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In a flash she was gone. I looked around and realized I didn’t want to be here alone. It felt empty. In quick steps I followed out the door, hoping I hadn’t already lost her trail. If there was some kind of hit team about to descend on this place, I didn’t want to be here.

“Hey, wait up! Sam?” I questioned her where-a-bouts, as I following her outside and instantly noticing so many weird things about this place. She called behind herself, standing near the trailers hedge.

“Keep up and shut up. It’s only chance you have.” Sam said, quickly running up and hopping in a car.

“So this is Purgatory?” I asked, quickly climbing in the passenger’s side. I noticed she didn’t even use her seat belt before starting the car.

“Yes, the devil’s hunting grounds. Hell’s a lot lower and a lot hotter, trust me.” Sam said, quickly started the electric car and placing it in gear. There was no real noise to this vehicle as we slowly moved out onto the street.

“This will get us there a lot quicker, I told her.

“So, you’d think...” Sam said, almost knowing something here was amiss.

The statement had made absolutely no sense. He just looked at her weirdly as she pressed the gas pedal and the car moved quicker. Jack began to tossing a great battle in his head, not able to draw a single worthwhile answer to all the questions that surrounded him at this moment.

“This place is so weird...” Jack stated, looking about.

The houses and trailers all seemed to blend into a deep blackish shade. There were no colors here, everything was either black or grayish shadows or tinted a crimson red. There wasn’t what he concerned as clouds in the red tinted sky, just a mesh of smoke that swirled above them as far as the eye could see.

“Where’s the sun?” Jack asked. The red tint dominated everything, green, blue, all were tinted a reddish color.

“I explained that.” Sam told him again, her head swiveled at all angles around them.

“Okay, yeah. I remember,”

“Jack, I really need you to shut up right now.” Sam stated almost in a panic.

“Okay,” Jack said, seeing her becoming really stressed.

“Good answer. Also, remember this, no loud talking is EVER allowed while you’re with me,” Sam said.

“Why?” Jack asked.

“The demons. They, the last two, they can track ‘sound’. So please no talking or sounds of any kind, especially if you see one. Also, stay away from light switches. The darker it is the better chance we’ll have. Here, ‘darkness’ is our only friend.” Sam quietly spewed the no-no’s of this place as a rather loud dinging sound began somewhere in the car.

“What the hell?” Jack stated.

“Oh crap! How stupid of me! Bail… Now!”

“Bail?” Jack said, noticing she had not even slowed the car down and had already opened her own door. Was she actually going to jump?

It was a move faster than he could have anticipated, and she was already gone. The car was moving about twenty miles an hour, still on a roll under momentum. He had only two choices grab the wheel or bail himself. He decided to bail,

“Oh crap,” Jack said opening the door and throwing himself out onto the concrete. It was a single roll that seemed to allow him to stand upright as the car rolled on.

He quickly spotted Sam running between two houses. They’d only made it a few blocks. He’d gotten distracted from between the distance they’d come, the rolling car and Sam, who was quickly disappearing out of sight. Mentally, he let go of the cars self movement.

In that quick decision, he followed Sam’s lead. Stepping up his pace he sought after her. She had already again disappeared as he entered between the two houses, his eyes searching for her movements ahead, but there was nothing.

“Aw Crap,” Jack stated wondering in which direction she had headed.

“Jack. Over here,” Sam’s voice almost spoke in a whisper.

“Thank-you god,” Jack stated, rushing to her.

She was huddled down beside the house, almost hiding in the shrubbery, motioning for him to join her. In a few steps he quickly joined her.

“I didn’t see anything? You sure we’re being followed?” Jack asked, looking back for movement of anyone behind them.

“Positive.” Sam stated. “Hush.”

He knew she was right, he just didn’t see any movement while running from the car.

“Where?” Jack asked in a whisper.

“you need proof?” Sam asked.

“...help me understand,” Jack spoke softly.

“you want understand what you’re up against.” She said quietly. “Here, switch places... slowly and quietly.”

In a very slow movements the two of them traded places. Jack took notice of a few things in the transaction. There was no smell to this woman. He knew his nose should be working just fine, but there was no smell. In fact, there was no smell at all, to anything. Was this an effect of his dream state? Trying to sniff in everything, to get a whiff of something he couldn’t smell anything, not even himself. Now having traded places, he just looked at her weirdly.

“What?” Sam asked, noting a mental concern on his face.

“I can’t smell anything.” Jack stated quietly to her.

“There’s a reason. I'll explain later, for now, look closely around the corner,” Sam offered.

Jack agreed to follow her instructions. Doing so, he looked over three empty yards each with one or two small tree’s in them... nothing.

“Look for a mist, darker than a normal shadow. It will be slowly moving, like a ground fog.” Sam instructed.

“I’m looking for ‘fog’?”

“Serious, just watch, you’ll spot it.” Sam stated.

It took almost fifteen seconds before Jack caught onto just what he was supposed to be watching, but then, he saw the movement. It was kind of a shadowy figure, that was but wasn’t there. It was hard to make out what he was looking at. He studied it, but sure enough, he watched it slowly moving. It seemed to almost drift like a low cloud, but it had form. Jack blinked his eyes trying to pin down exactly what he was seeing, an animal. Dog? No. Bigger. Wolf, not skinny enough. Bear? Not shaped right for that either.

“What, is that a mist demon?” Jack asked in a whisper.

“I’m almost surprised you can notice them. It takes concentration to spot them. Yes, that’s a mist demon. There’s about twenty of those types around here and there all searching for us.” Sam informed him.

“Hold up.” Jack asked now totally confused, “you got to explain some of this shit to me before we go any farther. Sam, I got a million questions, and I need some answers, soon.

“The only things you need to do is trust me, stay close and do what I tell you.” Sam almost quietly spat at him.

“I need some answers...” Jack admitted openly, still eyeing the mist that groped slowly, unaware of them. It almost acted as if it was looking for something.

“Okay, here’s something for you to digest. Where’s your heartbeat, or your breath?” Sam said, again wanting to switch places with him.

His heartbeat?

Jack remembered thinking as they switched positions. She was right. As freaked out as he was, his heart should have been beating in his ears. But, there was nothing! He felt for his pulse in his wrist. Nothing. He felt his neck, and again nothing. It was then an emotion finally caught up with him. Fear!

“I’m… oh, this is just so weird.” Jack stated out loud.

“Now, I want you to repeat what I tell you.” Sam again pointed a finger at him, “I am truly dead. Say it.”

“I am truly dead…”

“Now say, 'and this is Purgatory' ." Sam instructed.

“And..this is…” Jack continued to conclude. Sam quietly helped him mimic the last word. “Purgatory...” Jack said, wrenching it from his voice box.

“See, what you don’t realize is, you are only holding onto the ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ of what living was...”

“And those things are?” Jack asked, as he trying to suppress a reflex to hyperventilate, or throw-up? He couldn't do either, why?

“Oh, they’re the ‘real deal’… Hell hounds, also know as Demons. Their goal is to devour you’re essence and start you on the lowest plain that they exist. Demons can only gain substance if they can feed on a lost soul.” Sam said.

“Sounds like you’ve been here before?” Jack said.

“Yes, I think... I’m fairly sure I have... A lot of times, now that I think about it. Though, every other time before this, was somewhat different... I think,” Sam admitted.

“Those demons, how are we going to stay clear from all of them? There’s got to be some type of ‘restriction’ about them… right?” He asked praying she’d say yes,

"There are...

“You telling me I’m dead, but that my souls alive...” Jack asked as she looked about.

“Like I said, this body’s dead, this bodies soul, I don’t know... Your body, I don’t know, your soul, is here.. Be quiet now... please.” Sam said getting highly pissed.

“Your pretty when your mad,” Jack remarked.

“Please, don’t turn into an asshole…” Sam said watching the ghostly fog form slowly moving away from them. ‘is he trying to get us killed?’

“Ouch... you cussed? Don’t you think your hitting a little below the belt for an angel?” Jack queried, watching her face get contorted.

She turned and looked at him, he was ‘somehow’ getting under her skin, and that wasn’t suppose to be possible! ‘What caused her to say that cuss word? She didn’t even know it was in her vocabulary!’

“Guardian, not an angel, would you ‘please’ just shut up?” Sam asked again.

“Really? Well, I heard it’s not all about the works of your life, So...”

“Just shut up!...” Sam spoke out. ’Where did that come from? Was that, anger? I can feel that. It should be impossible’ So ‘frustrated’ at this man’, she still slowly watched everything around them, surprisingly... nothing around them moved. Was the area clear?

“Yeah, you might be pretty. Got a pretty smile on that mouth too, but cussing, it don’t suit you..” Jack said in a snicker.

“I’ll kiss you... just before I feed you to those things.” Sam said quietly in an almost irate voice. ’Why did she just say that? This is the worst area to be talking… And this fool will not shut up!,

“We’re headed to a church, kiss me when we get there alright...” Jack just couldn’t seem to curb his own mouth. He had ‘no idea’ where this talk was coming from. Hell, he could see she was ‘trying’ to save his soul. The words he spoke weren’t coming out of his head... It was like his mouth was on auto pilot!

“I didn’t say that.” Jack stated,

“Yes, yes you did.” Sam was so angry.

“No, I didn’t... It wasn’t me... I don’t even like you.” Jack finally stated true words.

“Wasn’t you...? It’s a part of this stupid test... UGH!” Sam stated in realization. “We need to get to the church.”

“Yes, the church...” Jack said, glad ‘that’ had come out right.

“That way.” Sam pointed it’s direction. But it wasn’t the way they were heading.

“Then, why aren’t we heading the other way?” Jack asked, slightly confused.

“You ever heard the saying ‘things happen in threes’?” Sam stated openly.

“Yeah, I guess so?” Jack nodded.

“It’s a cosmic joke, but there’s a whole lot more to it than you’d expect…” Sam acknowledged.

“Like, three strikes and your out?” Jack quipped with a smile.

’I’m going to knock him out… oh, that smug smile he has on his face... Why was his ‘smile’ bothering me... That wasn’t even really his face! Where were these ‘feelings’ coming from?

Anyway, there are still two more lost souls near here.” Sam announced.

“Like, me and you?” He kept the smile going.

“Yes, no... yes. Each with a guardian, like I am to you.” Sam pointed out, trying to keep her words straight.

“Explain that ‘yes, no, yes’ thing...” Jack stated, as the words just seemed to fly out of his mouth... “Sorry...”

“...there are three lost souls on this plain. And there are three good spirits trying wipe away their black marks by getting miss guided souls to the church. Plus, there’s a whole ‘crap load’ of demons here to make sure that don’t happen. You keep talking, and you’ll be helping them. Understand?” Sam pointed out. ‘I have to ignore his talk...’

“Okay, I’ll keep the talk to a minimum… for that kiss.” Jack wanted to stuff those words back down his own throat.. “I’m sorry. Can’t believe I said that...”

“It’s okay, it makes sense now.” Sam seemed to understand.

“No it don’t.. Why would I say something like that?” Jack required an explanation for these ‘stupid’ outbursts.

“It’s not you, it’s Fred.” Sam smiled.


“Don’t worry Jack...” She actually leaned into him and squarely kissed him on the mouth. Supposedly, this would mean nothing to her... But WHY would she do this in the first place? What made that action just happen? She stared at him with a smile. “That should shut him up,” Sam said.

Jack realized there ‘must have’ been a reason she’d done that.

“We’re really in purgatory, aren’t we?” Jack asked.

“In every way..” Sam said, looking the other way. Visibly, she was ‘hurt’. The words had stung somewhere deep inside. The ‘kiss’ had put that ill voice coming out of jack, back in it’s box. She had turned her face away so he couldn’t see a reaction, if there was one to see.

“The saying best explains it.” Sam spoke softly, still looking all about their hidden position.

“What saying is that?” Jack asked, surprised she actually just kissed him.

“When the devil shuts the gate, god opens a secret passage in the hedge.” Sam said.

“So, what you’re saying is that there’s a way out of this.”

“There’s always a way... Most people just don’t stop long enough for it to present itself... Bottom line. IF we make it... his soul gets to go back to the loving grace of God.” Sam said adding, “However in your case, I’d ‘think’ you’d go back to your body.”

“But… I believe in god already, so how did I wind up here?” Jack spoke.

“I think, if you’d listen to our own admissions of our talks, you kind of explained that to yourself… You’re a ‘profit’.” Sam stated, “However, I believe ‘his soul’ is still in your human form.”

“Oh, Fred’s soul.” Jack asked slightly confused.

“Think about all the strange things that have happened since you got up off that trailer floor.” Sam insisted he think about. “…All those talks that are rattling off your tongue. Now, apply what I just told you to all of that, it should start sinking in.”

Sam went back to her study of the grayish shadow, and thought to herself. ‘Maybe that’s why I’m so affected by him. Feelings? That would make no sense… wouldn’t it?’

The demon had started heading back to where the car should have come to a rest. As Jack had begun to think about all the strange ‘things’ here… Things that had made no sense until he began to ‘factor in’ her answers. It only took a minute, but it hit home. Hard!

“I think I understand..” Jack said in a doomed voice..

“Finally… Now, would you please shut up...” Sam said, adding “and, get ready to move, You ready?”

“…what’s the sense?” Jack stated.

“Huh?” Sam turned and realized, he wasn’t smiling, at all! “Hey, what’s going on with you?”

“Your right. It’s hopeless. I mean why are we even trying?” Jack sat back, seeming to relax.

“Oh no you don’t. Your not even thinking about giving up on me…” Sam stared him straight in the eye.

“It’s impossible, you make a pretty good case of it…” Jack said in gloom, realizing he’d probably never make it back to his old life.

“Jack… I never! Look, this is about ‘our’ survival. Yeah, it’s a fight… But all the best things in real life usually are. It’s the hope of winning that makes you thrive. Your chance is now!” Sam spoke one on one.

“So, your saying there’s a chance?” Jack really wondered.

“There’s always a chance, as long as you don’t give up.” Sam said seeing a weird smile spread across his face. “What?”

“You really are pretty.” Jack told her.

“I’m here trying to save your soul, and your trying to flirt with me...” Sam said amazed he actually gone that far trying to capture her attention.

“Like you said, got to have hope…”

“We got to get moving…”

“Right on your ass.” Jack said, realizing she had flashed her gaze straight into his eyes, and she didn’t seem pleased.

“Sorry.” Jack countered her look sheepishly.

“Ya think?” Sam countered, turning her gaze back to the grayish shadow that was almost out of eyesight. This man’s actions be shouldn’t be so bothersome to her...

The way she’d looked at him, almost straight into him. As if she could tell every wrong thing he’d ever done in his entire life. What was worse, he felt so ashamed that he couldn’t seem to hide these feelings from her. They just kept popping out. She was right, for a Christian, he must have some of ‘Fred's’ issues. But even she realized that one thing was for certain, he didn’t want to be here either.

She had slowly risen to a crouching position, as if to run again, and Jack did the same directly behind her,

“Okay… Let’s go.” Sam announced as she sped out of their hiding spot. He was only a half a step behind her. In a full out run they took off, she’d zip left, he’d zip left, she’d fly around a corner and he’d fly around the corner. She’d hop a fence and he’d follow. Suddenly her hand went out and she ducked into a darkened doorway, he quickly followed as she stopped and crouched. He again moved in behind her and crouched.

“I pray the other two can move like you do,” Sam whispered.

“Just tell them what you told me and they will.” Jack said almost sarcastically.

“Problem is most of them refusing to grasp the concept of just where they’re at... and freak out... Which get's them sent to hell.” Sam stated.

“Yeah, I get that, though, I almost didn’t.” Jack agreed with her statement. “Sam, isn’t there any way to kill these creatures if we’re confronted?”

“‘Can’t’. It's impossible to kill something that’s already dead, just have to out run them.” Sam said, scouting the area outside the doorway. “But we do have one advantage, and remember this. Out of sight, out of mind.” Sam pointed out this important fact.

“Explain that to me.” Jack requested.

“The only thing they ALL fear is the darker shadowed places, like the one we’re hiding in.” Sam instructed.

"So, as in a game, explain it to me," Jack questioned.

“I can... Think of it as red light green light. Remember that game?” Sam spoke quietly, keeping her eyes peeled.

“Yeah.” Jack recalled the childhood game.

"All three hell hounds need a souls essence... Mist needs it to grow to a semi and a semi needs it to grow to a solid... and a solid need it to enter hell, where they become the torturer you die over and over from..." Sam explained, her head on a swivel.

“Oh shit, I see, the ’solid demons actually ‘need to’ physically eat you, in order to claim your essence, or soul... So, in theory, the solids... they can be hit?” Jack stated.

“If you find the chance to ‘hit one’, don't use your body to do it. board, stick or pipe... and afterwards find the nearest and darkest shadow, and hope it doesn’t wake-up before you get there.” Sam instructed.

“What do I do if we lose each other?” Jack asked.

“Find the nearest dark shadow and stay there. Just be very quiet till I come back and find you. Don’t try to find me, I’ll find you.” Sam said in a whisper, growing so tired of his questions.

“Good to know...” Jack accepted all the information.

“Ready?” Sam asked, just wanting to get away from the constant questions.

Before Jack could answer, she darted out of the doorway. Not even thinking, he followed. He could tell she’d done this before as she skillfully lead me between and through many ‘blocks’ of houses, many times ducking into a frozen position, cautiously eyeing all directions. During these moments Jack got the chance to look about. Quickly realizing this place was not right at all. It seemed like a free for all game board, except exchange the enemy with hell hounds and remove all weapons, and the only safe zones were these 'darkened shadows'.

There was not a single light in anyone of the houses we’d passed. Not a single street light was lit, though they should have been. The sky stayed a reddish tint of darkened clouds swirled above. There was no moon. No stars. Just that reddish haze that blanketed everything to a point of darkness. It was the weirdest illumination you could imagine. The reddish skies made the shadows seem that much scarier.

Jack spotted a large dog house. It had a rather lengthy heavy chain stretched all the way out with a thick large unbroken collar just lying on the ground. It was as if the dog had just disappeared in a lunge after something, the whole scene was unnaturally unsettling. Jack feared what had happened to the dog.

Sam attempted to move out again, but froze in mid step, slowly cowering back into the darkness of our shadowed spot. I quickly recognized the form, and as it moved past us in a slow drifting walk motion. I finally placed a figure to it, but it almost seemed impossible to believe what I was seeing. It was a partial like figure, almost see through but it had substance to it as well. It looks very close to what I’d term as a werewolf. It almost walked with a gate to its stride, and it slowly made its way past us.

Never once did it seem to be hunting us, which scared me even more. For I knew that if I’d so much as moved, it’d be on top of us in a second. I really feared this. If that demon knew just how close to us he was. One turn of the head, one glimmer that it knew we were here… and we’d be in hell for the rest of eternity. Just don’t move.

As soon it had passed, she darted out, quickly, I followed her lead. We hadn’t made even a pair of houses, before one of the demons had spotted us. In an instant we both knew it was onto us. Suddenly I felt as if I was being chased by the most evil thought you could think up, and it was clearly out to devour me whole! It made my legs and arms move that much more quicker as she rounded a house and ducked into an open dark doorway.

I almost slammed into her on the way in. We both froze, as slowly, again the partially bodied dark shadowy figure slumbered past in, suddenly in no apparent hurry, seeking us out but still heading on the path we would have taken if we’d stayed on the move.

Again time seemed to stand still, as we both waited for the demon to mosey on. Two hundred yards away now, Sam seemed to relax a bit.

“That was close.” Sam stated.

“Shit... Swear I felt that thing breathing down my neck.” I said, instantly wanting to recall that sentence as once again, she shot me that look again.

“You do realize swearing is one of the reasons why god’s losing the battle, you know that right? Though, trust me, its not me you need to apologize too, so don’t even bother.” Sam said with distaste in her words.

“You cussed.” Jack spoke a truth at this time.

“I know, freaked me out too.” Sam stated as if it did leave a scar on her.

We sat there, as a thought crossed my mind. We needed another car, surely we could out run these things in one.

“What about another car? There’s one right over there,” I pointed too it.

“I was a fool to try that... the last 5 times I tried it.” Sam admitted openly.

“Huh?” I wondered about her response.

“Jack. In this realm, ‘everything’ is rigged to give away your position: Cars, phones, lights, even doors and aluminum cans on the ground, everything!” Sam spoke, all the while looking around.

“So, any idea how we’re supposed to find the others?” Jack queried.

“Yeah, actually. We have a special pull towards each other.” Sam said, barely pulling out the cross.

“A pull? Oh,” Jack spotted the glow.

“Hard to explain, but actually that’s been a problem here as well.” Sam spoke quietly, trying not to let his questions get up under her skin.

“Oh, how so?” Jack inquired.

I just realized as the last question past my lips that I was probably being a huge pain in this woman’s butt. I’ve been doing nothing but firing questions at her and she’s answered every one of them without much rudeness or disparity. In fact, she seemed to be enjoying their talks more and more. As with the other questions, she answered this one with the same clarity,

“When we connect and group up, we have found that these demons ‘hone in’ on us much quicker. But, the irony of that is, to open the church door, at least two of us, have to have one hand on their charge and the other hand on the doors handle. And the last time I did this, I watched a guardian give up there essence to allow three out of this realm to safely escape... I was one of them.”

“So, you’re basically stating that we probably won’t make it.” Jack stated, understanding this to be the case.

“The only way to know to help others out of this place... is to enter the church.” Sam said. “And I intend to get you there. But first, we have to find the others.”

“Are they all near-by?” Jack asked.

“One’s about two block’s away... but, they seem stationary? The other is about four blocks behind us, and on the move towards us...” Sam said quietly again looking around to make sure we were alone.

“So, which way is the church?”

“Don’t worry about that right now. We have to connect with the others first.” Sam pointed out.

“Okay, so then, let’s go get them.” Jack openly suggested.

“We have been... It’s not going to be easy though.” Sam stated.

“Why? What makes you say that?”

“Been ‘tracking’ the demons directions. Most of the demons have been heading straight towards their position. ...I think they have them boxed in.” Sam surmised.

“Boxed in? So, what do we do?” Jack asked.

“We’re going to see ‘if’ we can rescue them.” Sam stated simply, “More than likely, we won’t be able too.”

“So, if we can’t... What? We just ’move-on?” Jack asked.

“Probably, maybe... I’m not sure yet, I have to see what we're up against.” Sam admitted.

“Is that the best answer you can come up with?” Jack asked.

“Again, we’re not here to confront them." Sam reaffirmed.

“No, not saying to ‘confront’... How about ‘distraction by trickery’? Jack stated.

“To distract them from the target,” Sam noted his idea.

“We just need to do that without making ourselves the target...” Jack stated.

“...not sure, we'll have to see first...” Sam admitted. Man this one, he had ‘ideas’. These thoughts he had... strange.. But maybe,

They had made the area. How Sam had pinpointed exactly where they were struck Jack as weird, but... she'd found them.

“Oh, great.” Jack said in a whisper spotting a bright light and hell hounds surrounding the building.

“They’re using them as bait...” Sam noted.

“They’re trying to draw us in?” Jack asked as Sam looked at him funny,

“Yeah, I guess that would make sense.” Sam said.

“So how are we going to reach them without getting spotted ourselves?” Jack asked.

“This has nothing to do with you. ‘I’ have to find a hidden way to them. But, that’s not going to be the hardest part...” Sam pointed out.

“Oh? So I’m just ‘chopped liver’ here?” Jack questioned why he wasn’t a part of this.

“Not what I meant,”

“Yes it is... And what makes you think you have to do all this alone. Is it in the rules somewhere?” Jack pointed out.

“Well... No.” Sam admitted, wondering what he’d meant by that. There was nothing saying she couldn’t take advice from their charges. The look between them was all mental. And she conceded that Jack was right.

“My apologies...”

“We’re in this together, I do have a say. Maybe I can help.” Jack stated.

“So, even after we find a clear way to them, we have to get them free without the demons catching on that we getting them out.” Sam said.

“But, you’ve done all this before. Right?” Jack asked thinking she had a solution to this.

“Yes. But each time, it’s different. In fact, this is the first time I know of that one of us and a charge has been so tightly trapped.”

“ Okay, so how do you know their trapped?” Jack asked.

“Cause, I can sense they haven’t moved since we left the trailer.” Sam stated.

“You can sense them?” Jack asked.

“It’s the cross... Also, how I know where the church is each time I’m here.” Sam added.

“Each time?” Jack asked, “What, does the board change each time you do this?”

“Yes. Last time, I lost my charge a half a block from the church...” Sam seemed able to recalled.

“And so? What you got sent back to live a real life?

“It’s not like that at all...” Sam pointed out.

“Well, explain it to me.” Jack asked.

“(Sigh), okay… I do know that if we lose our charge on this plain, we guardians are sent BACK up to the planet among the living. But, it’s worse up there because we are almost forever hunted by demons we can’t see with inside ourselves.

“Demons you can’t see ‘inside’?” Jack seemed to not understand the concept.

“See, demons can seed themselves into men and women’s minds on the ‘living plain’. If a demonized human get’s killed, you end up here... But your 'Alone', having no one like me, no ideas of possible salvation or the church. Not knowing about the shadows or all the set-up's for hell hounds to capture you... you come in here literally blind...

“Which means, unknowing any of what you've taught me, kind of automatically sets one for a hell hound attack.” Jack thought about it.

“If your a 'non demon', just a sinner and you get killed... and a guardian, like me, touches you after your death... You end up here, WITH that guardian who's goal it is to get you to salvation." Sam said,

"The church," Jack stated, clarifying.

"Yes... If you’ve been clean of sin, and forgiven... You by-pass all this and go straight to heaven.

“How do you get ‘up there’?” Jack asked.

“Heaven?... I don’t know...” Sam admitted.

“No, I mean back among the living?" Jack asked.

“From past experience...When a guardian is up there we can’t see who the demon is, but if we get touched, by the demon before we touch the sinner after his death, we're hunted down and killed while up there and the sinner get ‘sent here alone’ after their killed. So, if we die up there, we would instantly become eternally hell bound. Basically, we get stuck back here ‘alone’... there is no ‘cross’ to guide us to the church and we can’t see to hook up with others of our kind while we’re here. We would have to secretly follow others to the church’s position and open the door for ourselves, which is next to impossible.” Sam pointed out.

“All that just confused me.. But, that ‘cross’, that’s interesting. Is there any way you could explain how that thing works?” Jack asked.

“Sorry, even I can’t explain this thing, but, I'm seeing things getting darker, and I don't know why.” Sam stated.

“BUT, you can be killed in the living plain?” Jack asked.

“Yeah, but somehow, like I told you, things kind of got twisted around in your case...” Sam recalled being sent down here.

“I don’t follow you? You were an angel in the living world?” Jack asked, trying to figure her out.

“It’s more like 'an underling' rather then an angel, as status goes. But I touched ‘this man’ BEFORE the demon killed him.

“So... that means?” Jack asked.

“Again, no clue.. But, I think I’m the first one who’s ever done it.” Sam admitted.

“This is so confusing...” Jack admitted.

“That’s okay... I sometimes have trouble in understanding it all myself, and I’ve been here many times...” Sam seemed bummed out.

Pointing out another close mist demon, they both remained silent as it drifted past. Once it past them in there slice of darkened cover, Sam spoke again,

“We’ve only have a short time to get them free, so, we got to keep moving." Sam pointed out.

“Right behind you.” Jack confirmed.

“See that building?” Sam pointed a quarter of a block away. “The trash bin?”

“Yeah?” Jack confirmed.

“We hide there next,” Sam said to him.

“Got ya,” Jack said.

With that, after a long check of the area, they casually walked towards it. She stopped at any hint of danger, resuming in the understanding that the area was actually clear. They’d made it to the back side of the building, cowering behind the large square trash bin.

Only resting a moment, she left the safety, continued to the buildings corner, and followed the small corridor between that and another building to the stores front. At the front corner of the building they’d crouched as Sam looked over all the possibilities to get across the street safely.

It seemed the demons knew all the tricks, they guarded the streets carefully, awaiting anything to cross, any movement to lock onto. Sam seemed perplexed as to what to do here.

“What happening?" Jack asked.

“Trying to figure a way across this main street without getting spotted.” Sam said, again looking up and down the street, noting two demons about two block down in one direction and three demons about a block up in the other direction. I could see her dilemma. Then, I spotted it. It was a walkover bridge connecting two of these buildings together,

“Hey, does everything here work the same way as the real world?” Jack asked.

“Give or take, yeah. Why?” Sam asked.

“See that?” I pointed to the crosswalk from this buildings second story leading to another smaller building across the street.

“That will work,” Sam said already heading to a door we’d passed in the small corridor getting here.

“If I tug on this door, and it squeals… You hightail it back to the place before this building, understand?” Sam said, not sure about this action.

“Got ya babe,” Jack said.

“Quit saying things like that.” Sam almost hissed at him.

“Sooorrryy…” Jack said. Jack realized it must be this 'Fred' character bleeding through.

In a slow tug, the door was unlocked and slowly came open inch by inch. Enough opened to easily slip in, and once in Sam slowly closed the door behind them. It was pitch black in here.

“What I would give for a set of infer red goggles right now,” I quietly whispered.

“Hush, Let me scope this place out.” Sam spoke softly herself, as if trying to feel out any demons.

Sam took my hand and as we both stood in the all consuming darkness, quietly she spoke to me.

“There are no demons in here, it’s too dark. But we have to make sure we don’t make any type of noise while we’re doing this, or like the ones we’re trying to rescue, the demons will surround us, and then we’ll be trapped too.”

“Okay, so, how do we do this?” I asked, not able to see a thing.

“Hold my hand and walk directly in my path. I can see a small amount, and that should get us through here safely, just don’t let go and stay directly behind me at all times. There are things like cans on the floor all through here. So watch your step. Ready?”

“Can’t see a damn thing so you watch my step for me okay? I guess I’m ready.” I said trying to keep my eyes peeled on the ground directly where I would be placing my next step, but I couldn’t see my legs, much less my feet.

In here, sound was dead. There wasn’t a scratch, tweak or hum. A mere cough would have sounded like an atomic bomb going off. Sam carefully led me through the isles as I heard each step I took. In this she took out her cross and the room lit up a light blue, it seemed we were in a sporting goods store and it even had guns too.

Finally, she had found the stairs that lead to the second floor, and in unison we took each step up as quietly as possible. At the second floor landing Sam lead me to the crosswalk. There were a few broken out windows along the passage of the crosswalk, however the red tinted light that shone through was a welcomed sight.

She released my hand as we cautiously walked across the hallway tunnel towards the other side. I'd noticed ahead, that the darkness loomed within the entrance way to the other building.

She had taken this moment to peer out one of the broken windows, to survey the area. She quickly noted a few things to me out loud.

“There. That’s where they are trapped. See that garage apartment, there, up on the second floor?”

“You mean where the light is on?” I asked, able to almost clearly see the bulb from up here.

“Remember how I told you everything about this place is to attract demons?” She pointed below on the street.

“Yeah,” Jack recalled, looking back at the buildings ground level...

Look closely around the building, it's the effect of that single light.” Sam offered.

The place was surrounded by all three types of demons. They were swarming around the place. They were not entering the building at all, just milling around.

“What are they waiting for? Why aren’t they attacking?” I asked quietly.

“There waiting for us. They somehow know how this game works too. They know we’ll try and rescue them. Just waiting for us to make the first move.” Sam said.

“Oh crap. That’s going to be impossible... We’ll never get near the place.” Jack openly spoke.

“Ye of little faith. See, that is what separates those demons from us guardian’s...” Sam stated.

“Okay guardian... you got any ideas.” Jack quipped, to the point of sarcasm.

“Not right off hand... But that lights going to make it almost impossible to get them out of there.” Sam admitted honestly, not really listening, but trying to figure out a way.

“Then, why did they turn the light on?” I asked.

Not a clue, but once it’s turned on, it won’t shut off.” Sam pointed out.

Won’t shut off?” Jack asked.

One of the trick’s of purgatory... Everything’s a trick...” Sam said.

We stood staring at the situation from our perch and I noticed a car almost a half a block before the apartment they were stuck in. It was on the street we overlooked. And my brain started to formulate an idea.

“Those full bodied demons. They’ll chase about anything, right?” Jack asked.

“Oh yeah. Why? You think of something?” Sam asked.

“I’m not sure yet, maybe.” Jack said actually trying to keep her in suspense.

“Well, spill it would you. We don’t have all day.” Sam actually smiled at him.

“I got a way to distract the solid ones, but how do we trick the two other types away?” Jack wondered.

“Before we do anything, we’ll need them to get rid of that light first.” Sam said.

“Any idea on how to accomplish that?” Jack asked her.

“No.” Sam said.

“Crap,” Jack said frustrated. And again she’d smiled at his comment. He smiled back at her.

When he smiled back at her, she instantly stopped smiling and just looked at him weirdly. He was confused and stopped smiling altogether, and in that she noticed it,

“Is there something wrong Jack?” Sam asked her head tilted in slight concern.


“Uh. It’s nothing, don’t worry yourself about it. It’ll fine.” Jack said, having to fake a smile, but even though she did return the smile, his lie had gotten past her.

“They can’t turn it off, and that means, we’ll have to do it somehow,” She stated.

“Just wondering... How long would it take the other two types to clear out, if we got that light to cut off?” Jack asked.

“They’ll almost instantly lose interest. I say five minutes, and they will be fully dispersed... Why?”

“Then all’s that would be left would be the solid and the semi-solid ones... right?”

“Yeah, but they wouldn’t leave. So?”

There again was that single car, and it was in a perfect position to drive directly past the front of the apartment building, his idea began to hatch...

“See that car right there?” Jack said, pointing to it.

“Okay?” Sam tried to understand where he was going with this.

“It should be working, right?” Jack asked.

“Yeah, most of them do...” Sam agreed to that.

“It’s got a radio in it, right?” Jack assumed.

“Probably rigged too go off the second the cars switched on... I’m sure of that.” Sam stated, confused where he was going with this.

“What if, we build a couple of dummies, place them in the seats, start it up and send it blaring right past the apartment building.” Jack wondered.

“Dummy’s?” Sam looked puzzled.

“Would they chase after it?”

“They’d surely chase it...” Sam admitted.

“However, one problem.. How would get them out of there,” Jack paused, thinking the plan was flawed.

“Okay, but back to how to get them to shut off the lights.” Sam pointed out.

“It’s only that single that light bulb we’d need out, right?” Jack pondered.

“Yeah. That’s the only one I see,” Sam looked again.

“We take that out, and it’s dark... right? The mists would disappear after a few minutes.” Jack pointed out.

“How are we going to do that?” Sam asked.

As Sam was walking Jack through the store before the stairs coming up here, as his eyes had slightly adjusted. He noticed they were in a sporting goods store. Having passed a rack that held pellet rifles on a display rack and mannequin upper torso’s.

“We’ll shoot it out...” I stated.

“What! That would be nut’s! Might as well set off a flare too! Wave your hands and start yelling at the top of your lungs. That’s one stupid idea...” Sam stated, at a loss to add anything more to the statement.

“Not a ‘bullet’, a ‘pellet’. An ‘air’ rifle. They make almost no sound...” I said.

“A pellet? Where would we get those things?” Sam not recalling the room below.

“We just passed a rack of them down stairs, and mannequins too. ” Jack stated, recalled all the items they’d require.

There were still ‘too many’ flaws in his plan.

“No, the timing... It would never work.” Sam saw all the holes in it.

“If I set up the car... And came back up here, you could go down, start the car and after they chased the car, I shot out the light. Mist demons would clear the area, solids and semi’s would be ten blocks gone...”

“No.. it’s simply to much, too many thing could go wrong.” Sam tried to wrap her head around it, but there were still to many holes in his plan.

“I could make that shot...” Jack announced.

“You’re serious? You could actually make a shot like that.”

“I almost sure I could,” Jack admitted.

“...like wings in hell you could...” Sam almost laughed.

Sam’s mind started to whirl with the plan I’d just sketched out. It took almost a full minute for it to all fall into place. Up until now, they had nothing. Now, it was at least a partial plan. Sam suddenly turned around and looked cautiously back at the way we came. I wasn’t aware of any present, but Sam was,

Out of the darkness, two human figures seem to materialize as they walk up to us. I was completely freaked out, looking to grab up some type of weapon.

“Easy,” Sam whispered to Jack “There with us,”

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