The Book of Enoch
Chapter 2 – Breakfast with the Professor
Beth checked the address of the building in front of her against the printed driving directions from the folder in her left hand. A small paper-wrapped package was tucked under her right arm. Google Maps had led her on some pretty interesting wild goose chases before, she was hoping this wouldn’t be yet another wasted day thanks to the gods of IT. But the door had a placard that matched the name at the top of her paper, as well as some relevant symbols above the doorway and on the stairs leading up to it. Yup, this was definitely the place.
There was no sound at all when she pressed the doorbell, and after about three minutes she was about to leave a note when the door suddenly clicked several times and she found herself facing a short, stocky man with a grizzled white peppered beard and spectacles. Normally, she would have referred to them as ‘eyeglasses’, but they looked to be about half an inch thick. Spectacles just seemed like a better word. Surprisingly, the older man was wearing what could only be described as loose purple pajamas. It was surprising since it was nearly noon.
“What do you want,” he asked with a frown. Beth thought she heard a slightly British accent.
The man hesitated. “And who are you?”
“Beth LaHeron. I’m a police detective, sir. Would you mind if…”
“You got a warrant, Miss LaHeron,” he interrupted her.
“Uh, well no. But I just wanted to…” She had to step back quickly so the door wouldn’t hit her in the face as it closed. “Shit,” she cursed under her breath. “Well that’s just great, Professor,” she exclaimed more loudly and turned around so she could sit on the steps. “Fucking internet…” She cursed. Her case was going nowhere, and the lab boys had run up against a wall. There was either too much or too little evidence depending on your perspective, and she had no leads save for the package under her arm and a personal journal found in the victim’s apartment, neither of which was proving very helpful. The package contained a strange looking stone wrapped in sheets of paper. The local archeology museum couldn’t find any significance in the stone and suggested that she try a geologist. The diary was a little more helpful, but only barely. The life of a nun, especially this nun, wasn’t exactly the height of adventure. At least until the last four or five entries. Beth did find it weird that the woman only wrote on one side of each page until someone pointed out that many lefties wrote that way to keep from smudging their writing. It would have been another dead end if not for those last ten or so pages. Those were written more quickly, as though in haste, and covered a range of topics not mentioned at all in the rest of the journal.
Beth thumbed through the book, rereading a few key places. She flipped forward and read the second to last entry.
They are coming. I should have listened to The Mothers more closely. Now I’m out of time and I still haven’t found The Lock. It’s close, I know it is. If only SMA had given me more to work with. She said I should receive a package in a day or so. I’m not sure I have that much time to wait, but as long as I stay home I should be safe enough. I felt them around earlier in the day. They never used to risk the daylight. Something has changed that has them scrambling. Too bad I seem to be in the middle of it all.
Who was the SMA, and what was ‘The Lock’? The last page looked like it had been scribbled at the last minute.
Damn them! They must have found out about SMA’s package because it somehow wasn’t delivered today and I have to go to the downtown post office to retrieve it. I know it’s a mistake to leave my apartment, but what choice do I have? We have to stop them before they introduce another Nephilim.
It was the last that led her to the professor. A quick Google search had shown he had given a lecture on Nephilim about two years prior, and the net popped up his address as local so she thought she’d save herself hours of research time and give the guy a visit. Now it looked like she was going to have to hunker down and work it out herself.
“Crap… What the fuck is a Nephilim,” she asked out loud. She wasn’t expecting an answer and had only voiced the question out of frustration, but a few seconds later the door opened behind her. Turning, she saw the Professor standing there watching her.
“What did you just say,” he asked finally.
“I… uh, sorry. It was just something from a case I’m working on. I’m apologise if my language offended you.”
He shook his head. “I don’t give a shit about your language. You just mentioned Nephilim. Why?”
Beth was slightly taken aback. “It’s in this journal. It belonged to a woman who was killed about five miles from here. It’s a strange case and we’ve run out of leads. I was hoping that you might be able to help me out.”
The old man seemed to be considering something. “Was she raped?”
Beth’s brows raised up a notch. “Actually, she was. Why do you ask?”
He didn’t answer right away and Beth was just considering whether she had enough cause to take the guy in for questioning when he stepped forward.
“Is that her file,” he asked simply, pointing to the manila envelope she carried.
“It is, but it’s official police business.”
“If you want my help, then show me her file.”
“Hey, now listen here, bub,” she replied growing angry. She wasn’t used to people not cooperating, and for all she knew, the guy could be some weird pervert who got off on seeing rape victims. “I can’t just let anyone have access to this…”
The man rolled his eyes. “Fine, then let me ask you a question,” he said tersely, staring up at her. “Was she found indoors?”
“Yeah, so what? Really, Professor. I don’t…”
He interrupted her again. “And were all the lights broken?”
Now it was Beth’s turn to pause. “How did you know that,” she asked, stunned. Unconsciously, she found herself checking for her gun. Neither of them spoke for several long seconds.
“I think you better come inside, Detective. It’s not safe outdoors.” Turning, the man walked back into the building and left the door open for her.
Thinking fast, Beth considered her situation. She didn’t trust the guy at all, and some of the things he just said to her could be taken as grounds to make him a suspect in the girl’s murder. She fervently wished she had a partner on this case, but she knew that her department would never authorize it unless she had new leads. Sighing, she tucked the diary into her pocket and followed the man indoors.
Some homes are naturally cluttered. Different people have different ways of living. Beth had been to many homes that looked more like museums. And then again, the greater percentage of places she visited while on her job looked a little too much like junk yards for her liking. But then, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Beth herself landed somewhere in the middle. She was probably a little neater than most folks, but she liked a room to be ‘lived in’. Professor Manatee fell way over on the ‘junk yard’ side of things, or at least that’s how it appeared to her at first glance. His home was an open three-story loft that looked like it had at one time been a warehouse or some other industrial building. But where most people would have furniture, the Professor had stacked all manned of strange things. Most of it she couldn’t even identify. There were books everywhere, piled on top of almost every horizontal surface, including most of the floor, and old desks and chairs were scattered about almost as though they had been left there by some bankrupt moving company. Beyond that, the rest of the equipment the man had stored in his living space looked like something from another world, or at least another era. Machines. All manner of clicking and whirling gizmos that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in a fifties sci-fi thriller were everywhere. There were what looked like half finished robots and refitted dentist’s chairs with appendages that looked more akin to torture than fixing teeth. Mechanical toys lay in pieces on one desk, and large black jars with wires twisting from the top on another. It was completely overwhelming, and had it not been so incredibly interesting, Beth would have been seriously creeped-out.
Through it all there were distinct paths, carefully cleared passages that didn’t seem to follow any order or grid structure. Most of the time the paths were marked by stacks of books ten or fifteen high laid right on the floor, placed there like bricks to make a sort of short wall. As if walking through some giant mechanical garden, she followed the short man to one of the few more open areas where there was a simple and obvious breakfast table set with a single plate. She must have caught him in the middle of lunch… or rather breakfast judging by the poached egg and toast. Her stomach rumbled and she regretted skipping her own breakfast that morning.
“Have a seat, Miss LaHeron. I need to quickly attend to a few things. I shall return momentarily.” He started to climb a set of stairs to the second level when he stopped and spoke over his shoulder. “Help yourself to my breakfast if you wish. I don’t think I’ll be eating.”
Not knowing what else to do, Beth picked up the toast, which was smeared with what looked like raspberry jam and took a bite while she turned and tried to find some common thread to all the strange mechanical things around her. She had just decided that there wasn’t any (beyond the fact that they were all odd) when her brain caught up with what she was tasting in her mouth. It wasn’t raspberry jam, that much was certain. It was something entirely different… entirely wonderful. Frowning in confusion, she hungrily took a second, larger bite of the toast and tried to identify the flavor. She couldn’t. It was like a combination of all the very best jams and jellies she had ever tasted rolled into one single spread, each flavor was maintained while simultaneously creating something completely new. It was fantastic. She was so caught up in the moment that she completely missed the Professor’s return several minutes later. When she finally noticed him standing at the top of the stairs she blushed and tried to clear her mouth.
“Fis es weely goo.”
“I beg you’re pardon,” he replied, tilting his head to one side in confusion.
Beth swallowed. “Sorry. That jam. It’s incredible.”
“Ah. Yes, my family has been making it for centuries. Here… catch.” With that, he tossed a small ball in the air toward her. Beth reached out and snagged it on its downward arc without thinking. When she looked at what she had in her hand she squeaked and dropped it as she jumped back several feet. A golf-ball sized black spider fell to the ground, uncurled itself and scampered away. Something about the way it moved and the way its legs sounded as it clicked under a desk told her that it wasn’t made of living tissue but rather metal. But that hardly mattered to Beth, who was panting, her heart rate nearly triple what it was a few moments earlier.
“Why the hell did you do that!?” She turned on the short man who was now calmly making his way down the stairs.
“I had to be certain.”
“Certain? Certain of what?!”
Professor Manatee stood calmly on the opposite side of the table from her, his deep-socketed eyes looking almost sad.
“That you weren’t a demon.”