Anna sat crouched on the catwalk high above the abandoned warehouse floor, waiting. She watched the cultists in their deep crimson robes as they gathered the materials for their dark ceremony, candles, bones, arcane sigils and words chalked out on the flat, smooth concrete. A bowl of dark, viscous fluid was placed in one corner of the arrangement, and Anna involuntarily shuddered as she smelled the coppery odor that betrayed it as blood. She had a good idea of where it came from too, if the dozens of missing children reports that had cropped up over the last few weeks were any indication. Disgust quickly rising in her throat, Anna forced it back with a few deep breaths, only to feel something else rising inside of her. Righteous anger flaring in her chest and her arm as another presence pushed its way into her mind.
The time is now the darkness comes the wicked shall perish in the fires of retribution STRIKE THEM DOWN NOW STRIKE WITH LIGHT AND FLAME –
She shook her head, steadying herself against the sudden barrage of emotion and voice. To anyone else this would be cause enough to seek psychiatric help, but Anna knew where it came from. Sliding the sleeve of her jacket up just a fraction of an inch, she saw a glimpse of the runic tattoos that marked her right arm, going all the way to the shoulder and down to her fingertips, now glowing with a golden light. Although covered by a black track jacket and gloves now, she still felt those markings that sealed her as a conduit of divine justice, channeling holy vengeance through her body for the sole purpose of punishing those whom seek to cause pain and suffering.
The God Hand sensed the evil deeds that were going on in this place and Anna could feel its impatience honing the razor’s edge of her own unease. She knew what the cultists were preparing to do, what kind of evil they wanted to unleash into the world; her research and books told her that much. She had memorized the signs and words, knew the incantations, the names of the demons that the robed and hooded figures below her now invoked. But now that she was here witnessing it in person, the impersonal, academic confidence that she had upon entering was quickly being shoved aside by a combined sense of dread, urgency, and holy fury that roiled inside her.
And still she had to wait. If she leapt down now and unleashed all that pent up fury against the child-murdering bastards, they would scatter to the deepest recesses of the city and merely wait until the stars aligned again, and she might not be so lucky in tracking them down a second time. No, here they would be gathered into one place, and the ceremony would draw out their leader.
Cut off the head and the rest of the snake dies with it. Now all she had to do was bide her time until the head revealed itself.
Thankfully, she didn't have to wait much longer.
A few minutes - that felt like hours - later, the murmuring of the cultists below ceased. A tall figure in a robe bedecked with black symbols and gold thread embroidery strode into the circle of candlelight, with two attendants behind him. They carried a smaller figure in white robes, laid down the limp, sleeping body in the center of the chalk markings, and pulled back its hood to reveal the face of one of the missing children. Anna’s vision went white as the Hand’s thirst for justice burst to the surface again.
This time, however, she did not force it back down. This time, she and the hand were in complete agreement.
Letting the wave of righteous anger sweep over her and drive out the fear and the doubt in her mind, Anna slung herself over the railing and out of the darkness.