Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Lords of the Pulpit Part 1

Sunday Driving

I have no idea how humans put up with bare skin. It's cold, lacks proper texture, and leaves one feeling completely nude. It's no small wonder Nod never likes removing his jacket.


"Gregor, take care of him while I'm away."

"I will. I always do."

"I know."

"You aren't going to tell him?"

"I can't. He'd follow. I expect you not to tell him where I went either for at least two days. By then, I'll either be dead or on my way home."

"This is unwise Jonathan."

"Probably, but I need to know. For both of them. And for myself."

"Go. Before anyone wakes up."

I had played with the new human faces Nod had gotten Trevor and I for a week before making that decision. How long could it be maintained? What emotions would change me back into a wolf? If this was to work, I needed to know everything I could.

Three Disciples learned the hard way how much information I needed. I came at them from the second floor of a condemned grocery. I landed on the last one in the group and severed his cybernetic spine with my razors. His appendages' operating system crashed and he lay still, only his mouth open. He screamed nicely and got the others moving. They turned, guns leveled at where I would've been if I moved like they do.

But I don't.

I was already back through the first floor window of the grocer's. I reached through the window nearest the second Disciple and jerked hiim through. I flipped an orphan power cord around his neck and tied it off to one of the old concrete support beams. He swung at me with a rust-bitten fist, throwing all his weight into it. The already wimpering linoleum floor and the tortured beams below parted and the Disciple dropped. The concrete beam cracked under the weight and the thick power cord stretched and pleaded to be released. It'd have to be enough.

An electric celebration of gunfire burst through the wall as the last Discple panicked. I slid along the floor, beneath his swarm of buzzing shells. I climbed down the power cord , balancing myself on the corpse of the hanging Disciple. I could hear the concrete creaking, moaning, and weeping for me to stop. I only hoped the beam would give before the power cord did.

I didn't have to hope. They both gave at the same time. Perfect.

I leapt for the basement wall and found a handhold in a small ground level window. I punched it out as the second floor fell through the first and continued to plummet into the basement.

I was annoyed. My hat was dusty, my vest and pants were marred with glass cuts. I darted behind the last Disciple as he stared with disbelief at the collapsed chunk of building before him. My razor found his throat and pressed.

"Where's Cain?"

The Disciple froze. I pressed harder.

"He's... He's gone home. He's back in Akarin, reforming his congregation."

"Thank you kindly."

I slit his throat and kicked him into the rubble. The paralyzed Disciple's eyes followed me pleadingly.

"Was he lying? One blink for yes, two blinks for no. If you answer me, I'll put you out of your misery."

One blink. Good. I stepped on his neck, crushing windpipe and the rest of his usuable spine.

That only left transportation.

I took the opporunity while everyone was asleep one night to slip down to the E-Rail station and buy a ticket to Akarin. They were dirt cheap. No one wanted to go to a Disciple run district. But I did. I had answers to find.

And here I was.

Nod would have wept, I think. In private of course. When he first saw it, he'd have cursed a blue streak and sought the strongest drink he could find. But in the end, he'd have wept.

His suit store and its haberdashery was gone. It was rubble now. A public toilet with silk ties as the paper. And amidst it all, Louie had been crucified on a warped black iron cross. He had been up there too long to recognize the corpse, but my nose caught his scent crawling and shivering beneath the rank stench of rot that bloomed around me. I slid a razor down my sleeve and bounded up beside the rotten cross. I pulled myself high enough to hack away the wire securing his writs, neck, and ankles. The body fell amongst the rubble like meat.

That's all it was. Tell yourself that Jonathan. You don't have time to bury him. Someone will be coming. The streets aren't empty without reason. There will be patrols.

I lifted the reeking mass under each arm and pulled it backwards, into the nearest alley. Within were the shadows I had hoped for. And an auto-dumpster.

I hefted the corpse up and into the auto-dumpster and hit the manual compression button. It wasn't a burial, not by a long shot. There would be time for a memorial later. Now was the time for hunting. He would come here after his pilgrimage. He would come back to the place of his defeat. I was sure of it.

Back out of the alley I went, slipping down the sidewalk. I didn't have far to go. The apartment complex had been razed to the last brick and in its place stood a small chapel. A neon sign proclaimed "The Righteous Reverend Abraham Cain has come home! Mass at ten, noon, seven, and nine." It was four. Perfect. He'd be prepariong for the night's sermon.

Enough blending in. I let my true teeth burst free and my fur sprout anew. I kicked open the door to the chapel.

I was getting to be too much like Trevor I suppose.


He stood alone at the gaudy fluorescent aluminum altar at the front of the chapel.

"What does my brother want of me? I wish to know before I kill him. I have found my path in life and he will pay for interrupting me."

I snarled and strode forward.

"Nod isn't any part of this. Just me."


"What could you possibly want?"

"Tell me about your sister. Tell me about Becca."

Cain waved his hands and I could feel my muscles start to twitch. I gritted my teeth and refused to bend. His eye widened.

"How? How are you resisting me?"

"You couild only ever move me through Nod, and Nod through fear. I am my own now. I am as strong as he is, and I have no fear of you. Only hatred."

Cain drew back from a moment before stepping forward, pulling a dagger from within his gold and silver robes.

"Then I will stain the floors with your blood the old way."

I laughed as I lunged forward, because I already knew. There would be agony and there would be answers.

Answers last.

His eye reflected in the gleam of my razors.

Agony first.

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