Defib, part One

Posted: January 6, 2013 in End of Times, Fiction

Smoke and sulfur permeated the air in the hallway. She didn’t even know how it had started. Just that the two men had shot each other to death in the blink of an eye. One was in the grey and black of museum security, now full of holes and spreading splotches of maroon. The other was all in black, in a spreading pool of ink at the other end of the hall.

Protect it.

She checked herself over. No apparent injuries. Next, her backpack. Intact. She opened the main compartment. Light poured out. Inside, the red star, pulsing. Next to it, a file folder. In the bottom, nearly obscured, a memory unit. She breathed a short sigh of relief. She pulled herself unsteadily to her feet. Her work flats slid under her, but she did not fall again. She pulled off her mostly still white lab coat as she knelt beside the fallen museum guard. She placed two fingers of a trembling hand on his neck. She waited.

Nothing. He was gone. Her breath came short and shallow. In theory, she knew CPR. In practice, she was doing everything in her power to fight off the rising panic. She pushed her glasses up her nose, and draped the lab coat over the dead man.

She rose, practically lunging toward the exit and the fallen invader. As she closed in, the dark figure sharpened: inhuman features started to reveal themselves. She put a hand to her mouth. Supposedly there were no more demons. Supposedly the last of the Hell-spawned monsters had been driven from the world. Supposedly humanity was safe.

Supposedly.

The watcher stopped, turned, grabbed the dead guardsman’s gun. It dragged at her arm. It wasn’t the weight, although the weapon wasn’t light. She had never held anything more dangerous than a kitchen knife. She did research. She wasn’t a warrior.

She dug into her pocket and fished out her digital assistant. She held it up to the gun. The palm-sized screen showed a labeled picture of the firearm. She found the safety, flicked the switch. She’d do her homework later; the museum was clearly not safe. The watcher pocketed the miniature computer and tucked the gun in her pack. She didn’t trust the monster to be dead. She ran past, her flats slapping echoes into the air.

The watcher heard no sounds beyond her running. She saw no one else. Things were wrong. She had worked all hours of the night, and the cavernous building was never so silent, so empty. She entered the main atrium, stopped to look around. No one. The whole of the place was brightly lit – the powers-that-be wanted the exhibits fully visible. The primary effect was a total elimination of shadows, but at night, the windows all became mirrors. The glass of the public entrance was an impenetrable reflection of the desolate hall. Her own movement caught her eye. She jumped. She slowed her breathing, started toward the entrance.

She was unaccustomed to feeling so vulnerable in the light. The darkness was always something to cause trepidation – the domain of bogeymen and monsters. The most basic source of the fearsome unknown. The watcher caught herself wishing for the first time that she could slip into the darkness. The thing lying dead in the entry to the archives wouldn’t have come alone. All her research of the End of Days had shown that there was never just one demon. She had never seen one in person before tonight. Was it coincidence that they came on the heels of the apparition that had spoken to her earlier?

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