Chapter 12

Aisha managed to shake off her feelings of unease; in fact it went away quite easily throughout the day, only to be replaced by a new type of fear: vertigo.

“See Aisha? You’re standing on the top of Empire State Building.  I don’t even know how many stories up, but it sure is high,” said a smiling Baybars.

She should have been happy that Baybars was talking to her, but she wasn’t.  It was the first time he had spoken to her all morning being completely absorbed with Jason.  She knew their situation, but it still didn’t stop her from wanting to yell at Baybars, “NOTICE ME!”  Harvey stood back from the edge.  Despite climbing ladders, which he did just fine, he didn’t like heights.  The ride back down in the elevator was stuffy and claustrophobic, the air heavy with literal unspoken thoughts.

“Okay, next stop, the metro, so we can get to the boats to see the Statue of Liberty,” said Harvey breaking the silence.

Everyone was almost all smiles.

Dec was not all smiles.  He was angry, had a gun, and was completely willing to use it.  And today might be the day.  It was delivery day, but Lawrence, or T-bone, as he was known on the street did not have his drugs, coke to be specific.  Dec scratched, irritable and jumpy, at his freshly shaven jaw, uniform tickling his neck.  He hated waiting.  T-bone had gone to the back to see what he could get: a gift for Mr. Dexter Dupree to make up for not having his supply.  Nobody called him DD or Double D or any of that nonsense.  Anyone who did got decked, hence his nickname.

“What’s taking this loser so long to get me my stash and my fix,” he growled knowing he was on the clock. 

As one of New York’s finest, he was supposed to be on patrol, but no one minded if he took a few minutes to swing by his dealer to pick up his week’s supply.  No one minded because no one knew.

“Scumbag,” he cursed and walked to the back of the laundry shop, “T-bone!  I got no time to be waiting!  Woah, hey.”

Dec turned around for a second then decided he didn’t have the time to waste while T-bone finished up his business.  He turned back around again ready to give T-bone a new face for messing around with some chic while he was waiting out front except there was another man there now.  He had a mustache and mean attitude; at least that is what his bat said.

“What?” said Dec going for his gun.

“Don’t think so pig,” the mustachioed man said swinging hard.

Dec went down and woke up minutes later tied to a chair and blindfolded.  The man was splashing water on his face.

“Hey!  Do you know who I am?  You guys are in a load of trouble.  T-bone, if this is over my shipment you’re gonna wish that-”

“T-bone’s dead,” interjected a female voice over his tirade, “Stupid name too.”

Dec smelled blood as she got close and sat on his lap.  He felt something forced into his mouth.  It was the lip of a cup and a warm fluid poured into his mouth.  He tried spitting to breathe because someone strong was holding his nose.  The female voice sighed, knocked him on his back while tied to the chair and then put the glass to his lips.  It was full again.  Dec gave in and started to drink rather than drown.

“Good,” she purred.

Her hands pulled him easily back up as she righted the chair.  She removed the blindfold and the first thing Dec saw was her eyes.  They were clear.

“It’s the insanity,” she said calmly staring into his own blue eyes, “It forces them this color which it only happens when our bloodlust is highest, and we are ready to take a new host.”

“A new host,” sputtered Dec, “What in the holy hell are you talking about?”

He spit, gagged, and spit again and again.  Dec wanted to throw up.  She had made him drink blood.

“Whose?” he choked out.

“T-bone,” said the man behind him, the man with the bat.

Dec couldn’t decide who to kill first, bat-man or crazy lady.

“Wait you said something about a new host?  What are you?  A zombie?”

“Imbecile,” she sighed, “We’re worse.  Goodbye.”

Dec’s eyes widened as she picked up a meat clever which had come out of nowhere.

“Hey, hey!” he shouted, “HEY!”

He stared in abject horror as she removed her shirt and began to cut out her heart herself with the cleaver.  Dec watched her grimace in pain as she cut through meat and bone until she exposed her heart to the open air.  Falling to her knees and sagging against a wall, she reached a hand in, screamed, and yanked it out.  To Dec, the now dead woman made an odd sight.  She lay on the ground arm with the heart aloft at a ninety degree angle.

“Well at least she is dead.  One less bogy I got to deal with,” he muttered to himself and then to the man, “Hey, you let me go, I’ll make sure you’re paid for it.  She sure was a crazy one.”

The man didn’t reply.  He was staring at the hand which held the heart.  Dec lifted his head from his chest and gasped out loud.

It was still beating.

“She said to do it,” said the man who sounded resigned.

He walked over to her and grabbed her heart making a sound of disgust.

“Hey, hey!  Put that thing down.  As an officer of the-” 

Dec’s words were cut off as a beating muscle was shoved into his mouth.  He tried to spit it out, but the man wouldn’t let him.  Gagging, as with the blood, he was forced to chew and swallow.  It was rubbery, tough, and still warm, like meatloaf gone bad, really really bad.

“Eat up,” the man grinned.

Finally it was gone digesting in Dec’s stomach.  He felt sick a combination of T-bone’s blood, the heart, and the need for a fix, especially after this.  It didn’t matter; he was getting out of here.  That plan, however, was thwarted by the man with the mustache.  He pushed Dec who fell hard onto the floor, head banging off the concrete body still strapped to the chair.  Straddling him the man placed his hand over Dec’s heart and began to chant strange thing.

“Hey come on.  Ease off with this mumbo jumbo.”

The man ignored him, brow furrowed mumbling on and on.  Dec felt a fire light under him and move upwards until his whole body writhed in pain.  Suddenly all of Dec’s senses started to go.  First his vision disappeared, then his hearing.   Now blind and deaf, he next lost his sense of taste and touch.  Almost like a new born cat, the last thing he had was smell.  He smelled his fear and the stench of blood and then nothing more.  He was just a being inside his own body, almost separate from himself.  He did not realize it, but the only thing left was his soul.

“What the hell?” he asked himself.

“Not even close,” said something else.

Dec screamed and then died with a sudden finality.  He then sat up wiping the blood from his lips and chin with a handkerchief kept in his back pocket.

“Well done,” Algharoob said, “and you didn’t mess the body up too much.”

“Thank you, master.  That was some feat, carving your own heart out and all.”

“Yeah.  It was.”

Earl helped the monster up which now sported a fully authentic police uniform and body.  Armed with bits of Dec’s memories, the creature went back on patrol leaving Earl to clean up and get back to the hotel.  Algharoob made three arrests, did the necessary paperwork, and then went to the hotel stopping on the way to kill and eat a bum for energy.  Dec did not have a wife or many friends, so no one bothered his home that night.

As Algharoob walked into the room that night, it smiled to Earl who looked tired and said, “Happy chance with this one.  Now we’ve got some legitimate, ha, authority.”

“Yes boss.”

Algharoob didn’t care where the ether went for this one.  It was almost free, and soon it would not have to worry about sloppy possessions.  There wouldn’t be a need.

“What a day!  What a day,” said Jason huffing exhausted onto his bed.

“Yes,” replied Harvey finally consenting something to the annoying Jason.

As important as he was, it didn’t stop Harvey from thinking that Jason was a pain in the butt.

“It’s late.  Let’s get to bed,” he continued ever increasing his role as a parent.

“But we get to come with you tonight right?” asked Jason, “What did you find out about that poem?”

“Uhh, well nothing.  I mean I wasn’t able to.  Something kept me away from the library.  It kept slipping from my grasp running out like so much water.  I had strange dreams instead.”

“Oh,” said Aisha as they turned to look at here, “Never mind.”

After everyone showered, the lights went out.  Jason and Baybars were eager for Harvey to find them much like Cassius did with Harvey that first night. 

“Jason.  Baybars.  Wake up,” said a voice.

Baybars sat up looking around.  It was light in the room.  He was confused as he looked outside and saw the moon.  Jason merely grunted and rolled over.

“Wake up!” commanded the voice as a black plated figure appeared.

Baybars eyes got wide, “Harvey?”

Hamee replied, “In a way.  My name here is Hamee and yours is Epluri.”

Jason still groggy sat up and saw Hamee scooting off the bed falling with a thump and whimpering.  Neither of them had noticed their changes just yet.

Jason’s voice came over the bed, “Wicked.  Where did all this light come from?”

“Not sure,” answered Hamee, “I might be creating it or you guys are since we have started sensing our identities; although, it is very weak.  Come, don’t worry about it.  We go to the library.”

Gesturing as Kaatib did so many days before; he led the two through a glowing portal.  As the three disappeared, a figure on Aisha’s bed sat up and looked where the portal had been.  The creature closed its eyes and lay back down going back to true unconsciousness with Aisha reappearing and the light fading from the room.

“So this is ether, the architect of existence for everything and not just Earth, but all the Earths that exist and all other worlds and realities,” explained Harvey.

“Wow,” mouthed Baybars as he moved his hand around the air feeling nothing.

Jason merely stood feeling the world.  Then they manifested in the library.

“Now be on your toes here.  I was attacked once by a creature here,” instructed Hamee.

“Stay on your toes?  I don’t understand this expression,” asked Epluri.

Jason, now Bisunum, looked at Epluri, formerly Baybars, and what he had become seeing him clearly for the first time as his true self.  He was taller, but not as tall as Bisunum, skinnier, paler, and overall more delicate.  His hands epitomized this, long skinny fingers clasping and unclasping gently.  In reality the features on his face were set to make him look like a face in the crowd: nobody and everybody.

“It means just be alert,” Bisunum said in his raspy voice.

“Come here,” ordered Hamee as he stared hunched over a ruined desk looking at the computer, “Look.  Each of us finds one these books.  They will help us decode Bay-Epluri’s poem.”

In his worry he failed to notice that the papers abruptly left the time before had been moved around.  They each set out going down a separate aisle.  Hamee felt nervous again the books taking on an ominous hue in the industrial lighting as they had the previous times.  It would never be just a library to him ever again.  Baybars wandered stunned at the knowledge knowing he could use all this in dealing with people of any type that he would ever run into.  A wisp of him, a very old part of him, told him that he had done something like this before.  Jason set off as a predator with a single-minded focus.  The three returned a few minutes later none worse for the wear except for Hamee who had spooked himself unnecessarily.

“Gather round.”

“Write it down.”

“What?!”

“Look.  Look there.  This word in the book matches these two and this root of that one is similar.”

“Hey, check out this passage too.”

Their conversation drifted up above their heads swirling in a frenzied but progressive mix.  After what seemed like of hours of work which could have been any amount of time on their Earth, they finished. 

“Okay, this is what we’ve got and all we are going to get,” said Hamee and then he read out their translation of the ancient language:

“It was only the past,
Cut, at the hands of the natural man,
Now scattered in the dust.
Call his name to remember:
Epluri, epluri, epluri.”

“It’s only part, said Hamee after a minute, “and it’s about your split.  Where did this come from?”

“I don’t know,” replied Epluri,” It was just part of a dream I had which I barely remember.”

“This must be incredibly old, knowledge passed down from the Uprising.”

“What’s that?  You said something about that before.” asked Bisunum.

Hamee explained to them everything he knew which he had gained from Kaatib.  Their search for the rest of the poem proved fruitless despite it sitting on one of the shelves deep in the library.  The reason they couldn’t find it and the reason it had never been found was that it was filed incorrectly.  The person who made this document knew that everything including this would be recorded in the library.  Therefore she came to the library personally to hide it deep in the bowels of the building in order to conceal what had actually occurred with Epluribisunum away from prying eyes, good and evil.

Aisha woke up all sweaty again. There was the fading taste of blood in her mouth from a bitten tongue, but it could have easily been from her dream.  Her psyche had been rocked again by horrible dreams, this time several throughout the night.  They hadn’t stopped since she arrived in New York.  Little did she know that it had to do with the proximity of Algharoob, its activities, and her intertwined fate with the monster.

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2 Comments

  1. hey hey,

    chapter 13, it being 13, will be a doozy. stayed tuned…

  2. but officer, i know i wasn’t speeding. You’re writing me a ticket – not wait, that’s a heart!!!


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