Episode 6 – Part 1: Stunned
I stayed in the dining hall. The walls seemed kinder and yet to be closing in on me somehow. I listened almost painfully to every sound in the air. I could have heard a pin drop. Instead, I heard the wind howling and stirring the water in the pool Belle made.
Where was I going to go and how far could I possibly make it on foot before nightfall even if I left at dawn. The nearest monastery was half a day away and that was on horseback. It had been decimated and burned to the ground. We still don’t know what exactly happened to the monks but if those anti-venom bats had anything to do with it then even their bones would have been consumed. Why build this place? What kind of trap is this?
We were supposed to be driven down here. Laid to rest on finely made beds, well received and then what? The trap has been laid but not sprung somehow. I seriously don’t think that the bats on the roadside were an honest trap for us. I think that since it was almost dark out they would have been out anyway, feeding.
The trap has not been sprung. This has been a series of mishaps. What is it Shakespeare called it? A comedy of errors… or something to that effect. Although I find nothing comical about nearly being abducted by the Vampire Prince himself and then shot through the stomach while dangling on the end of a rope like a worm on a hook.
The Watcher girl was guiding us, but not to here. No, here was an accident. The first monastery was our destination and we only wound up here looking for answers. In which case I have yet to find out why they were destroyed. We have to raise an alarm.
Anna said that once the prophesied woman had been bitten then telepathy would be extended to us beyond those we are the closest to. Unfortunately I haven’t been close to Anna in quite a while and I stopped being able to hear her nearly thirty years ago. Just as well, everyday her heart beat I felt it break inside my own chest. I got used to tuning her out and now I wish I hadn’t because she’s gone. The demons in the area are ruining my transmission to Deacon and I can barely hear wisps of volume here and there. I have no idea if they are safe.
The problem being, I don’t know if the demon messing with my reception is here with me or out there with him. Either way, this is going to be a very long night. On the one hand I’d like to go exploring. I’m underground and as such daylight, or rather, waking hours wouldn’t help me anyhow. But, the glorious thing about this moment is that it’s quiet. Meaning that no one, or thing, knows that I’m here. Also, I am relatively close to the exit.
I mean if something did get me then who would think to look for me here or in the belly of the earth at all for that matter? No one knows that Genevieve left me here but her, and as long as it’s taken me to find her and exact my revenge, she found me. She’s made good on her supposed honor and will not be finding me again, if she does I will be with Anna and she will have appeared with the intent of killing us both.
Great. Stuck. Not quite scared yet. But, still bleeding somewhat. Perhaps in a few hours I will venture out. I mean, anti-venom bats or not, they can probably smell blood and if I’m at the cusp of a giant bat cave, then walking around before the wound completely closes just so they can get a whiff of me isn’t a great idea. I’m glad I moved away from the pool. That’s probably a fine glass of champagne to them. I hope they don’t go looking for its source.
I just have to find a place to rest for a while. It’s not like I didn’t get enough sleep when I woke up from the pool, but still I have no idea what awaits me. If I was going to be attacked by the bats then I suppose they would have come by now, but just the same they could also just be regrouping from Grenhelda’s fiery cleanup on ‘aisle 7′ that left their remains obliterated and their numbers already dwindling due to our angelic shield filling the ravine with their writhing soon to be corpses. Whatever is left, whatever their numbers, I bet they’re angry.
I thought maybe they were just animalistic, but they wailed along with Primus’ song. I bet they’re cunning and close by. I don’t think Genevieve’s disembodied demon is still lurking around because we took care of that before we left the first time.
Only… I can’t help but feel like this is the calm before the storm. So, I took advantage of the calm, blessed a cup of water and drank it. Then blessed a bottle of oil and rubbed myself down. Anti venom bats are born from hell one way or another, so in theory they must obey the same rules. Holy oil should turn them into ash.
I’m not afraid. And that is not why I stuffed myself onto the bottom shelf of the service trolley in the corner out of sight. Camouflage. Yeah, that sounds good.
I hope I don’t snore while I sleep. In sleep I can see better. Even though I was unconscious and unable to communicate I could see flashes here and there through Deacons eyes. I saw the girls, the Watcher child, the rest of my men. They were all alive. I felt the knot in the pit of his stomach and the relief and joy that flooded him every time he looked at Belle. She was pointing to something. She wasn’t frantic, but there was a sense of urgency and the feeling of… I don’t know. Like he was arguing with someone. His eyes shifted and… Holy Sh… Is that a… What the f… Is that a giant? Like a giant giant from David and Goliath days? Damn.
I tried to wake up. I figure they probably didn’t walk all night and since the angels marched slowly, if a ran – well jogged really- I could make it there in a day before it even began to get dark. I don’t know how long I stayed awake or how long I slept either so maybe it’s close to dawn now and I can get a move on soon.
I heard myself moan a little which seemed to echo in the little cubby I had stuffed myself into and then it all hit me at once. Where I was, my imminent danger, hope that I was still alone. But, there is a foul stench in the air that wasn’t there before. Either it’s a demon’s sulfur or something worse. Nonetheless, I know I’m not alone.
As I struggled for consciousness I could only hope that my moan and sigh as I came to didn’t give me away. But that sixth sense feeling of someone standing over my head began to wash over me as I rubbed the sand out of my eyes.
I am so glad I rubbed myself down with Holy oil.
I thought I was dreaming, no such luck. The trolley had been rolled to the middle of the room and God knows how many bats stood around me.
I hadn’t paid much attention to them before when we were being attacked. Each one stood about five to six feet tall, they had hands at the end of each wing that seemed to be a scaled fold of skin that spanned the length of their arm and was connected to the entire oblique part of their torso. Not furry like a real bat, but like the skin had turned into black scales.
Their eyes looked like a human’s but with a white iris instead of brown or green. Their hair was long and braided, but had what looked like snakes intertwined in there. Their skin was actually a pale white, which stood out against the black scales and their teeth were silver. Normal teeth, but all silver. I thought there would be fangs.
They whispered amongst themselves. But, there was this irritating high pitched whistle just above what I could hear. I guess they can communicate using high frequency and high pitched sound waves just like bats can. As I started to stir all eyes were on me.
“Hi. My name is Linus, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that you haven’t tried to eat me or something.” I said as I emerged from my cubby hole. If I had any chance of running, being trapped in a small space was not going to help me.
They looked at me and smiled, like I had amused them. Towards the entrance to the hall they began to clear a path. I guess something was trying to make its way through.
“Honestly, you humans and your stories. When have we ever bothered anybody? Unlike Primus and his legion of brats?” said a bat that walked through the parting crowd and came right up to me with a hand outstretched.
Like that wasn’t you guys trying to eat us on the road a few hours ago. But, I didn’t say that. I stuck my hand out and silently prayed I’d get my arm back in less than two pieces.
Music for this episode – Follow Me Down by 3OH!3