He walked down the hallway slowly, savoring the adrenaline rushing through his veins. He already knew that he had won. I’ll go to hell, but they do say that hell is where the party’s at, after all. The pounding footsteps of his younger cousin seemed to echo through the old manor, and he grinned as he imagined the way his life would be after the messy deed was over and done with.
Fulton Abraham Hellsing ran up the stairs, panicked beyond his own senses. He thought he had been safe, but now he only chided himself. You are an 8-year-old with an I.Q. of 160, and you can’t even sense a family coup right under your nose! He dove into a side room that probably hadn’t seen the light of day for years.
Locking the door behind him, Fulton sank to the ground and began the tremendous task of pulling himself together long enough to make a plan. Looking up, he saw that he was in the East library, which his parents had used as a storage room for all the old texts before… Fulton wiped his eyes, unsettling his glasses in the process. There’s a time and place to cry, and now is definitely NOT the time. He frowned as he scanned the bookshelves for some tome that would be thick enough to use as a weapon if the door didn’t hold. Ah, The Unabridged Anthology of Abridged Anthologies, perfect! As he pulled the enormous book from its resting place, the tiny boy became unbalanced and fell to the ground, bringing two shelves and a dozen books with him.
Frowning, he stopped and stood still, listening for the tell-tale signs of distress coming from down the hall. Where could that kid have gotten to? He couldn’t have escaped the manor; they were on the third floor! Suddenly, a loud grunt echoed from above, accompanied by a sharp thud and several smaller thumps and clunks. He started to laugh, the sound eerie in the empty home. Now I’ve got you, boy….
Fulton froze in place when he heard a sickening laughter coming from the floor beneath him. He gripped a book and took a deep breath, before glancing at the door to confirm that the door was indeed locked. He looked down at the mess he had created, and then at his hands. He was holding a notebook, slightly tearing one page in his white-knuckled grip. Letting go, he stared at the now slightly-wrinkled inscription on the page:
Excita Volatilia Caeli et Inferno. Salutem expectat.
Fulton stared at the Latin words until they swam before his eyes. He had only a rudimentary knowledge of the language, but he understood enough to get by on very elementary phrases. Even as danger lurked one floor below, the young genius’s brain quickly became focused on the puzzle in front of him. Hmm…Salutem…that is savior-no, salvation. Salvation is expected? Expectat…expectat…okay, leave that. That’s the answer to the first part, the way it’s written, I do believe. Now, even I know that Caeli et Inferno is Heaven and Hell, but Volatilia… volat means to soar. Volati is to say “a thief”. The thieves of heaven and hell? Hmm, no, because thieves don’t go to heaven. The blank of heaven and-
BANGBANGBANG! The sound of the door echoed through the tiny room, shaking Fulton from his Latin thoughts. The door was holding up, but not for long! He crawled under the table and began to cower, holding the inscription to his chest as though it were his savior.
As Death itself banged at the locked door and shouted obscenities that no 8-year-old should hear, Fulton dropped the book to cover his ears against the pounding that was echoing in his head. He had to take his mind off that incessant banging; it was going to make him mad! Looking up to the bookcase, he frowned as he saw a hinge against the far corner. Once again loosing himself in his mind, he crawled back and studied the bookcase. It’s a secret book-oh, no, the bookcase has only been shoved in front of a door. To a closet, I sup-
BAM! The door splintered at the hinges, and a hand began to push its way through. Vainly it tried to grab the lock, but fell short each time. The hand retreated and a face appeared instead. Fulton gulped.
“Cousin, err-how nice to see you?”
“Just wait until I get through this door, you little cu-”
Fulton pushed with all of his might against the bookcase. Even if it was a closet, maybe there was a gun inside, or at least another room would stand between him and death. His adrenaline filled muscles strained against the heavy wood. It isn’t working! Fulton, think! I don’t-wait! We’re going about this all wrong! Grabbing the frame of the shelf again, he focused his strength into pulling the shelf away from the wall. Only a few centimeters were needed before gravity took over and the entire shelf fell to the floor with a tremendous crash. Fulton froze in shock as the loud sound racked his eardrums with a sharp pain. Even his cousin stopped his ministrations on the door to peer through the cracks curiously. Shaking his head, Fulton grabbed the door and forced it open against the bottom of the bookcase. To his utter surprise, the door was neither another room nor a closet, but a steep set of stairs. How about that…well, now’s not the time to hesitate. He ran through the door before doing an about-face. Jogging back to the table, he grabbed the notebook and fled again to the stairs, shutting the door behind him.
It was an attic. The boy looked at the boxes stacked to the ceiling. Some were labeled Gunpowder, some Weaponry. One tiny box in a corner was labeled Wild Geese, but Fulton was pretty sure that geese weren’t up here. Curiously glancing around boxes and stepping over various knickknacks, the boy gazed toward the roof where dust was dancing in a tiny sliver of sunlight. He blinked and looked down before starting. Is that? It is! A coffin! There’s a coffin in the attic! He looked warily at the object before the inquisitiveness of his mind won over his better judgment.
The coffin was not jet-black, but a light blue. A gold plate on the top held the imprint of a dove and the words Avis Caeli. Fulton smiled and looked at the notebook. Of course. Volatilia. Birds. Call forth the birds of heaven and hell, salvation expectat. And this coffin is the Bird of Heaven. He frowned, listening as something scraped against the door. Suddenly the attic door flung open and Fulton gasped. His tall and lanky cousin Melville stepped into the room, crucifix hanging from his neck and knife in his hand. He grinned maliciously at the young boy and waved. Fulton began to back away as Melville advanced.
“Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat-”
Fulton wasn’t Catholic, but Aunt had summoned a priest to the coffins of his parents, and he recognized the requiem that his cousin was chanting. I have to get away, I have to run! I have-oof! The coffin! I have to run! I have to run! I’m going to die-die-die-I don’t wanna dieeee!”
He chanted the prayer for the dead, advancing closer and closer to the terrified brat. “Poor kid, having to go this way, but if he had been made heir, this would never’ve had to happen. Ha! He tripped over that coffin, dumbass brat. Some poor souls got his bones all jumbled now; come on kid, don’t look like that. Don’t cry. It’ll only hurt for a while. And you may be lucky and go to Purgatory. After all, Protestants usually go straight to he-uh?”
Fulton sat sprawled over the edge of the coffin. He had tripped and lost his shoe in the opening, as well as cut his foot on the old wood. He felt his blood drip down into the coffin and felt a bit of sympathy for whoever was inside, getting all dirty with his blood. Suddenly he felt something wet slither against his ankle and froze. He saw a similar look of confusion on Melville’s face as he stared into the open lid. Suddenly his eyes became huge and he pointed into the coffin and let out a shriek. Fulton gasped and tried to get up, only to feel a pressure on his ankle and a quick pain. As quick as the pressure was there, it was gone again and he jerked his ankle free, only to trip over a box and throw his glasses sideways on his face. Whimpering, he curled into a ball and recollected his wits, only to stare at a very dusty pair of boots. Looking up, he saw a young woman staring at him curiously with bright red eyes. She looked…hungry. Fulton shivered and curled up into a tinier ball then he thought was possible. This pretty lady is kinda creepy and I don-HEY LADY WATCH IT!”
Fulton screamed when he saw Melville’s knife slice across the lady’s shoulder blade. She jerked and swung around, grabbing the boys arm.
“So you want to play, huh? I’m kind of hungry; I’m not in the mood to play with my food. Sorry.”
Fulton watched as the woman grinned, her eyes beginning to glow an even darker crimson and her left arm becoming nothing but shadows. He watched as she ripped Melville’s arm off and began to let his blood drip into her mouth. He watched Melville try to run; he ended up tripping over the coffin lid and making the gold inscription catch the light. He watched until the screams became gurgles, then he closed his eyes and fell into the blessed darkness.
© Copyright 2016 Lii. All rights reserved.
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