A Word of Caution

Welcome to the realm of the Unseelie Court. Feel free to wander and browse, but know that the content you will find here is not for the faint of heart. The visions portrayed are often darkly erotic, even disturbing, and should be traversed only by those with the appropriate character and mental age.

You have been warned.

 Chapters

The Book of Enoch

Chapter 18 – Ellen

Professor Manatee stared down at his list, a sense of overwhelming urgency denying him even the peace of a simple meal. There was a half eaten Monte Cristo sandwich pushed back and forgotten nearby, along with a cup of tea which had long since gone cold. He just couldn’t bring himself to eat, not while he knew what Beth would be going through.

He had failed her. He had failed to keep his promise to keep her safe. More than that, he had given the Watchers their prize without even a fight. He should have seen it, their game. He should have seen how they set him up every step of the way.

No, he corrected himself. Not every step. They hadn’t been able to take the stone. He still had the relic, and that was something. It was razor thin, but still a tiny bit of hope that he was going to exploit for everything it was worth. But he needed time, and that was something that he didn’t have a lot of.

In a way, it was almost worse that they hadn’t been able to take the stone from him when they took Beth, for he knew that they would be contacting him. In one way or another, they were going to force him to give it over, and unfortunately, that meant they were going to use Beth. He knew that at some point in the near future, he was going to have to look into her eyes… and see the demon controlling her, knowing that trapped within, she too would be looking out at him.

A peal of thunder outside brought him back from the brink of despair, and he fished in his pocket for his wallet. Taking out a few bills, he set them on the table and slipped his notebook into the inside pocket of his coat to keep it protected from the rain. Sighing, he took one last sip of the cold tea and then stood to leave. Outside, the rain was trying to drown the little town. It was unlikely that the Watchers were still behind it, if they ever had been, but it was a potent reminder of his situation. It would also slow him down. The only good thing about the downpour was that it might provide him a bit more cover. It gave him an excuse to hide in the shadows along the buildings, and keep the top up on his convertible. He thought about his car, and how excited and impressed Beth had been upon seeing it the first time. He had had no idea of its worth, but it made him feel warm inside that it had pleased her so. It was this brief moment of distraction that caused him to miss the figure just outside the entrance of the small diner. He had just paused, about to make a dash through the rain to his car, when there was someone gripping his arm. At almost the same time, there was a hard pressure at his back.

“Just a moment, Professor… No, don’t even think about it.” Said a male voice that seemed familiar. Alvin had started to tense as if to break free, but he recognized the feel of the pressure against his ribs.

“A nine millimeter bullet at this range might go clean through you, but more likely it would just tear up your internal organs so that you die a slow, very painful death.”

“Who… Detective Fennel?” He asked, surprised.

“That’s right. We need to talk. Let’s go to my car, nice and easy. It’s the black sedan right over there. Keep your hands out where I can see them.” The man gave him a little poke in the back to get him moving.

The rain was colder than earlier that day, and now that the sun had set, it was horrendously dark, even on a well-lit street. They walked in silence until they were standing near the vehicle.

“It’s open.” He said as they came to the car. “Get in the driver’s seat.”

Alvin hesitated a moment, confused, but then he just shook his head once and reached for the latch. He climbed in as the the other man opened the passenger side so that the gun stayed trained on him the whole time. Once inside with the doors closed, he turned to Beth’s partner.

“What’s this about, Detect…”

“I’ll do the talking, Professor. No sudden moves. I’ve had a long night and I’m a bit jumpy. Go ahead Usha…”

“Wha…? HEY!”

Suddenly, there were a pair of hands snaking around his neck from the back seat. The arms were small, but quick, and Alvin abruptly found himself in a very tricky headlock with the hands of his assailant resting just under each of his ears. There was something about the touch that felt feminine, and when he smelled jasmine he knew he was right. Whoever they were, they were immensely knowledgeable in the human body. By pressing ever so lightly in just the right places, he suddenly found his consciousness wavering as though he were falling asleep, and before he could even reach up to try and free himself, he felt his body go limp. There was a brief moment of pain which caused him to yelp, and then a white flash that blanked out his field of vision for several seconds.

“He’s clean.” He heard a female voice say as his sight and control slowly returned. The hands were gone.

“What the hell’s going on here?!” He asked, rubbing his neck and checking who it was who had spoken. He was a little surprised to see a smallish woman wearing a Sari. On her forehead was a very pronounced bindi mark. Turning back to Fennel he saw that the man had not moved the gun away.

“I’m not taking any chances, Professor, and as I said before, I’ll do the talking.”

“Now just one minute…”

“Close your mouth, Manatee!” Said the man, loudly. “You’re in big trouble no matter how you slice it, and your actions in the next two minutes are probably going to affect a whole lot of people beyond yourself. So shut up and listen!”

He went quiet, his eyes dark and angry.

The detective took a deep breath and smoothed back his hair. “Were you recently a guest at a motel out on East Maple? A Motel Six I believe.”

Alvin frowned. “What does that…”

“Answer me, damnit!”

“Yes.” He replied, after a pause.

“Was Beth with you at the time?”

“Detective LaHeron was there, yes.”

The gun remained pointed at his chest. “I want you to think very carefully about how you answer this next question, Professor… Did you kill the owner, a Mister Timothy Blundt?”

He squinted at Fennel, trying to figure the man out.

“No, I most certainly did not.”

“Do you know who did?”

He frowned. “I… I guess I’m not certain. I have my suspicions, but I did not see him die.”

“But you knew he was dead?”

“Yes.” He answered simply.

“How?”

Alvin was suddenly wary. Something wasn’t right. He hesitated as he considered how much to tell the man. With the gun pointed at his chest he didn’t have a whole lot of options, and they were wasting time.

“I don’t see the relevance…”

Fennel looked angry, almost desperate. “Answer the question! How did you know he was dead, Professor?!”

“Because he’d been possessed by a demon, Detective, and they don’t let people live! He was face down at his desk and he wasn’t breathing. I suppose I could have checked for a pulse, but I just knew!”

The gun slid down away from him as the man let out a heavy sigh of relief.

“I told you, Patrick.” Said the woman in the seat behind him. “He has no idea.”

Alvin looked back between the two of them, confused. “No idea about what? Will someone please tell me what’s happened?!”

“The Motel Six on East Maple was ripped to pieces sometime in the last four hours.” Replied the Detective, his eyes cold and tired. “The local police are officially calling it a tornado, but that’s just a cover. The damage wasn’t external, it was inside the rooms, and every single piece of furniture was turned into kindling. There isn’t a single fragment bigger than a matchbox. It’s as if someone just fed everything through a wood chipper. Timothy Blundt’s body was found in the parking lot, or rather most of it anyway. His head was located on the other side of the road. It had been torn clean off. Please tell me that’s not where you hid Beth…”

“Where I hid her?” His heart sank. “No. We weren’t hiding… We were looking for the Lock, but… but we had it all wrong. I… I should have known, but I missed it.”

Now it was Detective Fennel’s turn to look concerned.

“Professor, where’s Beth?”

Alvin met his eyes, but was unable to speak. All the guilt and loss came crashing back down on him like an avalanche. Finally, he covered his face in his hands and just wept.

 

 

“Professor… Wake up, Professor.” It was Usha. She was leaning over him when he opened his eyes, the remnants of sleep falling away like a curtain.

“Where am I?” He asked, not quite recognizing the room. It looked familiar, but in a dreamy sort of way.

“You are safe for now. This is a Hotel in the town proper.”

“How…”

She smiled at him. “It’s okay that you don’t remember. You were… distraught. We brought you here so you could collect yourself someplace safe.”

“Safe?” He replied, trying to sit up. She rested a hand on his chest. The pressure was light, but he found it strangely enough to keep him down. “How can we possibly be safe?”

“I have taken precautions.” She explained, holding his eyes. “All the proper warding is in place.”

He looked at her, confused, but suddenly all the pieces came together and his eyes widened.

“Kimi… My sister sent you!”

She nodded. “Yes.”

He was lost in thought. “Then… then does your name mean what I think it means?”

“Indeed,” she answered, smiling again. “I am like you.”

Alvin breathed a little easier and fell back to the pillow.

“That explains a lot. Where’s the Detective?”

“Patrick…er, Mr. Fennel, is in the other room on the phone. I believe he is speaking with his… captain?”

He frowned. “We’d best let him be then. I don’t envy him that phone call. Usha, how much have you told him?” He asked.

“Kimi explained that he was someone I could trust. I don’t know how she knew that, but he is my contact here in New York. I have made him aware of the Watchers, though he already had basic knowledge, I believe from working with Beth. He also knew of the Gatekeeper stone and its significance. He does not know of our personal history. Professor Manatee… I did not try to search you, but… are you carrying the relic?”

He started to reach into his shirt pocket for the weight he could still feel there.

“No, leave it.” She suggested. “So long as it is safe. I assume you left on the warding?” She asked, her Indian accent causing him to smile. She seemed relieved when he nodded.

“It actually saved my life earlier today,” he said, indicating that he wanted to sit up. This time she let him. “There was a lightning strike at the Motel, no doubt a gift from the Watchers. The relic… absorbed it. I’m sure I would have been found in much the same condition as Mr. Blundt had it not been for this little stone.” He tapped his chest. “The warding is quite good, if not rushed, otherwise, I’m sure they would have taken it then, while I was unconscious.”

“Well, it looks like the Captain is buying my story so far.” Explained Patrick Fennel, coming into the room. “I had to explain that Beth was missing, but since she was officially on sick leave, he won’t take any action for at least another forty-eight hours. The official story for the local press is still a weather event, but the unreleased police report is listing this one as homicide perpetrated by a satanic cult.”

“Not entirely untruthful…” stated Alvin.

“No.” He took a deep breath. “So, Professor. You’re the resident expert here. What happens now? How do we get Beth back?”

“Patrick,” said Usha, a sadness clearly visible on her face. “It may not be possible save your partner. Almost no one survives a possession.”

“I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to accept that.” He replied.

“Nor am I.” Agreed Manatee.

“So what can we do?” Continued the Detective. “Do we even have any idea where they might have taken her?”

The Professor sighed. “No, but I have no doubt that they will be in contact with me shortly.”

“Because you have the relic.” He stated. “You don’t think they’ll just hunt you down?”

“They don’t need to. They know that I’ll bring it to them.”

Usha looked horrified, but it was Patrick who figured it out.

“Because of Beth…”

Alvin Manatee met the Detective’s eyes, his face barely holding back the deep emotions that threatened to overwhelm him again.

“Because of Ellen.”

Patrick shook his head and spoke softly. “Who is Ellen?”

“Usha,” he asked, turning to the woman. “Could I have something to drink? Water… anything.”

“Certainly.” She answered, and stepped into the other room.

“Ellen was my fiancé. We met when I was still teaching Anthropology at Cambridge. She was a Professor of History. We had taken some time off to plan our wedding and were enjoying a short trip up to Maine when we were attacked.”

Usha handed him a glass of water. She set the pitcher on the table nearby.

“Thank you, my dear.” He said, taking a long sip. Refreshed, he continued. “They were walking along the road, alone. A man and a woman, who themselves looked to have been taken upon. We stopped, of course, and offered them aid. The woman particularly looked in need of medical attention. She was bleeding from multiple wounds, and had several burn marks on her arms and neck. The man was in slightly better shape, but appeared to have broken his nose.

“We agreed to take them to the nearest town, which was several miles down the road, and had just let them into our car when the man withdrew a knife and threatened to cut Ellen unless we drove them to a rural house that was just off the main road. I wasn’t about to argue and risk her life, so we went. Once there, however, things changed rapidly. The woman went into convulsions and collapsed. She never moved again. What came out of her was a Watcher, and it went straight for Ellen. At the time, I suspected the entity might be a demon, but my fiancé had no such idea, and was unprepared to defend herself from its seduction. I was held at knifepoint, and could only watch as it slowly broke her will over the next hour.”

Usha gasped softly, a tear running down her cheek.

“What happened next, I shall not describe in detail, but it was something no man should ever have to witness of the one he loves. She was raped, and… possessed by the demon.”

“Damn…” Exclaimed Patrick. “I’m sorry, Professor.”

Alvin nodded solemnly and then sighed.

“But that was not the worst of it. Once possessed, Ellen was completely at the whim of the Watcher within her. She was fully conscious of what was happening to her, but unable to stop it in any way. The man tied me to a fence post, and then they proceeded to… couple.” He took another sip of water.

“They were rough, even violent, as is often the case with possession. The demons care little for those they inhabit, pleasure and pain being merely interchangeable sensations to experience. It was most of a day before they finished with her. Finally, the male went into a shed and brought out a can of petrol, which he happily poured over Ellen, who was seated, facing me on the ground, her eyes… fixed on mine.” He swallowed.

To his side, he heard Usha weeping softly.

“And then he lit her on fire.” Alvin found he was almost detached from the emotion now. “There was nothing I could do but watch her burn to death, all while she sat there and quietly stared back at me. She didn’t scream, or even cry out. She just watched me, the demon within her knowing that Ellen was feeling everything, and what that would do to me.

“The fire attracted the attention of the local authorities, who arrived in time to save me from a similar fate, but there was little left but charred remains of my Ellen. So you see, Detective, the Watchers don’t have to hunt me, because they already know I would never willingly allow that to happen to someone else I care for, regardless of the cost.” He glanced at Usha, and then back to Patrick. “They know that I will gladly bring them the Gatekeeper stone if there is any chance at all that it will prevent a repeat of that experience with your partner.”

Her face still wet, Usha became darkly serious. “Alvin, you know we can’t allow them to have the stone.”

Fennel looked confused. “Why? If we can use it as a bargaining chip to save Beth…”

“What she means, Detective, is that the stakes are a lot higher than you are aware.”

Fennel pulled up a chair and sat facing them.  “The Gatekeeper stone can send them back to hell, or wherever it is that they come from, right? For like, seventy years…”

Professor Manatee sighed. He was tired and wished he had finished his sandwich earlier. “It can also be used to release the others… The other Watchers, all one hundred and ninety of them.”

“Shit… Ten is bad enough. I don’t think I like the idea of two hundred of those things roaming the countryside.”

Usha reached out and gently placed her hand on the man’s arm. It was a very personal gesture, and one that caused Alvin’s brows to rise slightly. “Patrick, it is very likely such a horror would not be allowed again.”

He looked at her, confused. “So… what? Some higher power would intervene and destroy them or something?”

“You misunderstand… The Watchers are immortal. They cannot be destroyed. We, however, can.”

“Wait… You’re talking about the Great Flood, aren’t you?” He looked back and forth between them.

“Yes.” Replied Usha, looking very distraught.

“So, what you’re telling me is that if we give them the stone, and they release the other Watchers, then God will send another flood and wipe out mankind again?! That sucks!”

“Actually,” sighed Alvin, “it would probably be by fire this time…”

“Oh, good to know! We are so screwed…” Responded the Detective, throwing up his arms.

Manatee took a deep breath. “There is a possibility. It’s something I was working on when you found me, Mr. Fennel. It’s incredibly risky, and may not work even if I am able to set it up. But our only other choice is to take the relic and run. Hide it away for as long as we can, which I’m betting won’t be very long. Once the Watchers believe I can no longer deliver them the stone, they will actively hunt for it, and they will find it, Detective. Given enough time, we will not be able to keep it from them. And once they get it…”

“…We’re toast.” Finished Patrick.

“Yes. You should know, my idea won’t be possible later. We have to take the risk now, before they contact me, or not at all.”

They were all silent for a minute.

“What do you think, Usha?” Asked the Detective. “You know a lot more about this than I do.”

“I… I’m not sure. I would like to hear more about your idea, Professor.”

He nodded. “Before I explain too much in detail, I would like to find out if it will even work, but to do that, I’ll need some tools. They’re in a bag in the boot of my car.”

“I’ll get them.” Said Patrick, rising.

“Usha, you should go with him.”

“I can take care of myself.” Said Fennel, with a little verve.

The woman placed her hand on his arm again. “Alvin is right, Patrick. You should not be alone.”

“Huh? But if you go with me, then he’ll be alone here, and he’s the crux of this whole thing…”

“This room is protected. He is safe here. Outside, we are the ones who will be vulnerable.” She answered, looking a little frightened. Alvin thought she was probably justified.

“That reminds me…” Interrupted the Professor, searching his pockets. “Detective, am I correct that you and Beth carry the same type of weapon? It was dark in the car… I couldn’t quite tell.”

“You mean a nine millimeter? Yeah, we do, why?”

Finding what he was looking for, Alvin extracted a gun clip and handed it to the man.

“I have plenty of ammo, Professor…”

“Not like these you don’t.” Replied Manatee. “These are for demons.”

Usha intercepted the clip and examined the ornate bullets. Her mouth dropped open in surprise. “You did this?” She asked, looking at Alvin with wide eyes.

He just nodded.

She stared at the ammunition for a moment longer, then she turned to Fennel. “Use them.” She said, handing him the clip. He took it and extracted his gun from a holster under his arm.

“Uh, well sure, I guess…” he replied, unloading his current clip and ejecting the shell in the chamber, replacing it with the Homers. He then re-holstered the weapon. “Do you really think they will make a difference?”

“Yes, I do.” She replied, seriously. “And I am also beginning to put more hope in the Professor’s idea. Let’s go get what he needs, yes?”

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