Then the wonders of technology intruded upon the scene as the Guardians’ cell phones and wrist communicators started going off.
Cody Howard was calling from the hospital, wondering what was going on. None of the nurses would tell him, but he knew there were weird things happening in town. Mez told him to stay calm, everything was fine.
Brian Jackson called on his new wrist com, and told Jaguar that he had been going to pick up a pizza when the fog rolled in and he saw dark shapes prowling around. He figured it was something the Silent Guardians ought to check out. Jaguar assured him that they were on it, and told BJ to stay inside and keep the door locked.
Sally Mae Thurman called Prof. Hughes, wanting to get together again to “talk about his research” (hubba hubba). The good doctor told her that he was busy and couldn’t get together tonight, but before he could tell her to stay inside, they were cut off. He could hear the sounds of a struggle over the still-open line. Uh, oh.
Police Chief Barney Owens called Dr. Decibel on his wrist com, asking the Silent Guardians to look into the disturbances. 911 was going crazy, and his men didn’t have a handle on the situation, or even really know what was going on. Dr. D told him they were already on it.
Jack, Ayumi‘s boss at the campus bookstore, called to ask her to come in to work. Becky hadn’t showed up, and Jack was sorry, but he needed somebody to cover her shift. Before Ayumi could answer, Jack was pulled from the phone by…something.
The Guardians decided to check the bookstore first. The Guardians headed for the KFU campus, through streets shrouded in fog, surrounded by distant screams and guttural laughter. They arrived at the campus, and found that the place had been torn up—cars smashed and overturned, trees knocked over, the ground torn with furrows, the statue of Edward M. Hiner missing its head. The Guardians did a little educated guessing, and decided that the campus had been the epicenter of a demonic invasion. Luckily, the beasts seemed to have moved on. For the most part.
The bookstore was located in Castle Hall. On their way there, they heard more screams and shouting coming from within. Evidently, somebody besides Jack was in trouble there. And, before they entered the hall, they saw a hellish red glow coming from the window of a certain dorm room.
But first, the people in Castle Hall.
They entered the bookstore, and their perceptions skewed crazily. The walls of the place stretched away from them, and the bookshelves moved by themselves to form the walls of a labyrinth. A high-pitched voice came to them: “Hope you like mazes, cause you’ll never get out!” Jack shouted for help from somewhere deep in the maze, and the the squeaky voice said, “Ready or not, here I come!”
The Guardians twisted and turned their way through the maze, and came to a humanoid cockroach-like demon with a rat head. Once again, Jaguar knocked the thing out with one punch. The bookstore returned to normal, and Jack was saved.
The Guardians had heard screams coming from the cafeteria, and they found three frog-headed satyr-like demons menacing a number of terrified girls. The demons were more interested in snatching the girls and hauling them off for a midnight snack than they were in tangling with the Guardians, but our heroes managed to defeat them and hustle the girls to safety.
The Guardians finally made it to Ayumi’s room, where they found Mary Matthews sitting on the floor, Confuto Tractus Vox open on her lap, the pages glowing a hellish red. Standing over her was a demon with a mass tentacles where its head should be, each tipped with a bloodshot eye, and eyes in the back of its hands. It introduced itself as Visimajoris, and told the Guardians that it wouldn’t allow them to close the gate. It then reached into the mass of tentacles, and pulled its neck wide—an impossibly huge bat pushed itself out. The bat was seemingly too big to fit in the room, having a wingspan of 100’, but it began swooping around and attacked!
Dr. Decibel and Synapsis focused their attention on the bat, and Jaguar struck a mighty blow on Vismajoris, sending the Demon King through the wall and out of the building. Jaguar leaped through the Visimajoris-sized hole he’d just made to confront the demon outside.
Jaguar attacked with a frenzy of slashes, punches, kicks, and even tried spitting a time or two (well, maybe not the spitting part…), but Visimajoris seemed to shrug off every blow with disdain. The Demon King fought back, landing a few hits of his own. Meanwhile, Dr. D and Synapsis had managed to finish off the impossibly huge bat, and tried to wake Mary Matthews from her trance. Nothing they tried could wake her, but they did manage to get Visimajoris’ attention. Synapsis learned that the Demon King was actively using his power to keep Mary focused on the portal. She ran to the hole in the wall and tried to psionic blast Visimajoris, while Dr. Decibel contemplating actually killing Mary Matthews in order to close the gate.
Synapsis managed to stun Visimajoris, but only momentarily. Angered, the Demon King focused his dread gaze upon her, catching her with his numerous eyes, holding her helpless. And then he began splitting her physical form, doubling her over and over again. She could feel her lifeforce slipping away into disaster as more and more Synapsises appeared in the room.
Jaguar tried heroically to stop this, but Visimajoris ignored his attacks. Dr. Decibel decided that he couldn’t take a life, no matter the consequences. He saw what was happening to Synapsis, and rushed to try and help her. He began focusing his sonic energies on Visimajoris, but the Demon King ignored his attacks as he had ignored Jaguar’s.
There were thirty-some-odd Synapsises in the room, and she was almost gone by the time Jaguar was finally able to break the Demon King’s gaze on her. Visimajoris flung him away, and then focused his eyes upon Jaguar.
Dr. Decibel finally struck the finishing blow on the Demon King. Howling with rage, Visimajoris evaporated away, returning from whence he’d come.
Jaguar leaped back up to the dorm room, and the Silent Guardians rushed to check on Mary Matthews. The glow from the pages of Confuto Tractus Vox faded, and Mary opened her eyes and gazed around blearily. She seemed unaware of her surroundings, and looked right through the Guardians as her head swung around.
“That was interesting,” she murmured. And then she reached up and turned another page.