The Book of Enoch
Chapter 17 – Awakening
Something wet was dripping on his forehead, each tiny droplet hitting him like
a slap in the face. Wincing in pain, Alvin rolled to the side and out from
under the slow stream of water as he fought to get his eyes to open and focus.
His leg felt wrong. It hurt in a different way than his head, which was still
pounding even without the liquid drumbeat. Slowly, the fuzzy throbbing gave way
to clarity, which, he decided, wasn’t much of an improvement.
He was lying in the hallway of the hotel. His entire body felt sore and bruised, his clothing soaked, as though he had just climbed out of a pool. It was mostly dark. He could see rain falling nearby, which didn’t seem to make sense since he was indoors. Following the rain upwards, he saw sky. There was a man-sized hole in the ceiling, and the blue neon from the Hotel sign reached in and turned the wet carnage that used to be the ice machine into a million twinkling carnival lights. The Professor blinked, remembering. He looked down and touched his chest where the lightning bolt had hit him. His raincoat was burnt in several places, but apart from feeling like he’d been punched hard, he seemed intact. His shirt was charred as well, but his skin was unharmed. In his shirt pocket was something hard. The Gatekeeper stone.
Sighing, he nodded acceptance of his good fortune. The lightning had come through the roof and into the ice maker, where it instantly vaporized half the contents of the machine, causing it to explode. As the bolt exited, he remembered it hitting him squarely in the chest. It should have killed him, but instead it passed into something not of this realm, something that absorbed the entire terawatt of electricity from the sky as easily as a child taking in a mouthful of cotton candy. The relic was immune to the forces of this world. That it happened to be in the way of certain death was just good karma. He’d stopped believing in luck long ago.
Standing up took some effort, and quite a bit of cursing. The stone may have protected him from electrocution, but not from the exploding ice machine, a piece of which was sticking from his right calf. He managed to extract the twisted metal from his flesh and wrap a remnant of his shirt around it to stem the bleeding, but he couldn’t put much weight on it. Hobbling back down the hall, he passed the manager’s office. The greasy-haired man was face down at his desk, unmoving. This, at least, did not surprise the Professor. He understood in hindsight that the man had been possessed when he last saw him, possibly right through the walls behind him. He was certainly dead now. Alvin turned away and continued his limping trek towards their room, his lips tight, fists clenched in growing apprehension.
His shoulders slumped in sad desperation upon seeing the open door.
“Beth!” He called out as he stood in the doorway. “BETH!” There was no answer. There were no sounds at all, save for the sizzle of rain on the asphalt of the parking lot. He made a quick search of the room anyway, holding onto hope that she would somehow come walking out of the bathroom, or around the corner having visited the vending machines. But he knew. Even as he slumped to the floor next to the bed, he knew she was gone. Taken. Just like Ellen.
It was too much. Deep waves of emotion vomited up from the dark mental pit where he had stored them. For so long the memories had remained buried and safe, but now they rushed to greet him afresh, forcing him to relive those long terrible hours. Only now, his subconsciousness cruelly replaced Ellen’s visage with Beth’s. Sobbing, he covered his face with his hands.
His eyes stung when he finally regained his composure enough look around him some time later. He saw that Beth had left some clothing on the bed. She hadn’t even dressed. The case files and the diary were there as well. He noticed her gun, and for a brief moment seriously considered using it on himself. The last item that caught his eye was her cell phone. Picking it up, he took a deep breath and dialed a number from memory.
“Alvin?” Exclaimed the woman on the other end the moment the call connected.
“It’s me, Kimi…”
“Oh, Alvin, thank the stars! I’ve been trying to reach you for hours!”
“No, Alvin, listen to me,” she interrupted. “I translated the isoglyphs, and we were all wrong!”
“What? What are you talking about?”
“The warding, Alvin, we were wrong about the warding. It’s not instructions for finding the Lock… It’s a warning!”
“I don’t understand…”
“The Mothers must have found out and panicked. The glyphs were sloppy… rushed. I had a bugger hard time reading them at all, and some of them were strange, almost out of place. One in particular stumped me because it had no direct translation into English. It was ‘seeker’, or more specifically, ‘truth seeker’. Oh goddess, I didn’t know!…”
“Didn’t know what, Kimi? What was the warning?” He could feel the stress in his sister’s voice, and that bothered him. Kimi was never upset. Nothing ever fazed her. He was always the one to panic and get emotional, not Kimi.
“…But then there was a location glyph, that was the key. When I saw that the location was the eastern seaboard of the States, then it all fell together.”
“Kimi, what was the warning!?”
“The LOCK, Alvin! It’s about the Lock!”
“What? I don’t…”
“The Watchers already know who the Lock is! That’s what the Mothers were trying to explain in the warding. The isoglyphs aren’t instructions, it’s a warning to keep the Gatekeeper stone as far from the Lock as possible!”
“But… why would they want to do that? Wouldn’t they want to activate the relic?”
“Oh, don’t you see?! The Watchers must have gotten ahead of them. The Mothers knew they couldn’t reach the Lock in time, and the demons had started targeting them directly. They had to do something, so they wrapped the stone in warding so the Watchers couldn’t touch it directly, and they added the warning so that any of their followers who happened to find the stone would know to keep it away from her in case she had already been possessed.”
“Her? Wait, how do you know…”
“It’s BETH, Alvin! Beth IS the Lock!”
“Oh no…” he said, his mind swirling in pain and confusion.
“You two need to get out of there… Go put the stone somewhere so they can’t get to it easily and then RUN! Get as far from that relic as possible so that…”
“No, no… Oh god… It’s too late.”
“What do you mean? What’s happened?”
“They took her, Kimi! They took Beth! I tried to protect her, but I made a mistake. I can see now that they set us up. It had to be a setup, right from the start…”
“Oh, Alvin… I… I’m so sorry.” He could hear her breaking down, realizing the agony he was reliving.
“I should have seen it. It was too easy to track them. They wanted us out of my loft. We were safe there, they wouldn’t have risked killing her, I see that now. But when we left, we were vulnerable. I’ve been a perfect fool, and now Beth is going to end up… end up like…” He was finding it hard to breathe.
“Alvin… Don’t. Don’t go there. We don’t know how this is going to end, but we do know that they need her alive. Unless… did they get the stone as well?”
“No,” he groaned, trying to force back the images that came unwanted to his conscious mind, the smells, the sickening scent of burnt hair and human flesh. And the eyes. A sound came up from his throat that was part whimper, part moan. He felt as though a huge band was pressing around his chest, constricting him… crushing the air right from his lungs. There was nothing physically there, it was the raw emotional weight of what he had been carrying for so many years.
“ALVIN!” She yelled, forcing him back to the present. “Stay with me! There’s still hope while we have the relic. They need both to free the other Watchers, and they haven’t come this far only to settle for another seventy years. They’re going to come after you. You need to run.”
“Kimi… I’m so tired. I’m so tired of hiding and constantly watching my back. They’ve taken almost everything out of my life… everything I have ever loved, except for you.”
“Alvin, you need to go. I’m fine. I can protect myself.”
“No, now that they know I have the stone, they won’t leave me alone. They’ll look for any way that they can get to me… pressure me. They’ll come after you.”
“Alvin, that’s not important. Listen to me, you must leave. Get out of there, hide, go anywhere, just keep that stone out of their hands. Nothing else matters! Do you hear me?!”
Professor Manatee just stared at the bed. At some point, the rubber band around the case file had broken and spilled the contents of the folder out over the comforter. He could see the faces of a half dozen victims, their wide-eyed expressions locked forever at their moment of death. So many lives lost. The Mothers, the dozens that had been taken just to set up the trail they used to lure him out, his Ellen… Beth. His eyes traveled back over to the gun, its cold flat metal making it appear much heavier than he knew it would be in his hand.
“The first two rounds are ‘Homers’…”
“No.” He said into the phone which was still resting at his ear. “No more running, Kimi.”
“Alvin, there’s too much at stake! You can’t just give up… If they get the stone, they’ll open the gate and let all the Watchers free! The powers won’t allow it. They would rather destroy the whole world and start over again. You can’t let that happen, Alvin!”
“I’m sorry, Kimi. I can’t hide anymore. But I am not giving up either…” He was looking at the gun, thinking.
“No, brother. Please, don’t do this. At least get help. Go hide and I’ll come out and join you…”
“It’s too late for that. They have Beth. They know I would never sacrifice her… not after Ellen.” He picked up the weapon, turning it in his fingers. “They’re going to ask for the stone, and I’m going to have to give it to them.”
“This is the big jump, Kimi.” He said, slowly and carefully.
There was silence.
“I love you.” He pressed disconnect.
There was a rock-lined pond near his home when he was growing up. Many of the local children went there to play and swim, even though it was ‘forbidden’ by their parents. The Manatee siblings spent many a summer day in that pool, learning, as most children do, that not everything that is fun is ‘safe’. One summer, when he was still not yet a teen, Alvin bravely, or perhaps foolishly, climbed the rocks to the top of the ‘big jump’, which was the highest place you could reach that would allow you to cast yourself into the air for a moment of weightlessness before you hit the water. He was fully expecting it to be as its smaller version at the other side of the pond, just more fun. But when he had reached the top, he suddenly found himself frozen in fear at the height. He was unable to get himself to jump for fear he would somehow miss the water below and meet his death.
His sister, who had conquered her own fear earlier that same year, came up to the top with him and asked what was wrong. When he explained, she nodded and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Do you trust me?” She asked him.
“I’m scared,” he admitted, knowing it would cost him if Georges found out.
“I know.” She said. “But do you trust me?”
“You’re my sister. I will always trust you.” He answered.
She beamed. “Then let go, and you’ll be okay.”
And he did.
And he was.
From that day forward, the ‘big jump’ became a symbol to them. It was a secret phrase that meant that one of them had reached an impasse, and that they needed to trust the other blindly.
And so, in the simplest, most compelling way he knew, he had just told his sister that no matter what it looked like, no matter how scared she might be, that like that first day on the ‘big jump’, she needed to trust him blindly that everything would work out. And he knew that she would, and that she would believe it with all her heart.
Now he just needed to convince himself.
It was like being underwater, in many ways. There was the feeling of suffocation, certainly, but also the fuzzy, distorted vision of the world around her. There was pressure; a wet weight, like being back in the womb. And just like a fetus, she could hear muffled sounds around her, coming from everywhere, and nowhere.
The constant, clawing need to breathe caused her to seek the surface, wherever that might be. At every side was muddy darkness, but not a simple absence of light, but of nearly everything. There was nothing to see, or feel. No up, no weight at all. She wanted to flail her arms, but they were gone, missing with the rest of her body. What floated in the blankness was not her flesh, it was something else, something that only existed here in this place, this hell.
She screamed, but there was no sound, at least none that carried beyond the confines of her own soul. Yet she could hear something. Like a tiny fly hovering near her ear, or the unfocused hum of an electric wire. The buzzing pulsed and grew, gradually taking a kind of shape in her mind, which hungrily sucked in any sensation it was given.
There was pale light. As a fog at night, it was diffused and ethereal, impossible to gauge distance or shape, but like the sound, it was growing, refining. She struggled helplessly to push herself closer, but was tangled in the nothing, bound within a sticky web of emptiness that refused to let her go. She was forced to impatiently let the outside come to her, and it was so very slow, for in this place, time was measured not in seconds or hours, but in heartbeats and breaths. She had neither, and it frightened her beyond words.
Gradually, the pulsing, throbbing buzz took on enough clarity that she did indeed hear the rushing beat of her heart, but somehow she understood that it wasn’t hers anymore. It was elsewhere, beating on its own, just as was her breathing. The foggy light pooled into shapes that she could not yet make out, though they did seem to be getting closer, or she to them. The pressure around her was settling, and she began to feel resistance that was not the emptiness. It was an uncomfortable tension that made her want to recoil back to the darkness. It was cold.
The sounds became words, which she did not understand, but that she knew were people speaking. The words coalesced into patterns and phrases, and the phrases brought up memories and images, remembered events both recent and long past. She felt herself moving within the foggy darkness, falling forward as a steel blade is captured by a powerful magnet.
She was pulled into herself like a hand shoved into a glove, and was instantly overwhelmed by sensation. She was in a car, in the back seat. There was someone talking next to her, a man whose voice she did not recognize. She could feel the cold vinyl seat below her on her bare thighs, and at a swath at her lower back. She smelled the musk of countless people. It surprised her, but not as much as the realization that she couldn’t move, or rather, that someone was moving for her, not as she commanded, but as though she was merely watching it all happen.
She felt herself smile.
“Welcome back, Detective.” Said someone, in her voice. Then she was looking over at the man. “She was faster than the others.”
The male next to her was short, but muscular, with dark brown hair and a number of tattoos on his upper and lower forearms as well as his bare chest. She could smell him, not just the reek of sweat and grime, but his male musk. He was watching her, his eyes traveling over her body in appraisal, lewdly focussing on her breasts and hips and legs. She was surprised to be able to smell his sexual arousal, and just as surprised to feel her own reaction to it. Her hand reached out and found the bulge in the man’s jeans, pressing on the hardened flesh beneath… stroking him.
She chuckled. “Do you like him, Beth?” She said… But it wasn’t her, it was the other, the one controlling her. “Should I fuck him? Wouldn’t you like to feel him inside you?”
Somewhat suddenly, it all came back to her and she screamed again, or rather, tried to. She no longer had a voice. She had thoughts, but no way to express anything. It wasn’t like being shoved into a glove after all. It was more like being the glove itself, helpless and silent save for the power that resided within her… And so very exposed.
“Canto, take us back to the others.” She said, her head facing the front seats. At first Beth thought that the demon possessing her was speaking to the driver, but her body wasn’t looking at that man, she was looking at the passenger seat. Then she saw it.
In her kitchen, the Watcher had seemed huge, literally unable to fit even within the vaulted ceiling of her condo. But this one was ‘sitting’ like a human in the seat of the car. Unlike before, it was no longer just a semi visible jelly-like mass. This demon was quite opaque, with only a few translucent sections. It was also peppered in faint yellow-green lines and symbols, as though some crazed artist had covered it with glow-in-the-dark paint. Maybe it was the solidity, or the more defined features, but it was much more terrifying than before. Still beautiful in its own way, but now it was more like watching a brightly-colored, but deadly snake.
It moved slightly and she saw that there were thin, watery tentacles reaching over to the driver. They came out of the demon as faint pulsing ribbons of blue vapor and traveled into the back of the man driving what she now saw was a taxi.
“Yes, he is our puppet.” Said her voice, picking the question right out of her thought stream. “You see us more clearly now because I am in you. It is simpler if we just influence him, rather than take him over completely. Learning to drive is tedious and degrading. But we must cart this flesh around somehow.”
Beth cringed back, unable to withdraw from the sensations of her own body, but utterly disgusted and terrified of what she was seeing and feeling. There was also a terrible curiosity, a need to understand the evil before her.
“It’s your investigative nature. One of humanity’s best traits.” Her demon master explained. “There is so much I can offer you, Beth. So many mysteries I can explain.” She looked down at herself, and Beth saw she was wearing a white cotton blouse and a ridiculously short pleated skirt. She looked like an overage schoolgirl.
“You don’t approve of our outfit?” Asked the demon. “We were a little rushed. It was the best I could do. But it does show our flesh nicely, yes?”
And it did. The bottom of the blouse was pulled out and tied at her belly, and her long legs were completely bare to her feet.
“Not to worry. I’ll find us some shoes soon enough. I don’t want us damaging your toes… I like your body, Beth. It’s strong, and quick, and so very sensual.” She ran her hands along her legs, over her crotch, and then up her belly to her breasts, cupping them.
“I have always felt more comfortable in the feminine form.” She continued. “We’re genderless by nature, but the female of your species has a power that trumps even the strongest of your males. It’s that wonderful primitive instinct,” continued the demon, looking back to the man seated next to her. She felt herself nod briefly, and he reached for the belt of his pants.
“But even in our sexless form, we have… lust.” The man unzipped his jeans and lifted his hips so that he could push the garment down his thighs. His erect manhood was impressive, and her body sighed, licking her lips with anticipation. She felt a tingle in her middle, and the slight queasiness in her belly that was the beginnings of arousal in her own sex.
But it was wrong. She did not know the man before her. He was a stranger, almost certainly someone like her, possessed and powerless. But the face that stared back at her was that of the demon, its relaxed, almost ambivalent expression showing almost no emotion, as though the sight of her were nothing more than a curiosity, even as she moved closer and lifted herself up astraddle his thighs. He reached out, stroking her flesh, his fingers sliding erotically up her legs to her hips, where he began to draw her forward.
She wanted to tell him to stop, to cry out, but of course, she had no voice, no vote. Inside, she was screaming, even as he pulled her closer, lifting her up against him, her covered breasts pushed up into his face. Her own hands reached around the man’s head and played into his hair.
“Do you feel it, Beth? Do you feel the desire, the purely animalistic need to copulate?”
Indeed, she did, and it sickened her. Up close, his musk was far stronger, as was the smell of his arousal. She felt herself grow wet, her body reacting to the thought of intercourse. In fact, she seemed to feel everything more intensely than she ever had. All her senses seemed far too acute. The smells, her vision, her sense of touch. Oh god, her sense of touch… She felt every hair, every warm breath over her skin, every single tiny caress, even the beat of the man’s heart in his well muscled thighs.
“I give you that.” Answered the Watcher. “I fill you with power and life, allowing you to experience your body fully, undiluted by your restrictive humanity. And through you, I also experience these sensations. Pain, pleasure…” She reached down and found the man’s shaft, positioning it under her, against her moist slit. Very slowly, she lowered herself, allowing him to ease into her.
“The … wondrous delight… you experience… ummm… when you fuck one another… ahh…” The man’s hands reached under her skirt, cupping her bare buttocks and pulling her down onto him. Beth felt it all, every last millimeter of his flesh as he pierced her to her core. She felt herself shudder in wonderful pleasure, the heat of him inside her releasing a wave of slickness that helped him when he began to rock her gently.
“You take it… ummm… for granted. Ughn! You have no idea how sweet… and rare… that passion is… Ughnn! Ughnn! Ahh!”
She could feel the muscles along her sex clutching him as her body continued to
ride his toward a quickly approaching climax. The pleasure was incredible, and
far more intense than any she had ever experienced during normal intercourse
before. Every tiny detail was vividly adding to what she felt, from the slowly
dripping wetness that was spreading under her as she gushed her own juices, to
the tip of his cock as its smooth edge moved in an increasing tempo within her
deepest folds. She could feel the way her engorged nipples rubbed within the
confines of her top, forcing a dull, almost painful ache of pleasure in her
upper torso. Her sensitive hearing caught every deepening breath of the man
under her, as well as her own as they continued to undulate against each other
in rising tempo and force. She could almost taste the lust that flowed from him
as he too approached orgasm.
He started to grunt as he roughly jerked her hips down on his, slamming his member even deeper into her, his testicles slapping her as he joined her motion in opposition. In her belly, she felt the tightening as her muscles clenched down into her thighs, preparing for release… and then it slid over her.
“UGHNN! Mmmmm…” She gasped once, hard, and then was held still as the ecstasy covered her like a thick fog. Her whole body was rigid, her breath reduced to quick intakes, her vision swimming with strange colors and lights.
She realized that she could lose herself in that pleasure. It was that good. She knew she could just let go and let the Watcher have her soul… let the Watcher take her body permanently. But something was holding her back, and when she understood what it was, it brought her up short, canceling the lingering effects of the orgasm for her. The Watcher was still reveling in the euphoric bliss, gently rocking her hips against the man and didn’t seem to notice it as she did.
Perhaps it was due to the utter lack of bodily control, or maybe it was some deeper mystery, but for a second or two, right at her moment of deepest passion, she felt a presence, and it wasn’t a Watcher. It was the mix of emotions that came to her that finally gave her the final piece of the puzzle. They were emotions she recognized because she felt them herself. Fear, helplessness, shame. But they were masculine versions of those emotions- they belonged to the man. Despite the calm, almost uninterested look on his face, underneath he was panicked and disgusted by what his body was being forced to do. He wanted this no more than she did.
It was that realization that gave Beth the courage to resist the pleasure and hold on to her humanity. It also gave her the strength of will to gently reach out to the presence and try and make contact. If she could sense him, then perhaps he could sense her as well. And for the briefest of moments, she thought that she felt another last emotion not her own… Surprise.