Cherry, calm down, that guy can’t see you, Archangel’s voice echoed loudly in Billy’s mind.

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Billy wasn’t worried about the man that had burst through the door.  He risked a glance over his shoulder at the building wall he had just passed through.  Nothing was there.  He slowed his pace a little until first one, then two stony, horn-encrusted evil looking little things popped through carrying blazing axes.  The two demons hurriedly looked left and right before one of them caught sight of Billy and screeched.  The sound hurt Billy’s ears.

What that hell was that? Brandt said.

It’s them!  They’re right behind me! Billy mentally shouted as he turned and spurred on his feet to move faster.

The street outside the apartment complex was not particularly busy.  People moved down the wide sidewalks, oblivious to Billy’s mad dash or the hideous creatures that pursued him.  Billy ducked and dodged strange glowing ropes that originated from the chests of some of the people.  In some places the glowing ropes connected two people walking and talking together or sitting at a cafe.  In others the rope shot across Billy’s path and he had to duck or jump to avoid it.  His mind vaguely recollected when these started showing up a week or so ago and they had been a source of speculation for the team.  Now they were an obstacle to his escape.

The operation had started at ten in the morning and the sun was just peeking over the tops of the other city buildings.  Billy wasn’t even sure where he was now, though they had been told in the mission briefing.  His only thoughts were of escape.  He saw an alley way up ahead and altered his course to head for it.

A bolt of wispy fire struck the wall of the building and splashed dramatically as Billy turned to head for the alley.  Billy looked back reflexively and saw one of the demons leveling the axe head at him.  He focused on his running and turned a corner just as another of the fiery bolts passed through where he had just been.

He’s thinking two dimensionally, sir.  Cherry, you can fly! the unfamiliar voice urged in his head.

Fly, Billy!  Fly! Angela said breaking protocol by using his name.  The demons rounded the corner and two more bolts splashed into the wall at the end of the alley as Billy dodged to the right.

The alley narrowed a bit and turned to the right.  Billy dashed around the corner and came to a halt staring at a loading dock for whatever business occupied the building that stood blocking his path.  He never hesitated.  Billy leapt up onto the loading dock with ease and ran straight at the closed door in front of him.  His mind screamed at him to open the door first, but he’d become almost used to the idea of passing through walls over the course of the last week’s orientation training.

Inside the building Billy found himself standing in the back of some kind of kitchen.  There were several men working.  One stood at a deep sink washing dishes and another was at a stainless steel table chopping vegetables with a butcher knife on a cutting board.  Golden ropes connected the two men as well as shooting out through a wall appearing to head in the same direction.

Billy ducked under the golden ropes of the men and ran for the doorway.  As Billy arrived at the doorway a young girl about his age walked through.  She had long auburn hair with glasses, and some spots of acne conspicuous on her cheeks and forehead.  The golden ropes connected to her chest from the two men as well as extending out her back in a riot of threads.  Billy was caught in the triangle the ropes formed from the men to each other and the girl.  Billy heard cackling in his head and spun to see the two demons emerge from the closed door behind him.

Then the demon’s expressions changed.  They crouched low and looked around suspiciously before focusing on Billy again, leveling their axes and firing two bolts of fire in unison.

AAaaaagh! Billy screamed as he cringed, but the bolts didn’t strike him.  Instead, the two fiery bolts splashed wildly upon an invisible barrier centered on the golden rope that stretched between the two men.  Determination set into the demons’ grey stone faces as they reset their axes for another volley, but before they could fire two women in pristinely white robes stepped out of the bodies of the two men as they went about their business washing dishes and cutting vegetables.

This is holy ground, hell-spawn.  You hold no sway here.  Be gone now or be destroyed, a man’s voice said in Billy’s head that sounded like it came from behind him.

Who was that! Brandt shouted.

Billy! Angela screamed.

Razor, razor, razor! Archangel repeated.

Billy whirled and saw a man standing next to the girl.  He, too, was clothed in the whitest robe Billy had ever seen.  He had that kind of blonde hair men have who appear on the cover of surfing magazines, and in his right hand he held a blazing sword as he stepped around Billy.

The demons screamed again.  Billy turned in time to see the demons shoot more fire against the barrier.  Flaming swords sprang from the two women’s hands and they advanced on the demons with their male companion.  The demons screamed and raised their axes as Billy’s vision swam and he felt like something had just grabbed him by the waist yanking him backwards down a dark hole.

Guardians of the Herald is a weekly serial published and copyright by The Cavalier, Mark Malcolm.  For more information about this story please join us on our Facebook page community at www.facebook.com/firstchevalierbooks.