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This is a fast paced horror/thriller centered around a lost artifact that has existed since before the birth of Christ. A middle eastern farmer stumbled across the artifact thousands of years ago, and while owning it he had the ability to achieve immortality by enslaving the people around him, causing them all to age particularly fast. The artifact came into possession of the Germans in WWII, and after that was lost. Our first character delves into the criminal underworld of his own city, looking for a ways to do good in an undercover fashion. He is then employed by a bizarre group of men who send him on a wild goose chase to recover the artifact from an old museum curator in a separate part of the city. The origin of the artifact and its abilities remain unknown to him. Later, in a different part of town, a homicide detective is woken up early by means of his loud telephone ringing. He is being called out to a robbery homicide at a curator's house. Soon after arriving on the crime scene, the detective takes samples of the literature and writings that were kept in the same room as the thieved item, he takes them to an old professor at the university he attended. The professor tells him the tale of the middle eastern farmer, but also tells him of a group of Celtic scouts that discovered the enslaved empire, and looted the artifact back to their homes for personal wealth. The detective chases after the artifact until stumbling across a clue that links someone dear to the him, someone right under his nose he would've never expected to be involved with such a thing. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5

Submitted:Apr 17, 2014    Reads: 15    Comments: 1    Likes: 0   


Chapter I.

In an attempt to shatter the voices in my head upon awakening, I would usually stick to the same routine of showering, eating, and smoking a full flavor cigarette before work. The voices aren't an everyday occurrence, nor do they resonate within my head so much to the point of being unbearable. On the mornings when I do wake up to them, they linger in my conscience until I get out of bed, and then at random points throughout my day-voices of loved ones, friends past, and strangers. Sentence fragments, situations. I would assume that every human being experiences these, and as I said, my routine is usually the only remedy to ail the echoing. I would also assume that some people's routines play a role in how much of a conscience they have, or even notice. At times when I've found myself completely bored, when the days blur together and my sense of time slows, when I lack routine- things seem to weigh heavier & heavier on my brain. There could very well be hundreds of factors that play into what my own thoughts and fears consist of, but the only thing that seems to be important to my wellness is finding a way to suppress any negativity that crops into my head, because once it does, it lingers throughout the day and casts a shadow over me. Maybe not everyone is like that. I will never know.

It was the simple things that made me, and today it is the simple things that break me. On any normal day I would've thought about a lot of things I was missing when I woke up.

This morning wasn't like that at all, though. I didn't feel the need to cling to activities in order to keep my mind busy enough to forget my inner most grievances. I just felt on this day.. Quiet.

Sure there are things that I miss, and want. Deep inside my heart there always will be. I had this newfound extraordinary feeling of survival; I knew that as long as I kept myself fed and clothed, my clock would tick forever. There seemed to be something backward about the way I was living, and although many other people live their lives wrapped in the same routines- it always felt unnatural to me.

I have always considered myself to be an organized person, clean, not really getting in the way of people. But my surroundings and my own submissiveness forced me to become the genuine American stereotype, so's not to disappoint my loved ones or anyone else observing my life under a microscope. Submissive to the fear of the possibilities, judgement or upheaval of others. Ha! What a waste of time my life has been until now, I have in a sense been living up to everyone else's standards, disregarding my own.

I've spent so much time finding hobbies or vices away from the thoughts in my head that wake me in a cold sweat sometimes, in fear of confronting them. Any time I'd taken any of my 'internal grievances' to a friend or coworker, aspiring to hear advice or input, my words were typically laughed at or shot down. Whether it be problems with society, problems with a lover-to the ordinary man, I concerned myself with things that were much bigger than me.

Or had I just asked someone who thought too small? Probability argued against that, and after countless similar reactions from people, I concluded that I either think hyperactively, or that the people around me choose to remain ignorant to the problems we could all so easily fix.

Now I felt quiet. I know that the escalating sex crimes & violent crimes within my own city, my own back yard, I know they wouldn't be affected simply by me waking up in the morning, depressing myself over them.

Of course there was immediately a strong urge within me to run out and do something incredibly stupid to ventilate my aggression. But I wanted to be smarter than that. All that energy and time I had spent on my own hobbies, whether it be building machines or writing or working, if I could channel all of that effort that I'm capable of into something useful, as opposed to dead end jobs, I know I could succeed. Even success wasn't what I was fully seeking here, though, there was and always will be an unidentified goal I was seeking, but what it is specifically I do not know.

That morning I thought about calling into work, but seeing as how I work in a plastics factory with hundreds of people on staff, I didn't see how it would be morally wrong to short staff a corporation to such a small degree, and as for my own employment status I did not much care about every returning to that particular job. It had grown tiring and all of the regularity of the work and the people played monotonous games with my soul. The fact that my job was so simple, to the point that my spot could be filled by any man, or even machine, that simple fact alone made me feel utterly useless in a large span of the world. If my lifetime legacy was going to be working jobs that in no way affect my surroundings or make a dent in history-what was the point? I could sit and wait to meet a girl who would fall in love with me and bring me out of all of this? Like that's ever happened before. At this point I was just done. I didn't care about what my relatives and few friends thought about me, if they even thought of me in the first place.

I've never considered myself to be an impulsive person, my actions are usually constituted by a list of thoughts beforehand. But that morning it had all been drained out of me. As if someone came into my apartment in my sleep, stuck a needle in me, and drained whatever chemical it is that makes a man fear things or care about things that aren't directly in front of him.

Quitting your job and rethinking your future- reformatting your future that is, is a pretty large step. But for me it was spawned out of desperation, being the black sheep. The one different opinion in a crowd. I felt an irregular feeling of having all the time in the world flung into my lap, and enough money in my bank account to accommodate almost anything I wanted-within modest expectations.

The wheels had been set into motion, though. And soon I felt I would be a part of something bigger than myself. Although I couldn't say what it was, I knew the only way to get there was to plunge myself into a completely different lifestyle, almost as a secret identity. An alias so different than my normal self, that I could never be discovered. Before any of this could even be hypothesized upon, there was much I had to learn about people, and myself first.

***

I begun my work, or my social experiments, at a bar about 7 blocks southwest of the metropolitan district. An area specifically famous for being filled with dangerous folk. The kind of people you certainly wouldn't want your children around. Dozens of stories I've gathered from not only local newspapers & journalists, but also friends of mine who had been through the district and seen things firsthand. I had only passed through the area a few times through the years. But even from my own eyes there was a darkness that crept over this part of town. Shadows seemed darker, people's eyes seemed to burn brighter. Smells and words and conversations you wouldn't expect to hear out of the lowest of the low. There was a laundromat, a dollar store, liquor store and bar all in the same complex building, facing a street of all thin, two story houses with high arched roofs and busted blinds in the windows.

The street itself was riddled with pot-holes, and didn't have lines painted on it. No drains on this street, there was stagnant water sitting in the corners of the road along the sidewalks, which provided a formidable amount of humidity and insects to the air. A feeling that nearly made you swear you were in the jungle. On the corners and every few yards there would be a group of two or three people, some groups with a few more, with the jumble of low voices.

I sat around the corner with the outlet mall in my left rear view mirror, windows cracked. I hadn't driven my own car, but there was an old woman living on my street with dementia, who I had seen on multiple accounts leave her keys in the sun visor of her black 80's Buick. It took all of 5 seconds to get in the car, turn the key and take off. As bad as I felt about stealing an old woman's car, I planned on having it back and unharmed soon. I just wouldn't want to be spotted in my car just in case I made any new friends that night.

Knowing I was headed to a particularly poverty stricken section of town, It wasn't too hard to blend myself in. I wore an unkempt red beard, the oldest and dirtiest Levi's I could find, black work boots & a sorry excuse for a white tee shirt, which should've really been called an eggshell-white tee shirt.

I flicked my cigarette filter as I headed down the street, and already I'm getting some unfriendly looks.

I swung the doors open and had a seat at the bar. There was low light except for in front of men's faces where you saw spit flying, smoke curling, and a dozen different faces cursing and howling. All in thirty seconds I heard a man bragging about breaking a man's arm and twisting it around over and over until it broke off, like breaking a tree limb. I heard a men talk about incest cults, back alley arms dealing. You name it.

I ordered my four fingers of wild turkey and waited until the place died down a bit. I sat and sipped my drink conservatively as I watched others drink like they'd been walking through the desert for the last half of their lifetime.

There was a particular eerie vibe coming from one of the tables in the corner behind me, but I couldn't quite place it. I turned in my stool halfway to notice three sets of eyes staring at me. Their bodies were merely just outlines from my distance, a cloud of smoke surrounded the three men, and at this point I saw an arm raise and a hand motioning me to come over there. I had no idea who these men were, but I felt as if these were the men I came here determined to meet. If I was going to learn anything about what goes on in the bowels of my city, now was the time.

I ordered another drink and slowly approached the table. As I walked over, their quiet lowly voices halted to a silence, and when I sat down I noticed one man directly in front of me with scars on his face, dark hair and silver mutton chops that seemed to be out of the late 19th century. Another man was fat, clean shaven and sweaty. The other man was dressed and cloaked in a way that you could only see a rectangular area of his body, around his eyes and cheeks, the rest of his face was wrapped in a bandana, on his head was some kind of hat that looked like a cross between a fedora and a cowboy hat. My facial expression was blank, for they had no idea about my true reason for being there, they only had an assumption of why I was there. I made myself look poor, and desperate, which wasn't too much of a stretch for me considering I was already desperate to an extent, and I had grown up poor so I understood the demeanor that came with. The scarred man said lowly with a grin, "I've never seen you here before, you a cop?"

"No, I'm not a cop." I stated but before I could get the words out the fatter man interrupted, "Then what exactly are you doing here, do you know who we are?"

"I had an idea of who you are. I'm in need of some quick money, I figured this was the place to go."

"You ought to not figure anything, son. But if you're serious there is indeed an interviewing process. We've got to make sure you're not just full of hot air, and in order for that to happen, unfortunately for you, you must do something for us first." Said the man with the obnoxious sideburns.

"I understand that, I'm ready to work immediately, fill me in." I said, with a bout of nervousness inside of me, what if the task in front of me was going to be something gruesome, that I couldn't back out of? No matter. It was a risk I had to take.

The man in the coat with the hat finally spoke up, after not saying a word the entire time I had been seated there,

"There is a house in the eastern district of the city that you must break into. There is an automated lock on the front gate, so if you could find a way to get past it, it wouldn't be like breaking in at all, but more or less just walking in. There is a man that lives there who had recently given us trouble, a few weeks ago he withheld a sizable payment that he owed us, and currently the man is hooked up to a life support machine inside his home. When he did not pay what he owed us, we sent a few men to ruffle his feathers, they ended up breaking his neck, leaving him in the state he's in now. He's not dead, it's not him you should worry about, but the man is considerably wealthy, and I would be willing to bet he's got armed guards lining the place."

I listened intently taking mental notes.

"Somewhere in the man's house there is a key that is a great value to us. The key itself looks to be medieval, or baroque in design. As for where the man keeps the thing I do not know. That is for you to learn and to figure out. The key itself is of incredible value, so it above all of his other possessions would more than likely be stashed away the most. Details of this job that don't concern you, like what the key unlocks, or why we want it, will remain unknown to you until we see you are trustworthy. For now your main task is to find a way into the man's residence, take the key, and return it to us. The address of the your destination and where you will find us are disclosed." He said as he slid an envelope across the table at me.

Seemed to be a fairly easy task. Considering it could be done almost completely non-violent, I figured I would attempt it to learn a little but more about my new employers. I opened the envelope and looked at the address. 6648 O'hannah boulevard. And the address below was a list of 'turn lefts' and 'turn rights' after finding a path in the woods by a junkyard a few blocks away from where I currently sat.

I gave a brief nod to the three men at the table as I stood up and began to depart. For them to trust a stranger like me with the details and the job they had just entrusted me upon, I knew they were either watching me or would not let anything happen to that key. Perhaps they even expected me to get killed, giving me a job so storybook and ridiculous. Just a matter of days ago I was an ordinary plastics worker, and now I was about to do something highly illegal and dangerous. But a man like me with a clean record and no one to report to wasn't easily missed. I had no spouse expecting me to come home, or no friends that would really discover me gone. I walked out of the bar into the street and having a hint of bourbon in me, I seemed to scour the sidewalks with the same attitude most any other man would in that part of town. I made my way back to the Buick and returned it to its rightful owner. The car was nice, a bit old with a lot of miles, but still rode just as smooth as the day it came off of production line.

When I got to my place my alarm clock read 1:35am. I had plenty of time to gather any provisionary items I would need. I had no intention of using any kind of firearms, and in a situation dealing with armed guards; I needed a way to get past them unnoticed. As much as I would enjoy the idea of me being able to get past them completely using stealth-that idea was a bit farfetched considering I was new at this, and to go in without any sort of weapon would be ill-advised.

My entire kitchen was more or less a place where I stacked my tools and various things-my kitchen resembled a garage more than any place you would cook or eat. I took two handheld air compressor tanks and fastened them to a backpack, then ran two hoses, one from each tank in a fashion down the arm and attached them to wristbands to wear on each wrist. Where the hoses run down the arm and meet the wrist I attached two small cylindrical barrels, one for each arm, and a mechanism for releasing air on command with the flick of a wrist. The device was nearly completely quiet, and all I had to do now was figure out some type of round to shoot from the tubes on my arms. After going through drawers and old plastic bins full of random things for what seemed like hours, I came across a large baggie full of small metal ties that hold a tent in the ground. They were about 4 inches long, sharp, and best of all they fit the device on my arm almost perfectly. They resembled bolts for a crossbow. After finding a way of getting them to shoot out of my arm on command simply using air compression, I tested my left arm cannon out on the dartboard hanging in my hallway about 10 feet away from me. Not only was the device completely quiet & accurate, but it had shattered my dartboard into four pieces on the ground, and went nearly completely through the wall, and almost into the next room. It was perfect. It was compact. It was lethal.

Never in my life had my cleverness and resourcefulness given me such a rush. Now all there was left to do was cover myself head to toe in black. After getting dressed, I loaded the compressor backpack on my back and noticed in the mirror that I resembled some sort of insect exterminator. This time I would take my car and park a good distance away, for after it was all done I would ditch my clothes and hide my weapon under the mat in my trunk. If I were to hypothetically be spotted near the area after the time of the deed being done and the key being stolen, I would simply be a law abiding citizen who was passing through the area on my way home from a relative's house, or on my way to work, and would never be searched.

The alarm clock now read 3:56am. I still had a good four to five hours before sunrise, due to it being the bitter most part of winter.





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