No Barnes About It
October 24, 1938- Heimlich VonVIctor felt a chill run down his spine. Autumn always had that effect on him. He looked up at the multitude of colors adorning the trees and placed his hands in his coat pockets. The pungent aroma in the air told him that, somewhere, leaves were being burnt. He took a deep breath and looked down, to the place he had visited as many times as he could in the past two years. The cold hard stone hadn’t changed a bit, and never would. It would always be a testament to the man resting under it.
FEBRUARY 10, 1892-
JUNE 15, 1936
“Justice for all. Above all else.”
He took a deep sigh. He never left anything behind, nor did he suspect that Richard would want anything left for him. He leaned down and placed his hand on the stone, “I’m doing alright Richard. Eric and I started up another agency. We’re doing it right this time, and Sergei is getting better at English every day. He’s even solving cases now; you wouldn’t believe how well he’s doing.”
“Excuse me, detective VonVictor?” a voice called behind him
Heim whirled around to find himself face to face with a young uniformed officer, “What do you want?” he demanded, “Can’t you see I’m in a cemetery?”
“Yes sir,” he responded, “and I’m terribly sorry to disturb you, but I’ve been asked to fetch you right away, it’s a matter of life and death!”
Heimlich let out a sigh, and leaned down to touch the stone again, “It never ends Richard, it never ends. I have to go now, but I’ll be back real soon.”
Marc walked through the darkness. He maybe had gone about two hundred feet through the door. A hand came from be hind him and touched him in the shoulder.
"Holy-!" Marc yelled as he jumped. He spun around quickly with his pistol out and hammer cocked back. The gun was leveled exactly mid point between the eyes of the person who touched him. It took Marc a couple of seconds to realize that the person who scared him so bad was Molly.
"It's me!" She said in a loud whisper.
Marc new then and there that Davis was dead. "Damn," He thought to himself. Davis was their only way of finding the children. But then again, Marc had a knack for dangerous things like this.
"You still have that gun?" Marc asked. Molly nodded and they headed down the hallway. There was a third set of steps coming their way.
Marc and Molly nodded at each other and hid behind some crates. One person on each side of the room. The foot steps got louder and louder as each second passed by. In less that twenty seconds from first hearing the steps, that person was in the room. Marc slowly stood up and approached the person from behind.
He placed the gun behind the figure's head. "Slowly turn around," Marc said quietly.
Everyone entered the ruins. Heimlich was excited of the viewings in the large hallway. "Look at these drawings. They must be ancient. Albert, take a look!" Heimlich said, pointing to a drawing. Albert also looked. "You're just like one of those boys who go to the museum and get excited over these things Henry" Albert replied and Heimlich smiled.
"Cut the talk. There may be someone in here, making preparations" Joseph said.
As we went into the hallway, it went darker and darker, until Joseph lit his lighter.
"Thanks" Vulkie said. "Not a problem" Joseph said.
As they reached the end of the hallway, Joseph's lighter ran out of naphtha (a fluid used in the 30's for lighters. Look on wikipedia ^=^).
"Damn. I can feel the door handle. Should I go in?" Vulkie whispered, while she heard sounds in the room.
"Go in. We're right behind you. We'll wait until you shout it's good" Anais said.
Vulkie trembled a bit with her hand, opened the door and went in. She carefully pulled her revolver out of her pocket, aimed into the dark and stepped forward.
Just then, a figure creeped up behind her and placed a gun at her head. "Slowly turn around" the figure said.
Vulkie swallowed, dropped her revolver and slowly turned around. To see the face of Marc in the dimly lighted room.
"Marc!" Vulkie shouted of excitement and Marc placed a hand for her mouth. "Anyone else here?" he whispered, while Molly invited the others to come in.
"Only us. Albert, Heimlich, Anais, Riza and Joseph and me" Vulkie said.
"Good. You're just in time for the grand finalé" Marc said. Just then, everyone became quiet as they heard footsteps coming down the stairs.
"Hide!" Heimlich hissed and everyone began to hide behind crates, taking their revolvers out and waiting for who to come in...
"You won't find what you're looking for here." Came the voice from the shadows. The detectives lowered their guard, but remained still. "I said you won't find your girls here," the figure repeated, stepping into the light to reveal a woman in a green habit, "because they are in a much deeper layer friend. My name is Mother Elias Marie and I am a high ranking member of the Tea Steepers."
Albert leapt forward towards the short woman. "You know where my Valerie is? Where?" he demanded.
She shook her head. "I do not know my child. This temple is quite foreign to me. All I know is that this level is frequently patrolled by British troops, and unless you wish to be caught and thrown into prison, you had best descend further." she said softly.
Just then a scuffle was heard from behind the woman. The detectives crept from their hiding places and looked into the darkness behind Elias Marie. A large figure appeared in front of them. He was at least seven feet tall with a medium complexion and strong build, his head was wrapped in a turban, and a scimitar hung at his waist. In one hand, as if effortlessly, he held a much smaller, average sized man wearing the uniform of the British army.
"This," Elias Marie said, indicating the much larger man, "is Tsang-Li, one of the Prince's right hand men and a leader of the Shangri-La Tigers. He is a eunuch and a mute, which makes him one of the Prince's most trusted companions. When word reached our factions that confirmed rumors of an immortal Socrates, the Prince summoned us and requested that we take care of this issue."
"Wait a minute!" Vulkie spoke up, "I thought the Prince wanted to wipe out the Tea Steepers! Why would he request your help on anything?"
Elias Marie laughed. "Oh my dear," she said, "the balance of power must be preserved. With two factions vying for dominance, he is able to retain control. We are without a doubt the most powerful factions on earth, but what of the question seekers who are able to perfect immortality before us? What would then happen to the balance? You see our dilemma. While our love certainly does not fall with each other, it falls even less so with the Order."
"Let me go!" the British man demanded, "I'll have you know you are abducting a member of the king's army!"
Albert was on him in a flash. "Where have they taken my daughter!" he screamed as he put his hand around his throat.
Elias Marie put her hand on his and gently, effortlessly removed it. "No need for that Mr. VonVictor. Now you seem to know this temple pretty well. We need to get to a place called the Sun's Sanctum. It's on one of the lower levels. Unfortunately there are over thirty lower levels." she said softly.
The soldier nodded and winced in pain as Tsang-Li seemed to tighten his grip. "Yes, I know of the place. Sun flows into it all hours of the day even at its deep level. Why should I take you there?" he replied.
"Because Frankenstein will break your neck if you don't!" Marc snapped.
"Now, now," Elias Marie scolded, and then turning her attention back to the soldier, "there are two girls down there, and they will be killed if you don't help us. You're a soldier and your duty above all else is to protect the people. Well these are people within your patrol who must be protected."
The soldier shook his head. "I can't. I'm sorry." he said, "I have my orders not to leave this floor. If I leave, I'd be abandoning my post and it would be directly disobeying my king. It is to him above all else that I owe my allegiance."
Elias Marie leaned in very close and whispered something in his ear. As she pulled away, she motioned for Tsang-Li to release him. He placed the soldier gently on the floor.
The soldier looked deep in thought for a minute, unable to speak, before finally composing himself and addressing the group. "My name is Way. Robert Way. The room your are looking for is twelve floors down. I will take you there."
The group shuffled back down the hallway they had come from, following Robert. He paused and pressed his hand against a section of rock. "This is it. This is where my captain said the stairs lead down." he said.
Tsang-Li pushed his way to the front and pressed against the rock. It receded into the wall to the left, leaving a path, and he motioned everyone to step back. He withdrew a stick from his pack and tossed it down the hallway. Almost immediately the walls came together crushing the stick.
"Trap detection," Elias Marie replied, "it seems that your captain wanted to make sure you didn't venture down to the lower floors. Is he on patrol right now?"
"Yes!" Robert said, out of breath and completely in shock, "He's on the other side of this floor!"
"Well let's pay him a visit." Elias Marie said smiling.
As they walked along to either negotiate or torture the unfortunate British captain, time was running short. There were so many unanswered questions. Were they already here? Was it already too late? How were they going to stop them if it wasn't?
There was one question that Anais Nin needed to know the answer to right away. She leaned in close to Mother Elias Marie and asked, "What did you whisper to Robert to get him to agree to help us?"
Elias Marie smiled and whispered to Anais, "Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest."
"Brrrrriiiiinnnnnnng thhhhhhhheeeeee chhhhhhiiiiillllllllld ffffffooooowwwwwaaarrrrrd." Socrates hissed.
Eric looked at the scene before him. It was a small stone room covered in carvings of eyes. Socrates sat in a throne identical to the one back in New York. A large stone carving of an eye, illuminated by sunlight, sat in the floor before him. Behind him, water flowed from some source in a tremendous waterfall. It seemed that this room was the focal point of the temple. All of the sunlight collected from outside seemed to be diverted here somehow and the water at the bottom of the waterfall bubbled from the immense heat.
He stared at the medallion around Socrates' neck. It was just like the catalyst he held in his hand. The catalyst that Hollis now had his hand out for Eric to hand him. With no other choice, Eric handed him the catalyst. He glanced over at Abby, who looked absolutely terrified. Clearly she had no idea what was about to happen.
Hollis withdrew the Eye from his robes, and placed it into the catalyst. Using a piece of twine, he fashioned a crude necklace and placed the eye on it. Hollis then approached the child, a young Iraqi boy who had offered to guide them to the temple. They had accepted the offer and then kidnapped the boy. He placed the necklace around the boy's neck.
"Now walk onto the eye like a good little boy!" Hollis said.
The boy looked at him confused and scared.
Hollis thought for a minute, leaned in to the boy and said something in Arabic. The boy smiled, nodded, and began to walk towards the eye. Abby's hands shot up to her mouth in horror.
"What's wrong?" asked Eric.
"He just told him if he walked onto the eye on the floor, he could go home. He's just a boy! What are they going to do to him?" she cried.
The boy stepped onto the eye on the floor, and the eye around his neck began to glow. At the same time the eye around the neck of Socrates began to glow as well.
The boy looked back at Hollis with a look of fear in his eyes. His entire body began to glow yellow. Socrates smiled a devilish grin, "Yeeeeeeeessssssssss!" he hissed out.
A stream of light began to flow from the boy towards the ancient monster. Eric could see it was draining out of the boy's Eye and into Socrates' Eye! Oh but the boy was no longer a boy. He was a young man of at least 20, then 30, then 50, then his hair began to fall out, his skin began to sag, the rapidly aging boy held up his hands in front of him. His hands were wrinkled and the bone was plain to see from the skin sagging off of them. His body began to shrink, finally his eyes rolled back into his head, his neck snapped back, and what was the boy only seconds before began to crumble before their eyes. A few seconds later, only a pile of ashes remained.
"You bastard!" Eric yelled, "You sick bastard! He was only a boy!"
"Oh?" Socrates said playfully, "Perhaps you wish to be next Eric Marvington?"
Eric gasped. What sat before him was certainly an old man, but by no means of the same age that he had seen just moments before. His face was fuller, his skin no longer sagged as it did before, his beard fit his face in a more fulfilling complexion, and his speech was restored to more than a hissing whisper. Even Eric had to pause for a moment to appreciate that he was listening to the voice that historians for generations had written of.
"Bring one of the girls forward!" Socrates demanded, "And have Mr. Marvington and Ms. Stone bound. I don't want them interfering. When the ceremonies are done, we'll dispose of them off the temple waterfall."
The girls looked at each other with tears in their eyes. "I guess our Daddies aren't going to come rescue us." Josèe cried, "I'm glad I got to have a big sister for a little while."
Valerie reached out and hugged Josèe, "Don't worry," she said, "they'll get here. They just need some more time. That's why I'm going to go first, so that they can still rescue you."
"No!" Josèe squealed pulling away from Valerie, "You can't do that! I can't lose anyone else!"
Valerie kissed Josèe on the forehead and smiled. "I've gotta protect my little sister. It's what I'm supposed to do." she said. She stood up and walked towards Hollis, who guided her to the eye. She picked up the necklace from the pile of ashes and placed it around her neck.
"The blood from Albert VonVictor," Socrates inquired, "do you have it?"
Marsh stepped forward and pulled a vial from his robes. "Yes my lord," he replied, "here it is." He removed the stopper from the vial, poured it over the eye, and stepped back.
Eric was thrashing on the floor attempting to intervene while being held down by two hooded members. If he could only get her off that eye before the reaction started! Why hadn't the reaction started?
"What's wrong?" Socrates demanded, his face growing angry, "I told you to get the blood!"
"That was the blood!" Marsh insisted, "I drew it myself."
"Idiot!" Socrates screamed, "You must have mixed them up! Get the other girl!"
"I didn't!" Marsh insisted and pulled another vial from his robes, "See? This one is labeled Joseph Zeo! The other was labeled Albert VonVictor! There's no way I made a mistake!"
Socrates stood and slammed his hands against the throne. "You dare question me Apprentice Marsh?! Get the other girl now!"
Hollis began moving quickly towards Josèe, who looked at him in fear. He grabbed her hand and began dragging her towards the eyes. "No!" she screamed, "No! I don't wanna go! No!"
Sweat ran down Marsh's face. "It won't matter! There is no way I made a mistake! This thing must be broken!" he shouted as he ripped the necklace off of Valerie. It began to glow in his hand, and he realized with horror what he had done.
"No!" he shouted, "Oh God! No!"
"Idiot!" Socrates screamed as his eye began to light up.
Hollis released Josèe and along with several other members of the Order ran towards Marsh. "Let it go! Let it go!" he screamed.
"It's too late!" Socrates shouted at him as Marsh's body began to glow and transfer its energy to him. "He's sealed his own fate!"
Valerie ran back, grabbed Josèe by the hand, and ran back to Eric and Abby who were tied up on the floor, and left unguarded at this point. They set to work untying them.
"Who are they?" Josèe asked.
"I don't know," said Valerie, "I think I saw the lady at Uncle Heimie's today."
"Oh, okay," said Josèe, "well if these people tied them up then they must be the good guys." She finished untying Abby and then motioned towards their original spot, "Do you think Uncle Sergei will be okay?" she asked.
Valerie was about to answer when she was interrupted by a loud crash. "Don't move a muscle!" a voice yelled out.
The group made their way over to the other side of the floor with Robert leading the way, flanked on both sides by Tsang-Li and Mother Elias Marie. Their footsteps echoed loudly as they made their way over in silence. Everyone's minds were heavy with thought, worry, and anticipation. What would happen next?
"Captain!" Robert said, a little falteringly, as they approached an older man standing guard near a large doorway. The man turned around, a look of shock registered on his face.
"Way! What are you doing over here? You're supposed to be patrolling the other side! And who are these people?" he demanded, his brow furrowing.
Heimlich stepped forward. "Take me to my daughter," he said coldly.
Joseph stepped up beside him. "We know you know the safe path downstairs. Show us the way."
"Why the hell would I do that? I've got my orders and I intend to carry them out," he said.
"Because," Riza said, stepping up close to him, "You can't do your job if you're dead." She pressed the end of her pistol to his temple. The cool touch of the metal made him gulp.
"They're just innocent girls!" Anais cried out, tears streaming down her face.
"Captain, do the right thing." Robert said, finding his courage. "With all due respect, sir, you're an ass. You take pleasure in people's pain, and god knows how many people you've killed. Well now is the time to make up for it. Take them downstairs."
The captain pursed his lips, then said, "Fine. This way." He lead them down a narrow side hallway and through a partially hidden door on the right, the pistol pressed against the back of his head.
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