Chapter 21: The Fly in the Ointment
The words of Revelation seemed to glow as Ben read them. He’d not touched a bible since leaving the priesthood, yet, for some reason, today he felt the need to search his bookshelves for one. He never kept one in his flat. Too many painful reminders and he couldn’t cope with that. He searched through the pages until he found what he was looking for. It couldn’t be just any bible it had to be the right translation and the right age if he was going to find out an underlying puzzle that just occurred to him.
It all lay in the story of man’s last days when God sent his seven horsemen, who with their own powers brought destruction on earth. All the angels would walk the earth, but only one was important enough to be named. So many texts had brought forth their own prophecies where Seers would interpret these writings and predict the world’s end. As a young man he took those words as just words, with barely any truth in them, even as a priest. The drama of man’s end days was too overkill for him, but once Henrick came into his life, he realised that maybe it wasn’t. Maybe not fire and brimstone, but still those days would be big enough to take everyone with it. Ben now saw the words in a different light and it was a light that caused him to weep with shame at his own life choices.
The bell ringing from the front of the shop startled him. He was not used to having random customers and presumed a wayward tourist had entered wanting directions. Reaching for his stick, he made his way to the front and through the gloom he spotted the shape of a man.
‘I’m sorry, but we are closed.’
He shuffled closer and slowly the man turned and Ben felt his legs start to give way.
‘Get out,’ he hissed.
‘Now, now, Ben. Is that any way to greet a friend?’
Trebey stepped from the shadows with a sinister smile on his face. Ben had forgotten how much he hated the man who was in front of him. He looked just the same as all those years ago. Still tall and thin, like a reed, and his hair was cropped short and brown with the flecks of silver throughout.
‘What do you want?’ Ben asked looking around and cursing the fact his shop did not attract customers.
‘I hear you have been interfering with Church business.’
‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said, keeping his voice steady. ‘I no longer work for the Church. You know that.’
‘Yes, I do. But you have been in contact with Michael Roach, who is helping Daniel, who, in turn, is working Church business.’
Matthew had now pulled a chair out and pushed it towards Ben, who took it appreciatively. His legs ached manically, but the kindness was much scarier coming from Trebey.
'Sit before you fall,' Trebey snapped.
‘Michael came to me asking questions. But I’ve told him nothing.’
Ben watched Trebey nervously, as he began to pace before stopping at the bookshelves to look at their contents. It was like waiting for an overstretched elastic band to snap. He felt so vulnerable sitting down, but had no choice. He was physically weaker and Trebey would use it to his advantage.
‘The girl should have been killed by your hand, but because of your weakness it is left to me to clear up this sorry mess.’
‘How do you know she is not the messiah?’ Ben asked.
Trebey’s head snapped round at his comment and putting down the books he had been looking at, he pushed his face into Ben’s.
‘I don’t need to know which child is born first and I don’t care if she is the messiah. I will never let her take the glory from Joshua. He is the one.’ Trebey straightened and sighed. ‘I may have made a mistake to send that stupid boy to do a man’s job. It may be just as well to kill them both.’
‘You can’t,’ Ben said.
Trebey looked at him suspiciously and Ben tried to hide his eyes. He could not afford for Trebey to read him too much. It had always grated on Trebey that he always held the upper hand and information, whereas he had none, and it was important that he kept the status quo.
‘I do know you have told them to take the girl to Rome. So who are you protecting?’
‘Nobody,’ Ben whispered.
Trebey smiled, ‘Something tells me different.’
‘Don’t be a fool, Matthew,’ Ben snapped.
What was it that the old fool was hiding? Wondered Trebey. Ben always had been so full of himself and superior, just because he had been chosen to translate the prophecy. It could have been him, if he had not been called away back to Rome. It had been while there that news came through that Ben had made the discovery and he had been livid. Now Ben’s name was on his peers lips and he missed out.
Then, when the pregnant girl had been found, he demanded that he should go with Ben, but no Ben had requested Thomas and whatever Ben wanted, Ben got. From then on Trebey swore he would bring Ben down and when Ben had failed in killing the child, he knew God had given him a second chance.
‘What is really going on here?’ Trebey asked. ‘I want to know why you are really helping them.’
Ben stayed silent. The less he said the better. If anything of value left his lips, Trebey would pounce on him.
‘You know I heard a rumour back in the day about you. These rumours were about your regular visits to Ireland. They said that you were married.’
‘That’s ridiculous,’ Ben responded.
‘I know. I mean no one could get away with that sort of deceit,’ Trebey said. ‘After all the Church knows everything.’
‘Almost everything,’ Ben dared to whisper.
‘So there is something that you know,’ Matthew chuckled.
‘I know that the girl is the most powerful being on this planet and you will walk into the deepest circle of hell with blood on your hands.’
Ben fell hard onto the floor, his cheek stinging from where Trebey had slapped him from the chair. He watched helpless as Trebey picked up his stick and pressed it hard into the skin of his legs causing him to squeal in pain.
‘Please Matthew. I beg you,’ Ben pleaded.
‘Then tell me what you know,’ Trebey hissed.
‘I can’t,’ Ben cried, the pain making his stomach heave and his head go light.
Trebey pushed down harder and the shop filled with the sound of screams mixed with the splintering of bone.
Cayne heard the front door slam shut as she finished dressing and she felt her insides jump.
‘Michael,’ she called out, only to stop as she saw with dread who had stepped inside her sanctuary.
Sickness filled her stomach at the sight of Mary’s killer standing before her. His blond hair was slicked back causing his features to appear much sharper and menacing. In contrast, his black suit was pristine and on his hands were leather black gloves. Cayne wondered if he had worn those gloves when he had beaten Mary within an inch of her life.
‘Who is Michael?’ he asked.
‘None of your business,’ she managed to say.
Vince smiled thinly. ‘I have come to offer my condolences, although a little late. I was out of town when I heard the news. Mary was such a gifted girl and will be dearly missed.’
Cayne clenched her fists tight at her side in order to stop herself reacting. She needed to remain calm.
‘Well, the funeral is at St James’ in an hour,’ she answered.
Vince moved closer and Cayne flinched as he reached out to touch her cheek.
‘I know, but I have also come to serve your eviction papers.’
‘What!’ Cayne gasped.
Vince pulled from his pocket a rolled up envelope and handed it to her, which she took.
‘This flat belongs to me and since Mary is dead and you my dear don’t work for me then you have no right to it.’
‘But I do work for you,’ she stammered.
‘No, you work as a barmaid in my cousin’s bar. But Cayne, my sweetness, my offer still stands.’
‘I’d rather die,’ she spat.
A familiar feeling was starting to emerge from deep inside and it was feeling she had begun to recognise, except this time she chose not to fight it. He deserved whatever was going to come his way. Her body tingled with power and excitement mixed with a little fear of the loss of any control she may have over her body. Sounds started to change and she could just about hear Vince laughing, although now it sound like she was under water.
‘Well, it was good enough for Mary and she died for her job,’ he sneered. ‘Maybe I should give you the standard job interview.’
Vince grabbed at her arm and the realisation of what he was offering hit her hard in the stomach. His men laughed as she struggled against his grip. A new level of fear was starting to cloud over any other feelings and she could just about hear a small voice telling her to let go and trust. But she didn’t want to. She didn’t want to wake up from a blackout with Vince inside her.
‘Watch the door,’ Vince hissed at his men as he dragged her toward the bedroom.
This was it and she knew there was no other choice. It was all about trust. Whatever controlled her would see her right and she had trust. She let go of everything. Before she realised what she had done Vince was flying across the room, hitting the wall as he landed. Dazed, his pale face looked up in fear before changing to one of fury. Although, she could see him trying to get to his feet, she was powerless to stop. She was too far gone and if she was honest the power she felt was exhilarating.
‘You fucking bitch!’ he shouted as he ran towards her and grabbed for her throat.
Then, suddenly, darkness filled her eyes and she could no longer see anything. All she knew was that whatever had hold of her body was not only controlling her, but dealing with Vince. It was showing the little man what true power was and whatever happens, so be it.
‘Move out my way, Priest.’
Daniel nearly fell back down the stairs as he was pushed against the wall by a distressed suited man. The man was covered in blood that spilled onto his expensive suit. It was only when another said his name that Daniel realised who he was and hurried to get to Cayne’s still open door.
Though the atmosphere inside the room was chilled, Cayne was calmly picking up the remnants of the coffee table that seemed to be shattered. Across the room, a man-sized dent was in the plaster and he guessed that was where Vince had landed. The atmosphere already diminishing was becoming as familiar as an old friend to Daniel, he was just glad it was leaving.
‘Where have you been?’ she asked not looking at him.
‘I had something to do early,’ he answered.
He had spent his journey working out what he was going to say to her and how he was going to get him to trust him. Now he felt himself faltering. He was now not sure whether he had been too hasty. As she stood up and looked at him with cold eyes, he found himself looking away as his betrayal burned deep.
‘I need to change my shirt,’ she said looking down at the bloodstains. ‘Are you still coming to the funeral?’
He cursed inside. The day had slipped his mind and he finally understood why she was being so cool towards him. This was a day she had been trying to avoid and he promised to be at her side and forgotten. This was why he’d done what he had. There was no way he could be what she needed. She needed to be in Rome where people knew how to make her great.
‘I will be there for you.’
‘I doubt that,’ she snapped. ‘Michael has done more for me then you ever have.’
Daniel felt as though she had reached into his chest and ripped out his heart. He kept his head as he fought tears and he decided to change the subject and ask about Vince. Cayne’s eyes went to the window as though something outside had caught her attention.
‘He came to serve me an eviction notice and to show me what sort of power he held as a man, and I showed him the power I held as a god.’
Daniel did a double take as though he had heard her wrong, but her cold stare told him different. She turned towards her bedroom and closed the door leaving Daniel to sink into the sofa in dismay. He wanted her so much, but he could not take the pain of that need. Yet his own actions had caused him to push her straight into another’s arms and that hurt just as much if not more.
Hot tears ran down his cheeks as mixed thoughts tumbled into one another in his head. If she really wanted Michael then she could have him. At any rate, this time tomorrow she would no longer be part of his life and he would move on, never having to see her face ever again.