Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chapter Three

Short post today....but I'm including Chapter Three for your reading pleasure! Again, formating isn't the best on the blog so apologies for that...

To save you searching:


After a quick search of the remaining areas of the church and dormitories, we found nothing else out of place. The three of us consulted quickly, and it was decided not to report Charles missing to the authorities for the time being. Aaron was, as you can imagine, completely against this but I’d shouted him down. I’m guessing the phrase ‘kidnapping by demonic servant of Hell’ wouldn’t have looked too good in his report. Besides, even rusty we were better equipped to investigate Charles’ disappearance then the police. Aaron excused himself curtly and stepped away to make a few calls. Peter went to make arrangements to have the doors repaired and to have parishioners who may turn up shepherded to the Anglican church down the street for the time being. This left me alone to contemplate the symbols and meaning of the ruined study. Runes and ancient languages had been a mandatory part of my study when I’d been a student here, but it had never been one of my strongest subjects. I was just thinking about going to find an old grimoire or text on the stuff when Flint and Kowalski seemingly materialized out of nowhere right next to me.

Kowalski looked around the room with a bored, yet appraising eye. After a minute he said “Sumerian…written in Manon marks or Kolbryn? What do you think Flint?”

“Dunno,” the big man grunted. “I called it in. Expert should be here in a bit. Wants us to take pictures and told me to tell you not to disturb anything.” Kowalski nodded and reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a miniature digital camera. It looked expensive.

“Mr. Bryson,” said Flint. “Could I ask you to step back please. You’re contaminating the scene.”

I couldn’t believe this. Charles was missing, St. Ignatius had been breeched, and here I had found my way into the cast of a witty forensics drama.

“Who the hell are you guys?” I asked.

The flash on the camera went off as Kowalski started documenting the study. Without missing a beat from his work, Kowalski said, “Private security.” And just like that I was dismissed.

I moved out of the way as the two men continued to work the room quickly and methodically. I really wanted to know who these guys were and why they had the run of the place. And to be honest, I was annoyed at being treated like a petulant child by these goons. I rubbed my right temple. Great, now a headache was coming on. Peter seemed to trust these guys, but for all I knew, Kowalski and Flint might be involved in Charles’ abduction somehow. I watched for a few more minutes, when I heard footsteps coming down the hall. I looked up and Peter was there, notebook and cordless phone in hand and looking as worried and tired as I felt. I glanced at my watch and it took me two tries before I could see the hands properly. Damn headache. It was quarter to midnight.

“Symon, I need you in the sanctuary. There are a few people there who’ve just arrived and they want to talk to you.” Before I could ask, he continued. “No, they aren’t the police. Aaron is still here, but he hasn’t called it in as of yet.” Peter turned on his heel and went back down the hall, dialing the phone as he went. With a glance back at Charles’ study, I followed.

There was a small group of people near the front pews, speaking in low voices with Aaron. Despite the years, I recognized them immediately. One was a very tall, thin black man wearing a priests’ frock. His hair had started to recede a bit and he was supporting a thin moustache and goatee. I hadn’t known Bill had joined the priesthood. He was chatting with a blonde woman dressed in what looked like a very expensive business suit, complete with a short yet tasteful skirt. Eden Engel looked like the epitome of the modern business executive, from her five hundred dollar haircut to her matching shoes and handbag from Gucci. I stopped when I noticed the third person whom I’d initially thought was sitting in a pew behind Eden. But now I noticed she was actually in a wheelchair. Eve Engel was identical to her sister in every way, as I had known them both years ago. But the resemblance was no longer as uncanny as it had once been. I knew that she had been affected by our disaster at Plum Island more than any of us, but the past decade had seemingly been harder on her. I was shocked to see her condition. What happened to Eve was one of many reasons I left. One of many things I blamed Charles for.

I honestly didn’t know how my old friends would react to seeing me. Maybe it was a combination of the long flight and exhaustion, but at the moment I didn’t care as much as I had thought I would during the flight over. I left this place ten years ago and chose to break my connection to these people. But Charles and I had some unfinished business to attend to once he was found and the current trouble sorted. That was the real reason for getting on the damn plane in the first place. But that had to wait until he was found. Based on what I’d seen tonight, I understood why Charles had wanted to put the band back together. The Monsignor had been snatched from Holy ground and that was supposed to be impossible. The only way I could think to find him and to get the Hell back to Ireland was to work with my old friends. Which included Aaron, Bill and the twins. Also, unfortunately, Janice. I wasn’t looking forward to that.

So I took a deep breath, held it for a moment, and then let it out counting to ten as I did so. Suck it up Symon, I thought. You need these people. And besides, Janice doesn’t seem to be here.

Aaron and Eden were engaged in a very low, animated conversation when I had entered the sanctuary; Bill was standing silently by their side. Eve seemed to be sleeping silently in her chair. All of this, of course stopped as I, too distracted by my own thoughts, walked right into one of the tall, free-standing candles next to the alter. With a loud crash that echoed seemingly for a week, the ornate candle and metal stand tumbled to the floor.

“Schmuck.” I muttered to myself.

Aaron and Eden stopped talking and turned to look at me. Bill stood there, one eyebrow raised like Mr. Spock in Star Trek and folded his arms, giving me a very Peter-esque look. Must be taught in Priest school. Eve stirred, but settled back down.

“Nice one, Sy,” said Aaron in that voice of his. “Like the entrance. Subtle and with all the grace of…”

“Oh shut up Aaron. When did you become such a pompous ass?” That was Eden. Tonight, she’s my hero. Eden came over to me and hugged me, something I wasn’t even remotely expecting. I hugged her back. It’s been a long night.

“Awful news about Charles. I know he’d be glad you came.” It was a strange comment with the circumstances being what they were. I filed it away as something I could think about later.

“I didn’t know Eve was in a wheelchair,” I said. “What happened?”

Eden teared up a bit. “She was never right after Plum Island.” She said, voice breaking a little. “I thought she’d turned a corner, but she’s gotten really bad in the last few months. Eve doesn’t have any lucid moments any more. She seems to be in a constant dream state. It’s frightening, Symon.”

I looked over at the infirm twin. It looked as though she was sleeping peacefully in her wheelchair. I knew better, of course. Eve was an empath. A damn strong one too. Plum Island had broken her. And it broke my heart to see her that way. Bill, I’d noticed, had come to stand by Eden, putting his hand on her shoulder to comfort her.

Without looking at me, he said, “Symon. It’s good to see you again. Eden, there isn’t a lot of time.”

Eden wiped away a tear and appeared to pull herself together. “Of course you are right, Father. Stay here and see what you can find out. I’ll go look in the Monsignor’s study.”

Eden, apparently, was the expert the two creepy security guards were waiting for. I should have guessed that, as ancient languages and symbols had been one of her many skills when we were growing up. It wasn’t a field of study that many kids majored in. And just for fun, she’d gotten degrees in biology and chemistry as well. She was unbelievably smart, as smart as Eve had been intuitive. Eden left us and heading toward the back, pausing to show her respect to the alter and the figure of Christ depicted hanging on the cross suspended on the wall behind the alter.

I watched her go, mixed emotions all fighting for dominance in my mind. I turned to look back at Eve when Bill clasped my arm.

“Sy, we’ve all missed you. Charles the most, I’m sure of it. He’d be very glad to see you’ve come to help.”

“When did you get ordained, Bill?” I asked absentmindedly.

“Let’s catch up later,” he said. “I already spoke to Aaron. What’s your take on what’s going on?”

I walked through everything that had happened since I stepped off the plane at Logan. Peter and the security guards; what I noticed about the damaged church; the feelings and smells in the church. The voice we had heard.

“It took some very evil and powerful magic to get into the church,” Bill mused. “Something must have invited the creature in either accidently or on purpose, I don’t know.”

I agreed with him. We started to discuss possibilities when Aaron came up to us.

“I really need to get an APB out on Charles, guys.” he said, frustration coloring his every word. “I can get the airports and train stations closed and coverage of all the highways within the hour.”

I laughed. I probably shouldn’t have, but I did anyway.

“What, Aaron,” I mocked, sounding much harsher then I’d meant to. Hey, I was tired and my head felt like it was going to split open with the migraine that I’d developed.

“You think the demon grabbed Charles, called a cab then put him on a flight to Bermuda? For God’s sake…”

“I don’t see the great Symon Bryson doing anything to find him!” he spat back. “We can handle this. Why don’t you go back to Ireland and hide in your apartment. It’s what you’re good at.”

“Son of a bitch,” I moved to hit him, but Bill grabbed me.

“Stop it. Both of you. This is the worst thing that could happen now. We’ll never find Charles if the two of you are at each other’s throats!”

Aaron and I continued to have a go at each other, our voices rising; Bill’s deep baritone rising as well to try and talk some sense into us. But neither Aaron nor I were going to back down. Ten years was a long time to keep emotions bottled up and we were both stressed to the breaking point.

All of a sudden the pain in my head exploded. Stars danced across my vision. I put my hands to my temples but the pounding wouldn’t stop. I staggered backwards a bit and was vaguely aware that both Bill and Aaron seemed to be in distress as well.

That’s when Eve screamed.


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