Saturday, 2 October 2010

Chapter Thirty-Six

Dr James ‘Ripper’ Cullen was seated in the back of the silver police sierra. It cruised smoothly in the rain, fine sheets made visible only in the corona of headlights and streetlights. He was worried, more than he thought possible of a taciturn radical like himself. He grimaced and stared down at the open briefcase on his knees. The device that was dubbed the ‘coil’ lay snug in its black foam casing.
A series of three interlocking mirrored spheres, with a quartz-crystal latticework on its surface like veins of ice. Within the spheres nestled a delicate system of biosynthetic wafer chips, created from Rebecca Cole’s synaptic cultures. The device actually contained, on a fundamental level, the girl’s DNA coding. It was linked to a construct of precious gem fragments; diamond, ruby, emerald, sapphire – a highly complex piece of Black-Light technology, light years beyond what was judged as possible, designed specifically for one genetic sequence.
There had been no opportunity to test the thing, due to the pace at which everything was moving. The literature on the device was classified as Eating-Tree; a highly compartmentalised security clearance. Black-Light was classified higher than any other unofficial weapons program. James Cullen didn’t kid himself. He knew the ultimate application of the technology – tools of absolute control.
Tools that would shape the new world, perhaps even stave off the end of days.
He had known this before, as all true initiates do, but now he realised that he too was human. He had never really thought himself part of that equation…as a mere man. The power was thrilling, as any idiot could deduce; absolute, more addictive than any ghost-drug, more consuming than designer whores on-tap for pure indulgence like wine. It was all so mesmerising early in his career, and he’d felt honoured, entrusted with a secret knowledge that had the potential to rewrite modern history.
Now, it was more disturbing than anything else. He no longer felt like he was walking with the gods.
He’d been inside Cole’s mind, traversed the soil of her inner worlds, made privy to things he’d never shared with Interregnum for fear of being deemed insane, or worse, incompetent. He’d been opened to worlds, secrets and possibilities that he couldn’t have cooked up in his fantasies.
Scout-walking was something indescribable. It demolished one’s sense of a stable independent reality. To step into someone’s mind and soul was to realise profoundly that reality was simply a mirror of thought, a mirror of consciousness. The observer and the observed were one and the same, just as the mystics and occultists of old had understood. Anything that could be imagined and conceived could be made manifest, anything. The world was being created moment to moment through the application of conscious and subconscious energies.
That kind of awareness was the place were genuine evil was born.
Or genuine good.
Upon understanding God, nature, reality; whatever label that one chose to assign, people often came to the conclusion that it was so much easier not to care. People were only what they thought, said, felt or did. Because of the innate ambiguity present at the heart of all things, Dr Cullen suspected, people often gave willingly to chaos and set about beautifying the self.
Cullen laughed quietly. Where would we be without pain? We would be less meek servants of God, surely? And the meek existed to serve their purpose, in service to stewards of strength, our older brothers, as they made ready a New World for us; a world in which the strong would give the weak their freedom. Interregnum was going to give Man back his destiny. Man would truly inherit the Earth.
It frightened him, but he supposed sadly it still thrilled him in its way.
He knew of the depths in Prayer’s dreamscape. It was a horrific place but also filled with a tangible sense of awe. Despite her rampant bloodlust, she still held the belief that her work would bring some meaning; that the attendant hordes to human consciousness were sometimes genuine healers, as well as the more numerous corruptive dilettantes. He wondered how this entity called ‘Akin’ would class himself, if coerced. Angel or Demon? Alien or Modern Myth?
Cullen supposed the creature would ridicule the use of such labels but would also be fascinated by them.
Yes, this spirit was fascinated with workings of human psychology, and more likely than not he had a vested interest. If he’d given Cole such ludicrous power that she was able to rip people to pieces, scorch walls and floors, warp the very space around her, it stood to reason that Akin was not too bothered with the sanctity of human life.
But that didn’t make him a perverse dilettante. Perhaps he had placed such power in the hands of a violent sociopath for a very astute reason. Perhaps he was even a poet. Cullen laughed softly to himself. Even Angelina, genius that she was, would be unable to grasp all that he had grasped. Now, strangely, he felt something like shame. A thing like Prayer didn’t deserve to be caged and eventually consumed. Still, he pushed the vague feeling deep down inside himself, where it wouldn’t interfere with the task at hand.
Cullen gazed down again at the coil. Around his neck hung a quartz-crystal key that fitted into the device, without it the coil was useless. He removed the chain from his throat and slipped the key into the interlocking mirrored spheres. Immediately the quartz veining on the device flared with a bluish-white light. He’d expected it to start a sinister humming but the coil was quiet. The crystal latticework held the strange glow, flickering on and off like a silent pulse.
The man in the passenger seat glanced back at the device. He seemed intrigued by the ghostly light but not overly concerned. “Ripper, I think were coming up on the targets. Second Unit is tracking us. All aboard.”
James Cullen glanced at the mobile phone beside him.
The van was only five minutes away.
“Good. We’ll use the coil, then incapacitate the others…I want them all out before we attempt an extraction. All unharmed…if possible.”
The bearded man in the passenger seat nodded. “Yes, Ripper, it’s understood.”
Cullen stifled another wave of uncertainty unusual for a man like himself. He had the nagging fear that this extraction was about to spin wildly out of control.

***

Streaming lights and an ocean of pain. It seemed to take so long to subside. After what felt to Katherine like an eternity the worst of the pain finally ebbed away, but she was still left with a horrible throbbing in her crotch that spread through her pelvis and halfway up her abdomen. Her hand was throbbing too, from the slivers of the wine glass lodged in her fingers
…it hurts…Jesus fucking Christ…it hurts.
She knew she was lying on Wesley Morgan’s bedroom floor, but her eyes were pressed tight against that world. She also knew she was still alive; the pain had told her that much. Why hadn’t Wes killed her? Was he waiting for others to arrive?
…too much…it’s too much…
She managed to roll onto her back and force her eyes open. She saw a white ceiling and a pale blue lampshade. She turned her head and saw Wesley lying naked beside her, a few feet away. His eyes were open and still, a pool of drying blood around his head. It was like he was staring right at her. Katherine tried to pull herself into a sitting position but a new pain burst inside her vagina. Though God hadn’t cursed her with a penis, she groaned and pressed her good hand to the crotch of her jeans, gritting her teeth against the agony. It felt like someone had lit a fire. She swallowed hard and began almost hyperventilating, squeezing her eyes shut and spilling new tears. She rolled back onto her side but the pain subsided only slightly.
It’s too much…
She wasn’t certain how long she had been lying here like this. Ten, twenty minutes maybe? Time had fallen away the moment he’d kicked her.
Get the fuck up, soldier…get up Little Red. The Wolf is still out there…
Somehow she dragged herself into a sitting position against the dresser, and clamped both hands back to her crotch. She was sobbing, she realised, from the pain, and from the indignity of what Wes had done to her. It seemed like the horrible throbbing would never go away. She tried to focus on the naked body of her ex-lover. It still seemed like he was watching her. He was dead, she finally grasped. She’d killed him somehow. She didn’t remember how. She hadn’t even had time to reach for the gun.
The gun…
It lay beside her on the carpet. She took a hand away from her crotch and gripped the cold steel. Tears were still streaming down her cheeks. The pain was so bad. Katherine shoved the gun into her mouth, her finger trembling near the trigger.
End it…end this whole sorry affair…the pain will go. But she couldn’t. She wouldn’t. She was filled with too much boiling rage, even amidst the wild throbbing and burning inside. She hadn’t come this far for nothing. They would have to kill her. She wasn’t going to do it for them.
Hold onto the anger…forget the pain…hold onto the anger. She pulled the barrel of the gun from her mouth and let her hand drop loosely to her side, still clutching it, her other hand clamped firmly on the crotch of her jeans.
Just wait…feel the anger and wait…the pain will go…the pain will go.
Katherine waited.

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