Silent Hill Gods and Monsters III : Shepherd's Warning

Chapter 14: Racing the Devil

"Red sky at night shepherd's delight, Red sky in morning shepherd's warning."

Kaufmann stood over Alessa in silent fury. How could such a simple plan go so wrong? It was probably in no small part thanks to Dahlia. It wouldn't be the first time her half-cocked rash actions had caused problems. He had to think of a way to fix everything. At least Gucci was out of the picture. That man had been a thorn in Kaufmann's side for quite some time. Only now things had gotten worse as he had heard reports that the police not only knew about the Order but were actually seeking them out to find the missing children. Solid plans were turning into dust. Wolf must have talked as well. It was the only explanation for the rapid response of the police. It was a shame really. The preacher had shown promise. Even now there was little satisfaction in his being locked up in Brookhaven.

Things were in disarray even down to his living arrangements. He had to rent a room at Nathans Motel just to avoid patrols regularly watching his house for anything they could put him away for. He had thought about staying at Nurse Garland's. After all she owed him a few favours for the regular supply he fed her. She was an easy mark as well as an easy lay with "Daddy issues" written all over her. All she needed was a firm hand and enough PTV to dull her pain. Thankfully he still had enough White Claudia to manufacture the drug. All he had to do was sell the latest batch and he could start up again. Perhaps in a nearby town like Brahms. He just had to find a way to leave this town. At the moment the heat was too high and the Order wasn't all he thought it would have been. They had resources but no real power so there was no way to get out through them.

He had no choice but to play the concerned doctor at the moment. Lisa was complaining about having to watch Alessa. She said the charred body of the girl freaked her out. He knew she wouldn't leave though. Not when her stash was at risk. It was for that reason he didn't stay with her. She may turn nasty if she didn't get what she needed. Kaufmann started to pace the room shaking his head and wondering what to do. He couldn't keep living like this. No. Something had to be done. Something to wipe all the pawns from the board. Something that meant he wouldn't have to leave. After all if you don't have to leave a place you're in charge of. It was time to take the town.

The highway was a blur as Cybil sped down the road. She didn't blink much in case she missed any sign of her sister. She hated long shots and never usually made a move unless she had a good reason to. If she had learned anything it was that following the wrong lead for the wrong goal could cost you. In her case she had been investigating a gang of car thieves. Being such a small town she would have thought it was easy. What she hadn't bet on was that it was part of a larger human trafficking operation. She had asked the wrong questions at the wrong time and in days the operation had either packed up completely or moved somewhere else. The thing was so had her sister.

She had started seeing this punk Carl. He had claimed he was a prison guard. He seemed Ok at first, a bit strange maybe but when Cybil ran a check on him there was no mention of him being from any nearby facility. When he vanished along with the gang and her sister Cybil nearly tore the area apart to find them. Unfortunately her efforts were for nothing as they had vanished like dust in the wind not only that but she nearly lost her job through illegal searches. Thankfully she had an understanding chief and no one wanted to prosecute but it got her suspended.

The lack of action and time spent alone with her thoughts almost killed her. She was a living wreck and didn't sleep for weeks, blaming herself for the whole thing. At some point though her resolve had strengthened and she decided to become a better, smarter cop. One that would bring her sisters abductors to justice. She had heard of stirrings in Silent Hill before but nothing solid ever turned up.

Now after seeing that list she knew that nothing would stop her. She just prayed she was in time to do something about it. At best she hoped to find her sister; though right now she would even settle for finding her body. It was a horrible thought but it was better than not knowing. The bike made a noise that was anything but reassuring. It seemed this better, smarter cop still had her moments. In her haste she had forgotten to check if the tank had enough gas. The bike slowed to a stop to show that evidently it didn't. She growled and in her frustration kicked it onto its side. She threw her helmet onto the ground and started walking.

A pair of lifeless eyes watched her from the forest. Following every step she took in the hope of finding out just why she looked so familiar…

Mark Shepherd thought he had shed the last of his tears over his daughter Cheryl a long time ago. He was wrong.

"Daddy why are you crying?"

"I'm just glad to hear your voice sweetie."

"I thought you only cried when you were sad."

"This is a special case. Sometimes you cry when you are happy. Where are you sweetie?"

"I don't know. It looks like a big toy store. It's so nice here but I miss you Daddy. Where are you?"

"I'm in a school. I miss you too pet. I'm pretty sure I will see you again but I have to help this girl."

"A school? Yuck. Yay I can't wait to see you. Is she a nice girl? Can I talk to her?"

"Sure sweetie."

He handed Alessa the phone and listened to her talk.

"Hi to you too. My name is Alessa. I like your name." There was a noise on the phone. Mark wanted to know what Cheryl was saying but Alessa held her hand up and shook her head. "Yes he's helping me right now. Yeah he's pretty cool. Don't worry I'm not keeping him. Ha ha I will. You take care too Cheryl. Bye." The phone disconnected.

"What did she say?"

"She said to keep you safe and she wants you to hurry up and see her."

There was a roar before the door exploded inwards with the force behind it.

"Jesus." The two exclaimed simultaneously as they watched the pyramid head with the blade unball his fist and slowly turn his head towards them.

"Time to leave." The two ran as fast as they could out into the corridor and nearly fell down the stairs. Panic set in when Mark saw the view from the corridor windows.

"The whole place is surrounded by fire. Crap. Is there a way to the roof?"

"We just came down it."

The roar made him think twice about going back up.

Alessa grabbed his arm. "Come on. This way."

"Where are we going?"

"Don't know. Getting pulled this way. Think my soul is guiding me closer to it."

Mark decided to just go with it. She brought them to the staircase at the other side of the building. The sounds of fighting going on up the stairs let them know the other pyramid head was busy.

"Let's go down before someone decides there's more entertainment to be had in pursuing us."

Alessa nodded and went down the stairs to the basement. Mark followed quickly. When they got there they were met with a grizzly scene. The room was dimly lit from above so that only the centre of the room was really visible. A man was tied to a stake in the middle of the boiler room. His eyes were shut and his face frozen in a contorted look of pain. A small light flickered in the darkness and they were amazed to see that it was held by a shadow. They hadn't expected to see anyone else alive here.

"What now?" Mark said.

The shadow spoke. "Shh don't wake him."

Mark gave the shadow a funny look. "Wake who kid? The dead guy? Why don't you come out of the shadows and we will get out of here."

Alessa gasped when she recognised the dead man. "Mr Gordon? Oh no! What happened to him?"

The shadow spoke softly as the room began to shake. "He fought the dragon and lost. If you're smart enough you won't join him. I used to be like you."

"Used to be?"

"The dragon ate me. Now I'm stuck in my shadow." It held the lighter closer to show that it was indeed a solid shadow with no features apart from its child like outline.

Mark covered his mouth "Holy crap."

Alessa felt sorry for the child. "Who are…were you?"

The shadow started to sound annoyed. "Does it matter? I'm dead. Pretty pissed off about it too. The warden lied. There is no paradise. Now I've been eaten by a huge worm and pooped out of a dragon. I am also your last chance to get out of here." The shadow produced a red chalk out of nowhere and started to draw a ring of symbols on the wall.

"What is that?" Alessa asked.

"It's a gateway. One of many now." The shadow replied.

"Why are you helping us?" Mark asked.

The shadow pointed at Alessa "I'm helping her. I know who you are and I'm taking a risk because I think you can help to sort all this out."

"You're from the Order aren't you? I keep telling people that I'm only a girl. I'm not the Red God. I'm not even Lobsel Vith."

"No but you are destined to be the Mother of God. If that doesn't give someone the right to call in a few favours I don't know what does."

Mark looked taken aback. "Did he just call you the Mother of God?"

Alessa sighed. "Yes but I don't want to be as it will mean the whole world will burn. It's a long story."

The shadow piped up, "I'll say. I want you to meet someone. He will put you on the right path. Just because you read a couple of books you shouldn't assume you know everything about what's going on here. I know it doesn't make sense now but trust me you need to see him." The shadow finished the last symbol and stood back for a second to admire his handiwork. The sound of boots slowly thumping down the corridor could be heard. The shadow looked panicked. "Crap. What is that?"

"Monsters. There's three of them. One is on our side; I think. The one you can hear isn't. It's one of the two chasing us."

"Well that's just great. I'll open the gate for you but after that you're on your own. Head for the hospital. That's where your answers lie."

"Thanks shadow kid."

"Don't mention it." He used the lighter to burn the inner ring of symbols. The inner circle started to twist and a hole opened up in the wall as if it had been hidden away the whole time. "There's a network of tunnels in there so you may want to watch out for more of the worms. The man you need to meet has started a blue fire so follow that. There should be a gate very close to the hospital. Now get out of here before…"

The room shook as a huge roar sounded. Mark grabbed Alessa and bundled her into the tunnel.

"Don't look back just go." Mark looked back to see Mr Gordon's body burst into flame lighting up the room and revealing the shadow running into a corner and fading into the darkness. A large grey lizard the size of a small bus slowly made its way towards them. "Holy shit. Alessa move as fast as you can."

Alessa sped up just as Mark dived in behind her. The shadow looked back and forth between the dragon and the gate. "Aww crap." He ran over and blew out some of the symbols, breaking the circle and closing the gate behind them. With his job done the shadow shrank back into the corner. He was curious to see just what was big enough to decide to willingly wake the dragon.

The two pyramid head monsters clomped down the stairs. Whatever they were being urged to do it obviously had to do with the destruction of that girl as the impulse was completely overwhelming. When they saw her they could think of nothing else. McCaw spoke to Durant now the madness was over.

"What the hell was that?"

"The monster that threw you like a pebble or what we just did?"


"The monster is an unwilling servant of the demon. His name is Valtiel."

"My heart bleeds. Well…you know what I mean. What was the other thing then?"

"What we just experienced was God's will imposing itself on us. In other wards demonic mind control."

"So how do we stop it?"

"You can't. We're slaves to Samael's will now just like Valtiel. Get used to it."

"Valtiel was working against us. Why would a God have conflicting objectives? Perhaps he isn’t the slave you think him to be. Why don't we ask him his secret?"

"That's…not a bad idea actually. He did seem to be a bit less under the influence didn't he. What happened to him anyway?"

"He escaped through a hole that came out of nowhere. Thought he came down here. I was going to get some payback."

"Great he's going to be hard to find then. Best hold off with the payback thing. At least the girl is gone. I don't sense her anymore. Let's hope you're right and Valtiel is down here."

A roar shook the building causing the two to nearly lose their balance. John pointed down the stairs. "Look there's a light and I know I saw something moving down there."

Nathan stopped him from going down. "Ok yes there is something down there but you do remember that roaring right? Something tells me that Valtiel couldn't really manage that."

"Why not? I'm sure ol' Twitchy is plenty angry."

"True enough but having a mouth is normally a good start when you want to make a sound like that. My point is that it's probably not him and as you know we are not entirely indestructible so don't charge in."

A long tongue snaked its way up the stairs and wrapped around Nathans leg quickly dragging him down towards a terrible beast illuminated by the fire. Nathan tried cutting the beast but the wounds just healed as quickly as he made them. He shouted up the stairs.

"Forget what I said before. Charge in. CHARGE IN!" Nathan was flipped up in the air, his blade clattering to the floor. The dragon tried to eat him head first. Both he and the dragon got a painful experience out of it. Nathan's head felt like a cabbage in a washing machine. John charged in stabbing at the beast. It was temporarily stunned after bouncing off Nathan's helmet. The external wounds healed as before.

John called over to Nathan. "You ok man?"

The pyramid head on the ground lifted his head slightly to say

"I'm fine thank you Penelope. Let me know when the tea party starts. I want to get some cherry bakewells before they're all gone." His head hit the floor again with a CLUNK.

John sighed as he faced the beast. 'That's a good sign. Nathan has gone crazy and I'm stuck talking to myself. This day keeps getting better.' The dragon came at him, its jaws gaping vertically. It roared shaking the room and spraying blood over him. John was glad of the helmet as that blood didn't smell too great. It was then that he noticed the beast still bleeding from inner wounds. 'Aha. There's an idea.' Remembering what Durant said about being indestructible John backed towards the fire. The dragon seeing this as a sign of fear charged. John dodged to the side and heard a squeal and the sound of sizzling as the intimidating creature wrapped its huge maw around the burning corpse of Mr Gordon. A screeching yelp came from the creature and it ran to the other end of the room where it cowered from the sight of John.

John walked over to Nathan to help him up. Durant came round slowly. He sniffed as he lifted his blade off the ground.

"We won then. What on earth is that smell?"

"I won and that smell is victory."

"Victory smells like bacon does it?"

"Mine does."

"OK. Well thank you anyway for charging in."

"That's ok. You know its strange. It kinda reminds me of a dog I had once."

"You can't keep it!"

"Haha. I know. Right so where do we find this Valtiel because he's not here."

Nathan thought for a moment. "I have an idea but it will require a good bit of walking and you will have to be strong enough to ignore that constant calling in your head."

"Got you. Lead the way Nathan."

The two trudged back up the stairs. The fire died out as they did.

A small number of people gathered in the town hall of Shepherds Glen.

A woman with tied back blonde hair and a serious face looked again at the list.

"So it's agreed. In order to preserve our own future we must be totally cut off from the Order."

Adam Shepherd spoke.

"Yes Judge. The way I see it we have no choice. Think about it this way. What if one of the chosen is kidnapped by accident when the time comes? Then our town is doomed to suffer the wrath of the Red God just the same as anyone else."

"You have a point." Judge Holloway replied.

A skinny man with glasses chipped in. "How do we even know it's the Order?"

Mayor Bartlett cut him short.

"Of course it's the Order. Do you think actual human traffickers would survive long enough to carry out their trade in that region? You know what happens to sinners in these parts. I say we carry on as normal, deal with any Order related problems with extreme force and keep all children out of Silent Hill. Agreed?" He heard no arguments.

"Right. Next point on the agenda. Renovation and restoration of the Town Hall and the underlying Sewer structures."

Cybil didn't know what to do. Her mind was screaming at her to run but her body just wouldn't obey. How could it? This was her baby sister. True she was a knife wielding maniac at present but that didn't change the fact. She had known she was being trailed a while ago. Her sister was quiet alright but Cybil wasn't deaf and the forest was a lot less noisy than usual. A fog had rolled down from the surrounding hills to smother the valley below. It was so thick that it was almost claustrophobic. When Cybil turned to confront her stalker the only thing apart from barely recognising her sister was to notice the dagger she carried in front of her as if she were physically cutting a path through the fog.

"Nichola. Honey it's me. Cybil. Where have you been? What have they done to you?"

The ragged Nichola stared at Cybil for a long time. She didn't recognise the name but there was something familiar about the lady in front of her. She noticed Cybil's hair and got excited.

"The Sun. You have my Sun! Give it back. It's not yours."

Cybil's heart shrank. "What do you mean? It's foggy. Do you want a light? Come on sis please remember."

Nichola didn't seem to respond properly any more. Cybil knew she had to get her back to Brahms safely. Nichola needed the kind of help only a professional could provide. She holstered her gun and handed Nichola her torch. Nichola looked at her as if she were stupid.

"No. That's a light. I want my Sun. You have it and I'm taking it back." In the blink of an eye Nichola knocked Cybil out with the torch. Her adrenaline levels were going crazy and the whole forest seemed alive in that moment. Cybil went down hard. Nichola poked her gently in the leg with her dagger just to make sure that she wasn't getting up again anytime soon. When she got no response she sat down on the hard forest floor and put Cybil's head in her lap. She started to stroke her sisters bright blonde hair.

"My Sun. Finally I can get my Sun back." She quickly cut a lock of hair and began fastidiously tying it to her own tatty locks. "You will never leave me again. My beautiful, beautiful sunshine." She began singing "You are my Sunshine." Her fingers brushed against Cybils badge and a moment of recognition flashed across her mind. One of her and her sister playing cops and robbers in their back garden. She looked down at her sister and started to realise what she had done.

"Silly Cybbie? Oh no. What did I do? Help. Someone help me."

A twig cracked behind her. She spun her head to see Carl standing over her. "What the hell is this Nichola?"

"It was an accident." She was starting to fret. "Help me please."

Carl put his hand on her shoulder. "It's ok. Help me get her to the pickup. I'll fix all of this."

Nichola was only too happy to help. The two headed back towards the road quickly. It wasn't long before they reached the truck parked at an observation point. Carl looked around nervously. He scanned the grubby mess of a girl in front of him.

"You need to wash. Use those toilets. The hospital will start to ask the wrong kind of questions if they see you like that."

Panicked and stressed Nichola didn't question the order. She ran the taps for a while and looked at herself in the mirror. She remembered being much prettier. "Have I really changed that much? It's going to be ok now. I have Cybbie back. She will know what to do. Everything is going to be better now."

The sound of a click drew her attention to Carl standing behind her with her sister's gun. "You couldn't be more right baby." He didn't even blink as he fired a round, hitting her right between the eyes. He holstered Cybil's gun and threw Nichola over his shoulder. He dumped the body unceremoniously in the back and pulled the cover over both of them. Suddenly he heard a groan from under the tarp. Carl panicked 'Shit that bitch isn't dead.' He pulled the cover back to see Cybil starting to move. He quickly grabbed her head and twisted until he heard a loud crack. After finding no signs of a pulse he relaxed, secured the tarp and got back in the pickup. The truck took a bit of convincing to start but eventually got going. Carl drove quickly towards the docks. After today who was going to notice another couple of bodies in the lake.

The sound of muffled chains clinking woke Cybil from what seemed like a long slumber. Her neck was killing her. She slowly looked around to see a field of cages being held to the ground by chains. Nothing about this was right. She was underwater and not drowning. Not to mention the cages were floating. 'What's going on here?' She heard a sobbing not far from where she was. It was Nichola.

"I'm so sorry Cybbie. I got us killed."

"I don't believe that for a sec…" Her sentence was cut short when she saw the bullet hole in Nichola's forehead. "Do you know what happened?"

Nichola hung her head. "Carl."

Cybil bashed a gloved fist against the cage. "That bastard! I knew he couldn't be trusted. Did he tell you to do this?"

Nichola shook her head. "No. I got confused and hurt you. He was going to take us to the hospital and make it all better. He told me to go wash up first then BANG. I woke up here. I'm so so sorry."

Cybil tried to keep calm. "It's not your fault. Do you remember what we called each other when we were kids?"

Nichola nodded. I was tricky Nickky and you were silly Cybbie."

Cybil smiled. "That's right Tricky Nickky because you were always so smart. How did they trick you?"

Nichola's face was like a stone. "They didn't ask nicely and they weren't nice no not nice at all. I remember what happened what they did but I tricked them. That's what I did. You can't hurt a stone and that what I turned into. A quiet cowering little stone. Only I pretended so hard I forgot so much stuff."

"That was trauma. Your mind couldn't cope. Poor Nickky."

"Poor you too. You're just as dead as I am."

"Yeah. Not thrilled about that to be honest."

"Who would be?" A gruff voice called from a few cages over.

"I don't think anyone wants to be here. It's this place. No matter how or why it finds a way to lure people here. People who have something it wants." Nichola said vacantly.

Cybil was puzzled. "Silent Hill? Sure it has its share of problems and crazies but at the end of the day it's just a small tourist town."

Nichola shook her head. "No that's what the paint of the town shows. You have to dig deeper. It has been sleeping for a while but the town is waking up again."

The gruff voice called out again. "It's hungry again. That's why its waking up."

Cybil shouted back. "How do you know what it wants?"

The voice sighed. "Well I haven't been down here long but if you stop talking a while you can hear the others telling their stories about the place. Look at the ground." Cybil did so. "See that? Apparently that line is something to do with a spell that we are a part of. A spell to free…"

"SILENCE!" The voice rang out from across the field.

"Oh hell fire. It's a keeper." He whispered. It was clear the man was shuddering.

A beautiful woman came into view. She was dressed in a flowing white robe that almost glowed down in the gloom and left nothing to the imagination. Her black, shoulder length hair tousled gently as she moved. The only odd thing of note that Cybil could see was a large leather gauntlet with a red symbol on her right arm. She did not look like much but the tone in the man's voice told her to tred lightly.

"Who are you?" Cybil called down to her. The woman looked up with black souless eyes that sent a deep fear into Cybil's heart.

Nichola didn't like her. "Make her stop looking. Tu fui Ego Eris. Tu fui EGO ERIS!"

That got the woman in white's full attention. She called over to them with a sweet voice that sounded as if she were half talking half singing. "Ahh sisters is it? I am Sabriel the keeper of this field. I would know where the broken one learned that magic from."

Cybil sensed that they would suffer greatly if they put a foot wrong here. "Nickky answer the nice lady."

"She's not nice. She stole a piece of someone to make that dress. She did. Her name isn't Sabriel either. Names mean power and demons don't give them away. No they don't." That seemed to be the wrong thing to say. The woman known as Sabriel grinned then lined the glove up with Nichola's cage and tightened her grip. The cage got smaller and smaller.

"Ahh it hurts. Why does it hurt? I'm dead. I been good."

"Fool child. Death is only the beginning. The only release here is rebirth. In this realm you will find false hope, justice and pain. Can you guess what my specialty is?"

Nichola's eyes widened. "I'll be good."

A spark flashed in Sabriel's eyes. "Oh I know you will." The grip relaxed. "Now where did you hear that spell?"

"Story time in the round tower. They fed us many stories to push our memories out."

The grip tightened. "Lies I know who comes down here. I know what magic we gave to those in power. That is a forbidden spell. Now where did you find it?"

"Ouch. An Indian gave it to me. I met him fishing at the lake side. It was my rebirthday at the mother stone. He gave me the story book as a present but said not to tell."

Sabriel smirked. "I'm surprised that husk is still walking. He shall be dealt with then." She whistled and a strange creature that looked like a mix between a skinned penguin and a manta ray rose up from its hiding place on the lakebed to perch on Sabriel's gauntlet. She petted it under its fleshy beak and sent it on its way. It glided gracefully through the water until it broke the surface and took to the air with a screech.

Sabriel turned to Nichola. "Now little one. Since you were so good I will give you one wish."

Nichola thought good and hard. "Let Cybil go. She shouldn't be here."

"Awfully noble of you dear. You sure you don't want to save yourself?"

Cybil shouted over. "No. What are you doing Nickky? This isn't a game."

Nichola remained resolute. "Hush silly Cybbie. There's things I know that you don't. I will be ok."

At that moment Cybil didn't know what to think. Nichola was smart and seemed to be totally convinced that she knew what she was doing. There was still a bad feeling in Cybil's gut. Sabriel picked up on the exchange.

"Looks like your sister is a bit ungrateful Nichola. I'm debating whether she deserves your love. As for you tricky Nickky I will grant your wish but remember what I said about false hope." With that she made a chopping motion and Cybil's cage sliced open at the top. "If you can reach the shore up there then you get your life back."

Cybil was still cynical about the whole deal. "What's the catch?"

Sabriel smiled menacingly. "Good word choice. The catch is that you will be pursued by one of my pets. You should also try to avoid cross currents as they will play havoc with your mind. Other then that anything goes."

Cybil turned to face Nichola. "I don't want to leave you. I don't care what I have to do I'm getting you out of this place. Be careful. I love you tricky Nickky."

"Don't worry sis. I will be ok. You will see."

Sabriel grew impatient. "Enough of the pleasantries. Seeing as I am in a sporting mood I will give you a head start. Better make it count."

Cybil didn't need to be told twice. She squatted down to the bottom of the cage and forced her way out like a torpedo, leaving her empty cage to drift. She stole a quick glance down at the field. There were thousands of cages swaying in the water and very few were empty ones. She could see the glow of the keepers as they walked. The wide paths formed lines of a strange symbol she had never seen before but knew it was important. A movement on the lakebed floor drew her attention and she knew her head start was over. A high pitched screeching behind her only confirmed the fact.

Cybil knew that she wasn't the strongest swimmer so she didn't know how she was going to manage this. She pumped her arms in strong strokes and kicked her back legs as hard as she could. The screeching was getting closer. Sooner or later she would have to deal with this thing. Suddenly she started to move faster. Bubbles swirled all about her. She was caught in a current and swore she could hear voices as the bubbles swirled about her. Her limbs flailed everywhere. Any chance of swimming properly was out of the question so long as she was caught in this thing. The creature snarled. It was getting close.

The current changed direction and suddenly she was rushing upwards. 'I'm going to make it. I'm going to…' Something dragged at her, pulling her down. She peered into the murky water below. There was nothing there. She realised it was probably the cross currents keeping her there. There was something she had to remember about a field but it came and went in her head. She realised that her memories were fading. She started to struggle out of the pull and swam for her life.

A fleshy form that had chosen the wrong moment to strike slipped by her. She grabbed onto the tail and was hauled up out of the lake at a break-neck speed. The creature gave an angry cry as it dived back under. She still had to reach the shore. She was breathing hard. Come to think of it she was breathing again and the need to do so was almost killing her. She couldn't remember how she had got to the lake but she was seeing monsters and freaking out. The shape of the horror sprang out of the lake and wheeled about to dive bomb her, dragging her back under in the process. A glint of light flashed in the darkness and an arrow pierced the creatures head. It went down with a painful cry followed by a hiss when it hit the water. Cybil didn't wait for another one to show up. She swam for the shore and swam hard.

When she pulled herself up onto the beach she lay on her back raking in air as if she hadn't done so in ages. A shadow fell across her and she looked up to see an old Indian man with a bear skin jacket and blue jeans. He was holding a bow and had a broad grin brightening up his face.

"You almost didn't make it little soul. That demon must really not have liked you."

"You know what happened?" Cybil said in disbelief.

"You aren't the first one to do that and you probably won't be the last. You are the luckiest one I've seen so far. I will give you that."

Cybil thought hard for a second. "They have my sister. Those monsters have my sister."

The man nodded. "They do and they will keep her for a while until the time comes. The right time."

Despair started to set in. "When is the right time? I only accepted the challenge because I was sure she would break free herself."

The man put his hands up in a calming gesture. "She will. Just not yet. The demon never expects to lose. What is your name?"

"Cybil and yours?"

"Chief Black Bear. Come we need to talk. I have gas for your motorcycle and a favour to ask."

Cybil started to become wary again. "What sort of favour?"

"There is more than one force at work in this place. You have seen the bad. I wish you to be a force for good. Do this favour for me and I will help you get your sister back. Until the time comes however I want you to go back to Brahms and carry on as normal. Say nothing of what has gone on here. Say there was nothing to be found."


"It is important the demon doesn't suspect anything. This is not the sort of game for the impatient. Rash moves are ill advised as it raises the stakes and not in a good way. You will return here seven years to this day. A man will come in a red jeep with a small girl. The girl will be seven with short black hair. She may not look much but she is a chance for the true salvation of this land and the riddance of the demon currently in control."

Cybil interrupted. "So I protect the girl and bring her to you?"

The man shook his head. "This is the sort of rash action I was talking about. No it is the man I want you to protect. He is the one with the power to influence the Mother of God. I want you to do everything in your power to help him."

"Ok but I still don't understand everything going on here."

"Come on. I will explain more in a while. You need to eat and rest. Once I have explained everything you will see why this needs to be kept a secret. It cannot reach the ears of those that it is not intended for." The two continued along the shoreline in silence. The moon bounced off the lake making it seem like a giant mirror. A breeze playfully glided over the water and with it came the faint sound of chains clinking.

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