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Chapter 25: Bloodline

Michael’s chest hurt as he helped Ben climb the stairs to Cayne’s flat. It was hard rushing the old man, but his nerves were on edge and he hated the feeling. Something was seriously wrong. He just couldn’t put his finger on it. All he knew was the sooner he was with Cayne and Daniel the better he would feel. Finally reaching the door, Michael was relieved to see that it was unlocked, but that feeling was soon gone. The air inside was stale and stagnant. He could almost hear everything inside screaming in anguish. Ben shuffled in behind him. The steps growing unsure as they moved further into the flat. Everything seemed to be in place with no sign of a struggle. Two empty beer bottles sat on the coffee table beside one that seemed half drunk. A perfectly normal home. Across the room, Cayne’s bedroom door was slightly ajar and Michael took a step towards it.

‘Cayne,’ he called out, yet it came out as croaked whisper.

‘Nobody’s here,’ Ben said.

‘Maybe not, but somebody has been.’

Going to Cayne’s room door, he could just make out in the gloom of the dusk sky a curled up figure on the bed.

‘Cayne?’ he asked again.

When he got no reply he moved closer and saw that the figure was not Cayne, but Daniel. His stillness caused him to feel nervous. He reached out and touched his friend’s shoulder.

‘Daniel, what’s wrong? Where’s Cayne?’

Michael looked up to see Ben standing in the doorway with one hand clutching the doorframe and the other on the stick.

‘I don’t know what’s wrong,’ he said to Ben then turning back to Daniel he asked him again. There was still no response. ‘For god’s sake, Daniel where is Cayne?’

Laughter from the bed surprised Michael. It was the last reaction he was expecting. Moreover, he didn’t understand what was so funny. Daniel’s laughter began to become more hysterical and there was a madness to it. Michael looked towards Ben for help.

‘What should we do?’ Ben shrugged.

‘Well we can’t leave him like this,’ Michael snapped, far too quickly.

‘Tell me Ben, do you know a man called Henrick,’ Daniel asked his laughter subsiding.

Michael noted that Ben’s knuckles had turned white as he held on to the frame when the German’s name was spoken.

‘Yes I do,’ he whispered.

‘So why ask where Cayne is when you already know. He works with Matthew Trebey and they are on their way to Rome.’

Michael shot a glance Ben. ‘You told me he was on your side.’

‘He is, Michael. There must be a reason why he’s helping Trebey,’ Ben said. ‘I need to sit down.’

Michael realised that Ben was on the brink of collapse and he hurried to grab him, helping him back into the front room and lowering him into the armchair. Although he helped the old man, he did not hide his anger at him. Because of Ben’s stubbornness he had indeed allowed Daniel to self-fulfil a prophecy that never existed and it was almost unforgivable. He went back to where Daniel was still laid and dragged him upright.

‘Why, Daniel? Tell me why you let them take her?’ he shouted, his frustration getting the better of him.

Daniel yanked his arm away, the motion causing him to fall onto the floor. He struggled to get to his feet begrudgingly.

‘For your information, I did try to save her. We were going to run away together.’

‘Don’t be a fool, Daniel. You’re a priest, you can’t be together,’ Michael snapped.

Daniel now stood up straight and looked Michael in the eye.

‘I am no longer a priest. My vows with the Church are broken.’

Daniel turned away and disappeared into the other room and Michael followed as Daniel poured himself a drink. He had never seen him look so defeated, but at this precise moment, Michael was all out of sympathy. He wanted to get to Cayne and these two men were in his way and pissing him off.

‘Did I hear you right? What do you mean?’ Ben asked nervously stealing a glance at Michael.

Daniel did not answer as he gulped down the glass’ contents.

‘Daniel, I asked you what you meant.’ Ben demanded.

‘What do you think old man?’ Daniel snapped

Michael felt his insides turn. His thoughts went straight to the earlier tremor and he found himself wanting to laugh and cry all at the same time. It was so cliché and yet nothing really surprised him anymore, but still he wanted Daniel to be precise on what he meant.

‘Just so we are clear and are all on the same page, have you and Cayne... let’s put it politely, intimate today?’

Daniel nodded and went into the kitchen and pulled out a cold beer. Ben looked shaken in the chair and tears ran down his face. Daniel was not one for drinking, but in the space of a few moments, he’d necked a glass of vodka and now was drinking beer. He was on the edge and Michael had no idea how to stop him from falling.

‘You need to tell him everything and tell him now,’ Michael whispered.

Ben nodded and wiped his face clean as Michael called Daniel to come and sit with them. There was puzzled look on Daniel’s face as he walked back in and sat down. His eyes moving from Ben to Michael’s.

‘Tell me what?’ he mumbled.

‘I was not entirely truthful when you came to see me about Cayne,’ Ben started.

Michael nodded for him to continue while he went to fill two glasses with whatever alcohol he could find.

‘At the moment you and Cayne were…’

‘We made love,’ Daniel snapped.

‘Okay,’ Ben sighed. ‘When you made love, a small tremor shook the world.’

Daniel started to laugh. ‘You are joking?’

Ben shook his head as he took the glass from Michael.

‘I wish I was. You see you and Cayne are meant to be together as you have in many lives previous.’

‘Knights Templar. Past lives. When did we become so new age?’ Daniel mocked.

‘I know it’s a lot to take, but you needed to listen to me boy. You and Cayne are old lovers.’

‘If that’s true then why did you try and prevent it? You’re not making any sense,’ Daniel asked

Michael could see how much Ben was struggling. The poor man had sat on his secret for twenty-one years coupled with the trauma of the attack and now the pain of releasing it all was evident.

‘I never wanted to, believe me. Look maybe it is best I start at the beginning.’

‘Well its better place than any,’ Daniel almost sneered

Ben sighed deeply as he began his story.

‘Henrick is a member of the family who faked the prophecy and I met him while I worked on the manuscript. It was his job to make sure that their manuscript was translated the way they wanted it and so he befriended me.’

‘Keep your friends close and all that,’ Daniel interrupted.

‘Exactly. So Henrick and I grew closer and soon realised that we held common beliefs especially when it came to Jesus and the Gospels. I found for the first time I could talk to him freely without being condemned. I suppose at some point Henrick felt he could trust me and eventually told me what his family did. He said that his family links went far and wide and many held various positions of power throughout the world. He then took me to Hamburg to meet them and be initiated, telling me that he wished me to use my position within the Church to help them protect the bloodline. I agreed, but when I arrived in Germany I met someone who totally changed my life. A young woman called Claudette.’

Daniel felt his heart skip a beat at the name as a sudden feeling of dread shrouded him and he suddenly didn’t want to hear anymore.

‘She was the most beautiful person I had ever met in my life.’ A smile emerged on Ben’s face as memories filled him, ‘I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t help it. I fell madly in love with her. At first Henrick was furious and I presumed it was a big brother thing. Oh how wrong I was. You see Claudette was the last surviving member of the original divine family that Henrick had sworn to protect.’

‘Are you going to tell me that it is no accident that my mother is called Claudette?’ Daniel dared to ask.

Ben shook his head and Daniel suddenly rose from the sofa with such force that both Ben and Michael flinched. Sensing an outburst, Michael went to Ben’s side acting as a buffer if needed.

‘So, what you are telling me is that you lied about Cayne?’

‘He lied to protect you,’ Michael interjected trying in vain to diffuse the potential flammable situation.

‘Cayne is the divine incarnate. None of Jesus’ DNA runs through any part of her body. It runs through yours instead,’ Ben said softly.

Daniel started to laugh and he looked at Michael expecting to see a smile on his face, but there was none.

‘Is this real? How long have you known?’ he asked Michael.

‘I’ve only just found out,’ Michael answered.

Now his laughter subsided as realisation of what Ben had just told him hit him. He turned to where Ben was sitting, his face twisted in anger, an old anger.

‘Then you are also telling me that you are my father.’ Ben’s silence was enough. ‘You selfish bastard. You left my mother a wreck of a woman. You left both of us with nothing, not even a word.’

Daniel suddenly grabbed at Ben violently shaking him to his feet. Michael wrestled them both as he took hold of Daniel and pushed him away.

‘Get away from me, you have no idea what he did to us,’ Daniel shouted as Ben fell back into the chair.

‘No, you’re right,’ Michael said breathlessly. ‘I don’t, but you getting angry is not helping. It’s not about you, it’s about Cayne’

Daniel tried to keep his body from shaking as his temper rose. ‘What do you mean?’ he asked

‘Because you and Cayne have slept together then you have continued the family bloodline,’ Michael said

‘What?’ Daniel asked confused.

‘Do I need to spell it out for you? Assuming that there would have been no way you would have thought about protection, Cayne will now be pregnant, and now, she is not the only the one in danger, but also your unborn child.’

‘How? Why?’ Daniel stammered, suddenly losing all his angry momentum. Daniel’s deflated body lowered itself onto the sofa. ’We have only just...’he whispered.

‘Are you okay Ben?’ Michael asked as he helped Ben settle back into the armchair. ‘You both were destined to be with each other no matter what and now that you are the wheels have already been set in motion. What’s done is done.’

Daniel suddenly looked up with wide eyes. ‘Is our child the Second Coming?’

Michael could feel his frustration start to bite again. He wanted to shake Daniel so hard just to wake him up. His fixation on the Christ and Anti-Christ was becoming tedious. How could he not understand what was happening?

‘Will our child grow up and kill the Anti-Christ?’ Daniel asked again.

‘Daniel, have you not been paying any attention at all this week. There is no Anti-Christ. There never was and the Second Coming is not the return of Jesus Christ. It is the coming of the anointed one. The Christ. Cayne is a divine being inside a human vessel that was born in order to continue your bloodline. You are the human to her divine and your child is the continuance. If Cayne dies with your child inside her then your bloodline ends and we are well and truly fucked.’

Opening her eyes, Cayne expected to find Daniel with the glass of water he had left for, but instead her body felt as though it was moving. She tried to sit up, but all she succeeded in doing was causing her head to spin as she collapsed back into the seat. Her body felt like lead and she ached all over.

‘Don’t try and move. You will just make yourself feel worse.’

She tried to focus her eyes on who the voice belonged to. Her head pounded so much and she was finding it difficult to get her bearings.

‘Where am I? And where’s Daniel?’

The stranger’s voice laughed. ‘You are perfectly safe, Cayne. Just sit back and relax. Forget about Daniel for the moment.’

As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she realised she was sitting in a car and could just make out the stranger that sat beside her. There was no warmth in his long thin face. He had a sharp pointed nose and small tight mouth that looked like it was sucking on a sour sweet. Power and arrogance emanated from him and she had seen that before in someone else. Someone else who had caused her so much grief. Vince. It was then she noticed the black dress robe with the blood red sash adorned with a silver cross around his neck.

‘You’re from the Vatican,’ she said, beginning to panic. ‘Are you taking me to see Joshua?’

The man started to laugh and she didn’t understand what was so funny. As far as she was concerned the question was a legitimate one.

‘Henrick, she thinks we are going to take to see her brother. I thought you told me that she knew she was Satan incarnate.’

She looked towards where she could see the back of the driver’s head. In the rear view mirror, she recognised the cold blue eyes that glanced back at her.

‘You?’ she hissed. ‘You betrayed me, you bastard.’

This caused the man to laugh even harder and she could see that Henrick didn’t find him amusing either.

‘He is a true Judas,’ the man said. ‘No, Cayne, we are not going to go see Joshua and would never pollute him with your presence. My name is Matthew Trebey and I want you to remember that name because I am going to finish the job that Ben Shaw should have done the day you were born.’

Summoning all the strength she could she fought with the door handle to try and get it to open. She did not care if they were moving. She just wanted to get out and away.

‘It’s no use. Why don’t you just accept your fate,’ Trebey said.

‘Michael said that I’m the Messiah,’ she pleaded.

‘Father Michael was lied to by Ben. Your bleeding wounds mock Christ and you seduced a priest. You have ruined Daniel’s career.’

‘I didn’t seduce anybody,’ she sobbed. ‘We love each other.’

Trebey laughed even harder. ‘How would any thing as evil as you know what love is?’

Feeling defeated, Cayne curled herself into a ball and tried hard not to sob as she laid her head on the window. She didn’t understand why Daniel had allowed her to be taken. Had Henrick been right about one thing? Had Daniel handed her over, even after they had made love?

He seemed so sincere declaring his love to her and it felt so real, but what if he had merely set a trap for her. Tears started to overspill and there was nothing she could do about it. He had let her down for the last time; Michael was the only one she could rely on. Slowly her eyes began to feel heavy. She was still exhausted and finally drifted back to sleep.

‘We are here.’

Rough hands shook her body awake. Blurry eyed, she peered out through the open door past Henrick and was surprised to find that they were parked outside what looked like a graveyard. Henrick held out a hand for her to take and reluctantly she took it.

The air outside was biting cold as a harsh frost was on the ground and Cayne found herself slipping. Henrick took hold to steady her. Shivering, she realised that not only was she wearing Daniel’s shirt, but there was nothing on her feet. Reaching into the car, Henrick pulled out a blanket and some slippers. He wrapped it around her shoulders and placed the slippers on her feet, while mumbling that it was too cold. Henrick steered her towards where Trebey was now walking towards some tall iron gates. Looking around, she could make out gravestones through the night winter mist and there was a strong smell of freshly dug earth.

The slippers on her feet slipped on the ground and stones hurt her soles. As they walked, Cayne shivered furiously and found herself holding tighter to Henrick just for some warmth. Every now and then mournful angels and grieving Mary Magdalenes jumped out of the fog causing her to jump nervously. They looked so real and lifelike and added to the nerves she was already feeling. Falling again, Henrick pulled her closer and told her to be careful. She wasn’t sure, but his tone was almost sympathetic and it threw her slightly.

As they reached a small Grecian building she saw a small fat man standing on the steps wrapped in a black woollen coat. He opened his arms as they approached and she saw Trebey’s lip curl in disgust and she could see why. Everything about him repulsed her. His portly face wobbled as he moved and when his eyes found her, he licked his lips greedily.

‘I trust your journey was a pleasant one,’ he asked.

Henrick pushed her closer and the fat man’s hands grabbed her cheeks and squeezed them as he inspected her like a piece of meat.

‘Is this her?’ he asked.

‘No, Luke, I have just brought you a random person from the street,’ Trebey snapped.

Luke let go of her face, yet the pressure of his fingers remained and with Henrick still holding her arms, she was unable to rub the feeling away.

‘Trust a woman to bring end of the world,’ he said.

‘It was a woman who brought your so called Lord into the world,’ she heard herself saying.

Luke slapped her so hard that if Henrick had not had hold of her she would have fallen. Her fisted clenched in response, but a shake of Henrick’s head caused her to relax her fingers. The stinging of her face coupled with the cold made her eyes water, but she refused to show weakness so she lowered her eyes to hide the tears.

‘You have twelve hours, Luke to get what you need and then you do as promised,’ Trebey said. ‘I am leaving my associate with you, because I know what you academics are like, you get carried away. Oh and Luke, now we are even. Don’t ever call me again.’

Trebey turned away and Cayne saw a smirk on his face as he passed her. She had no idea what had been promised to this Luke and the way he looked at her did nothing to ease the nerves.

‘Better bring her inside,’ he said.

Henrick grabbed her and dragged her into the darkness of the building and her stomach turned as she realised that this maybe the last time she would ever see fresh air ever again.

Hoping that using their positions as clergy to get last minute flight to Rome proved too ambitious. The airport was filled with festive travellers all wanting to get out of the country and, God or no God, the three of them were not going anywhere.

‘You picked a perfect time to make an enemy of Trebey. We could have used your pull to get us a plane,’ Michael grumbled.

They reluctantly booked themselves into themselves into a nearby Novotel that sat beside the airport while they tried to work out what to do. Daniel refused to acknowledge Ben since leaving Cayne’s only speaking through Michael if needed. Now the three of them were alone and crammed in a small room looking sullen and gloomy as they tried to work out how they were going get to Cayne in Rome.

Daniel, needing to clear his head, had opened the large French doors and leant out of the window to breathe in the fresh air. The chilly winter air allowed him to focus on everything that had happened. He couldn’t bear just sitting around. All he wanted was to be with Cayne. Admittedly, the news of a possible pregnancy had thrown him and deep down he hoped that they had both dodged that bullet. He had only just got used to thinking of himself as part of someone else, now he could be a father, responsible for another. Not only that, but according to Michael, this child was important to them all. Then there was finding out Ben was his father. The father he had secretly longed to see, but had resented most of his life. He listened to Ben’s explanation that he needed to leave and that Father John, the man he had looked on like a father was part of this conspiracy, with Henrick.

It had been Henrick’s idea to steer Daniel into the priesthood. He felt like everyone had lied and betrayed him and had no idea whom he could trust. But Ben’s actions still confused him. Once he had left Vatican City, why had he not returned to him and his mother in Ireland? He could have even kept in contact secretly, at least given his mother some peace, but no it seemed the man had done his job and left them without a thought.

Michael watched Daniel’s back and he felt sorry for him. He had been overloaded with so much in very little time. He had heard Daniel talk about his father before and it always done with pent up aggression. Never in his wildest dreams had he expected Ben to be that father. His thoughts going to Ben brought something to mind. Something that was not quite right with Ben’s story. He didn’t want to push the old man, but he needed to know for certain. They couldn’t make a mistake due to misunderstanding.

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