Life. In Light Of Eternity.

Putting Life in Perspective…and writing stories

Auburn Part 7 – The dark universe

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The strong smell filled my nostrils. The smell I always woke up to and loved. Freshly brewed coffee. That fantastic machine was one of my best investments, set the timer and it would make a cup for me first thing in the morning. Except, I realized, I am not laying in my bed. In fact I had been sleeping in a chair, I wasn’t at home that was for sure and this wasn’t a normal work week. My head and leg began to throb. Memories flooded back of the last time I had woken up in a chair unsure of where I was. I kept my eyes shut, unsure of what might await me this time if I opened them. I let a small smile break out on my face as I realized how wickedly repetitive this all was. Twice I had been knocked out by that security guard, twice had I woken up in a chair in pain and unsure of where I was but very sure that I was facing death. My life somewhat in the hands of a murderer.

“Ah, I see you have regained consciousness!” Twice had that voice startled me. It was his voice, no doubt about that. The man that started all of this…”Come now, no doubt you can smell the coffee lets not let it get cold.” Coffee? Is he really offering coffee? “Ah perhaps you would like some biscuits with the coffee, I wont be a moment.” I hear him stand up and walk away. The door opens and closes behind him. I open my eyes, there is still darkness, blindfolded.

I remove the blindfold from my face. Realizing at the same time that I am not tied up at all. Then again, looking at the door I can see through the frosted glass that a shadowy figure, most likely my traitorous ally, is  standing guard on the other side so its not like I can go anywhere. Looking down I see a clean metallic grey table and sitting on it, with a tendril of steam rising from within, is a cup of delicious coffee with another cup opposite it. I look around, the room empty besides the table but it also has a familiar smell, like something clean but I cant recognize it with the coffee in the air. The room is not very well lit, the windows are sealed up rather well through the gaps some light seeps in however. I hear foot steps approaching. The door begins to open. Finally I will be face to face with the man that I have come to loath. The man with all the answers.

As he enters and I look to see the man that could be responsible for my deaths face I am greeted with high cheek bones lifted by the extended smile that is framed with a handle-bar mustache upon a unnaturally bright porcelain like face, a mask. He is wearing a mask. Right in front of me but yet still hidden. Dark piercing eyes silently watch me as the smiling face approaches the table and sets the biscuits down. In his other hand he holds the briefcase I recognize from the pictures. His white shirt collar has the top two buttons undone and I can vaguely make out metallic item underneath. The chino pants match the ones from the pictures as well.

“Now that we have adequate refreshments shall we begin?” I raise an eyebrow uncertain as to what he was speaking about. “Oh you don’t have to worry about the coffee or anything after all why would I need to spike them with anything? You already have on of my creations coursing through your veins.” He sets the briefcase down next to his chair. He takes a straw out of his shirt pocket and proceeds to drink his coffee through it, obviously so he has no need to lift the mask. I take a sip of my coffee at the same time. It is delicious. “By that face I can tell that you are enjoying your coffee, excellent I knew I would know how you liked it, I am good at reading people in such ways,  now let us talk. You can begin.”

“Talk? You want to talk? I wouldn’t know where to begin talking to you!  What you want to talk about?! The weather?! How’s the weather you psycho?!”

“Now now sir, there is no reason to raise your voice here.” He stands up and walks around. “My hearing is very good I assure you. Now I assume you have a good few questions; Why this or why that, how this or that etc etc…” He twirls his hand in the air as he speaks and I notice some sort of scar on it as he does so. “…so by all means ask them. Also, the weather is fair at the moment but I do suspect it to rain later on.” Do I have questions? Sure I have questions but the shock of him inviting me to ask them made my mind go blank. My mind reeled for a second trying to catch up, just to think that not so a long ago my life was moving along with only the care occupying my mind was what I would make to eat when I got home and then I was suddenly thrust into this crazy escapade that has now got me sitting in this room with a body full of poison and ever spreading purple veins, opposite the man responsible for them and who knows what other wicked things. His face hidden behind a mask that stares at me with a fake smile on it.

“Yeah look, I have plenty things that I want to know but right now my mind can barely fathom how I ended up involved in all of this let alone articulate questions.”

“Ah, well that in itself is a question is it not? Your involvement in this is simply something your mind needs to have answered before it can proceed further. So, Why did I get you involved in all of this in the first place?” He pauses for a moment to take another sip of his coffee through the straw and then brushes a small fragment of fluff off his shirt. “Well there was a logical purpose for me doing so you see  and that was your involvement with the auburn haired journalist.” I look at him somewhat puzzled, what involvement? I didn’t know her at all. He can see the question written upon my face without asking and carry’s on. “When I was first introduced to you the circumstance lead me to believe that you must be in some way connected to her. You were with her and you were holding on to her laptop after all.  Therefore to me it looked like you must know her and what she was doing and based on that is why you have gotten so involved.”

I nod my head, thinking about it from his perspective, seeing this girl and guy together like that assuming them to be together makes sense. Looking at him again I see that fake smile that hides my foes face, it begins to annoy me to look into the eyes of my murderer but not truly seeing his face. “Why are you hiding behind that mask, afraid I might recognize you?” He walks back to the table and sits on his chair leaning back in a relaxed posture.

“Recognize me? No, I can assure you, you have never seen my face before. My reason is somewhat simple you see, to friend or foe, some things must always remain hidden, it is safer this way. In fact this is the only face that those involved in this plan have ever seen. Those who have seen me unmasked that had knowledge of this plan are no longer with us. ”

By his tone I understand what he meant, anyone who had seen his face was killed as a result. Obviously he didn’t want people to be able to identify him, that would be too risky. “Is that why you killed the auburn haired lady?”

“Ah, that is indeed a sharp mind you have there sir! I couldn’t have some journalist ruin all my hard work just because she wanted a story. Following me, taking photos, writing on that laptop of hers I could not have that. So one evening I decided to follow her in return and retrieve that laptop but she didn’t have it. So I gave her some….motivation to bring it to me but instead you ended up with it so then I disposed of her and took the laptop from you to clean up the evidence. ”

“Why did you let me live that night? You could have just killed me and be done with it.”

” I could have done so, I actually had considered it however I needed to know how deep the relationship you had with the auburn lady went. Had she intrusted you with other information? Where had you hid it? Who else knew about the story besides the two of you and so forth. So I decided it would be wise to give you a…gift and  track you for a little while and see what I could learn in order to contain my plan. Also, It gave me a chance to deploy and study the creation in my brackets to improve the performance.Your coffee will get cold if you don’t drink it by the way.”

I was surprised by him mentioning coffee, I had forgotten about it completely. I took a sip. This man baffles me, he speaks about how he thought about  killing me without shame and then deciding to use me as a experiment for his poison instead while gathering information but then reminds me about my coffee. His calm nature unsettles me. “So then why am I still alive? You must know by know that I wasn’t her partner and what is this plan you keep speaking about?”

He sets the coffee on the table and puts both hands together and looks at me. I cant see his face but the eyes seem to be looking at me deeply. Calculating. “Interesting that you ask those two questions simultaneously because the answers are interlinked with one another. Allow me to begin with the second question first.” He leans forward as he begins to speak. “Mr H. L. Mencken said and I quote;

The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.

and I, as you may well have figured out, am the type of man that thinks things out for myself. I have assessed those in governance of this city and I find them wanting. Those with power do nothing while evil strangles the life out of this city! They don’t care! Some of them are even profiting from it!” He slams the table his eyes lit up with passion. “They have failed this city. The whole system has failed! Corruption, apathy and lethargy at every level! It is thus time for change, not a change merely of leaders but of the whole system. What say you?”  He sits back and folds his arms again.

He looks like he is waiting for an answer but to what? “I would agree about the system being broken and that it needs change but how? And where do I fit in?”

“The change will be by my hands. During my assessment I realized the change that is needed wont come easy and those in charge wont allow it willingly. But it will come, my devices, and other things in play will see to that. That is all the information I can give you about the plan however more will come, in time, if need be. Now as far as you are concerned allow me to quote Mencken again when he said;

Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.

We are already in agreement that change is needed and you strike me as a man that is tempted to hoist the black flag as it were, correct?” He looks at me expecting me to say something but carries on when I don’t. “Since we seem to be of the same mind about the state of the system and I must acknowledge you have demonstrated some skills in your pursuits since our first encounter I want to extend the olive branch towards you and ask you to join forces with me. Help me usher in the change we know is needed and in turn you will receive a cure to what is ailing you at the moment and a position of much influence in the new system.”

“What if I say no to join you?”

“Well, I am sure you can understand that, that isn’t really an option. I am afraid that I can’t let anyone breath a word of my intentions to the public. So I would just have to let the poison within you carry out its work which wont take to much longer to complete in any case.”

I look down at my hands, seeing more purple veins and knowing the poison was spreading made the promise of a cure a very interesting option. Additional to that the offer to help bring change to a city that is so desperate for it and the power to implement a new system makes his offer very tempting.

There is a stern knock on the door and it opens. The security guard puts his head in. “Sir, I know you are busy but there is something out here that needs your urgent attention.”

__________

The alternative universe can be found here.  Enjoy! Please let us know what you think.

All the previous posts of this story can be found on Nthato’s blog if you click here and you can find all of my posts for this story here.

If you are totally confused. Read this post to see what is going on.

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