Subsubsection: 28 October 2015 (Investigations in Belmopan) Up Subsection: High Lord of Earth Subsubsection: 25 November 2015 (in the White Rose) 

11 November 2015 (to the White Rose)

After packing their gear, the team heads for the north-western suburbs where the disappearances were concentrated. This area’s clearly run-down, with no regular rubbish collection or in some cases working sewerage.
The Church of the Sacred Heart looks as if it’s been reinforced to withstand a minor siege (but, Stephen reckons, against large animals rather than humans with tools). An elderly man is cleaning near the altar; Thorfin speaks with him, and he turns out to be the parish priest, Father Luis.
A week ago, Hector and Seda Ramon brought their son Victor into the church because he was troubled by his dreams, which started shortly after the first reports of zombies. Apparently he saw the old pyramids awash in blood, ancient gods pulling down the cities and claiming the people as sacrifices, and the feathered serpent flying through the ruins of the temples as they were restored. There was the laughing face of a man with a dagger, laughing as he cut the hearts out of people and then sent their corpses out to do his bidding; Victor could smell the rotting bodies and feel the cold touch of their hands. Behind him was another man, standing astride the world; his face wasn’t visible, but it was getting clearer each night.
Father Luis was at something of a loss; he said prayers with the boy and his parents, and blessed them, but hasn’t seen them since. The team gets directions to the Ramons’ house, and Steven gives some advice on the defences; Father Luis doesn’t take them entirely seriously, but it makes people feel safer if they know they have somewhere they can run to.
As they walk towards the Ramons’, they hear a car engine revving, and one of the faded blue cars (a four-door Austin A40) starts racing down the road towards them. They deliberately give no sign of having noticed until it gets rather closer, by which time two guns can be seen poking out of the right-side windows; then David dives behind some bushes, Thorfin pulls out his mace, and Diamond and Stephen open fire. The windscreen crazes immediately under Diamond’s shots, while Stephen’s gunfire damages the car’s bodywork. Diamond flies up and grabs onto the car’s roof, firing down into the front seats, while Stephen braces himself in the vehicle’s path and continues to shoot until the last moment. Thorfin reaches in through the window with a mace blow. He realises that the two men in the front seat are dead, and the one in the back is pointing his gun up through the roof, so he hits that last man; with the car’s speed added to the force of the blow, it’s immediately fatal, and the mace ends up flying along the road for a few yards. At the same time, David aims and shoots the tyre on the far side, hoping the car will spin away from them; it does, but it also flips, catches fire, lands on its front, falls onto its roof and explodes. (Diamond manages to get away from it as it leaves the ground.) There’s no sign of life inside.
The team carries on. Near the Ramons’ house, there’s a road-block: five soldiers and a truck, outside a run-down drinking establishment. The team manages to go round by a back route, but the patrol has a line of sight along the Ramons’ street, so they’re careful how they move; there’s nobody else around.
The house has clearly been stripped, first by the occupants as they left and then by the locals afterwards; there’s nothing to find there. David and Stephen keep an eye on the inn; the soldiers seem to be turning most people back, but a few of them present paperwork, and are directed into a house across the road. They seem on average to have more Amerind blood than the general population.
Stephen and Diamond sneak up to the back of that house, and listen. There are four or five men talking, mostly about inconsequentialities, though there’s mention of “our priest” and having to wait for sunset because “he knows the right times for these things”. More men arrive over the next few hours; they sit around, chat, and gamble.
Shortly after sunset, one of the soldiers walks over, and the men are ushered in through the gate in the wall surrounding the inn. The soldiers stay outside on guard. Stephen heads into the house and tries to keep an eye on things from the front door, but trips and makes a noise; two of the soldiers come over. They fling the door open and throw something in; Stephen hurls himself out, evading their attempts to grab him. Diamond shoots one of the soldiers through the back window, and Stephen shoots the other; then the grenade goes off, though Diamond manages to drop to the ground behind the house wall and Stephen only takes a flesh wound. Diamond flies over the house, and the two of them attack the remaining soldiers, one of whom has been shouting frantically on the truck’s radio until he’s interrupted by gunfire.
 Subsubsection: 28 October 2015 (Investigations in Belmopan) Up Subsection: High Lord of Earth Subsubsection: 25 November 2015 (in the White Rose)