Raindrops chased each other down the window pane, an endless race to the dirty stone windowsill. Zig-zag left, right, left, always down. The drops sound a repetitive tattoo on the glass, strangely soothing in spite of itself. The sky outside a solid leaden grey, like some great hand has closed the lid on a best forgotten box of horrors. Too dark for the time of day, mid-morning. The towers of the city stark and black, almost silhouettes against the slate sky.

Several stories below neon light on shops, bright blue, pink, green, shimmered reflections on the tear soaked road. Little people like ants, hiding from the pouring rain under umbrellas and newspapers, protecting their designer suits and expensive hairstyles, preserving the image. Shiny, hard shelled cars slid up and down the road.

Thunder rumbled overhead, like the embarrassed god of this city clearing his throat as he averts his eyes. Isiah sighed as he stared out into the weeping morning, the glass misting, fading away, his eyes sliding up once more to stare at the dead weight of the clouds. He could sense the impatience building in the figure behind him. Sighing again he turned slowly. He could not see the figure too clearly, shadow masking the bulk of it. Unlike normal shadow, more like black light. And it was a bulk, malevolence exuding from its very presence, the only things really visible were two red, glowing eyes. A typical manifestation, the believer’s image personified like many others, yet unique in its own way. Isiah could sense various other images shimmering and shifting behind, within, but this was the one he was dealing with now.

He took another breath and looked directly into those pulsing eyes. ‘You can’t have him.’ His voice was matter-of-fact, tired.

A wave of pure anger, tangible, swept the room. Its voice did not use the space between them to get to Isiah but boomed straight into his head. He hated that. Vaudeville. ‘We are already enemies, Isiah. Why make it worse?’ The voice sounded like worms crawling through the rotting flesh of the dead, amplified by hollow skulls.

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