A massive form stepped into the room. One foot rested on the broken door, with Jessica underneath. She cried out in fear upon seeing the beast. Neither Kat nor Sergio had told them the truth about the monster they had fought in Zion’s National Park. Apparently, there were more than one.
The beast heard Jessica’s cry. It looked down at the woman, then promptly stomped a foot down on Jessica’s face. Her cries cut off instantly, and her body hung limp.
“Jessica!” Peter was there. He rushed towards his wife. The demon backhanded him almost casually, knocking him to the side, leaving an indentation in the wall. Peter fell, unconscious before the demon slashed at him fiercely. He was dead within seconds.
Kat stood frozen in horror. She had known the danger of Invergence. But this, she had never expected this.
Another demon followed the first through the doorway. Screams echoed through the house from Mallory and Jeremy, who were still alive and had come running to see what the commotion was about. Both demons turned to face the noise. They pounced, and Kat closed her eyes, not bearing to witness what she knew was coming.
A snap of fingers, and the demons ground to a halt. Kat looked back at the doorway. A figure stood there in a long trench coat and greasy black hair. A man whose face bore a resemblance to her husband, Sergio, but whose character was anything but. He strode into the room, glancing briefly at the two demons who stood motionless, awaiting his next signal.
“Well met, Katariina Rios. I was beginning to think we’d never meet again.”
He sounded cordial, almost reverent. Kat tried to say something, but her mouth kept opening and closing. Nothing came out. All she could do was stare at the limp, bloody forms of Peter and Jessica.
Finally, sound came out of her mouth, something between a wail and a word.
“You!” she screamed at Anti-Sergio. More of his men were filing into the house now. “YOU!” she said again, and without thinking, she rushed the man. Hands caught her before she could make it three steps in his direction. Those hands held her fast and sat her down on a kitchen chair.
The Evans children were still screaming, and a motion from Anti-Sergio prompted his men to round them up. They were placed in chairs next to Kat, their screaming turning into sobs. Another order from Anti-Sergio and the men were searching the house. The demons remained still, but their eyes followed the sounds of the men upstairs. Their noses sniffed the air.
“You know, all of this could have been avoided if you had just come quietly. My superiors always wanted Alice alive, and if you had cooperated, there would have been a place for you on our world. Perhaps there still could be.” Anti-Sergio looked at her, and she saw something in his eyes that unnerved her. Hope. A primal, hungering hope.
“You think, after all this, after…them” she indicated the dead parents on the floor, “that we would ever want anything to do with you.”
“Unfortunate casualties that could have been safely avoided had you come the first time we met. The latest in a long line of casualties, in fact.”
“I thought you people respected the timeline or something, so you wouldn’t change the future too much.”
“For me and my division, we are part of this present. We don’t know what the future holds enough to change it. All we know is that your daughter will be part of something much larger. And we will not let that happen. Besides, contrary to some of your deplorable entertainment options here, time is a difficult thing to change. It doesn’t want to be changed. Killing someone is like planting a rock in a river. The water continues to flow around it. Only when you have a great many rocks can you redirect the flow. We’re not nearly there yet.”
Kat only partially heard him. She was distracted with thoughts of her husband and Alice. Where were they? She had expected Sergio to come home any time now. She kept her fingers crossed that Sergio would see the vehicles surrounding the house and know to turn around and get out of there.
One of Anti-Sergio’s soldiers returned and whispered something into his leader’s ear. Anti-Sergio turned back to regard Kat. “Your husband and child are not here. Where are they?”
Kat said nothing.
“You know we can get it out of you eventually. It only takes time. Why go through all the trouble.”
Still Kat said nothing.
“Very well then.” Anti-Sergio waved a hand and one of his men who had been standing behind Jeremy suddenly had a knife poised at the boy’s throat.
“No!” Kat called out. Jeremy was whimpering, but his eyes met Kat’s, and she could see the barest flicker of bravery there. He was a strong kid. Mallory was crying again.
“I will spare their lives if you tell me where your daughter is.” Anti-Sergio’s voice was steady.
Kat began to panic, “I don’t know where they are!” It was the truth. She knew Sergio had left to get some supplies, but she didn’t know the specifics.
“That answer won’t get you very far,” said Anti-Sergio. “The childrens’ life is in your hands. Sure, they don’t have parents anymore, but this area is littered with what you would call ‘good people.’ They will be fine. Just tell us where your daughter is.”
Kat decided her best chance was to lie, “We split up. He took Alice and I stayed here. We figured that it would be safer if we took two separate routes.”
“But you have a way of contacting him, yes.” Anti-Sergio’s face had turned to stone.
Kat shook her head. This really was true. Neither of them had used cell-phones in the last nine months. Too easy to track.
“Well, this is just convenient for you. My beasts can track your scent, but since my blood tastes the same as your husband’s, they get confused. And now you’re telling me that your daughter is GONE!”
“Yes, please, that’s all I know. Please let them go.”
“YOU IDIOT!” shouted Anti-Sergio. With a snap of his fingers, the demons launched themselves at the two children. They barely had time to scream before they too lay dead and bloody on the floor next to their parents.
Kat vomited. Her bile coated the floor beside her, mixing with blood. She couldn’t look.
Anti-Sergio growled at her. “Let that be a lesson to you. Choose to cooperate, and it will work out better for you and for those around you.”
“I told you what I know.” Kat whimpered, still staring blankly into space.
Anti-Sergio didn’t seem to hear. A moment later and hands began dragging her outside the house. Someone thrust her into the back of a truck. Before they closed the door, she could see masked Invergence agents covering the place with gasoline. They were going to burn the place down.
The door to the truck closed, and Kat was left in darkness. She curled up in a fetal position on the cold metal floor of the truck. Tears started to flow, and large sobs escaped her throat. She stared at the ceiling, at what she imagined could live beyond.
“Why?” she cried to the heavens, “Why did they have to die? Why can’t you stop this!”
There was no answer. Of course there wasn’t.
She lay there as the truck began to move and pick up speed. She had one last, lingering hope. Maybe Sergio and Alice had escaped. She clung to that small light in her thoughts. All else was blackness.