Marxus rolled down the window, listening as the guard spoke in a strong Scottish accent, rolling the syllables off his tongue,
“Greetings...” Marxus replied as he glanced at the name tag pinned on the guards’ coat, “Scotty. Is there a problem?”
“What business do you have crossing our border and into our beautiful country?” he folded his arms.
“I’m taking my students on a geographical expedition to study mountainous areas and gather rock samples for study. We’re headed for the Ben Nevis Mountains. If that’s allowed these days? It’s been quite some time since I’ve been out that way.”
“Yes, it’s still permitted however before I allow you passage I must see proof of license and identification? Precautionary measures. You understand, Sir.”
“Of course.” then he turned to Thomas, asking him to reach inside the glove compartment.
Thomas retrieved a stack of papers andeight I.D cards that weren’t there before. Just maps and extra pair of sunglasses. As he handed them to Marxus, he smiled which Marxus nodded in response. Thomas never recalled seeing Marxus ever placing any paperwork in the glove compartment, as well as all our I.D cards, so he knew it must’ve been one of Marxus’ tricks.
“Would you mind if I check the other vehicle to verify your students?” Scotty asked.
“No, not at all.” Marxus replied, “Please do.”
Scotty nodded as he stepped away, slowly approaching our shuttle with our I.D cards in hand. Growing closer along the passenger side, Jonathan rolled down his window with a smile.
I immediately folded the map hiding it in my bag out of view, with the compass and my I-pod. He studied each of our faces then glanced down at the I.D cards matching them to the pictures. After giving a large smile, he handed them back one by one. He noddedin approval then started walking away when he stopped.
Our breathing paused for a moment as we observed Scotty’s mannerisms.
Hefroze then turned, approaching my window of the craft with a stern demeanor and squinted eyes. Removing a flashlight from his belt, he gently tapped on the window. Seeing his name tag, I commented as I made sure everything was hidden inside my bag,
“First I’m at Hogwarts, now I’m in Star Trek. Beam me up, Scotty. I swear, what’s next? A galaxy far, far away?” as I rolled down the window, “Stay calm, Yza…stay calm. Don’t steam and you’ll be fine. Just another bulky Scotsman.”
“Did she mouth off something again?” Jonathan commented.
“Yup. Again.” Erik replied as they turned in their seats, watching with smiles on their faces.
“Can I help you, Sir?” I askedrolling down the window a bit more.
Scotty remained silent, frightening me then replied humorously as he pointed at Zanz,
“Does that dog have I.D?” he let out a long hardy laugh which we went along with but then he continued after catching his breath, “No, I’m serious. Does he have tags?”
“Yes, he does. Give me a moment.”I replied as I searched my bag then handed them to him, showingZanz’s updated dog tags and papers.
Zanz’s large head stretched over my shoulder, sniffing out the window. Placing his hand on his weapon tucked in its holster, he stepped back, taking great caution seeing Zanz wore a muzzle. He released a low growl, sensing Scotty’s nervousness.
“Excuse me, Sir…please take your hand off your weapon. He gets nervous and when that happens, he’s difficult to hold back.” I softly warned, “Please, Sir…”
He respectfully nodded, removing his hand.
“Everything’s in order.” he reassured, carefully and slowly returning his paperwork through the window,“Haven’t seen his breed around here. Is he a wolf?”
“I’ve heard that before and yes.”
“I see, no worries. Now, uh…your papers reveal you’re from the Great City.”
“Yes, why? Is that a problem?” I asked.
“No. I just find it curious. I’ve heard of the things taking place there. It’s just good to see some have survived the chaos taking place there, that’s all. A lot of refugees have come through here. Anyway, lass…have a good day and take care of your boy there.”
“Will do, thank you.”
He nodded then walked away, as I rolled up my window. I let out a sigh of relief as did Jonathan, Erik and Sarah. We exchanged quick smiles followed by laughter.
“May the force be with us all.” I joked.
“Good movies.” Erik added through his laughter.
Scotty returned to Marxus’ craft, commenting he had very pleasant and polite students, then exchanged slight chitchat about the Great City. Marxus explained that Scotty wasn’t missing anything and that many changes were taking place.
“Well, since everything’s in order…I hope you have a safe travel and enjoy the beautiful sights our beloved country offers. Especially the Scottish Moors and fairy glens up at our Isle of Skye.” Scotty said, then walked over manually opening the gate.
We drove down the road, leaving the border of England behind us.
Both shuttles beeped their horns as if saying farewell.
The situation in the Great City had escalated in grand proportions since the mass evacuation. Martial law had now been fully activated.Anyone roaming the streets after the 8:00p.m curfew, were arrested or killed on spot, fed on, or torn to pieces. Most of the soldiers or Enforcers as they’re referred to,were nothing more than prisoners that were recently turned vampires. They were Night-Walkers, unable to walk in daylight without a daylight ring. The new leader,declared as DL also used lycanthrope-hybrid experiments and creatures conjured from Hell and another dimension, for his soldiers. And there were many. His own legion.
The people of the Great City lived in fear of DL and his Enforcers, dressed in steampunk military uniforms, protecting them from the daylight. Gas masks covered their faces and were armed with guns and pistols of different sizes and capabilities. At night, citizens listened to the steam powered tanks and vehicles chugging down the streets with black steam spitting from their pipes. The Enforcers searched for stragglers between buildings, alleyways and in the shadows using high beam lights and thermal technology or by their natural sense of smell.
The Great City isn’t such a great city anymore. From a distance, you could see the dark smoke looming over. Chaos ruled, spewing its destruction.
DL paced the roof of Victoria’s Tower of the House of Parliament, admiring the destruction he’s created. Viewing all four directions, he smiled in contentment as he said in a low deep sinister voice,
“This is just the beginning, Marxus. I’ll destroy you, as easily as I’ve destroyed this city. Because of you, I spent years in that prison, suffering horribly because of it. You’ll pay for everything you took from me. I promise. You should’ve killed me that day and given me a warrior’s death, but now, I’ll take everything from you and all those close to you. All in due time, Marxus. All in due time and I shall shower upon you, the same disrespect and dishonor that you bestowed upon me.”
“Brother...” another male voice said in a light French accent from behind him.
“What!?” DL objected as he turned, seeing his brother Matrx, standing in the doorway of the tower, “Why have you disturbed me…again!?”
“We’ve captured a prisoner that might have information on Marxus’ location.”
“Really?”DL asked with curiosity in his voice, “Bring them up.”
Matrx nodded but before leaving, he commented,
“You should really build a God damn elevator with all of the…” he glanced around, “remodeling you’ve done, no?”
DL grimaced as he watched Matrx leaving the tower.
With 553 steps within the tower’s structure, it took Matrx a little over an hour to return with the prisoner. Elderly man with long gray hair tied back in a ponytail; scruff framing his lower face. He had no wife or children so no one would miss him.Sean his name was; a simple man thinking that if he gave DL any information he had, he’d let him leave or provide a reward. But DL didn’t make deals.
DL stood overlooking the city once more, when he heard the tower doors open knowing Matrx had returned with the informant. He commanded without looking at the man,
“I hear you have information.”
Matrx pushed the man to his knees as if DL was royalty, holding him down by the shoulders, causing fear to build within. Sean replied in broken words as he stared at DL’s back, taking heavy breaths,
“Yes. I...I...I do.” he looked around leaving DL waiting for more of an answer.
“I don’t hear anything.” DL commanded, “So speak now or lose your tongue old man. I don’t have time for this and if you don’t tell me now, I’ll have it forced from your lips and there are so many ways to do that.”
“Apologies.” Sean replied, “I have information regarding the one you’re searching for. I believe his name is...Marcus?”
Knowing he meant the name Marxus, DL felt anger and hate. Remaining in a reserved mood, he tightened his hands into fists, releasing the tension.
“His name is Marxus, but yes…that’s the man I’m looking for. What do you know about his location?” DL asked.
“I’ve heard he runs a school or something around here or further out, but where I don’t know. All I do know, is that it’s very secluded and heavily guarded. No one seems to know the location exactly, but refugees stop at towns called White-haven, Penrith and other small towns in between. Where they go from there is unknown.” Sean replied.
“Interesting, but how am I supposed to use this information?”DL turned his head, leaving Sean unable to see his face completely.
“It’s all I know, Sir. I’m sure it’s more than you knew before, right?”
Hearing the tone in Sean’s voice, DL turned to face him, staring at him momentarily.
Sean studied his appearance, looking upon his city’s power-hungry Lord.
DL was a 50 year old Japanese-American man; shoulder length stringy black hair with strands hanging in his face.A scraggly goatee framed his chin and mouth.His features were handsome but rugged, with the coldest, dark piercing soulless eyes. He stood with straight posture;six feet tall in height and dressed in black attire revealing his medium-slender frame.His hands were clasped behind his back, fists remaining clenched. You could tell DL had been handsome at one time, but due to having been locked in a prison with no magic to preserve his appearance for a little over one hundred years, he had lost his youthful looks; something he had once been vain about.
He leered down at Sean with a cold expression sending chills down Sean’s spine then asked in a low voice as he walked toward him,
“Did I hear belligerence in your voice? What was your name...SEAN was it?”
“Yes…Sir.” Sean replied, “But what I said was true. I’m the only one that knows this information. I heard this from a reliable source so it must be true. I lived in White-haven once so what I say is true. If you let me live, I could be useful to you. I could find out the exact location, if you give me time.”
“Can you now?” he knelt before Sean, glaring at him with fingers tapping the air in an agitated manner; rings gracing every finger, “I sent men out that way, far before you came forward with your…helpful information and can you tell me what they brought me?” Sean shook his head, “That’s alright, I’ll tell you anyway. They never returned from the town of White-haven, Sean. No word. No report. No signs of their useless lives. Nothing. So…are you sure you can tell me?”
“Yes. I know...there’s someone who runs transportation to those various places. I don’t know their names but I can find out for you, if given the chance.” Sean muttered, “I can be useful, I swear my Lord.”
“Oh, but you see…you just snitched out those you know, so that shows me you can’t be trusted. Now, I’m sure you want payment, yes?” he stared into Sean’s blank eyes, “So,payment you shall receive.” he looked up at Matrx then back at Sean who displayed a smug grin waiting for his payment, “Kill him and stick his head outside with the others who brought me useless information.” he stood, turning away once more.
“But, I told you everything I knew!” Sean yelled as Matrx pulled him from the ground, “How could you!? I could be useful to you!”
“You were.” DL replied returning to the balcony, “Get him out of my sight!”
Matrx nodded as he dragged Sean out.
“No…no!” the doomed man screamed out until his voice faded.
DL overlooked the city once more thinking about the information Sean provided. He elegantly pulled down on the hemline of his steampunk-Gothic jacket and sleeves, sighing. He then paced in slow steps, leering out over the city with a hopeful smile.
“Today, the United Kingdom and tomorrow? Who knows the possibilities.” he whispered. “The world will soon be all mine!”
Matrx dragged Sean down to the basement of Parliament; out of the view of sunlight with only lanterns for light.
“Open the door!” Matrx ordered two guards who stood watch outside.
“Yes, General... Sir.” one of the guards removed keys from his belt, unlocking the door.
“Please, no. Don’t do this!” Sean pleaded, “I can help, please…I can help!”
“Move!” Matrx ordered, pushing him forward, ignoring his plea.
All around the room stood large cages, creating a dark, damp and hopeless feeling.
One of the guards assisted Matrx, as he walked over to one of the cages, unlocking the door. Matrx dragged Sean over throwing him in, causing him to fall to the ground scraping his hands on the hard concrete floor. He quickly stood as the door locked behind him, then grabbed onto the bars continuing his pathetic plea,
“Please don’t kill me. I won’t say anything, I swear. I’d die before I speak. Please...”
“Be careful what you wish for because eventually you get it.” Matrx remarked then glanced past Sean’s shoulder, “Kill him but leave his head. DL’s orders.” he kicked the bars then backed away with the guards, leaving the room; door locking tightly.
Sean continued screaming out his plea as he glanced around the room, unable to see.Suddenly hissing broke the silence. He slowly turned, looking into the blackness behind him; seeing shapes coming toward him. As they grew closer and were lit by dim lantern light, he saw they were vampires DL had been starving. They stood momentarily then attacked, tearing him apart; ripping his arms, legs and head from his body. The head was thrown through the bars; sliding across the floor leaving a blood trail behind.
Martx and the guards who returned to their post outside the door,listened to the screams coming from within.
“Once the screams stop, retrieve the head and post it outside.” Matrx ordered as he strolled down the hall.
“Yes, Sir.” one of them answered unwillingly.
Once Matrx reached a point where things were quiet, he leaned his back against the wall closing his eyes, swallowing a few times trying to keep himself from getting sick. After taking a few deep breaths, he made his way back upstairs to talk to his brother but as he passed by the House of Lords chamber aka the Throne Room, he spotted DL inside.
Hearing the chamber doors open, DL turned sensing Matrxs’ presence.
“What do you think of the information he presented?” he inquired eagerly.
“It’s worth finding out.” Matrx replied as he stood by the door.
“Hmm. Gather the Enforcers and send them to those towns to see if...what was his name again?”
“Sean.” Matrx commented.
“Oh, yes...Sean, was right. Let me know when they return with useful information.”
“Uh-huh.” he mumbled then stormed out thinking, “INCOMPETENT ASSHOLE.”
“Soon Marxus...very soon.” DL said cunningly as he rubbed his hands together, “Everything that belongs to you, will be mine. Especially that book.”
He grew a smile of contentment, remembering how he reclaimed his status, in grand proportions, by joining the powerful secret organization known variously as the ILLUMINATI. He learned their tricks of manipulation and deceit which was exactly what they wanted. He had nothing to lose, but everything to gain. Although, they didn’t realize how cunning DL really was. He became more powerful than they expected. One by one, he destroyed and eliminated the top officials and eventually, the entire organization.
Gaining wealth, power and knowledge, DL made his way into Parliament; being appointed to the House of Lords, resulting in a high position of Lord of Commissioner of the British Navy. That gave him the perfect opportunity to appoint his brother Matrx, the position of Lord Commander, then promoting him to General, giving Matrx complete control of the Great City’s Scotland Yard. The entire division was replaced with Matrx’s own soldiers or turned into the Enforcers. The change resulted in the lack of law enforcement, where robberies, murders and chaos began its havoc and terror. His plan was in motion, making DL most content as he slowly spun in place; arms stretched out and large smile on his face while he stared through the room’s damaged roof.
Mother Nature had blessed us with calm weather. The sky was clear except for minor haziness, after passing the border. After two hours of driving, out of nowhere came a group of clouds deciding to gather, causing mischief. It sprinkled, quickly becoming a torrential downpour to the point Marxus suggested we pull over until it slowed down, for safety. The rain lasted for another good two hours delaying our arrival time to our destination.We remained in our crafts playing cards, listening to music, reading or talking.
Although the rain hadn’t ceased, Marxus didn’t want us just sitting on the side of the road, wasting time he said was precious. Over the two-way radios, he instructed us to drive forward but at a slower pace, saving the energy on the crafts.
“What’s he worried about driving slower for?” Sarah mumbled, “They’re hovercrafts. It’s not like they can skid off the road.”
“Just because they’re not on the road physically, doesn’t mean there aren’t any other mechanical concerns. Maybe due to the rain on the roads and the force of the boosters, he doesn’t want the water splashing up inside into the engine. Ever stop to think about that?” I answered.
Erik and Jon remained silent as they smiled, knowing what I had said…said it all.
Sarah stared at me then shifted in her seat, looking out the window.
“Know-it-all.” she muttered.
“Excuse me?” I snapped, “It’s logical, don’t you think? Or do you!?”
Erik and Jonathan looked at each other, smiling, then turned in their seats, hiding their wider grins.
Marxus too, listened over the radio, as did Anthony and Thomas. Nathan fumed, hearing my argument with Sarah, wanting to speak but knew he’d have his moment to do so. The urge once again came over him as he craved another cigarette.
Cars and vans passed by heading toward the border, leaving Scotland and entering into England.