CODEX Part 4: Among the Living

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No More Restraints

Eneizar had never imagined that Zoe will ever leave her apartment and go as far as she could. Even after Ezekiel died, the blond demon believed that she will actually lock herself in her room and continue living like a hermit. But that didn't happen and when the news of her departure reached him, Eneizar remained dumbfounded.
"What are you doing?"
It was Gakhas that found him staring at the throne room in Lucifer's mansion. It was a few days after the war had stopped and he couldn't find himself pass and not remember what happened in there.
"Are you even aware of what's been going on above?" Gakhas asked with a raised eyebrow. "She's gone. She left for the USA."
"What do you mean?"
"She took the airplane and left London. Should I explain it in an even simpler way? She walked to a cab, got into it and then waited until she arrived at the airport. Next, she bought a ticket and-"
"That's not what I mean. Why did she leave? What about her apartment?"
"She left everything to Iaosur and Ezekiel's friend, Chen. I have to say I didn't think she'd run away, I hoped she would actually take responsibility. It all happened because of her." Gakhas commented, which only made Eneizar throw him a bored look.
"This whole fiasco has let both Hell and the Upper side with scars. One tremor is enough to bring a real earthquake." Eneizar muttered to himself, turning to look at Lucifer's throne. "Without him here, I wonder how bad it will be."
"You forget that Zoe has the serpent now. She doesn't even imagine just how much power she has in those little palms of hers." Gakhas said and placed a hand on Eneizar's shoulder. "We both know Mehrdir won't do shit, so it's down to you to keep an eye on the Vatican."
"They don't know her identity."
"They will. I already saw low demons crawling their way up through the cracks. Do you really think that priests won't find it weird? From one demonic possession in a year to five in a month?"
Eneizar knew that Gakhas, although lazy and a general prick, was a wise and cunning demon.
That was how he ended up in this mess. With Zoe out into the world, it was just a matter of months since The Holy Brotherhood would catch her trail. He could sense the drive to kill in Bart and he was aware he was a great catch for an exorcist.
But Eneizar was never fully prepared to play victim. He was in a deplorable state and his shell was breaking under the pressure of the divinity. He was kept prisoner in an old crypt and it smelled, it was damp and he couldn't hear anything that could help him realize where he is.
"Well? Aren't you curious?" Bart asked as he approached the blond. "I told you I will find her and I did. I don't lie or deceive like your kind."
For Eneizar, the fact that Bart believed all demons to be the same was good.
"And now what? You're going to kill an innocent human?" Eneizar asked looking up at the priest with death in his eyes. "How very holy of you."
"Innocent? The commander is a curse brought upon us by Beelzebub! He planted his seed into that woman all these years ago and now he believes he has the right to randomly choose his next 'child'. That is atrocious!" Bart said growing angry at the thought. "He should have stopped with that one mistake. But no, he really thinks he is stronger than the church."
"The church took an innocent little girl and tortured her for days. When she died, she didn't even fall to Hell. But I have to say I might have seen one of the priests eating shit down there with fellow traitors and sinners." Eneizar replied with a cocky smirk.
"Aren't you so brave? But I have to admit, it is odd to see a demon who prefers to be kept prisoner rather than make a deal."
"Why? Is that what you want?" Eneizar asked in his devilish voice. "What is it that you desire with your whole being, priest?"
Bartholomew only needed a minute before he gave his final answer.
"I want the commander. Maybe I won't kill her but I will make great use of her." He said and chuckled at the glaring demon. "I cannot wait to meet this Zoe Lestrade."

Back in New York, Zoe was barely able to stand. The mirrors shattered and yet none touched her but the demon inside was struggling with so much desire to break free that Zoe was in and out of consciousness.
"Really," the voice of Gakhas broke the silence. "Where the heck is he?"
The answer came a few seconds later when Mehrdir rushed inside with a worried look.
"You're late."
Mehrdir didn't bother with Gakhas. He went straight to his mate and grabbed her face. Zoe growled loudly as her eyes were almost black. He could see that she was holding on but it was growing harder to keep herself awake.
"It's alright, Zoe. I'm here, it's alright. You can let go and I will take care of everything. Just relax." He whispered as he caressed her hair softly. He wrapped his hands around her when he felt that she heard him and he prepared for what was to come.
Caleb was by the curtain that led into the mirror room. His intention was to help but he suddenly felt this amazing fear creep up his spine. He froze in his spot as the whole atmosphere changed. It was incredibly silent until he heard a low and guttural moan.
Zoe's body became still and Mehrdir took a deep breath. When he exhaled, Zoe's eyes were completely black without the little orange circle that reminded of Beelzebub. He used all his strength to keep her from running. She was squirming and scratching and pushing to the point that Caleb actually felt endangered. Even Gakhas had to intervene in order to keep Zoe in place.
"What happens if she breaks free?" Caleb asked nobody in particular.
"You're dead." Was the answer that he did not want to hear. "The last time she went all demonic she broke Lucifer's house, killed a creature that's almost impossible to kill and sent Lucifer himself into the Void. So, it's best not to have her go crazy around humans." Elijah continued as he watched the situation unfold.
"Will they be able to contain her?" Caleb asked both curious and afraid for his life.
"Of course. If not, Beelzebub would have already arrived. But something must have triggered this reaction. Zoe is usually good at handling her anger." Mepalham replied this time as he appeared on Caleb's other side.
Between the two troublemakers from Hell, Caleb was like a little child gawking at how two strong demons were fighting to keep death in place.

Zoe did not calm down easily. Mehrdir had to cut his mark and hers in order to subside the pressure. She fell asleep in the end and both the greed and the sloth demons were tired and looked messy.
"I'm sure you know this already, but she was doing fine until you came." Gakhas said in a tone that obviously attacked Mehrdir. "We both know Lucifer did something. And just so you know, there are several cults that are working on connecting with that weirdo."
Caleb glanced between the dark haired gloomy Mehrdir and the shady, short Gakhas who had different colored eyes and was dressed like he could be hiding some drugs in those deep pockets.
"So, there really are people who want to kill Zoe?"
"Yes, of course. It's called the church. They would do anything to annihilate any remnant of Hell. But the cults I'm speaking of are...different. They have such deep rooted beliefs in witchcraft and Satanism but they don't belong to either. They are dangerous especially because they take influence from others and act according to their own made-up rules." Gakhas added, his eyes narrowing at his own explanation.
"And what is their purpose? They must want some sort of result, right?"
Gakhas turned to Mehrdir with a knowing look.
"Whoever created the idea that you can become immortal if you ask a Hell Prince nicely should be punched in the gut."
Nobody said anything and Mehrdir continued to carry Zoe on his back as if she weighted nothing. Mepalham and Elijah were walking behind like guards.
"She was seen. They know she's here." Elijah muttered, careful not to be heard by Mehrdir. "The Vatican will send a group to kill her, or in the best case scenario, capture her."
"Good. If they all gang up on her, she will finally wake up and realize that taking responsibility of her title doesn't just benefit Hell but everyone."

Mehrdir led Caleb and the rest of the demons to Zoe's apartment. The door was unlocked and they were lucky not to meet any of the neighbors or else they would have looked incredibly suspicious. Zoe was still unconscious on his back when they all entered and Caleb was afraid that suddenly she will wake up and react violently once more. Nothing happened, of course. Mehrdir placed her on her bed and covered her with care before he turned to Caleb who was watching.
"Wasn't this whole place covered in blood?" Caleb asked pointing around. "Who cleaned it up?"
"I did." Mehrdir replied approaching Caleb with feline movements. "Can you really sleep in the same room as her? What if she kills you?"
"Come on," Caleb started not taking Mehrdir seriously, "She wouldn't kill me...would she?" He asked remembering how her cold hand felt around his neck.
Mehrdir raised an eyebrow and walked past him and into the living room where the demons were either lying on her white couch or staring at the C and inverted I on the floor.
"Peculiar, isn't it? They could have done a lot of things in here but they chose to leave their mark and a dead puppy." Gakhas muttered thoughtfully. "What did Beelzebub say?"
"Nothing. He's not going to interfere in this problem."
"Of course not. It's not about Zoe, but about you." Mepalham commented. He leaned on his knees and looked carefully at the leftover mark. "They have been killing more and more lately. Did you stir them up?"
"No. I have never even thought about them after I died." Mehrdir replied with a glare. "I was busy enough with my own damnation. I don't know what caused this sudden return."
"Lucifer. Or maybe the war. There are a lot of reasons and for once, I don't think Zoe is one of them. But then again, you are her mate, aren't you Marcus?" Gakhas asked in his monotone voice but everyone heard the sarcasm.
"But why leave their signature? And how did they know where she lives? Why come to Zoe if they care more for Mehrdir?" Caleb asked all the good questions and he did make the others think.
"Is it possible that they want revenge? You went on and became immortal by yourself." Mepalham joked but Mehrdir wasn't amused. "Fine, fine. We can just ask them, can't we? I'm sure they will love it if a high level demon appears before them."
"You can do that. I won't." Elijah said as he got up. "I have better things to do, master to serve thanks to she who must not be awakened. Good luck, Caleb. Everything that Zoe touches, eventually dies." He said with a grimace and vanished in thin air.
"He isn't wrong." Mepalham commented just to make everything worse.

Kids are curious beings and they love doing particularly what they are told not to. It is a characteristic of the human being to play with powers that they cannot understand and usually end up making mistakes that haunt them forever.
"Are you sure we can do this?" A merely sixteen years old girl asked her friends as they advanced into what they believed to be a haunted house. "It's so dark and dusty." She added feeling a chill go down her spine.
It was silent but not in the usual home alone way. The sounds coming from the street such as car noises and people walking and talking were numbed as the house seemed to stretch as far as possible right before their eyes.
"Doesn't it seem like this corridor is getting longer?" A boy that was maybe seventeen asked, him being one of the brave ones that were walking in front.
They were six teenagers who found ghost stories and paranormal investigators to be fun. That led to their own little research about a house that was ready to be demolished in order to build a new apartment complex. It was their last chance to visit a haunted location and they prepared thoroughly.
"Alright, let's just see what's behind one of-"
"I just saw a shadow moving along the wall behind you." Interfered another boy. "It was like a mass in the form of a short person."
"Maybe it was a woman. Or a child. Give me the spirit box."
With the box turned on, all they could hear was the static. It was really loud but it did feel rather comforting seeing how they were all alone, in silence and in total darkness.
"Can you say something? Can you tell us your name?"
Nothing came through. Just static.
"Did you die in this house?" A girl asked.
Nothing came through except a sudden word that was just from a local radio frequency. They kept asking for half an hour when they decided to get out another device that could help them communicate.
"Alright, everyone let's move into a circle. Ok. So, spirits that have been locked inside this house, this board here lets us lend you energy so that you can speak with us." He said and signed for everyone to get into position. One of the girls jolted out of nowhere.
"I swear something touched my arm." She muttered.
"Good. Ok. Hands on the planchette and let's welcome among us the spirit that wants to speak."
"This is weird and stupid." The same girl who jolted added with a roll of her eyes. "You better don't move this planchette."
They stayed in silence for a few moments, waiting for something to happen.
"Do you think they got bored and left?" One of the guys asked.
At that moment, the planchette moved towards the answer NO.
"How many are you in this house?"
The planchette moved on a number: 10. Many boys chuckled at how loud the girls gasped.
"Did you all die in here?"
The answer was: NO.
"Are you human?"
The answer was the change in the atmosphere. The silence became suffocating and they all got goosebumps.
"Do you have a message for us?"
Their eyes followed the planchette as it moved around the board quicker and quicker. The final answer let them all speechless.
"This is bullshit," One of the boys said and took his hand off the board. He got up and he suddenly felt nauseous. "I think I'm gonna throw up."
He did. He vomited blood and fell on his knees. The boy wouldn't stop throwing up, to the point other things came out except gastric juice and food. The other kids just watched in horror as their friend cried and tried to speak but in the end, he died.
"I'm out of here, man!"
They hurried towards the front entrance but they just couldn't find it anymore. Some girls opened doors randomly and entered rooms and halls that were even darker. Some of the boys were screaming for the others to make sure they were alive and nearby. What started as pure curiosity transformed into a horror story. Panic spread like wildfire and although nobody touched them, they were all freaking out. One after another, the voices dimmed and the running stopped. But that was not the scariest element. Worst of all was that they all died and the cause was not paranormal. When all the teenagers were murdered in cold blood, a very elegant person bent and carefully cleaned the Ouija board and the spirit box left behind.
"Each soul, young and old, shall benefit the cause. For a new day, for a new morning. A star will shine and lead us towards the ending of all endings." A feminine voice spoke as she walked towards the deepest of the rooms. "And when Heaven closes and Hell rises/There will be no more restraints/ For the power of the endless knot fades/ And the eyes of the bee shift/ Not even the Shehereyocht can stop/ The creature of the mist."
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