It was getting extremely sultry in this scorching desert. As the strangeness of the place began to grow, I could not help but inquire of the professor as to our predicament.
“So, professor. Where are we exactly?”
“A place in which we should not be.” The professor uttered.
“Well, what is it then?” I questioned once more.
The professor was overwhelmed with all that was going on; my but my persistence was something he could rarely resist.
“We are in a place where forgotten souls’ dwell.” -He added.
I persisted, “What?”
-The professor finally stopped and hastily answered my inquiry.
“You see, young Augustine. There is a place in which souls go; Souls which have no host or body. After a person dies their soul lives on. You understand that, do you not?”
“Well, this place is called Rahon.”
“Place of the banished one?” I interrupted.
“Yes, yes, well, it has certain extensions. Places in which the souls are sorted. The place where we are currently is rightfully named the land of the forgotten, souls. These souls are forgotten by time itself. “
The professor adjusted the instrument and continued.
“Any man, woman or creature who has had someone dwelling in their subconscious, has died, or been forgotten of them… once that individual has lost everyone who had their weary souls in prayer are banished in this cursed place.”
“How do we get out of here?” I quickly inquired.
“First things first, young Augustine. Assist Rahil with his arm. It seems he has suffered some burns from the attack.”
Unwillingly I came to Rahil’s aid and willed as hard as I could to speak with him, aiding his burn.
“So, you truly are real?” Rahil blurted.
“Why it looks as though I am.” -I replied.
“How long do the effects last?” -Rahil queried.
“I wouldn’t know. You should ask the professor.” I further stuck with the professor’s story.
“So, how is it there, in the Athenaeum?” Rahil inquired with a sense of mischievous judgment.
“It’s quite the sight”. -I answered; still aiding his wounds as he eerily stared down at me, acting as if he could see me.
“Is he really as big of an arse as people say he is?“ Rahil asked in a curious manner.
“Well, he is strict. But I wouldn’t go far as to say that he’s an arse. Just, strict and sometimes upfront.“ I defended the professor.
“Oh, really…“ Rahil snickered.
Noticing his doubt, I questioned him. “What?”
“Nothing, just, your stance is defending.”
“Why would I not defend him?” I asked.
“What would you say if I told you I knew a bit more than you do?” Rahil mischievously said.
I turned to silence, even if my intrigue was grate. I did not want to impose on a private matter.
“Oh, come on!” Rahil chuckled. “Don’t tell me you don’t want to know! Everyone wants to know a bit about their “mysterious” master!”
“How did you acquire the information?” I cautiously asked.
“Hah, a bit of digging through the manuscripts never hurt a soul.”
“The personal manuscripts?” Baffled, I inquired.
“Well, I know it’s not ethical or even right in that manner-“
“It’s forbidden as far as I know.” I interrupted.
“But I was curious, and I know you are too.” Rahil countered. “I know a voice of curiosity when I hear it!”
I halted once more. Contemplating should I stay and listen. Or move away.
“Many years prior. Bartholomew, Griffin, Amalia and this other woman worked together. As like some sort of group that was capturing escaped entities. They called themselves Orion.
“Orion?” I confusedly asked.
“Yeah, it sounds a bit bland, but anyways, the writings described this plague that had broken out. Making people go mad. They found out it had anomalous properties to it. So, they tracked it down and found the source.”
“Somewhere in the sewers of Paris, it was this mass that resembled a bunch of molten bodies all mashed together and was polluting a water source. So, they attacked it, chained it and sent it off to be transported.
“The catch was that the other woman which was with them caught the plague.”
“The fourth member?”
“Precisely! Griffin eyed this out and alerted the crew, but the writings say no one believed him.”
“Well, there wasn’t enough proof. The woman was sane. So, he took matters into his own hands. He created this potion which, when ingested, would make you cry tears of blood.
“The Scarlet tears?”
“What did he make it with?” I interrupted.
“I don’t know!? I didn’t say what the prices ingredients where!”
“So, as they had dinner. Griffin stuck a pistol under the table, just in case she bleed.”
“Wait.” I stopped him.
“What know!” Rahil annoyingly asked.
“Why the pistol?”
“You can’t cure an anomalous disease! She is but a walking corpse, shielding a deadly untreatable plague.”
“Understood.” I answered as I continued to listen.
“The writings state that just before dinner started, Griffin slipped the potion into the drink of the infected woman. Surely enough, she bleeds out of her eyes.”
Rahil stopped there and tightened his bandage.
“Ok, and?” I ask with intrigue.
“I thought you said it was forbidden.” Rahil quipped.
“Well, you got so far. Might as well finish it.” I stated.
“He took the pistol from underneath the table and shot her in the head. End of story.” I was quite stunned by the words but was certain that it wasn’t the end.
“Well, obviously Amalia and Bartholomew took him to be tried, since they were not so happy with his act, but in the eyes of The Court of Sentinels. He had the right to do such a thing. They were going to terminate her anyways.”
“And the crew?” Rahil gazed at me as if I had asked him utter stupidity.
“It hadn’t held much water.” He nodded to right. I turned my glare towards the nod and saw them all scattered in silence.
“What happened to Amalia and Bartholomew?“ I inquired.
“Well, they sought out for a person to fill his role.”
“And I presume they found you?“ I implied. He smiled oddly, as if he won a race.
As I mended Rahil’s burns. I could hear Bartholomew run out behind from the dunes.
“We must move!” -Bartholomew exclaimed, as he rushed in our direction. “We must move at once!”
“Why? What happened?”
“They are not sandstorms!”
The blood froze in me, as I fearfully listened.
“They are souls.” Bartholomew lowered his voice, as if simply uttering the words would be danger in and of itself.
“Where’s Griffin?” Amalia asked hastily.
“Griffin!” Bartholomew shouted.
“What!” A voice behind the house answered.
It was the professor. He was sitting on top of a dune with peculiar goggles on, sampling some sand.
“We have to move!” Amalia pressed.
“Why?” The professor nonchalantly asked, as he seemed more invested into his work, than their panicked chatter.
“The sandstorms are souls, rushing in our direction” Amalia repeated.
The professor deflected her statement, further gazing at the instrument which he had in front of him. Amalia was perplexed by his obliviousness. So, she commanded Bartholomew to head to the crystal.
“Bartholomew! Transport us!”
Bartholomew quickly made his way to the peregrination crystal. Just as he was about to touch it, a flying metal rod struck Bartholomew’s arms.
“I swear, if you touch that crystal one more bloody time, I will personally feed you to the next entity we encounter.”
The professor glared at Bartholomew, as he stood up and faced the frightened crew.
“Those wrathful souls are hundreds of kilometers away. We have time. Quit panicking about, or you will cause nothing but avoidable disarray.“
The frustrated professor informed them as he headed down the dune with his dusty black coat and harness boots.
“Young Augustine, will you be so kind as to check under the fourth staircase to the left. There you will find a hatch. Open it and see if the contraption inside is in any way damaged.”
“On it, professor.”
I hastily arose and headed for the staircase. It took me some time but I, at last, found the old wooden hatch and opened it.
There was a mechanical steel contraption with many screws and copper gears. On the bottom was a gold metal container. It had a dent in it. Next to the container was an iron pipe which seemed disconnected from the container. I called to the professor.
He stepped inside the house, setting aside his instruments and glass cylinders on a shelf. Coming over, he took off his dusty black coat and squatted next to me, peering down at the elaborate contraption.
The professor peered into the contraption, examining all the different components.
“The pipe, down next to the container, sir.”
As I uttered my findings, the professor flicked me on the forehead. I jolted a bit, perplexed by this act.
“What was that for?”
“You called me ‘sir.’ I told you not to call me that. Makes me feel old. So, now every time you think of calling me ‘sir,’ you will be reminded by this momentary pain.”
The professor moved his gaze back toward the obscure contraption and connected the tube to the container.
“Oh, and the dent too…”
I stopped myself moments before almost uttering the word.
“You see its working.” The professor grinned and winked at me. He got up and closed the hatch with his leg.
“Now, young Augustine, what you will do is pull this lever, right here.”
The professor pointed at an old wooden web-covered lever.
“And pull it when I tell you. Simple, is it not?”
“I got it. “
-The professor then hastily rushed out of the abstruse house and exclaimed.
“Now, young Augustine!”
I pulled down the stiff wooden lever. Crackling sounds were heard underneath, and proceeded to grow louder and louder. The sound of the copper gears rotating, to an extent, worried me.
Abruptly I could feel and hear the old and perplexing wooden house creak, as it slowly ascended off the ground. I tightly squeezed the lever and leaned against the moldy wooden walls. When it ascended approximately ten meters of off the ground, it stopped, for a large iron anchor held it down.
“I present to you, a solution!” -The professor pridefully exclaimed.
“I see no solution.” Rahil said.
The professor relaxed his face and gazed at Rahil as if he had uttered pure stupidity.
“We move forward, away from the souls, until the crystal, and the house heals,” the professor replied as he turned his gaze up at the house.
“You can bring it down, now!”
As I hesitantly stood up on my quivering feet, and pushed down on the lever. All of a sudden, the house dropped down to the ground.
I shouted out in consternation, as the house harshly impacted the sandy ground. The professor had a sense of pride, as if he had conjured a greater discovery.
“Perfect!” -The professor exclaimed.