Kady woke to voices in the dark.
She kicked, a reflex, hitting something solid. In seconds of scrambling upright, she found the confines of her box-like cage were small and bare. The voices outside ceased. Then a door opened, bathing her in light. A closet door.
Looming over, a man who looked like her father sneered down with shining black eyes. The fuck? “Make a ruckus and I will end you.”
From behind him, another said, “You can’t harm the Conduit.” It was a short man, shaved head, large nose.
“Yeah,” Kady jumped in. Her not-father’s eyes burned down again. She recoiled just slightly. “What’s a fuckin’ Conduit?”
He slammed the closet shut.
Through her eyeball splitting headache, she leaned forward and listened to what she could.
Her not-father broke into monologue immediately. “We’re the ones risking everything, nose to ass. Shouldn’t we get a say in the proceedings? Shouldn’t we be compensated for our-our sacrifice? Walking around in this flesh suit like some plebeian… We were promised lavishness, riches, no more pain, no more mortgages, shitty neighbors, horrible bosses. Yet, here we are. It’s just the same shitty life take two. Doing what He wants. What He demands. Hasn’t anyone told this fucker ‘no?’”
The other man replied, “A few.”
“You’re young,” the man said, “You still think there’s such a thing as becoming ‘greater than God,’ right?”
“He did it, didn’t He?” not-father said, voice lowering to a hiss. “Why can’t I?”
The man snorted, a disastrous noise. “If you think that, then you have a lot to learn.”
“So what? You’re saying The Morning Star in all his glory isn’t greater than God? Think He’d like to hear you say that to his face?”
A pause drifted over the room. Stretched. Kady shifted in the closet, disliking the quiet.
A flash of light. A dull floorboard thud. Kady jolted away from the door.
“No one,” the man said, “is greater than God. That’s the point.”
Kady waited a long moment, holding her breath, before sliding down to press her head to the floor.
Under the door, her father lay just inches from her, eyes glazed, lips seeping blood. Dead.
She didn’t cover her strangled cry as she backed away, tears stealing her sight.
“What the fuck do you want from us!?” she shouted, kicking the door. Where was Cody? Where was she? When had this happened? All she remembered was heading to the fair…
All this talk of God and The Morning Star… had she been kidnapped by cultists? What was a Conduit? Fuck, it better not be some fucked up sex ritual shit like in those crooked ass B horror movies. I’m not dying to a bunch of zombie brains.
The closet door opened. Over her, the short man smiled, eyes glinting onyx rocks. “We want just one thing,” he said. “If you give it to us, you won’t feel pain again.”
Kady kept her eyes off her father’s corpse. “Yeah, well… my stance is fuck you.”
The man kept smiling, so pleasant, as if speaking with a friend over coffee. “You’ll change your mind. In time.”
With a sharp snap, the door closed again.
“Hope you got cable!” she shouted through, tears trailing away from her angry glare. “‘Cuz you’re gunna be here a damn long while.”
The man laughed, his shadow fading away from under the door.