CODEX Part 4: Among the Living

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The Pact of Caïna

The late 1800’s was a tumultuous time for the Londoners, and all Britain to be honest. But there seemed to be a new interest in the dark and macabre during that century. From the blood sucking vampire Dracula to the monster created by Frankenstein and the uprising fascination with murderers such as Jack the Ripper, people were just mesmerized by what lied in the shadows. The underground had surfaced as did the wickedness in citizens. It was an overall mess and people were searching for something to believe in, be that alcohol or the church.

There was one figure that seemed to strive among other rich lord and ladies and that was Lord Tilney. He was a noble man whose connections reached as far as the Queen herself. He was part of the House of Lords and had several banks under his firm bloody hand. His wife recently died and he seemed to like telling his youngest child all about how to be a successful man while watching the portrait of late Mrs. Tilney.

“You need to be brave, Henry. Speak up and look straight into the eyes of those you talk to. If you waver, they will notice. And if that happens, our whole name will be thrown through dirt.” He said, rather coldly as if his son was not merely ten year old.

Henry was not his only child but the other three were all girls so Mr. Tilney didn’t bother with educating them.

“Spoken like a true politician, father.”

There was one other son he had, a bastard named Marcus. He was already in his early twenties and his existence had been ignored for a majority of his life.

“I believe I told you not to show your face in my house ever again, boy.”

Marcus was the spitting image of Tilney which always annoyed the lord because no matter how much he’d deny it, the whole world could see the resemblance. That was the main reason why Tilney killed the servant and abandoned Marcus when he was just an infant. He tried his best to keep them as far as possible from his family but Marcus was just as stubborn.

“What are you going to do? Kill me, just like you did with mother and even your wife?” Marcus asked, knowing exactly which buttons to push in order to get the old man angry.

“Leave my house!” Tilney screamed before he looked down at Henry. “Go into your room.”

Henry’s eyes fell over his mother’s painting before he looked into the cold eyes of his father. There were high chances that Tilney did murder his wife but no matter what truly happened, Henry still trusted his father. Therefore, he turned to Marcus with a glare and punched him as hard as he could before he ran away. Tilney seemed to gain some sort of pleasure out of this interaction because he started to laugh.

“Nobody accepts you, boy. Not here and nowhere in this whole world. You should have died like the rat you are. What? You think that if you come to me looking like this I will welcome you into the family? Ha!”

The truth was that Marcus did make enough money in order to dress appropriately. He had enough friends in the theater for them to lend him suits that matched his height if he needed. But that was not what Marcus came for.

“I don’t need your filthy money and I do not want to be part of your dysfunctional family. I’m here for something else.” The boy said and grabbed something from his pocket before he threw it at Tilney’s feet.

Tilney didn’t need to move in order to read what was written in capital letters: Eviction Notice.

“How did the bank get a hold of my address? I thought you said you want nothing to do with me so then why am I getting evicted?” Marcus asked holding himself in check.

Tilney threw him the most disgusted look he could make and scoffed loudly, stepping over the document.

“I don’t care what happens to you.”

“Then why did you interfere with my former place of work? Some of your men visited my employer and persuaded him to fire me.”

“I don’t care what happens to you.” Tilney repeated emphasizing every word.

Marcus glared at the old man and approached him slowly, looking very much like an angry wolf.

“If you continue meddling into my life, I will also meddle into yours. And we both know you have more to lose than I do.”

“You should have died. Nothing in this house, nothing that is mine will ever be inherited by you.” Tilney said grabbing his son by his chin forcefully. “Now return into your grave and never come out of it, vermin.”

Marcus glared at his father with such malice that if he had the power to, he would have killed the old man right then and there.

“If you take this from me, I will make sure I’ll break you and your banks.”

Tilney laughed in his face. The sound was hideous in Marcus’ ears and it made him despise the lord even more than before.

“You think your name has any relevance? You will die the same way you were born: insignificant and anonymous.”

“We’ll see about that, won’t we?” Marcus said with a cocky smirk. “See you in Hell, father.”

Now that the same dark eyed, mellow and pale looking creature thought more carefully about his past, he realized that that was the night that begun his ardent desire to become immortal or at least outlive his father. Considering the difference in their ways of living, Mehrdir was sure he would die out of a sickness sooner or later. The irony is that Mehrdir hung himself but not before leaving his legacy.

“Excuse me but what are you thinking about with such a concentrated expression?” Caleb asked since he couldn’t go back to sleep next to Zoe.

“The Pact of Caina…” He muttered to himself as he caressed his palm. “It was a blood pact between a dozen of people rejected by their families or society in general. Unfortunately, it seems like the pact didn’t vanish in time and their priorities changed.”

“Is that why they raided Zoe’s apartment? Because they are misfits searching for the daughter of Beelzebub?” Caleb asked right away, surprising Mehrdir with his boldness. “Weird, I haven’t heard about this Pact of Caina. Who created it?”

“Marcus Tilney, bastard son of Lord William Tilney. The old man took everything from him so in his thirst for revenge, Marcus prayed to Satan for help. He never expected Satan to actually reply.”

“And? What happened?”

“A deal with a demon is a tricky little thing. He hung himself, handing his soul to Satan willingly.”

“Is that your pity story?” Caleb asked with eyes fixed on Mehrdir. The greed demon was taken aback by how perceptive this human proved to be. “Did you at least successfully take revenge on your father?”

“Yes. But I couldn’t enjoy it nor did I inherit anything. It was all quite pointless in the end. And I lost my life and soul.”

“What about Zoe? How did you calm her down so easily?” Caleb asked in his usual curious tone. He didn’t seem to judge Mehrdir but he wasn’t being sympathetic either.

“My endless knot.” He explained and showed it to the human. “Although she marked several demons, mine is different. We are mates.”

“Like…friends?” Caleb asked not understanding if it was a British thing or not.

“You do know what mating is, don’t you? She marked me as her chosen partner.” Mehrdir explained with a bemused expression, especially since Caleb’s reaction was far greater than expected.

"So you and her have...a deep connection, right? Then how come she seems to hate you?" Caleb asked since it seems the demon was in a good enough mood to answer.

Mehrdir sighed and rubbed his forehead nervously. He knew it was his fault for everything that has happened and how unprepared Zoe was during the war. But at the same time he knew that if he had the chance to do it all over again, he wouldn't do anything differently.

"I'm not the most reliable demon."

Caleb blinked, thinking just how reliable and demon did not exactly fit together in the first place.

"So, what has changed? You're here now, aren't you?"

The greed demon stared at Caleb with pleasing surprise. This boy was very simple minded and yet having him ask all the questions that Mehrdir avoided was not bad at all.

Next morning, Zoe woke up with a terrible headache. She almost forgot where she was if not for the smiley face of Caleb Miller. He was sitting next to her on the bed and he was watching a horror movie. At 8 in the morning.

"You're rather peculiar, aren't you?" Zoe mumbled as she stretched.
"Did you sleep well?" Caleb asked not even looking at her. "Did you maybe have a nightmare?"
"I don't remember. Why?" She asked and suddenly noticed the marks around his neck. She frowned and jolted. "Did I do that to you? Have I lost my mind for a moment?"
"It's alright. You weren't squeezing so I guess your intention was not to kill but just scare me."
Zoe bit her lip and looked down at her hands. She hadn't slept over someone's places in a long time but if it happened once maybe she was doing weird things while asleep.
"It's alright, I swear. Besides, a knight in shining armor arrived just in time to save me." Caleb added thinking about how he did feel like a damsel in distress for a brief moment.
Zoe raised an eyebrow and stared at him in silence, waiting for him to continue. Caleb chuckled and got out of bed, leaving her all by herself. He went into the kitchen and noticed that somebody was already there, drinking coffee.
"I thought you left already." Caleb muttered grabbing some eggs from the fridge.
"She doesn't take breakfast." Mehrdir commented as he watched the human. Caleb stopped and bit his lip before he shrugged.
"More for me then." He said and started to cook. "Do you have an answer now?" The young man asked as he turned on the gas.
"What answer?"
"You said you were not reliable before. I asked what has changed now but you didn't give me an answer."
The way Caleb was transitioning from small chat to actual information that he was curious about was bewildering. Mehrdir couldn't help but understand why Elijah abandoned Jasper for this new interesting person.
"I love her."
Caleb froze. He didn't expect such an answer from a demon. At the same time, Zoe was on the other side of the door and she couldn't help but get angry. He had some serious guts to return after all this time and confess his feelings; the same feelings that he tried so hard to repress.

Just like Mehrdir said, Zoe did not eat anything in the morning. She only washed her face, brushed her teeth and grabbed a hand through her hair before she went back to her apartment. Caleb didn't insist on following because he felt this tense atmosphere around her.
By the time she arrived, there was a police car in the front of the building and some curious neighbors trying to take a peek at what has happened. She walked slowly and sighed every few steps. When she got in front of her apartment door, she saw none other than her boss.
Roberts was in the living room, sucking on a lollipop as he seemed to think about the mark left in blood on the floor. She approached him with a poker face and noticed that nothing has changed overnight.
"What have you gotten yourself involved in, Lestrade?" Roberts asked.
"It was like this when I arrived home. I didn't do anything." She replied with nonchalance. The detective glanced at her and he sighed heavily. She was always such a hard cookie to crack but he could see in her eyes that she was also worried for her safety.
"Find another place to stay for a while. Even if the perpetrators made a mess, they probably planned this. Who knows what they will do next..."
Zoe look at him before she turned to her bedroom.
"Remember how I told you that strange things have happened to your professor? Well, he had a lover who, apparently, has a creepy fascination with serial killers."
"That doesn't mean she is dangerous." Zoe added quickly.
"Let me finish. So, last night after I drove you home I got a call from an officer that neighbors called the police after hearing very weird noises coming from her house. I didn't check it yet but I received some photos. Here," he said and showed her the pictures on his phone. "Her body was found in the basement, in the same position as Fauggerdy. What's weirder is that her living room had traces of a fight and on her walls was written this in blood."
Zoe raised an eyebrow as she zoomed into the text on the wall.
"Helter Skelter?"
"Mhm. They were probably fans of the Manson case. Anyway, the police found the same mark of a C and inverted I on the floor in the middle of the basement. She must have been freshly killed because her blood was dripping down over some eggs." Roberts added and showed her the last photo which was taken in order to fully capture the scene. "At this point I am sure we are dealing with a cult. But then again, it could also be a serial killer who did his homework." The detective finished and put his phone back into his pocket. "So?"
"I cannot really give you any answers right now. I'll have to search the crime scene and take a look at the victim's past." She replied without feeling disgusted by everything she had seen and heard.
"Not that. I mean, do you have somewhere to go for the time being? If you want, I have a room to spare."
Zoe knew he was being gallant and there was no trace of secret intents. But from the perspective of a jealous and greedy outsider, it definitely sounded suspicious.
"No need, detective. I'll take care of Zoe."
Roberts was surprised to see the same man from last night waltz inside as if the place wasn't full of police men. Moreover, this man seemed to particularly dislike him and focus only on that; as if the blood and writings and the mess were not even there.
"You're still here, I see. Don't you know you shouldn't enter a scene? What if you step on evidence?"
"I wouldn't worry about that if I were you. Actually, I believe I may be of help." Mehrdir said with confidence, making Zoe scoff and roll her eyes. "This mark here is the sign of a cult that first appeared in the 19th century. They were called The Pact of Caina. C crossed by an inverted I. If you read Dante's Divine Comedy, detective, you'll see that Caina represents the ninth circle for the treacherous of kin. The cult was created out of anger for society and most importantly, family." Mehrdir explained glancing every so often at Zoe.
"That explains why they mention the Mason Family." Zoe added thoughtfully. "And they also crucified both their victims. For the second victim they also made a reference to Easter and how Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches dye eggs red to symbolize the night of Christ's resurrection. They probably want to announce the whole world that they exist and will surface after all these long years of hiding."
"But that means they will continue to kill." Roberts concluded with a grim expression. "That makes you a potential future victim, Lestrade." He added with a frown, realizing just how dangerous this case has become.
"Honestly, detective, I wouldn't worry about Zoe. She can handle it. On the other side, you and the rest of the officers might not." Mehrdir needed to have the last word but it was also a piece of advise.

Meanwhile, Caleb was still very involved into his research about the fairytale book. He read it more than three times and he still found little details that he formerly bypassed. There were stories connected to all seven sins and even to angels although they were a rare appearance. For some reason, he was expecting something big to happen, he had this ominous feeling that he will witness the greatest sight of his life. He just didn't know when.

It just so happened that he walked past a wall filled with posters and one in particular made him smile.

Suddenly, Caleb decided to change his plans for the day and he turned towards the police station. He could only anticipate Zoe's reaction when he was going to invite her to a friendly carnival date.

"No." Was her cold answer.
"Come on, Zoe. Live a little! What can go wrong at a carnival? This isn't a horror movie. We'll have fun. Besides, I'm sure Mehrdir will follow you closely." Caleb tried to be more subtle about the last part of his sentence but officers still heard him perfectly.
"That is not reassuring at all. Mehrdir always brings trouble." She stood by her cold negative answer.
Actually, the same brown puppy eyes that Caleb tried to use in order to manipulate her to agree, were used in the past by Ezekiel because he wanted to see a haunted house. That went wrong in more ways than one and she got locked in a freezer by Eneizar. Even worse, she had to stop by a haunted asylum in order to have a brief meeting with Leviathan. So no. Zoe did not want to know what could happen at a carnival.
"You should go, Lestrade. The boy is right, you need to put some distance between your current situation, the case and your mental state." Roberts interfered seeing how pale she was. "I'll keep you updated on what we find. Just go have fun for now."
Zoe was cornered.
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