427 Evergreen Terrace
New Hebron, California
“Hey Alex, are you there, brown-eyes?” Amelia called flicking the living room lights on and setting her keys down on their usual place under the switch. She spoke in hushed tones, fearing she might awaken her lover.
Greeted only by silence, the agent frowned and shut the door behind her. Though it was late, she’d been expecting a confrontation.
Alex never drove, preferring to take a bike or the bus when possible and didn’t even own a car. So often, the only way Amy knew the other was home was if the lights were on, but Alex, never one to stay up late, would have long retired to bed. If that were true, the bedroom door would have been closed. Either, her lover was not yet home or did not hear Amelia call for her.
She stepped into the kitchen and was about to call Alex’s name again when she spotted something affixed to the steel door of the refrigerator with a magnet. She moved across the room, slipped the envelope free noting her name written in her lover’s messy scrawl and pursed her lips as she unfolded the letter.
I’ll keep it short. I’m tired of playing second fiddle to your job. Even when you are here, you’re distant. I need to be in a relationship where I don’t spend the days worrying if my girlfriend will come back at all. I’ll come by some time in the next few days to pick up my things.
“God dammit,” Amelia dropped the letter, letting it flutter to the ground and slammed a fist down into the countertop. Unlike some exemplars Amelia lacked any enhanced physical capabilities, so when her hand impacted the stone surface, it hurt like hell. She bit her lip, pulled her hand close and fought back tears.
She couldn’t say she hadn’t seen it coming, she was always working and when they went out Amelia was usually called in to consult. It might have helped if she could discuss it, but when your girlfriend disappears for long stretches of time and outright refuses to talk about it, it put more than a little strain on the relationship. Amelia didn’t like keeping secrets, but the job required discretion.
She shook her head and flexed her still-sore hand before she slipped out of the kitchen and into the bedroom collapsing onto her back atop the mattress without bothering to undress. She closed her eyes and let out a long sigh, hoping that sleep would soon take her way, but as was so often the case, insomnia reared its ugly head.
Somewhere in the back of the head she sensed Everett, distant and numb, perhaps sleeping. Gone was all the anger and hatred that had been emanating him before.
Laying there so alone and her feelings so raw, Amelia felt as if all the walls were coming down around her. She’d put her career before her love life and it had come right back to hit her square in the ass.
Not only had Alex left her, but her career was at risk. Matthews would help if he was able, but he was only one head above her on the totem pole. If their superiors decided this bond she’d developed with Mr. Howard presented a security risk or it might influence her in some negative way, she might find herself out of a job or worse.
Never in her life had she felt so vulnerable and that was saying something. She’d been ostracized by her family her because of what they considered poor ‘life-style choices’, demonized by strangers for the same reason and called a freak or worse because of her abilities. The agent’d taken all those things in stride, picked up all the pieces each time her life fell apart and moved on. When she’d joined AEGIS she’d found a new purpose, something she’d been missing in her youth, but these new developments threatened everything.
She pondered Chemosh, shivering as she recalled that look of pure malevolence in his eyes. Whoever, or whatever this being was, he needed to be stopped at all costs. She understood so little about him or her, but from what she saw he would not hesitate to kill anyone who got in his way. She shuddered anew, thinking of the way he possessed that man and discarded his previous host without any sign of remorse. Ashtar said he would make the world burn, and Amy didn’t believe she’d been exaggerating.
Amelia stood and craned her neck around frowning as she noted Alex’s things scattered through the room. She sighed and turned away.
She blinked, a thought occurring to her. The name Chemosh sounded familiar from first time Matthew mentioned it and she might have known why. She made her way through the house, into the living room and found the bookshelf in the corner retrieving one book in particular. It was the bible her grandmother had given her the day she’d been baptized.
It had been a long time since she even flipped the cover open let alone turn the pages. She wasn’t even sure why she’d kept it. The Bible didn’t portray people like her in the best light.
Amelia was not a religious person, but she still remembered bible studies with her family as a child. Her parents had spent countless hour grilling scripture after scripture in her head. Though she had not picked up a bible in years, she could still recite many of them from memory. She thumbed through the pages and stopped at Numbers 21:29.
“Woe to thee, Moab! Thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.”
She paused, furrowed her eyebrows and let the verse sink in. People of Chemosh? What did it mean?
She thumbed through the pages hoping to find some other reference and had almost given up hope when she stopped at 1 Kings 11:33.
“Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites…”
She stopped, without even bothering to finish the verse. She sank into her favorite arm chair, her mind racing as she bounced the name around over and over in her head. What possible significance could this have? This being she’d seen in her viewings wasn’t some ancient Moabite god, was he? It seemed far more likely that he must have taken the name. She thought there might be a clue, but try as she might she couldn’t reason it out.
She glanced at the verse one final time and realized she’d overlooked something. The name Ashtoreth, seemed similar too similar to Ashtar to ignore. There must be significance! Determined to find an answer the Agent moved across the room, bible in hand and made her way to the corner of the room, flipping open her laptop and set the holy book down beside it.
Amelia didn’t know what she was looking for, but she knew the answers must be out there somewhere.