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.”
"Christ!," Marc thought to himself as Vulkie applied pressure to a leg wound on herself. Marc ran over to her and got down on his knees to help her out.
"Move your hand," he said to her, "I can help. I was a field medic in the Army."
With out a word, she moved her hand, and blood poured out of the wound.
Marc tore a large piece of his sleeve from his shirt off. It didn't matter now. He went into this case dressed like a lawyer and now he looked like an adventurer. He used the piece of cloth and wiped the blood away from the wound and then applied more pressure until the bleeding stopped.
Once the bleeding was stopped, Marc reached into his pocket and grabbed what little bit of field dressing he had on him. People laughed at him for carrying it with him, and in all honesty, he thought he'd never have to use it.
He wrapped it around Vulkie's leg until it was gone. "It will hold for now. I'll take a look at it again when we get back."
"Where's my gun?" Vulkie asked.
Marc looked around but couldn't find it. He found a stray revolver fully loaded. "Use this," he said.
Zeo ran through the small passageway grabbing tight onto Josee and headed for the stairs. He didn't realize only the children, Sergei, Abigail and Eric followed him. As he ascended, he heard voices up above them. Zeo hushed the group and listened. "... Captain!" " ... ... skull broken." "... Intruders!!" He then heard footsteps hurrying down with the sound of cocking firearms. The troop must have found the captain Riza killed.
Quickly Zeo scurried the group back down the stairs. "We must hide the kids for now! Go further down!" Zeo said to Eric, who was now in the lead. The group with the children descended until they were certain the new group of soldiers weren't following them.
"I don't think it's safe to go up for now." Eric whispered, "Not until we find a way to defeat Socrates." Zeo could sense Eric's unnaturalness when he said that name.
"Heimlich and the rest of our friends are still in the Sanctum. We need to get them out!" Sergei added.
Zeo thought for a while and said quietly. "There is something about this temple. The monster didn't come all the way to Iraq to enjoy the scenery. The steeper lady said this temple has over thirty levels. I am sure they were there for a reason." Zeo tried to get the children to stay put while he and Eric search the lower floors, but Josee refused to leave Zeo, and she could be more stubborn then her mother Lissette when Josee had an idea fixed in her head. The group descended down the belly of the ancient temple together.
Every level seemed the same: dark corridors leading to small empty chambers. Zeo wished he had Tsang Li with them. He himself never learned trap detection. Before he knew it, they were at the bottom level of the temple, 30 odd floors below the surface.
The air was chilling. The lit torch hung on the wall flickered weakly as if a ghost was playing with it. The group walked down the narrow passageway which opened up to a large chamber. At centre stood a large stone table. Zeo could see a faint glow simmered on top of it.
"What is that thing?" Abigail questioned.
"Looks like it's some kind of a... mirror...?" Eric replied as he approached the table.
"Watch out!" Sergei yelled and Eric ducked just in time to dodge the arrows shooting out from the walls of the chamber.
Zeo took out his pack of cigarette and threw it toward the table. Nothing happened. "I think we are safe..."
Eric nodded and walked to the table. "It is a mirror alright; it's about the size of a large plate." He took the plate of mirror off from the table, and immediately the temple shook.
"What's happening?" Valerie asked. Zeo then noticed water gushing out from the arrow holes on the wall.
"Let go!" he yelled, and the group hurried up the stairs. Eric held onto the mirror and was the last to leave the chamber. Water quickly filled the room and continued to rise, threatening to engulf the entire temple.
The entire building shook as Heimlich tried to grip the sides of the narrow stairwell. He hurried down and nearly collided with Joseph.
"What's happened?" Heimlich demanded.
"We have to leave!" Joseph shouted urgently, "The entire temple is filling with water."
"Boiling water!" Eric shouted from behind him, "It's melted the gold in the rooms below. We have to go now!"
"No!" came a voice from behind Heimlich. Mother Elias Marie pushed them forward, "We must go deeper. The only way to defeat Socrates lies deeper in the temple! We must make haste!"
The tiny woman pushed herself to the head, and the group quickly followed her, not even noticing when one of the children was grabbed from behind.
Hollis dragged the kicking and screaming Josèe through the doorway. "Shut up!" he shouted.
"Ah! Excellent!" Socrates said with a gleam in his eyes, "Where are the others?"
"They descended further into the temple. The others are still in the Sanctum, but will without a doubt follow them. There's no way they could find this place. Once they've gone in circles a few times, they'll descend further into the temple, and by that point it will be too late to save little Josèe Nin!" Hollis said with glee.
"Then we wait," Socrates said, "and soon the Order will become stronger than ever."
"What is it?" Eric asked.
"Who, would be a more appropriate question." Mother Elias Marie said as she approached the stone sarcophagus on the other side of the room. "Her name is Hera, or at least that's the only name that she's known by here. Around her neck she wears the third eye in the set, the eye of Hera. She is sealed here in the event that the other eyes are abused. Now help me remove the lid!"
Eric and Joseph rushed forward and each lifted an end of the heavy lid. They dropped it to the floor with a heavy thud. They both looked inside and gasped. Lying in the sarcophagus was a woman who appeared to be no more than twenty. She was clad in a flowing white gown, sandals, and a golden necklace in the shape of an eye. In the middle was a dazzling green gem.
"Hurry!" Heimlich shouted, "The water has nearly reached this level!"
"They're in here!" a voice called. Anais burst through the door followed by the rest of their group. "We think Socrates left," she said, "we can't find him anywhere."
"A knife," Mother Elias Marie said, "quickly!"
Joseph fumbled around his belt before pulling out a knife and handing it to Elias Marie, who sliced across her hand without hesitation. "Essence of life for life." she said as she allowed her blood to flow over the necklace. Immediately the room was bathed in a brilliant green light. The woman's eyes shot open, and she bolted upright. Elias Marie took her hand and helped her out of the sarcophagus. "Hera," she said with a smile, "lovely to see you again."
The girl did not speak, but embraced Elias Marie and pressed her lips to hers, giving her a kiss that most would reserve for a lover.
"Where's Vulkie?" Eric asked.
"She's wounded." Anais said, "We left her in the Inner Sanctum to watch for Socrates."
"This is amazing," Robert said, "how could this all exist!?"
"Wait a minute!" Anais shouted, "Where the hell is Josèe?" The group was silent for a moment before racing for the door.
Josèe Nin sat on the floor, tears ran down her face. Ropes bound her tight, keeping her from getting away. The golden necklace hung around her neck. She looked over and saw her Aunt Vulkie lying on the ground as a hooded figured stood over her with a strange golden object. The man everyone had called Socrates sat before her on his throne, and the hooded man to her right grabbed her hand and dragged her onto the eye carved into the floor.
She started to squirm, "No!" she shouted, "Let me go!" she bit down on the man's hand hard.
"Ouch!" he shouted as he held it up, seeing that the child had drawn blood. Anger overcame him and he smacked her across the face leaving her limp on the ground.
He held up the little bottle of blood and exclaimed, "Now my lord, you will truly be all powerful. Our day of jubilation is at hand!"
"Get away from my daughter you son of a bitch!" Anais Nin shrieked as she flew forward before being restrained.
Elias Marie shook her head. "No Anais! You mustn't! Socrates has lost the war. Hera has come!" she proclaimed. Immediately Socrates' eyes grew large.
"Hera?" he exclaimed stepping forward, "Here? Impossible!"
The girl stepped forward and eyed Socrates. She let out a hiss and threw her arm in his direction. Immediately Socrates began to scream out in pain. His skin began to turn red, his veins bulged out, and he dropped to his knees.
"Master Eisle! Use it! Now!" he shrieked.
Without another word, the man guarding Vulkie pointed the device at Hera. A beam of light shot out of the front of it and hit her head on blinding them. It took a second for them to regain their vision, and by that time the damage had been done.
Hera was dead, the beam had blasted her into the wall snapping her neck. Her lifeless body lay on the floor beside them. A chasm five feet wide had opened in the ground cutting them off from Socrates. One glance into it showed that the water was rising dangerously high.
Eisle took aim at them again, but Joseph and Eric quickly drew their revolvers peppering him with shots. Eisle slumped to the floor, the artifact clattering to the ground next to him.
Socrates let out a laugh. "You're too late fools! Nothing can save her now!" he shouted.
No sooner had the words left his mouth than Anais Nin jumped across the chasm, falling just short and grabbing the edge with her fingers. "Touch her and I'll kill you!" she shouted.
"Anais No!" Elias Marie called, "He must be made to answer for his crime!"
"The blood! Now!" Socrates bellowed in an inhuman tone, "I must be complete!"
Hollis' hands were shaking, but he poured the blood on the necklace. As the necklace began to glow, Hollis turned and ran. He had just about reached the door when a loud crack sounded and he felt a spectacular pain in his knee as he hit the ground. He looked to see his kneecap blown to pieces, and a woman on the ground smiling at him.
"Not so fast you slimy bastard!" Vulkie said, "You're going to answer for your crimes!"
Anais Nin had just pulled herself up when she saw Hollis turn to run. She saw the necklace glow and her heart seized in her chest.
Socrates laughed. "You see Ms. Nin, the game is already over!" he bellowed with delight.
"No!" Anais shouted as she charged at him. She threw all of her weight against him and leaped forward. As if in slow motion, the two tumbled off the edge of the overhang. With all of her strength Anais grabbed at the necklace with both hands. She pulled her hands away from each other with every ounce of will that she had. With a triumphant snap, the necklace broke free from Socrates' neck and Anais held it over her head as they both hit the water below.
The searing heat covered her entire body. Almost immediately Anais could feel her skin begin to pull away from her. The necklace she was clutching in her hand melted away as if it were made of clay.
She suddenly couldn't see any longer, and the pain slowly began to dissipate. She could see again, but not the water. It was Lisette. One Christmas long ago. Then so many others. Those she had forgotten, and those she had lost. Then one final image. It was her and Josèe, and... him. He was there, they were happy. Was this the future that never was? Never could be? Oh God how could it be over now?
"Mommy!" Josèe yelled as Anais and Socrates went tumbling over the edge. A moment later there was a splash, and the necklace around Josèe's neck stopped glowing.
The group hurriedly leaped across the chasm and ran to the edge of the overhang. There was no movement in the water, just bubbles as the water continued to boil. Josèe let out a wail, and Joseph quickly pulled her close to him.
"It's alright," he said although tears were coming down his own face, "I'm here now Josèe, and I'm never going to leave you again."
Elias Marie's face was solemn. "The girl did not have to die," she said, "she had so much to live for."
Heimlich shook his head, "No, that's just it," he said, "most of us have everything to live for, so we shield ourselves from danger. We find ourselves rationalizing that our lives are only worth their salt as long as we exist. Anais Nin didn't view herself that way. As long as I knew her, she had nothing to live for, and everything to die for. That's what made her better than most. I thought of her as my daughter, and yet she was so much wiser than me."
"Look!" Albert shouted pointing down at the water, "What's that?" They stared down at the rising water to see it bathed in a radiant blue light. Slowly the light became brighter as what appeared to be blue fireflies emerged from the surface.
"Something is returning!" Elias Marie exclaimed, "Of course!" She walked over and picked up Hera's lifeless body. She kissed her on the forehead and laid her on top of the eye.
The blue lights drew closer and swarmed around the group, one landed on Josèe's cheek, and she giggled. The lights moved softly and quietly through the room before settling in the eye. Soon they had all come to rest in the carved eye, giving it a blue aura.
There was a humming, and the blue light shot up, encircling Hera's body, blinding the rest of them.
"Can't you see?" Elias Marie cried out, "The eyes are more than just tools of destruction!"
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