Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Chapter Twenty-Two

There was a large oil painting on her office wall, from a time when Angelina Rose and its creator were lovers, the best of friends, a time when Footsteps still had the use of both eyes. Though intricately detailed the painting had an innocent, childlike quality to its depiction. It was titled ‘Celia’s dream’; an homage to the Host of Clock and all their tireless efforts towards harnessing angel wine. A little dark-eyed girl in a field, pushing her head through a rainbow, finding a strange symbolic landscape on the other side. The girl’s face was tired, not enraptured as one might expect.
Angelina Rose pressed her hands together, staring down at the cell phone on her desk. She glanced at Deacon who was standing at the bookcase. He had his back to her, but she didn’t need to see his face to sense his fear. He had come for some semblance of the truth. She would give him a little of what he so brazenly desired.
Deacon finally turned away from the books. “So this gestalt, it has remarkable intelligence. Who else knows about this entity?”
She smiled at him and lit a cigarette. “Only the seeker-cells at NSA and FEMA in the States. To my knowledge even CIA doesn’t know. Listen, Deacon, do you want me to just cut to the reason I called you here?”
The old man frowned, “Are you going to?”
“Then go ahead.”
She reached out and offered him the cigarette. He declined it with a gesture and she stubbed it out in the ashtray.
“She’s not the only one.”
There was silence in the room for a moment. She gave him a few seconds to process the statement. He stared at her; a look of genuine alarm deepening the lines of his face. She ran a gloved hand through her white hair.
“There’s three others just like her that the Americans are tracking, all girls. One in Atlanta, Georgia. One in Redhill, Wisconsin. Another one secured in the California desert, at China Lake. Extraction teams are poised to take the other two. You’re now one of maybe sixty people on the planet that actually knows about this.”
“Jesus H Christ…”
She got up from behind her desk, went and opened the blinds, flooding the room with grey light. It was raining outside, thin rivulets snaking the glass.
“She’s not an anomaly. Going on the intelligence they’ve gathered, Interregnum estimates there’s five others; two somewhere in Africa, possibly one in India, and another two unaccounted for. Nine very dangerous girls. It’s a madhouse right now, as you can imagine.”
Deacon was speechless. Miss Rose smiled. “My own feeling, what I get inside me, is that something’s being triggered. A global event of some kind.”
The old man touched a hand to his cheek. “How long have you known?”
“Officially they’ve known for two years. Unofficially they’ve known since 1996. But in reality…they’ve been drawing up scenarios since 1947.”
He scowled. “What? How on earth…that’s not even possible! Rebecca wasn't even alive back then!”
She stared at him, feeling quite tired. “The end of the war changed everything, Deacon. Everything. Also, the detonation at the Trinity site in New Mexico, in July 1943. Do you know what the Manhattan Project secretly nicknamed that device? They called it the ‘Son of God.’ Interregnum isn’t what you think it is.”
She sighed and glanced from the window, thinking of how lonely truth could feel. Sometimes she felt so desperate, but she would never let this man see it. She wanted power to numb everything, crushing the hubris of her heart, but her heart kept beating and bleeding despite the magic in her veins.
“The people I work for consider themselves to be the unofficial guardians of Man. Stewards of human evolution. Interregnum is far, far older than most could ever conceive.”
Deacon stared up at Virginia Footstep’s painting on the wall. “Right,” he murmured.
“Surely you’ve heard the wild rumours at the lodge?”
“Of course, but…we never took it seriously, I mean…everyone has their own personal horror story. It’s just dressing up, putting on the big man’s shoes. You cannot be serious, Angelina…”
Miss Rose frowned at his earnest face. “I’m deadly serious. The detonation at Trinity in ’43 proved what the best occult minds have known for centuries. The Apex of Negation considered it a success, a total vindication. Groups all over the world saw it for what it truly was. Do you know what it truly was, Deacon?”
The old man was silent.
“It was a herald. A symbolic passing of one age into another; the first true manifestation of the divine, on Earth, in over six and a half thousand years.” Miss Rose laughed at her own words. “The Holy Grail of quantum physics is a reality. Cold-Fusion, Anti-Gravity propulsion; both have already been perfected. As hard as it’ll be for you to believe, these technologies existed, crude but operational prototypes, back in the early 1940’s.”
“The highest classified projects of the war; saucer-technology that’s still denied even today. Hitler was led to believe he could win the war with this mythical hardware. The Nazis, trend-setters that they were, understood one simple truth; that anything is permissible in the pursuit of power. But the greatest step is the knowledge that built the entire universe. That knowledge is in our hands now.”
“Impossible,” the old man said again, “Science-fiction. We’re at least a hundred years away from developing a zero-point energy source.”
“We have it now, unlimited energy. People only know what they need-to-know. The idea is always larger than the man, and we serve something that grants us access to the original language, the root metaphor; the language of light.”
Deacon stared at her, feeling spectacularly insignificant, a child cruelly distracted from the world with a shiny toy.
“The Word of God…” he muttered, more to himself than to Miss Rose.
“Unquestionably. We’re only five years away from becoming him.”
“This is insane.”
“Yes it is. The truth’s often like that. They don’t need fossil fuels, or even nuclear energy, except as insurance. Interregnum has the power of creation at its fingertips. The ancients understood how to do it. They were diligent scribes to the language of light. This is all recovered knowledge; magic dressed up as cutting-edge science. See, the only real tool one needs is the mind. Technology is secondary.”
“I don’t believe this.”
“Back then,” she said reasonably, “no one believed a thermonuclear bomb could be conceived, let alone actually created in their lifetimes. But the Trinity test, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and others; only a decade before them it was considered science-fiction, along with supercomputers, lasers, and sending men to the moon. Then in 1969 men officially landed on the moon. Science-fiction is usually some form of denied science-fact, as any true fool will tell you. Black-Light is the most advanced thing you can imagine, with literally thousands of social and military implications. We stand now at a place when science is again becoming sorcery. The thing you have to understand, Francis…”
The old man cringed, eyes closed, at the sound of his real name.
“…is that humans are far too valuable to be allowed to destroy themselves. This is why Interregnum decided a long, long time ago that man’s interaction with the divine must be carefully controlled. This is why the language of light is withheld from the majority. There can be no evolution without patience, pure intent. Spiritually, mankind is still a race of children obsessed with tribal war; Lord of the Flies. That’s why Interregnum exists. They let us have our wars, they let us fight our own shadow, but they manage our wars, they tailor our terrorism, so that we might still one day collectively receive the Singular Light, making language obsolete. The cosmos is filled with life.”
Miss Rose stepped towards him and the old man finally opened his eyes.
“There are things present in this room with us right now, entities beyond description. There are cities in this room too. Suns and stars everywhere. Each breath you take is filled with the histories of a million worlds. You see the painting on the wall…?”
He glanced at Virginia’s painting again; the girl-child called Celia, pushing sadly through the rainbow and into another realm. “Yes, Angelina, I see it…”
“That painting is real. You can go there. You can kneel beside that girl, that pretty little girl just brimming with angel wine, and you can feel her breath on your painted skin.”
At that moment, her cell-phone began its digital bleep-bleep-bleep. She went to the desk and answered it, giving the old man a pink-eyed glance. “Yes?” Deacon watched her. She sighed into the phone, “Really…? What? Yes, go there…they’ll set your wrist. Call me back in six hours if I don’t call before then. Do nothing, just wait with them.”
She ended the call, glancing at Deacon. “Your doctor resisted house arrest, she’s escaped.”
“It’s not a problem. All Locus vehicles are fitted with micro-transmitters…you can track her.”
“I think you underestimate your own operative, Deacon. I need some time to think. She doesn’t know about Maya Kistori, right? Tell me she doesn’t know.”
Deacon nodded uncertainly. “We began streaming the process from the moment you gave the word. I doubt Katherine even remembers she exists.”
“What about the recordings? Cole would have mentioned her on them.” The old man was silent, giving a fearful shrug. “Fuck,” she hissed.
Deacon turned to the bookcase again, unable to stare at her ghostlike complexion anymore. He traced his hand across the books.
“Why did you give me the file on Katherine’s dead son? It said today would have been his birthday. How is that supposed to fit into this tale you’re telling me?”
“It’s very complicated. This intelligence; it wears the boy’s face, according to Rebecca Cole. The ‘why’ of the situation is harder to fathom.”
“I can’t accept any of this. I’m sorry. I don’t know what you’re trying to imply. You’re saying that, what, Rebecca Cole and the others are harbingers of…a nuclear apocalypse?”
Miss Rose slipped the cell phone into her coat pocket. “Did I say anything about a nuclear apocalypse? They’re harbingers of change, at the very least. But it depends on your perception. Most things do.” She walked over to the office door. “Go back to Regent’s Park. Wait for my phone call.”
“Wait? That’s it? You’ve told me next to nothing of how any of this is even possible. If you’ve known about this for so long…if all this is true…why order me to leave Cole in a psychiatric-unit, and not at a secure facility where she didn’t pose a threat? It’s madness.”
Miss Rose opened the door and turned to face him a final time. “We knew she was an extremely sensitive pathway. After Dr Reece’s tenure we had our own people study her at Ensler. We only had her listed as a probable. We should’ve foreseen it but we didn’t, thanks to Reece falsifying the original data. And now it might be too late. Listen, in the top drawer of the desk there’s a file for you. It’s Eating-Tree; SCI. It’ll explain some things. You’ll need security clearance before you leave. Show it to no one else at Locus. After you’ve read it, burn it personally.”
Deacon nodded slowly. She fixed him with a final stare.
“You were in the Falklands, right? A covert JQ special-attachment. You know what real life is like. A unit of the best young men depended on you, for their sanity and survival. It was crucial what you told them…or concealed from them, right?” Deacon continued nodding. “What I’m saying is that you shouldn’t really be surprised by any of this.”
“Angelina,” he said shakily, “I don’t…I don’t know if I can be a part of this.”
“You have no choice.”
“I do…I do have a choice.”
Miss Rose gave a cold, sharp laugh. “The Home Office would roast you alive, leave you with nothing. And me, I’ll kill everyone you love. Friends and family. I’ll leave Meredith and Lucy until last of course. I wouldn’t kill them for years. No, something more creative. I’d get soldiers and ex-prisoners to gang-rape them both. A mother-daughter team would pique a lot of interest. Then I’d sell them to the Brazilians, or possibly the Israelis.”
Deacon was trembling, tears streaming silently, as he waged to keep the pathetic sobbing in his throat from bursting free. It would cripple him forever.
“Do you know how much your granddaughter would fetch in Israel, or Nigeria, or even in Manhattan, god forbid? A lot. Do the smart thing, don’t ever dare to fuck with me again. Get used to the real world quickly, old man, before it gobbles you up.”
She left him standing alone at the bookcase, in the grey light, watching the rain making art in the windows. He had never been more afraid in his life.

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