Chapter 13

“We are close.  We know it!  They are in this city, but where?” raged Algharoob that morning, “We can’t draw out the location from our keeper.  That first night we almost had it.  Grrrr, so close!”

“Can’t we go looking for them?”

“No!  We have no way of knowing where they are.  We would need to be in the ether concentrating directly on them and could risk detection, and not just by them.  Plus, how would we communicate where we need to go.  With the way time flows, by the time we got back they may have already gone somewhere else.”

“Can’t you do it less discretely?”

“No!  We can’t.  Aren’t you listening?  We-” said Algharoob who now began grinning at Earl.

“Boss, I don’t like that look.  It usually means death.”

“Yes, I wouldn’t like it either if I was you, but in your case it won’t mean death.”

Earl let out a small whimper.

“Aisha, you okay?” inquired a worried Harvey, “You were so quiet yesterday.”

She stared at Jason and Baybar’s sleeping figures.

“Harvey, I miss Baybars.  We used to be good friends,” she said tearing up, “He was like my brother, especially after, especially…”

“Oh sweetie, come here,” said a Harvey embracing her with the best comforting hug he could manage, “Let’s say you and me go have a day to ourselves, just us two.  These guys can get along by themselves for a day.  I always wanted to see Central Park.”

“Really?”

“Yea.  It looks to be a beautiful Friday morning,” he exhaled as he gazed out at the rising sun over the asphalt parking lot.

“Oh Harvey!  You’re the best,” she exclaimed giving him an enthusiastic eight year old hug.

Harvey responded gently but awkwardly with a hug of his own.  They left within a half hour, and Jason and Baybars woke up after the sun had climbed two hours higher.

“Out for the day with Aisha.  Everyone meets here at the motel at nine p.m. at the latest for the trip home.  Have a great but safe day. –Harvey,” read Jason to the groggy Baybars.

“Well what do you want to do today?” asked Baybars blinking against the sunlight streaming in the room.

Earl returned midafternoon after retrieving the necessary supplies for later that day.  The bag hung heavy in his hand.  He had thought about skipping town but he knew Algharoob would find him.  Earl wasn’t sure how much he believed anymore what Algharoob had told him about world domination especially with all of the Fischer’s Club guys dead.

“Just how much am I being played?”  Why am I not getting out?” he asked himself as he stood in front of the hotel door shopping bag in hand.

The door opened abruptly, and Dec’s crisp uniformed body stood on the threshold, “You’re not getting out because you know that a gruesome death would follow you wherever you try to hide.”

Earl said nothing, eyes on the floor, and Algharoob joined him in the hallway, “Let’s go.”

The two went down to the parking garage for and sat in the black Explorer with dark tinted windows and comfortable seats.

“Now we lie down in the back and then come visiting you.  You will be occupied, but you will not be consumed.  We do this so we can be in the ether and see their location while maintaining communication with this world in order to have functionality in both.  Your body will be our puppet, but you will still be aware and be making decisions.”

“What will it feel like?” asked Earl with trepidation.

Algharoob ignored the question and lay down, body relaxing and breathing going soft, slow, and steady.  Earl’s mind flicked to the bag on the passenger’s seat.  The silence in the car was deafening.  To break it, Earl drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and stared out through the windshield into the impersonal garage.  The drumming of the fingers stopped and Earl’s arms fell limply to his side, and his head lolled to the left.  A little bit of drool began to drip from the corner of his mouth.  Then Earl’s mustache twitched and he sat up.  His eyes were glassy.  Earl became aware again, except this time, he was not alone.  It was as if two people were jammed inside his body.  It felt crowded.

“Start the car,” said his voice oddly resonating with a new alien tone.

The car slowly made its way out of the parking garage and pulled onto the streets of New York City.

“I don’t see how you can take this so calmly!” yelled Jason.

“Calmly?  I’m anything but calm.  You of all people should know that I’m scared out of my mind,” replied an exasperated Baybars.

Their plans to go out were falling apart as the implications of their new identity flared up into a sudden confrontation.  Baybars and Jason had taken the news that they were the same person fairly well.  They had been able to keep each comforted, but their minds were still adjusting to never again having a moment of privacy as long as they remained individualized.  It was grating on their nerves slowly but surely.

He continued, “We are the same person, are we not? 

“Yes, but we are also two people here with two completely different experiences and souls.”

“That’s not true and you know it!  We are tied by ages of history, and we share halves of the same soul.” 

“It doesn’t make this any easier!” yelled Jason throwing a pillow onto the ground, “I’m going out.  I need some time by myself, completely by myself.”

Baybars was about to respond when he felt a wall come down between them.  He couldn’t get past it to feel Jason, and didn’t know that Jason and most likely himself, could do something like this.  He wouldn’t know where Jason was or what he was doing and that scared him.  Three hours later found Baybars still sulking in the hotel and Jason sitting in Pizza Palace, a restaurant.

“Turn left.  Straight ahead into that parking lot.  Yes, yes, yessss,” hissed Earl through clenched teeth drawing out the last word like a snake. 

His body moved robot-like as information was relayed through two minds in guiding the parking of the car.

Earl shuddered going flaccid for a second, and Algharoob sat up in the back looking refreshed, “That worked out fine.”

“Yes,” said an unconvinced Earl.

He felt violated and empty as if Algharoob had either done something to him while inside or left with something he shouldn’t have.  Earl opened the door and threw up inconspicuously.  They were in a clothing store parking lot.  Algharoob joined him stepping around the vomit and handed him his bag.  Earl straightened up and headed for the clothing store.

“No, no, not that way.  He is in the pizza parlor,” said Algharoob.

Earl about faced, and they crossed the street together entering Pizza Palace.  The door jingled as they opened it.  The hum of orders being taken, conversation from families, couples, and friends, and the clatter from the kitchen drifted out into the street past the monster and his sidekick in a raucous din of normalcy.  A normalcy which was about to be shattered. 

“Earl” was all that he needed from his master to know what to do.  He reached into his shopping bag and pulled out three weapons: two Uzis for himself and a Desert Eagle for Algharoob.  Algharoob also drew Dec’s Glock from its holster.  People started screaming as they saw the guns.  A quick thinking waitress dove for cover dropping hot pizza on some unsuspecting customers.  The noise brought the establishment to silence.  Then the roar of gunfire filled the restaurant.  Earl opened up on full with his Uzis spraying methodically causing blood, pizza, fluff from the booth’s padding to fly into the air.  People slumped in their chairs, onto their tables, and down to the floor as they died or were wounded.

It was chaos.

Not a single person escaped unscathed including Jason who sat a table far in the back.  A bullet entered his left side collapsing one of his lungs and he fell against his chair dropping his Root Beer to the floor.  The glass exploded spewing the carbonated beverage in all directions which immediately began mixing with the rivulets of blood running down his neighbor’s booth’s seat in front of him.

Baybars

Algharoob handed the smaller pistol to Earl who dropped the Uzis their ammunition spent, and they began making their way from booth to booth as judge, jury, and executioners asking each person in turn one word: Epluribisunum.

Baybars, I need help!

Jason?  What’s wrong?!

The pizza place I’m at is getting shot up.  Two men.  I’ve…I’ve been shot.

Oh no!  I’m coming. 

No, you’ve got to tell Harvey.  He is supposed to protect us.

“Epluribisunum?”

“What?”

Boom.  Another life which had just been out for pizza with his new fiancé was snuffed out.  Algharoob tranquilly moved down Jason’s side of the restaurant rapidly closing the distance between them.  Meanwhile, Earl on the other side of the restaurant kept pace, though he was moving more erratically and excitedly as playing executioner got to his head and his cool.

Hurry Baybars!

I’m coming, and I’m sorry for earlier.

Me too.

Algharoob now stood over Jason’ table staring down at the young man with cheese pizza and a bubbling bloody mouth.

“Epluribisunum?”

Jason’s eyes narrowed and he spit out between gobs of blood, “No.”

Algharoob raised the gun then paused, “Ah, but you are.  You knew we were asking about a person and that person is you.  At least half of him.”

Jason!  Why are you thinking our name?  What’s going on?

“You probably don’t realize how long it has taken us to find you, or how long we had lived in fear of you.  This day has been a long time coming for us and for you.  It’s just not going to be the good day it was for you all those years ago that it will be for me today.”

“Who are you, and what do you want?” asked Jason with a sneer and grimace of pain trying to act tough.

“A messenger fulfilling our duty.”

“What duty?” asked Jason gripping the table and looking up at Algharoob from a hunched over position.

“Does it hurt?  It won’t hurt much longer.  We can help with that.”

Stop thinking about death Jason!  You’re not going to die.  I am going to get you to a hospital!

“You won’t win whatever it is you’re after.”

“But we have been winning ever since we started.  Don’t get so full of yourself.  You aren’t the winning stroke; you’re just the opening shot.”  Algharoob said putting the cold steel of the Desert Eagle up to Jason’s forehead and pulled the trigger.

Jason?!!

Jason’s head snapped back, and his body fell out of the chair landing like a discarded rag doll amidst the glass, root beer, and blood on the colorfully tiled floor.  Sirens bloomed in the distance.

“Earl, finish everyone.  We’ve gotten what we came for.  We go out the back.”

The two killed the rest of those out front and exited through the kitchen stopping only to execute two cooks on the way out.  The two monsters, one human and one not, disappeared into the alley and then faded into the streets their guns discarded in the closest dumpster.

“Jason!  Jason!  Where are you?!” screamed Baybars staring out into the parking lot with tears streaming down his face.

The worst part of it was not just knowing that Jason was dead, but that he was talking to himself all alone in his head.

Hours later at dusk, Aisha and Harvey returned to the motel pulling serenely into the space in front of their room.  The sun cast long shadows of their figures and as they walked, and it looked like their shadows were trying to escape and follow the sun in order to never see the day end.  As they approached the door, however, Harvey saw Baybars pressed up against the glass seeing nothing.  His nose was covered in dry snot and his eyes were red.  The glass showed the evidence of these sorrow stains, and judging by the prodigious amount of dried fluid, the crying must have gone on for hours.  Harvey opened the door, and Aisha brushed past him running up to Baybars who turned slowly.

“Baybars what’s wrong?”

He stared at them, the pain from his soul almost tangibly leaching through his eyes, when he croaked, “Jason’s dead.”

3 Comments

  1. AHHHHH!!!! What now?!

    I’m sorry I didn’t proofread for you (not that you needed it for this chapter) but we were away. We’ll talk soon.

    Oh man…

    I liked that last line, “his soul almost tangibly leaching through his eyes”

  2. thanks pete. glad you like it

  3. *gaping mouth* now closed. wow- could almost feel Jason getting hurt


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