Eleanor - Chapter 15
Once again she didn't quite know what to expect. One the one hand they were a secret organisation. Wouldn't they have some big fancy high tech headquarters? But on the other hand, they were underground and on the run so would it be an old warehouse. In the end it ended up being the later. The pulled into an old car park behind an abandoned theatre. From the looks of the other cars in the care park. No one got paid very much to be a Zodiac. Some of the other vehicles made Astrid’s look brand new. Each was in a various stage of decomposition. Flat tyres, holes in the body work one of them was even propped up on bricks but she thought that had something more to do with the area that the car’s owner.
Looking up at the theatre she could see the grandeur it once would have held. Built in that 1920's kind of style. All Art Deco and fancy but now falling to ruin. It's once ornate decorations had fall subject to time, nature and vandals. Across onside of the main board outside which once would have listed upcoming attractions someone had sprays painted a few choice words about the local police in language that was as colourful as the paint they had used to write it with. The brick work looked like it would crumble away at the smallest touch but if it had lasted this long then she guessed it would last a few years longer yet.
Astrid looked at her as she stared up at the building. 'It might not look anything special but just you wait till you get inside and meet the rest.'
'Oh I don't know' she replied I think it's rather beautiful.' She thought that that must be the artist inside of her.
Astrid led them to a small side door. Eleanor gathered that the front must be boarded up and would look pretty weird to see a woman an old man and a teenager walk into the abandoned theatre.
The small red rusted door hadn't escaped the ravages of local teens either. Scrawled across the door in faded blue painted as a 12 pointed star. It looked like it had been made up of 4 overlapping triangles and in the centre was a circle. Mr Constavalos saw her notice the star and look at the other graffiti.
'Ah little Paidi mau, you have seen our star.'
'Your star' Eleanor looked at him, 'I just assumed it was graffiti.
'Don’t let Declan hear you say that' Astrid chuckled. 'That is the symbol of the Zodiacs. The 12 points represent each sign of the zodiac Ella, and the circle is the 13th which binds us all together, that’s you ' she said motioning to Eleanor and winking.
When she wasn't all serious Astrid didn't seem that bad Eleanor thought.
'Why have you written it across the door? Isn't that dangerous?'
'Don't worry Eleanor child' Astrid answered her, 'it's safe, and after all what Batman would be without his Bat symbol or Harry potter without his lightning bolt?' Again she let out a high musical laugh and this time Eleanor knew what to expect and didn't find herself being drawn into the mesmerising tones.
Astrid took out a key which hung around her neck on a long silver chain and unlocked the door. Once through they stood in a pitch black corridor and waited while Astrid locked the door again. From behind them Astrid held a torch in her hand and led the way through what Eleanor could only describe as the basement of the building. No doubt were long past deliveries were taken and stored. She tried to peer into some of the rooms but the light cast by Astrid simply continued on. After what seemed like ages, are maybe it was only a few minutes but the dark seemed to draw it out the reach a large open area. A few rows of seats sat in front of a large stage which still had its red velvet curtains hung from the ceiling. Although they had seen better days and Eleanor could see large holes and many dubious stains in them. The rest of the seats had been cleared area and the rest of the hall rose up behind her. Although the seats had gone. A few people milled around sitting on the now deserted floor. Due to the slope of the huge room, the area where the seats once where looked like steps rising up. They reminded Eleanor of the old roman arenas where gladiators used to fight. Above her hung a huge chandelier and a matching one lay about half way up the coliseum steps, evidently crashing to the ground many years ago, the old ceiling too weak to hold it and it's now dull crystals lay scattered across the floor. She looked up to the still hanging chandelier. Although a number of the hanging crystals where missing she couldn't help but stare in awe. It was simply magnificent. Again the artist in her wanted to try and draw the way the light bounced off the glass. She could now see what Astrid meant by wait until you see the inside. But Eleanor had always known to never judge a book by its cover.
'Astrid' a large booming echoed across the room, 'and Pan, what a welcome surprise dear man.'
The voice belonged to a large man. No not large, tall and very well built. She could see the muscles in his arms and under his shirt move as he began to stride across the room. Within a few steps he had joined them by the door.
'What brings you her Pan, it's been such a long time. You’re not after my poker money are you because I've told you, you’re an oracle that gives you and unfair advantage.'
Both men laughed. The newcomers grinned widened, a Cheshire cat grin her mother would have said. There it was again, that pang of pain.
'Eleanor this is Declan.'
Declan took her hand, ' I am Declan Sinclair. Leader of the sphinx pride and the 5th Zodiac.' His booming voice oozed authority and friendliness.
'Jesus Dec, just give the whole game away why don't you.' Astrid giggled at him.
'If she is with you two my friends, then I trust her implicitly.'
Eleanor looked up at the man, she had to look up as he was so tall. He must have been about 6foot 4 maybe 5. He had muscular defined arms and an unruly mess of dark brown hair. Remembering what Astrid had said about Simbah, she tried to look for a tail but couldn't see one. He was dressed in simple jeans and a vest top. She got the impression that he liked to show off his body.
'So what brings you two here today friends.' Declan lazily yawned and his resemblance to a cat was striking.
'It’s them, they're back and they took Helena.' Astrid whispered by hints of urgency in her voice.
'And the girl' Declan replied. His voice now serious.
'This is her daughter' Pan replied. 'The one who...'
The three of them turned to look at her. It felt like one of those nightmares where you’re standing at the front of the class while everyone stares at you but you have nothing to say.
'She has requested our help in rescuing her mother' Astrid said, and Eleanor was grateful to her for breaking the silence.
'But of course that would go without saying, law or not.' Declan pronounced and rested himself down on one knee. Even then he was still taller than Eleanor, but at least not by much. She felt his heavy hand on her shoulder, warm and gentle. We will do everything we can to get your mother back. He looked her in the eyes. He had golden eyes, almost yellow. Eleanor half expected to see cat’s eyes with oval black pupils, but it was only the colour which seemed the same.
He stood back up and turned to Astrid. 'Our insider tells us that the puppet is getting closer to meeting them. Should the election turn out the way they want, which of course it will they will no doubt invite him to a face to face meeting.
'Excuse me' Eleanor's small voice interjected. This huge man seemed to make her feel even smaller than she already was. 'I get that there is this whole world of mythical creatures, I'm even kind of getting many head around the Zodiac thing. But what does the election have to do with anything.'
The three of Hughes looked at her again.
'I forgot that you don't know anything about our world' Astrid said.
'I guess there are a few more things that we need to explain. Think you can fit anymore into that brain.'
Eleanor nodded. She wanted to know everything.