certainly an efficient bunch but no less frustrating. Francis didn’t know much more than he did before he started.

Thick blood like tar had started to leak from the Bone Master’s ears, nose, and mouth, and Francis quickly found an old blanket to throw beneath the decomposing creature’s head before it could stain the hardwood floor.

He was studying the corpse, trying to decide on his next move, when he sensed it. He’d heard humans refer to it as somebody stepping on one’s grave, and that was pretty much the best description for it. The Pitiless pistol was in his hand with barely a thought and he spun around, searching for the source of his feelings. Finding nothing, Francis grabbed the doorknob and pulled open the door.

“Is everything all right out there?” he hollered down the hallway.

“We could use some Doritos,” Squire called back.

Francis looked about the room again, but the strange feeling of potential danger was gone.

Whatever had walked on his grave had moved on.

•   •   •

“I don’t think he’s going to bring us the Doritos,” Squire said, reaching for the bottle of whiskey and pouring himself another three fingers.

For a little guy, he certainly could put it away, Mulvehill thought, as he watched Squire bring the glass to his mouth and gulp most of it down.

“So, tell me about your world,” Mulvehill said.

“Nothing much really to say,” Squire shrugged. “Very much like this one and about a hundred others I’ve visited since leaving mine.”

“Why’d you leave your world?”

“Fucked up,” Squire said simply, finishing the whiskey in his glass. “My world was completely fucked, and so were the others.”

“As fucked as we are?” Mulvehill asked, quickly reaching for his own glass.

Squire chuckled and shook his large head. “You’re not even close—yet.”

“Yet?”

“I’m startin’ to see the signs,” the goblin said more quietly now. He realized that his glass was empty again and reached for the bottle. “Must be a hole in the bottom of this fucking glass.”

Mulvehill was about to broach the subject of signs when Francis appeared in the doorway.

“I have to go out,” he said.

“Did you get anything out of it?” Mulvehill asked.

Francis seemed confused. “Out of what?”

“That thing you dragged back into the spare room?”

“Oh, that,” Francis said. “I got what I could . . . which is why I have to go out.”

“Want us to hold down the fort?” Squire asked as he placed the whiskey bottle back on the table and pulled his full tumbler closer.

“Yeah, if you can,” Francis said.

“That’s the question, isn’t it?” Mulvehill said.

Francis looked at him, that muddled confusion presenting itself again.

“Can we protect ourselves against that?” Mulvehill motioned down the corridor. “All I’ve got is a Glock, and he has an axe. Do you think that’s enough if we have any more problems?”

Francis seemed to think for a moment, then reached into his pocket and removed a ring of keys. “Here,” he said, pulling a key from the ring and handing it to Squire. “That’s the key to my weapons cabinet. You know where it is. Go find yourself some heavier artillery.”

“Sweet,” Squire said as he studied the key.

Francis abruptly turned and headed back down the corridor. Mulvehill leaned over in his chair to see where the fallen Guardian angel had gone, in time to see him returning with the body of the Bone Master draped over his shoulder.

“You’re dripping on the floor,” Squire said.

“Yeah, I know,” Francis responded. “Will you clean that up for me? Appreciate it.”

A jagged, vertical rip suddenly appeared in the center of the kitchen.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Francis said, stepping through the pulsating crack to God knew where, the opening closing up behind him with a strange sucking sound.

Mulvehill turned back to Squire, who was sipping his drink and still admiring the key. “Does he have a lot of weapons?”

Squire slowly nodded. “Francis has a real strong appetite for things that can kill.”

And then he smiled broadly, and Mulvehill couldn’t help but think of a Halloween jack-o’-lantern.

“If I’m not mistaken, he really likes good scotch, too, and keeps it safe in his weapons cabinet. Weapons and scotch. If it weren’t for Remy’s being almost dead, this would be a fucking awesome day.”

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