Novelist and more.
Champions of the Veil Chapter Seventeen
The trio is reunited finally. However they are trapped in the hermetically sealed room of the New Orleans Nunnery. Adam Longstreet has arrived with the local police and attempts to have them arrested, to confound problems Raquel has stabbed the Priest who is in charge of the artifact room in the thigh.
Time is running short…
“Robert! Sam! Longstreet called the cops! They’re coming up here! Get me in there, or get us out of here!”
Raquel was panicking, even as she controlled the Priest, hearing the officers at the base of the staircase ordering the Nuns out of the building seconds before Robert exited the time mirror.
Robert moved to the inner door; opening it with his powers.
He yelled back at Sam, “Hold this open, while I get her in here!”
The Police shouted for Raquel to come down; she couldn’t hear Robert through the sealed secondary door.
She frowned at Robert’s new clothes, which were different from when he stepped in the mirror, but the approaching danger of the Police was an immediate concern to her.
Sam held the door while Robert entered the clean room just as a male voice echoed from one of the coffins.
“Kill the priest. He is a traitor to his works,” a baritone, chilling voice ordered.
Robert turned back toward the coffins trying to distinguish which occupant spoke, “What?”
“The priest, De Luca, he is a traitor. He works with the (a clicking sound Robert recognized from his conversations with The Word) willingly. Kill him,” the voice ordered again.
Robert looked back at Raquel as returned to work the door.
Raquel heard someone creeping up the staircase.
“Raquel! Zap him!” He yelled.
“What?” her eyes widened reading his lips.
“Zap him with your Taser! He’s a traitor; he works for the black hats!”
Reading his lips, she looked Father De Luca in the eyes, “Tell me you don’t work for the bad guys?”
Before he answered, she released him, reaching for Sparky, pulling her butterfly knife free from his thigh.
He grimaced and gasped in pain, “I’m a man of God. I don’t work for anyone except him.” He cringed holding his bleeding thigh.
She knew he was lying as soon as he said he was a man of God, “Liar!”
Sparky bit him with its voltage; knocking him to the floor in spasms.
The hermetically sealed door popped open and Robert pulled her in just as the Police topped the stairs catching sight of the groaning, bleeding, priest.
The trio moved back out of the clean room, shutting both doors, Robert locking them with his powers.
The officers held their fire and rushed to the door while others pulled the wounded priest down the stairs. The shouted orders, but the sound could not reach them through the protective barrier.
“What are we gonna do, what are we gonna do?” Raquel’s girlish voice echoed in the chamber.
Robert ushered them to the back of the room and around a corner.
“They can’t get through the doors, they’re bulletproof. I destroyed the locks so that’ll take them time and effort to come in. They can’t damage the room or its contents. We’ve got to think.”
“Did you kill the priest?” the bone chilling voice reverberated from the most battered of the coffins.
Raquel’s eyes widened, finally realizing there were three coffins in the room with them.
“Who…what… is that?” she shivered, moving closer to Robert.
“One of the sleepers,” he answered the inquiring one, “No she didn’t kill him. She’s a warrior but hasn’t killed anyone yet.”
A woman’s voice, low and seductive, echoed from the upright, relatively new appearing coffin, “Pity. She will soon.”
Raquel gripped Robert’s shirt and pulled, “Who are they?” she whispered.
He tapped his finger on his lips, “Never mind them now. We’ve got to think of a way out,” He gently pried her fingers from his shirt.
Sam already checked the rooms’ windows in the corner, only one could open but it was sealed by an unknown means. No matter how hard he tried, the window wouldn’t budge.
He tapped the painted over window, “This window? Can you do something to open it?”
Robert shook his head, “Only they,” he pointed at the coffins, “The Immortals, can open it.”
“Then what are we going to do?” Raquel squeaked.
A gentle, quiet male voice answered her from the third well-traveled coffin; “Use the mirror.”
Robert seemed surprised, “You…you’re speaking?” he regained his senses, “What about the mirror?”
“Use the mirror to escape,” the calm voice answered.
“But we can’t go just anywhere. You know it’s not that type of portal, it has to be somewhere where we’ve been or know someone in the past to go there.”
“The garden!” Raquel yelled.
Robert glanced at her, “What?”
“The garden, remember Bastet and Blind man Johnson? After we talked with them, we walked through the central garden where the painters paint. We were there! We can go there.”
Sam peeked around the corner noticing the police moving up with a blowtorch.
He slapped the wall for their attention, “Guys, they’re coming in! Whatever we’re gonna do, let’s get it done.”
Robert ran around the corner grabbing the mirror as twelve police officers sighted their weapons on him. Some had Bestial Riders; others had various Riders riding them but only a single one remained unridden. Robert waved at them with a smile and pulled the mirror back and around the corner.
“We can’t let them see what happens. That the mirror operates like this. I have to figure out a way to mask our appearance, to make them forget-”
“They are disturbing our rest.” the baritone coffin dweller interrupted him.
“Yes, they are. Then again, it’s been several decades since we stretched our legs,” the feminine voice agreed.
Robert turned to the mirror with a frightened expression and went to work. His hand moved over the mirror, dissolving into the view of the exterior garden. Raquel’s jaw dropped, seeing the magic working, a slight breeze moved the garden bushes just beyond the edge of the frame but they couldn’t feel it.
“I say enough,” the baritone speaker said.
“For once, I agree,” said the calm voice.
Robert finished the spell, glancing around the mirror at the coffins, “We’re sorry we disturbed your rest ancient ones.”
“Not you. They. You may go in peace,” replied the baritone.
The coffin where that voice reverberated; opened a crack pushing up from the inside. Reacting with sudden dread, Robert grab and shoved Raquel through the mirror into the garden to her knees.
“Let’s go!” he cried, leaping through behind her staggering to a stop beside her.
Sam’s inquisitive nature made him glance around the mirror just as he began to step through.
The battered coffin, where the baritone spoke, slowly opened and a muscular bronzed arm reached around the edge.
The standing coffin, blocked by a box, the one with the female voice, opened and a delicate hand and tanned arm, bejeweled, reached out to press it away. Sam glanced at the last horizontal well-traveled coffin as the lid lifted as a metal gauntleted hand slowly pushed it upward.
Before he saw anymore and shivering from subconscious primal fear, he threw himself into the mirror as Robert quickly closed it behind him.
“Were they getting up?” Robert asked over his shoulder, nearing swinging his hands to get the portal to close.
“Yeah, all three were.”
He whistled, “Three? All three of them? Man, they are pissed.”
Sam helped Raquel to her feet, “Seriously, who were they? You called them immortals. Who?”
Sam regarded him with his utmost sincerity, “Its better you don’t know. Truly, I would tell you if it would be of any use to you to know. Just feel sorry for the police still up there.”
Sam looked toward Raquel for confirmation while she wiped her fatigue pants and she nodded, “Yeah, he’s telling the truth.”
“So… the three of you are back, non?” a familiar voice asked from their right.
Blind man Johnson and Bessie Tate reclined on a set of chairs nonchalantly regarding them.
Bessie grinned at them, “That didn’t take long. We just saw Raquel racing into the Nunnery’s parking lot. Then Longstreet and the police moved in around the grounds. I take it, judging by your change in clothing, you’ve traveled and returned?”
Robert tugged on his loose shirt, “Yeah, we did. I passed on the knowledge to my father and Grandfather and became the mysterious man out of time. That answered some long-standing questions,” he shrugged, “Oh and the police woke all of the sleepers as we left.”
Blind man sat up straight, “All three! Ooo wee, I feel sorry for them, I do. The three don’t like being bothered.”
Bessie agreed, “Good thing the building is sound proof or even more police would be in trouble. I hope Longstreet isn’t stupid enough to call for further help. That fool went in with them, at least into the parking lot.”
“I still don’t know-“Sam was cut off in mid sentence as his cell phone vibrated in his pocket.
He checked it, surprised, “How the…I haven’t charged it in two days, how’s it working? I even turned it off.”
Bastet smiled, “It is a wonder isn’t it? You need to answer it.”
They exchanged glances as he did.
As he entered his access code for his waiting messages, Robert addressed Bastet.
“That’s not what I think it’s about is it?”
She frowned and appeared reluctant to answer, “I’m afraid so, or so I’m told.”
Sam listened to the messages, which seemed long, pacing back and forth agitated with his contact. After several seconds, his shoulders slumped. He sighed, ending the connection turning back to them.
“It’s-” he began.
“Wait look there.” Bastet interrupted.
From the Nunnery, a frightened and disheveled Adam Longstreet ran quickly, glancing over his shoulders out of the parking courtyard and down one of the side streets past police trying to ask him questions. No one else left the parking courtyard after him.
“Another French Quarter mystery, add it in with the others,” Blind man said.
They turned their attention back to Sam.
He ran his fingers over his head, “It’s happened again. In Little Rock, Arkansas, a family of three and a dog. He was a semi pro golfer and well to do. His wife was a real estate agent and they had a small ten-year-old girl. The dog was a Husky. Whatever did it disemboweled the girl and dog, decapitating and switching their heads in some kind of cruel joke. The husbands’ privates were stuffed into the stomach cavity of his wife up through her privates. Both had their heads twisted three hundred and sixty degrees but still on their bodies. His or her bodies were partially shredded and devoured; by who or what is anyone’s guess. Blood covered everything in their house from the second story where one set of victims were attacked and dragged down to the bottom floor. No one heard or saw anything. Even a neighbor sitting by an open window heard nothing all day and he saw the wife come in from a call earlier this morning.”
Raquel covered her mouth while Robert paced back and forth, as Sam reported his message.
“So it’s moving east again?” Robert stopped, staring at the ground with his hands on his hips.
“I have to tell him,” Bastet said to no one in particular.
They looked at her.
“Tell who what?” Sam asked.
With watery eyes, the ancient angel looked skyward then toward Robert, “Robert. Sweet Robert. You need to go, and go now, to Memphis. Samuel’s SUV is full of gas and you’ll find plenty of money in the glove compartment, we provided for that.”
Robert noticed her uncharacteristic anxiety, “What’s wrong? Why do we have to go to Memphis? Is it this thing? Is that where it’s going to attack next?”
She nodded, “Yes. But no more questions, that’s all I can tell you. Just trust me when I tell you to hurry,” she turned away from him leaning into Blind man’s shoulder who remained silent and pulled her close.
“What are you not telling me?”
She shook her head but Blind man answered for her; “For everythin’ there’s a reason, good Champion.”
Raquel placed her hand on his shoulders, “Guys, I believe we better hurry and do as she says. I suddenly feel as if I’m being attacked and I don’t see any danger around us.”
Robert held his ground for a moment watching the back of Bastet’s head cradled in the Blind man’s neck.
“Go now, Champions. Do your duty,” Blind man reiterated.
Sam took Robert by the left arm while Raquel laced her fingers into his right hand pulling him away.
He allowed them to lead him then gave a backward glance at Bastet.
Blind man sat alone, his arms empty and his head hanging low.
“What was that all about? Why do you feel attacked?” Sam asked Raquel.
They hustled back toward the Ford.
She shook her head, “I don’t know, but I have this sense of urgency that we have to go.”
They rushed through the streets of New Orleans pushing through the divine and malign beings all around them. Both sets of servitors turned, watching them pass, some with evil grins, others with saddened faces. Robert jumped into the drivers’ seat, Sam moved into the back with Raquel in the passenger seat. The Explorer did indeed have a full tank of gas. Searching for the money Bastet mentioned Raquel opened the glove compartment, which overflowed with hundred and twenty-dollar bills. She was pleasantly surprised.
Robert started the engine and gripped the wheel, “Let’s get to Memphis and find out what the hell this is all about.”
To be continued…