Enter Sandman issue 3 of 4

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Lucian had worked hundreds of jobs over the years but none quite like this one. He watched as Alan sat in his car across that parking lot. Unflinching his body never moved, he sat, crouched like a cat ready to pounce on its pray. He had an ability to slow his body, will it into near paralysis, so much so that his heart nearly stopped.

He watched steam from his mouth folded around the rusty autumn leaves. Things were changing and he knew that. He could look around and see that the world was in a state of change. On one of its many cycles that he had witnessed. And this job was proof of that. Alan? This made no sense to Lucian. He was untouchable. One of the 200. No one touched the 200. But someone wanted Alan out of the picture. A man, by what Lucian could surmise was a very powerful man. He had never met a demon that could invade someone’s sleep. The things he could do in there gave Lucian the chills.

Alan finished backing his car out of the parking lot and sped off into the early evening twilight. He knew nothing of what had happened with Alan over the last three hundred years and he knew nothing about “The Sandman” or what his endgame was. He did know however that he didn’t want to mess with him. He feared The Sandman more than he feared Alan. And in all his years if he learned one thing it was that it was about survival.

***

The car stood still at the stoplight on 17th and Vine. I could see the car flying up on me with the red and blues flashing in the windshield, not on top of the car so I knew it wasn’t a squad car but a detective and I knew it was most likely Kyle Harper. But why?

The could hear the tires as the car skidded to at stop just behind mine but as the light turned green I decided to remain still. I saw Kyle step out of the car. His black hair blowing in the cool breeze. He turned the collar of his tan leather jacket up over his ears as he came along side my passenger side. He opened the door and helped himself in.

“Can I help you detective?”

“Drive, the detective will lead. I want to ask you a few questions before we get there?”

“Where?”

“The Tower.”

“Why are we going to the tower?”

“Because the man from who your client needed protection, died late last night and I think I might need your help.”

“I was on my way to see my ex-wife, I feel she might be in danger.”

“I will send a car over to her house,” with that Alan sped off led by the detectives car. As he promised he radioed to have a car over to Cassie’s house.

“I don’t understand who I help you. I am a private detective. Surely you have people more capable than I.”

He turned to me, his face flush red. His hand hovered near his gun. I could feel the tension rising in my chest. I may be an angel but I could still feel emotions. I could still get scared, still feel pain. I could still feel happiness, and sadness. And at that moment I felt shock and surprise and worry. What was Detective Kyle Harper going to ask? And why was his hand near his gun?

“Alan, he had an arrow through his head. So last night I had a guy beheaded with sword and then his boss was shot with an arrow.”

“So?”

“This is the twenty-first century, who uses a bow and arrow and swords in this day and age?”

“I don’t know Kyle.” Actually I did know. I used the sword to kill the werewolf but who took out Daniel. That was my job. It was my one way ticket. Marlie had told me that if I did it I would have a ticket back in. Now that was gone.

“Also someone had wrote the words ‘The Hitman’ in the victims blood on a wall in the apartment.”

My heart raced with the words. I knew who the killer was, and I knew if he was in town it wouldn’t be good.

***

The Sun beat down on the mud soaked battlefield. The brown slush had become so deep that the horses couldn’t move through it and the chariots were all but useless. The heavy and light infantry of both armies had bedded for the night and the sun had woken us from its blistering heat pulsating down on us.  The putrid smell of the burning hair and organs wasn’t lost on us demons. The smell isn’t any different than that of humans. My guess was that Ramuel had burnt the dead of his army and Akibeel’s.

 

I looked down the line of men to my right. I could see the younger demons, and I knew what they were thinking. Why did I sign up for this, Ramuel can never give me what I had with the lord. I was stupid to follow him. I wished that I had felt different but the fact of the matter was I had been there, once long ago, but I had been there none the less.  I, however had learned to accept the consequences of my actions and regretted them for only a moment.

I started to feel something on my skin, not just in one place but all over, tightening. I looked to my left and I could see Lucian sitting like a stone statue. His body frozen, like a freeze frame in time. A portrait of him standing stoic with his shield and his sword, light leather armor guarding organs that would be vital to humans but nearly unimportant to us, only his heart and his head, like us all, bared the burden of being important. However his mind and his hands are what I needed him for most.

The constricting continued and I shifted my gaze to the sun, watching it rise higher into the sky.  It was moving at an enormously fast pace. I counted as I watched it pass a large rocky hill down line. 1…2…3…4…and then it passed another red rocky hill. They appeared to be no more than six inches apart, however they were many miles away. The tightening was almost becoming unbearable.

“Lucian, what is happening to me? I need your help, old friend.” I again turned my gaze to him but the action was much more labored now. I saw him again standing indifferent to anything that was happening on the battlefield. To the average person it may not have seemed like much was happening at all, but because nothing was happening meant that quite the opposite was in fact the case. Someone was freezing us in time. Incasing us in a muddy tomb.

Thud…Thud…Thud… I could hear the galloping of Akibeel’s forces closing in on the side of the Mountain we were disparately trying to hold. I managed enough energy to turn my body to see someone riding across the battlefield. He sat atop a giant steed, clad in armor from head to toe, he appeared to be from another time. Bright metal, like that of our swords, shined a reflection from the sun. I needed to know who was controlling the sun, making it move so fast across the sky and making it burn so hot, as to nearly instantly freeze us in time. This, however, wasn’t my demon.

I had struggled and dug deep to find the strength to help Lucian get his hands free from is muddy tomb. If he could help me get a few of the other demons free we might be able to free up the line. Akibeel’s forces marched meticulously across the ever hardening ground . Avoiding any suspicious areas.  I wriggled my finger until I broke it free from the tightening tomb. Then with all the energy I could fathom I moved my whole arm back and forth until soon the layers were falling off like rubble falling from a building in an earthquake, pieces falling and hitting the ground until I once again could breath.

I ran, jumping over large rocks, and mud incased bodies until I reached the side of Lucian. I franticly searched the ground for something to get him free. Nothing seemed to fit the cause so I grabbed the next best thing, my dagger from its sheath.

“I don’t think so, you be careful, I‘m very delicate.”

He said to me.

“O, you say that now,” I chuckled.

I picked a little at the corner near the inside bend of the elbow until soon he began to move on his own. He worked feverishly, shaking like a wet dog until all his mud had fallen to the ground.

Both of us turned our attention to the ridge to see the rest of Ramuel’s army frozen in thick red mud as well. I looked at Lucian suggesting his help.

“I can’t make it rain Alanesis.”

“No but you can give these men some strength to break their chains.”

“That I can, but you know what I need.”

“How much?”

“Enough, I’ll take care of you.”

I slid the dagger back out of its leathery home and place the razor sharp blade along my left wrist, dragging the blade across it. My hand nearly fell off as the blade sliced through my flesh and through the bone with little effort.  Lucian grabbed me quickly and held the hand over a rock on the ground. Light shot from the ground and splintering into thousands of forks, Lighting bolts filled the skies sending little tentacles of light raining down and landing abruptly on the top of the soldiers heads.

Ramuel was the first to brake free raising his sword into the sky, shouting a battle-cry that I didn’t understand, but it was apparent to all his men for they all found extraordinary strength and broke free of their bindings.

Suddenly everything around me blurred, Lucian’s face became a contorted, an out of focus mess.

I could still hear the galloping of horses and then the thunder doubled and I felt the whoosh of wind blowing by me forcing the smell musky smell of sweaty, dirty horses into my nostrils as they headed for Ramuel’s front lines.

Then I could feel the stillness of the air. Lucian and I were the only ones left at that part of the battlefield.

***

The view from Lucian’s perch across from The Tower gave a clear line of sight to Alan alone in the apartment with the detectives. He could see his name scribbled on the wall in the demons blood. He knew that Rebecca had done this. Was it a message to the authority’s, the Higher Powers or to Alan? He knew he had a job to do but he also knew that at that moment he had other fish to fry. He still had to find out who mystery the man was, Sandman, and why Rebecca was in his city.

As Rick would say, “Of all the Gin joints in all the world, she had to walk into mine.”

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