Book of the Fallen: Nathanial's Folley;Chapter 4
I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
George Lucas, Han Solo, Star Wars: A New Hope
Garden of Gesemine, Jerusalem
1099 During the First Crusade
He had stood in this garden many times before, the cool breeze carrying the smells of peace and contentment. It was always green and full of life, if one knew where to look. Now it was dark and dreary the smoke from the many fires making it a dismal place, a place of shadow and fear. Yet there he stood remembering it in better times, his blue eyes looking but not really seeing. He blinked and looked far out to the city walls, more fires had been lit. Why did they always have to use fire? He knew he was there long before he made his move to the top of the hill and long before he finally cleared his voice to speak.
“Hello Gideon, it’s been a long time.”
“Yes it has”
“What are you doing here Gideon, you know the rules, you shouldn’t be here.”
“He was concerned for his mother’s house. He doesn’t want to see it destroyed, and you. Are there Fallen behind this madness?”
“No this is just mankind’s own capacity for hate and destruction. There are a few of Lucifer’s spawn floating around the fringe, but carrion and death always attract them.” They stood for a long moment neither one saying anything
“I always liked this place; it always felt familiar like home almost.”
“Yes to me as well. How is he Gideon?”
“The same and yet different, There is still that melancholy air about everything he does, a more human perspective now perhaps. The same energy and charisma though, there is not a one of us who would not follow him into the abyss itself, yet I don’t know something in his eyes, a greater understanding of things we can’t begin to comprehend.”
“I was here that night you know, when Lucifer tempted him one last time, offered him an alliance. I watched as he turned him down yet again and then they came and took him. I should have stopped it!”
“He would not have let you even if you tried, but I know your feelings, it took twenty of us to restrain Gabriel and even then it was not easy. I for my part wanted to assemble the third host and ride out, but ultimately I let cooler heads prevail.”
“You should go Gideon I do not think they will breach the walls tonight”
“Oh no they will, you see there” he pointed to a spot on the far distant wall “they will breach it there. They have massed most of their siege engines at that side. The forces off to the left are a feint meant to draw the Muslims away from the focus of the attack. Such potential these humans have and yet they waste it always on destruction.”
He stared at the far distant wall for moment, “I will take your word for it I have no gift at tactics”
“You should have paid closer attention to what we taught you”
“I have no natural talent for strategy, not like Gabriel, or Aaron or even you”
“You’re not a shepherd anymore Josua, you need to pay more attention to your lessons. I fear there is a time coming when the fate of this world will depend on how well you know the enemy. You are all that stands between Lucifer and the souls of this world.”
“I know Gideon, I know, but there are times when images of a happier past spring to mind and thoughts of the war and the Fallen seem far away.”
“I must go now, they will be at the house soon and I must insure no harm comes to it, I will see you again my friend perhaps at a happier time. In the mean time mark my words you are the balance, everything hinges on you. The time for shepherds will come again but for now stay the course.”
“Good-bye Gideon. Tell him...” the words caught in his throat “Tell him that I love him and I am sorry”
“He knows Josua, he knows” and with that he strode off into the city. He stood there watching for a little while more and then he too walked away.
New York City
“I am getting too old for this”
Detective James “Flint” Callahan complained. It was a typical old cop complaint, coming from a stereotypical by the book Irish cop. He came from a long line of hard nosed cops, who were as straight as the day is long, they were never on the take, never covered up for a buddy, heck he couldn’t even remember his father or grandfather ever jaywalking for that matter. So here he was two months short of retirement, having only fired his gun once in the line of duty and having an amazing record of no outstanding or unsolved cases wondering if that streak was about to be broken or worse yet his retirement pushed back.
“I am definitely getting too old for this.”
He straightened his tie and threw the butt of his cigarette, the only real vice he had, down on the ground and walked over to where his partner Paul Chavez was talking on his cell phone.
“Yeah female 28, multiple injuries, she should be at the emergency room by now...”
Flint could not hear the rest since a delivery truck passed by a block away, its noisy motor making enough racket to wake up two city blocks. When it had passed, Paul was putting his cell phone in his jacket pocket, as he did the collar slipped a little and Flint saw the stylized cross tattoo on his lower neck. For the hundredth time he wondered to himself when did his straight-laced partner ever get a gang tattoo.
“Another one of your girlfriends Paulie and where’s your tie?”
“Dammit, Flint you scared the life out of me! It was after one in the morning I didn’t think I needed it.”
“You’re a detective kid you need to look the part 24-7. So tell me what we got.”
“Uhh, 28 yr old female Caucasian, multiple injuries, found unconscious, apparently a mugging gone bad.”
“Not sure. We will have to wait and see what the test results show. A few eyewitnesses say it never got that far. They smacked her around for awhile and then were interrupted by a Good Samaritan.”
“Let me guess they saw something but really didn’t see anything. Who was the first on scene?”
“The local campus cops were the first ones here, and then it was Officer Winters. He is still over there taking some statements.” He pointed at a beat cop a few feet away who was talking to a couple of young men.
“And the phone call?”
“I haven’t got the report on the 911 call, dispatch is going to route it through, they didn’t say who called it in initially.”
“No, I meant the one you were taking when I got here”
“Oh, that,” Flint watched him shuffle his feet a little, there was something there just for a second and then he stopped “I was just checking with the hospital to see if they had any additional info yet. They weren’t that helpful, but you know how those hospital types are.”
“Yeah believe me Paulie, I know”
“Flint did you get any idea why we were called for this, I mean this isn’t exactly our type of case?”
“Our beat kid, our case, plain and simple, other then that I don’t ask. Come on partner lets get started the sooner we get these interviews done the sooner we can get some coffee. I got a feeling this is going to be a long night.”
An hour and a half later Flint was asking himself the same question his partner had asked him. Why did he get this case? They had interviewed several of the supposed eyewitnesses, none of which could say for sure what they saw. Each having a different story of the attack, some of the stories had a common element but nothing rang true, or at least not to his seasoned ear. The campus cops and Officer Winters proved to be of even less help. They both stated that the girl was out cold when they got here and stirred for a few moments muttering about monsters and bright lights or something. He had monsters and bright lights, disappearing good Samaritans and young college professors who were mugged but nothing was taken. So basically he had a wild goose chase on his hands, just the way to finish out a career, great just great.
“We about ready to wrap it up here Flint?”
Flint was about to answer him but just then a small pile on the sidewalk got his attention. Maybe it was coincidence or something else since the whole thing looked on the verge of blowing away in the breeze. He knelt down and scrapped a little piece of it up with his pocketknife. It looked like ash, but it could be just about anything, he sniffed it quickly. Huh a slight sulfur smell to it but other then that nothing. He took a sample bag out of his pocket and dumped the sample in it. It was probably just where someone dropped his cigarette but it never hurt to have the lab run a check on it. As he put the bag back in his pocket, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Paulie watching him and then he quickly looked away as if he hadn’t been. What was going on with that kid? Well time to get to the hospital and check on the victim. Hopefully she could shed some light on this, cause right now it looked like they were at a dead end.
“Alright Paul lets get going, I’m not getting any younger standing out here.” Damn I am too old for this he thought once again.
Brooklyn, New York
He was eight hundred feet below the streets of Brooklyn and the dark and dreary surrounding were doing nothing to improve his mood. The damp roughly hewn passage with its various lead and copper pipes running at every imaginable angle gave way to a large perfectly round tiled passage. The tile had once been a brilliant white but after decades in this subterranean world, it had faded to a dull grey. The words New York Pneumatic Subway Brooklyn Line were sprawled across the top of the tunnel in black tile. The words seemed to be the final straw that put him over the edge and he could be silent no more.
“You know old boy that just because humans at large believe that we dwell in some fiery pit of eternal torment conveniently located underground doesn’t mean we actually have to be underground. Doesn’t this hidden subterranean lair thing seem a bit cliché?” he yelled as he walked from the tunnel to the large station beyond.
“Keep your voice down Bartholomew, and no I don’t think it is cliché. We are meeting down here out of necessity. It is the only place I could be sure neither of us was followed nor be disturbed just for that very reason, because it does seem to be a cliché.”
In front of a stone fireplace in one of the far walls stood a figure in a black suit, his long black hair groomed meticulously into place and even in the low light of the giant space, his black shoes seemed to gleam. Bartholomew came to a stop just behind him and pulled out one his thin cigars. The noise from his Zippo closing echoing through the empty station
“I have asked you before not to smoke those things around me. Where is the girl?”
“It’s not like you are in any danger of dying Nathanial, and the girl, let’s just say we had problems”
“Drang and Atrenk?”
“I am afraid your pet demons picked a fight they couldn’t win”
“Josua! He materialized out of thin air like he does and saved the girl; ashing those pathetic servants of yours in the process. Couldn’t have come sooner if you ask me old boy, they were getting a bit too loose with their tongues for my taste.”
Nathanial turned and looked at him with a raised eyebrow, his blue shirt and yellow tie standing out but not as much as the pale white rose in his lapel. Bartholomew chuckled to himself what every else one could say about Nathanial he at least had a sense of style.
“I see you are still with us and without the girl, the situation could not of been that dire.”
“I may have been mad enough to go along with your plan Nathanial but even I am not mad enough to stand up to Josua. I have seen ones stronger then me cut down as if they were paper dolls. No not I, no thank you”
Nathanial turned away back to the fire “You are right to fear him; he would have ended you with out a moments pause.”
“Now just a minute I think I would have handled myself…”
“Spare me your wounded pride Bartholomew, no it is too soon. Things will have to be accelerated.”
Stung by the dismissal, Bartholomew decided he would do what came naturally and annoy his would be partner. “Its all coming unraveled on you isn’t it? Old boy. You really didn’t think Josua wouldn’t find out about this little plan of yours? Not as smart as you thought eh Nathanial?”
Before he could blink, Nathanial had him by the throat and had pushed him against the nearest wall, raising him up so his feet were off the ground. His green eyes almost glowing.
“I have worked for almost 300 hundred years for this, make no mistake Bartholomew, there is nothing I have not thought of. My only concern is that with Josua knowing about the girl this soon he could talk to Lucifer before I am ready. The timing must be perfect. Do you understand you miserable mercenary, nothing can link me to the girl yet, nothing.” He slowly let him down.
“Easy Nathanial; remember our agreement, besides Josua suspects Lucifer is behind this the same as always, he is single minded that way. As far as talking to him, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. Those two haven’t spoken since the war ended and I don’t think either is in a hurry to sit down and have a cup of tea”
Nathanial let him go and turned back to the fire, which had disappeared during his rage but now reappeared blazing the same as it had before. Bartholomew had figured it was one of his tricks and that had proved it.
“You are a fool Bartholomew; Lucifer will seek him out if only to set him on the path to finding us, but until that time I will have to keep Josua busy somehow so that I can control when that meeting takes place. You need to lay low for awhile your involvement may have raised suspicion.”
“Alright partner if that is what you want,” he stopped to light another cigar, his first having fallen during the moment when Nathanial’s temper had flared. “You just remember our deal.”
“Good-bye Bartholomew I will contact you when you are needed. Oh and Bartholomew if you ever smoke one of those cigars around me again I will personally make sure the last thing you see is the thorn as it cuts you from head to balls”
Bartholomew turned and began walking back towards the tunnel “I mean it Bartholomew” he stopped and pulled the cigar from his mouth and extinguished it in his hand, putting it back into his mouth before continuing on. Bartholomew wondered if it was too late to take Josua up on his offer, or maybe he should tell Lucifer what was going on. He was definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place and the rock was proving to be more and more mentally unstable.
Nathanial listened to his footsteps as he walked away. “The fool” he thought, that bit of theatrics had convinced him all right. Things couldn’t have been going better if he had done them himself. His plan was working perfectly and now that Josua was involved and Bartholomew had so willingly provided himself as an easy target once Lucifer told him it wasn’t on his orders that the girl was harmed. That would tie up that loose end; yes, nothing could be traced back to him. He smiled and then laughed; the laugh filled the empty chamber and echoed off the walls ringing with the laughter of madness.