Chapter 11

“He is on the second floor of the left wing,” Baybars said as they stared at the building from the parking lot.

They moved away from Hentry’s beat up green Corolla and walked around to the building’s edge so they stood just under his window.

“Jason.  We’re here.  Open the window.”

After a few minutes the window slid open.

“I’m coming in.”

Harvey grabbed Baybars, as Aisha stood by, and then mightily heaved him up.  Baybars managed to grab the sill and scrambled inside. Seconds later Baybars poked his head out and gave a thumbs up gesturing to the entrance around the corner.

“Harvey?” asked Aisha.

“Later, let’s get to the car first,” he replied tersely mind concentrating fully on the matter at hand.

Opening a door of the car for Aisha, he drove them up to the entrance and sat waiting.

“Harvey?” she asked again.

“Wait until we’ve finished,” he said, once again his lack of child rearing skills making him more brusque than he should have been.

They sat in silence waiting for the two to emerge from the yawning maw of the hospital.  Baybars and Jason came at a run, teeth showing.  Harvey’s heart sank; he was going to have to deal with police.  Then Baybars who was pushing Jason in a wheelchair skipped, and he saw they were happy not scared.  As Baybars opened the door, their conversation drifted in.

“A perfect ruse!”

“We fooled them!”

To Harvey they seemed like brothers, and then he remembered what he had read in the library.  They were closer than brothers.

“Jason,” Baybars said pointing to the others in the car, “meet your rescuers: Harvey and Aisha.” 

Harvey nodded and started driving.  Aisha smiled and looked expectantly at Baybars hoping to be included in their conversation.  However, Baybars and Jason sat facing each other talking animatedly.  Aisha’s smile faltered, hurt just a little.  She turned and stared out the window as Harvey drove looking for a cheap motel.  They finally pulled into one designated only as Barry’s in the outskirts of the city, gravel sliding under the car’s tires.

“We’re going to stop here for the night.  Tomorrow we go back to Baltimore,” Harvey said, “Wait here while I go get us a room.”

The other three sat in the car in what Aisha thought was an uncomfortable silence until she realized they were talking telepathically and leaving her out.  Aisha was hurt even further because Jason did not acknowledge that she was the girl in her dream about him, even though she had told Baybars about it. 

“Did he even realize who she was?  Had Baybars told him?”

She decided she would ask them point blank, but as she opened her mouth, Harvey knocked on the window startling all three occupants and motioning for them to get out of the car.  They approached the motel entrance bags in hand making an odd scene: a discolored burly white man with red hair, a dark skinned Egyptian, a skinny white boy, and a little black girl.

“Very interesting and very suspicious,” mused Barry staring out the window from his office as he reached for the phone, “Especially three grown men, none looking even slightly related with a little black girl.”

Algharoob and Earl finally arrived in New York.  The traffic that Harvey had beat had snared them.

“Get us a hotel,” Algharoob commanded, “A nice one too.”

Earl did as he was told, and they went up to their room and lay down to rest, each in their own bed.

“So what are we going to do boss,” asked Earl.

“Nothing right now.  Sleep.  Dream,” it said with a smile.

After a heavy dinner of greasy Chinese takeout, the four travelers sat in the dank motel room.  Aisha soon fell asleep on one of the beds, taking up the whole thing even with such a small body.  Harvey, Baybars, and Jason sat in the chairs provided by the hotel in their room.

“I have something important to tell you,” Harvey said looking unsure how to continue as if he was confessing a mortal sin to a priest.

Baybars and Jason sat alert yet confused.

“It’s about you two,” he said hesitantly, “You see, I read some stuff recently, reliable stuff, and have been learning a lot about how this all works, and-”

“Come on man, just tell us,” interrupted Jason.

Harvey’s anger flared briefly, “Fine.  You two are the same person, but you have been split into two for your protection.  This means-”

He was cut off again by Jason, “What?!  That’s impossible?”

Glancing over at the unconscious Aisha Harvey growled, “Shut up and let me finish.  You two together make up one body, one being, and one soul.  You have been split ever since the Uprising.   As someone explained it to me, if your soul is like mine, then they, your souls, passed from person to person all over the globe for ages never lining up until they got to you two.  I would like to think this is happy chance, but after what I have seen I expect that not to be the case.  You are not united, not yet, but you have begun some sort of mixing, if the telepathy is any indicator.  Now I can help protect you, from what I don’t really know, but I will do my best until something happens.”

“Do your best?  Doesn’t sound like much,” said Jason, “What could be out there that would want to harm us?”

Impatiently Harvey retorted, “I don’t think you understand.  As a whole, you represent all that is good and stand as, for lack of a better world, the champion of good.  If this is actually the case, which I believe it is, then logically there exists some sort of counterpart in evil, and if not, then there have to be at least some evil forces in this world and not who would want to see you destroyed.  That is only a guess, but I have a strong hunch it is true.”

“How good are your hunches?” asked Jason.

“Usually right on, they have kept me alive fighting fires and saving lives.  All I know for sure is that there exists in these parts a vampire-like creature.  I have never met it, only read about it, but is should not be after you, at least that is what I was told.  If I had to fight him, I guess I would be some sort of vampire hunter,” Harvey said the last almost as if an afterthought.

“Cool, vampires,” Jason gushed.

“What is our name?” Baybars asked fitting the pieces together and hoping this wouldn’t go where he thought it was going. 

“Epluribisunum,” Harvey stated simply.

“Epluri, epluri, epluri,” Baybars whispered more to himself than to the others.

“What?” asked Harvey, for Jason had heard it clear as day, the thought so strong in Baybars mind.

Eerily the two recited the poem in unison to Harvey, despite Jason never having heard it.

“That is me,” said Baybars, “I am Epluri.”

“But what does it mean?” asked Jason.

“I don’t know,” replied Harvey, “but I can find out.  In fact, when I go to sleep tonight.  Speaking of which, we have a long day of traveling ahead tomorrow back to Baltimore, so we should catch some zzz’s. 

“What?  Going back already?”  asked Jason, “This is New York, and I want to come with you to wherever you are going tonight.”

“And?” asked Harvey.

“I’ve never been,” said Baybars, “nor has Aisha, I’m guessing.  And think what she has to go back to.”

“So you want to stay for a day or two?”

“Of course, and I want to come with you tonight too.”

“Not tonight, maybe tomorrow.  We can stay, but I’ll need help paying for it.  A fire fighter’s salary only goes so far,” he consented pulling off his shirt and lying on the floor.

Jason and Baybars stayed up late and explored the implications of their new relationship, neither sure how to proceed with something as intimate as reconnecting two halves of the same person again and dealing with all those hidden thoughts, feelings, and past activities.

Aisha woke up.  It was still dark.  She sat up in the cold room and tried to recall Harvey turning on the air conditioning.  It escaped her.

“It is really cold,” she thought, “must be some strong air conditioning.”

She looked around the room and hugged herself against the cold, the dim light from the parking lot throwing funny mysterious shadows around the room.  Jason and Baybars lay on one bed curled away from each other.  She could just see Harvey’s feet poking out from behind the other side of their bed on the ground.

“Too many shadows for nasty little beasties to hide in,” she thought.

with meee…

“What was that?” she thought looking frantically around.  Cautiously she got out of bed and went to Harvey’s blue duffel bag intending to rummage around for some warmer clothes.

commmmme…

Again the voice; it was the whisper against silk, smooth and almost inaudible, but she heard it and did not know where it was coming from of what it wanted.  She reached the bag and unzipped it, putting her hand in and then jerking it back out against the greater cold within.  Aisha opened the bag and stared inside at a gun.  A big one too.  Thought she did not know it, she was staring at a Desert Eagle handgun.

leave themmm…

Aiming for one of Harvey’s shirts she put her hand in the bag and instead came back clutching the heavy piece of death delivering metal.  Expertly she checked the magazine, found it full, and then chambered a round, the snicking and clicking of metal not disturbing the three sleeping forms.

yesssssssss…

Walking over to the occupied bed, she stared at Jason who lay closest.  Then thinking better of it, she climbed onto the bed between the two.  A feeling boiled in her heart, one that she could not put out. 

“You took my friend from me,” she whispered placing the cold silent metal against Jason’s temple.  He moved slightly away from the cold caress of the death dealer. 

She pulled the trigger.

The boom and flash rocked the room and Jason’s head exploded out the back, blood and gristle decorating the unlit lampshade on the nightstand Halloween style.  Both Baybars and Harvey sat up at the sound of the noise.

“Wha?” asked Baybars staring at Aisha and the smoking gun.

kiilll…

Recovering her balance after the violent kick of the gun, she dropped to one knee and put the gun against Baybars thin chest.

“You left me,” she said coldly.

Any reply was cut off by the retort of the gun.  Baybars jerked and fell against the bed eyes going a dull brown as the life leaked out the fist-sized hole in his back.  With a roar Harvey got up from the floor face covered in blood spatter.  Jumping on the bed he knocked the little assassin over but not before the right side of his chest lost a chunk of flesh.  There was no movement on the bed, but then the gun went off again, and Harvey’s body jerked.  Seconds later Aisha squirmed out from under the body, covered in blood and weaponless.

litttle one commmee…

She began to cry crouching against the bed as a tiny stream of blood dripped down from the side of the bed, becoming a waterfall and pooling on the floor soaking into her sleep clothes.

look…

She looked and screamed.  There was a face in the window supported by a tall lithe body.  She stared into the eyes which showed nothing.  They were completely black sucking in all light, all life.  Then the creature smiled causing her to scream again.  There was enough light behind it from the parking lot that she could see the horrific orifice below the thin nose.  Aisha screamed because she saw its teeth, which were long, some as long as her fingers, and black.  Not black like the eyes but a sheeny black.  They looked well cared for, and she had to assume well used.

let mee in…

The words resonated in her brain and she watched its hand come to rest on the doorknob and rattle it once indicating that it was locked.  To her dismay she felt her feet move on their own accord.  As she sat up she was jostled from behind.  Aisha turned and was greeted by a blood soaked Harvey eyes flaming red, who knocked her over and hugged her on the floor. 

“No!” he shouted looking into the creature’s eyes.

It snarled, a noise Aisha felt at the base of her brain stem, and fled almost as if in a cloud of smoke violently dissipated by the wind.

Algharoob woke up frustrated the next morning, “We were so close to finding and killing our keeper.”

Aisha woke up the next morning as well on the floor twisted in her blankets remembering everything.  It came back vividly and equally as violent; so much so, that she was almost sick in her cocoon.  Aisha squirmed out of the sheets which were wet with sweat.  The first thing she saw was Harvey’s blue duffel bag-open.  She sat up peering over the bed as if a kilroy drawing. 

Harvey saw here and smiled, in a fresh shirt and offering her a glaze from Dunkin Donuts, “Morning sunshine.”

She watched astonished as Jason and Baybars disentangled themselves from an inadvertent overnight spooning session as a result of the small bed. 

“It had only been a dream,” she sighed accepting the donut, “or had it?  Did Harvey know?”

She sat on the bed and began to eat, complimenting her donut with sufficient dunks in the steaming cup of coffee now present in her other hand.

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2 Comments

  1. oh man – almost had heart failure thinking those three were dead. really tricky!

  2. I agree. That scared me.


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