The dumpster outside of Chuck E Cheese was an odd meeting place to negotiate dangerous and illegal activities, but for some reason, Stone had decided to meet there and Tyler Cook had no choice but to follow. Stone was an angry faced man. His eyebrows were eternally furrowed into a mild-curdling scowl and Cook was sure that if ever this strange and terrifying man were to smile, it would be the most manic and terrifying expression in the history of humanity.
“Look,” Stone pulled a wrinkled piece of paper out of his pocket. “Here are the instructions. You do this project right, and I’ll get you right in.”
Cook leaned back on the dumpster and snatched the paper out of Stone’s hands. “I’m gonna be a big league man, neh?”
“Head of your own damn section”
Cook smiled contentedly and looked down to read the first instruction.
Find an Obtain a Virgin for Sacrifice.
“N-Nah man,” Cook stammered, “I can’t do that.” He crumpled up the piece of paper and tossed it on the floor next to him in a show of defiance.
“You already saw. There’s no way you’re walking away from this one.” Stone’s voice maintained level, as though he had expected this development. Johnson’s swiveled, not five steps away from Stone, hands above his head shaking with terror. “Now, come over here and pick up this piece of paper.”
Never taking his eyes off the silver pistol that Stone held extended, Cook shuffled over to the paper and grabbed it before leaving. As he walked out, he heard Stone call out, “Don’t try to run. We’ll kill you and your family.” Fully convinced of Stone’s readiness to gun him down at a moment’s notice, Cook hyperventilated on his way back to his car.
Stone, smudged the makeup off his face, and tore the fake eyebrows off his forehead turning back, once more, into Mr. Ray Talbain. During Talbain’s transformation back into himself, a beleaguered employee of Chuck E Cheese’s walked out with a bag of trash in each hand. Talbain looked up at him, one eyebrow hanging askew covering his gleaming black eye and laughed maniacally. Before pulling out his cellphone and dialing in some numbers.
“Hello, Percy.” Pause. “Yeah, plans have been set in motion.” Pause. “I’m going back to the guildhall.”
Johnson pulled up to the church, mission buzzing in his head. In the backseat of his car, Anna, aged 8, lay unconscious and bleeding from her forehead into a makeshift bandage made from Johnson’s left sleeve.
“I’m gonna be top of the Syndicate,” Johnson whispered to himself. He pushed the driver side door open, and ran around to pick Anna up from the backseat. Johnson carried the unconscious girl into the church to prepare for the sacrifice.
Johnson had read through the instructions after kidnapping Anna from the Capable Hands orphanage on the south side of Khazan City. At the end of the ritual, Anna died and something took her place. Johnson was ready, whatever it takes to get ahead in the syndicate.
The inside of the abandoned church smelled musty. Johnson loved this place, whenever his parents were getting on his case, or the stress of school was getting to be too much – Johnson used to drive himself out and read aloud from the altar to an empty church. Now it was to be the site of his greatest victory.
Johnson pulled a black sharpie out of his pocket and slowly began to inscribe the summoning circle on the church floor. Within a minute, he stood up and admired his work. It was more oval than circle, but that would work as well – as long as there was a boundary to stop the demon from attacking.
Johnson checked his watch. 11:59. Just seconds until his job was complete. Johnson rubbed his palms together with anticipation. And then the watch alarm went off.
An unearthly roar erupted from the center of the church as gates to another dimension opened in the floor. A pulpy red, bloody mass shaped like chewed bubblegum materialized in the circle. The roar intensified as the pile of meat grew taller.