Lost in bittersweet memories of Skorpe, the gorgeous hunk of Goth who crushed his heart and stole his money, Ian takes an after-dinner walk in Manhattan to clear his mind. A bizarre red fog belches from the New York City sewers, and Ian, like so many others, succumbs to its otherworldly caress. As he lies in the street, unable to move, he watches creatures composed of no more than red, glowing outlines and with eyes like flaming coals wander the streets like an invading army. Ian can do nothing except think about his vanished lover and pray that Skorpe has not been afflicted by the strange, numbing poison.
Skorpe is from Parallel Earth and on a mission to defeat the Crimson Bane. Falling for Ian wasn't in the plan. To save Ian from the Crimson Bane, Skorpe steals a large sum of money from him and leaves him to set up a safe haven for them before the Crimson Bane Battles officially begin. He returns to the city only to discover that he's too late in reaching Ian before the first attack. Can Skorpe find Ian before one of the demons delivers a killing blow to the incapacitated human?
As another nighttime slipped into the city and cloaked the street where Ian laid, cherry-red outlines wandered from body to body, business to business, and car to car. What were they looking for? Were these beings caused by the freaky scarlet haze, or had they created the fog to kill all of humankind?
Once again, the sound of approaching trucks scattered the red figures to any escape route they could find. The engines stopped nearby, and soon footsteps closing in on Ian shook his composure. He heard whispering, but could only discern a few words and phrases.
“He was last seen….”
“Yes…no idea…in this…vicinity….”
“We must hurry...the Banes will be back and....”
“There, next to the curb. That looks like him.”
Someone tossed a sheet over him. Ian sensed being lifted and conveyed somewhere. The people’s clipped discussion offered him little information.
“Wait. Headquarters has ordered us to move to a scene three streets over.”
“We need to get him in the truck now!” a familiar voice shouted.
“We can’t,” said a woman. “Survivors have been detected, and we’re ordered to save several instead of just one.”
“Unload the bike. I’ll use it and meet you over on Forty-Second.”
“Are you sure?” a man asked. “You’ll be unprotected.”
“I’m only going to load him on the back of the bike and ride directly over.” An eerie silence followed, then, “I promise I’ll be right behind you.”