Chapter 29: The God who Changed Nothing
A small ray of sunlight shone through the cracks onto her closed eyes, and for a moment Cayne was asleep in her own bed and Mary was just arriving home. But then, as she opened her eyes, the reality was there in front of her. She was trapped and this would probably be the last time she would feel that sunlight on her face. Thankfully, the small crack where the sun penetrated also allowed in some fresh air, which was relief from the staleness of the room. Her body ached as she attempted to lift herself from the sleeping position. The cold floor had stiffened every muscle in her already exhausted body.
In the cold light of day, she was able to now see where she had spent the night. Large stone coffins were scattered around the floor, many damaged with age. The walls were covered with damp moss, which glistened from the slight frost of the previous night and the whole place smelt of rot and decay.
As she pulled herself up, her stomach grumbled, reminding her she had not eaten since before Mary’s funeral. In fact it had been a sandwich and she laughed out loud at the irony. Her last supper had been bread. Her whole body shivered from the cold and her breasts had started to hurt as though they were solid rocks and she attempted to rub some heat into them to relieve the pain, but to no avail. There was hardly any heat in her to give.
From above, she could hear heavy footfalls and her body tensed with expectation. Then the key turned in the lock and hurriedly she scurried to a corner where a large coffin sat and hid. She waited for the familiar wheeze of Luke, but when none came her insides turned. It was Trebey.
The door opened and then slammed shut causing dust and stone to fall onto the floor around her from above. She held her breath as she imagined him with the arrogant smirk on his face. He no doubt knew where she was, but this was a game and she had to play along in order to survive a little longer.
‘It is your big day today, Cayne,’ she heard him say. ‘Today you will save mankind by making the ultimate sacrifice. You will be remembered for being the only god that came here and did nothing. You are allowing your brother to save the people in ways that they already know.’
She shifted uncomfortably where she sat. Had she heard correct? He had used the word god. She shook her head. He had called her devil. This was all to provoke a reaction. She would be the very thing that would bring the world to its knees. That is what he said.
‘You should be proud,’ he continued. ‘After all it takes a very compassionate person to do that. Are you are compassionate, Cayne? I mean after everything he did, you still saved Henrick.’
She felt her heart skip a beat. He was lying. She had to keep her cool and remain hidden. It was a game. That is all it was, a game.
‘But then you and I both know that Joshua is not the real Messiah, don’t we?’
Don’t bite, she begged herself, don’t bite.
‘You know why I can’t let you live. Men have ruled this world for thousands of years and for our new god to come back as a woman is not very good for us. Our dogma needs to be protected, so you must die in order for Joshua to take your place. It is not like the same blood doesn’t run through your veins.’
She heard him start to move around and he was nearing her hiding place. Holding her breath, she slowly curled herself into a tighter ball.
‘Please, don’t get me wrong. I feel bad. I am by no means a murderer by nature and my life has been a devoted one. It is just, I am a man who wants to get far in life and unfortunately you are in my way. It is just a shame that they will be two deaths here today. That poor child that no doubt grows inside you is just an innocent victim.’
That was it. That was the punch line. She shot to her feet so fast she nearly went dizzy. She had been right. He was wearing the smirk.
‘What do you mean by poor child?’
Trebey clutched his chest in mock surprise. ‘You may you did not know. Daniel has not told you how you both fit into this together.’
‘I wouldn’t ask if I knew.’
She surprised herself that she snapped, but considering she was going to die, being nice was not going to change the fact.
‘Daniel’s ancestors are from the blood of Jesus and beyond. I actually had no idea until I visited that old fool Ben. The same Ben who saved your life when you were born. The same Ben, who is also Daniel’s father. He told me that you and Daniel were meant to be together and Daniel would be the father of your only child. The next generation of your divine family. I tell you, if I had known whom I had right under my nose I would have dealt with it earlier.’
Cayne could no longer breathe. Her chest felt tight and her body shook, but not from the cold, as Trebey continued.
‘So because of who he is and who you are, that child continues this damn bloodline and must die with you, so this sorry mess can end once and for all.’
'I may not be all that clever, but Daniel and I only had sex yesterday so I doubt I'm pregnant.'
'Normally, Cayne you would be right, but you are not just any human. You are special. So Cayne, dear, you will be carrying your lover's child, until I get rid of you both.'
‘Why would you do that?’ Cayne whispered.
The gravity of the change in situation was dawning on her. Throughout the night she had resolved herself to the fact she was going to be dead, now there was another life to think of. A life that never in a million years would she had ever considered having. Motherhood had never been part of her grand plan. There had been times that she had barely been able to look after herself, never mind a defenceless being. Yet, now she knew, there was a renewed strength inside her. She had to fight, if not for her, then for it. Trebey had now moved closer to her and she felt herself flinching. Was he really that self-serving?
‘I am doing this for my church. Our need for knowledge is ruining our faith. New gospels being found, fiction writers trying to convince their readers that there is truth in their works. I just want Joshua at my side when I bring the people back to God,’ Trebey answered.
It was nearly mid-morning by the time they had reached York’s city centre. Kris, Michael and Joshua fought tourist and festive shoppers that crowded the old narrow streets. The three had hardly spoken since leaving St Bernadette’s convent where they had left Ben and Daniel.
‘What do you mean I am not going with you?’ Daniel had shouted
‘Because Trebey knows who you are and I am not risking losing one to save the other,’ Michael tried to reason.
‘Well apparently I am no longer needed since I have already done my job,’ he spat, aiming the comment at Joshua.
The argument had threatened to go round and round and Michael did not have time. He grabbed hold of Daniel and with all his strength threw him into a small empty cell and locked the door, instructing the Mother Superior not to let him out under any circumstances. Above the kicking at the door and the screaming threats, Michael promised:
‘I swear, Daniel, I will do all in my power to bring her back to you.’
Leaving Ben to rest, Kris, Michael and Joshua, armed with a city map, made their way towards the cemetery. Shops that looked so old that they were almost otherworldly were emphasised by the festive decorations of the coming season. Lights twinkled and tinsel glittered reflecting the illuminations. Images from Santa Claus to the nativity littered every available orifice, reminding them of the time that was coming despite whom they worshipped. Joshua had wondered out loud if his and Cayne’s birth meant Christmas would no longer be celebrated.
‘Jesus was not born December 25th,’ Kris told him. ‘The date was used because of its closeness to the Winter Solstice on the 21st. It made easier for pagans to convert if the date was close to their own celebration.’
‘Oh I see,’ he said with a little sadness.
‘Don’t worry about it Joshua,’ Michael added. ‘As long as people understand the true meaning then there is no reason not to keep it going.’
Soon the high gates of the cemetery came into view and the three were dismayed to find the gates padlocked contradicting the opening times. This was the right place. The question now was how do they get in.
‘Maybe there is another way in?’ Joshua suggested.
‘Sister Mary said it was pretty secure,’ Michael said.
‘Not that secure,’ came a voice. Kris’s head popped out from out of a hedgerow. ‘Kids must have used this to get in and out, out of hours.’
Joshua and Michael looked at each other and smiled. Michael indicated that Joshua should go first as they clambered though the shrubbery.
‘Now where?’ Michael asked, as they emerged covered in foliage and insects.
They made their way towards a pathway, where they could see what looked like a chapel in the distance amongst the trees. It seemed a good a place as any to start their search. As they walked Michael reached into his pocket and pulled out the packet of cigarettes, only to curse when he found the packet empty. He had smoked his last and he was desperate for one right now.
In front of him Kris led the way and he noticed Kris’s hand touch his breast pocket and Michael felt cold. What Kris carried had brought back so many memories of Michael’s time on the streets that he had felt sick to the stomach. He knew there were no other choices, because they had no idea how truly desperate Trebey was to be proved right. After all, he had already gone this far.
Nervously walking between them was Joshua, whose hands seemed clenched at his side with tension. The similarities between him and Cayne were startling. Michael wondered whether they looked like their mother or father. Although only god knew who their father was.
He laughed inside at this. Only god knew. Of course only god knew. He had read through Ben’s diaries that the girl had been intact according to doctors, but that did not mean she was chaste. The seed had to come from somewhere, even he knew that Mary must have been touched by someone, if not by Joseph. The translation merely meant young girl, which only insinuated virginity. When all this was over it would be something he would want to find out. Why had the young girl been chosen? And who had got her pregnant?
Walking through the graveyard there was unsettling feeling of peace and Michael found himself understanding why people were attracted to such places. This graveyard had its charm. There were new headstones mixed with old and some were hidden amongst roots of trees, which he imagined one the summers bloom filled the trees it would look quaint and enchanting. But then there were new stones that were surrounded by teddies and plastic windmills that blew in the wind and there was the harsh reality that it was not just the old that died, many were taken far too early.
Memorial statues of Mother Mary and Mary Magdalene draped around stone crosses carrying wreaths of roses littered the pathways. Her mournful face cracked with age. There were also unknown angel faces whose arms embraced the winter air as though welcoming those that visited into an inevitable resting place.
Kris’s voice telling them that they were there broke the silence of the place, and Michael looked to where he pointed. There in the centre was the chapel. It was an unusual looking building that seemed almost out of place. The shape suggested a Grecian style and it looked cold and unwelcoming. They slowly climbed the steps as the morning frost still lay thick and treacherous on the stone. A strange shaped door loomed before them and its sloping shape that started wide at the top before narrowing, which reminded Michael of Alice in Wonderland. He half expected a talking rabbit with a pocket watch muttering that it was late.
‘It’s open,’ Kris said pushing it open with ease.
Michael waited for the inevitable creak, but it never came. Taking a deep breath he followed Joshua inside. A long dark corridor awaited them with two doors on each side. One Michael guessed would lead to the chapel. Kris opened the other door and the smell that greeted was of extinguished candles that were still fresh that told them someone had recently been inside. Judging by the state the room was in there had also been a struggle.
‘Come and look at this,’ Joshua said bending down. ‘There is blood on the floor.’
They both went to where he stood and there on the stone was a dark red stain. As Joshua stepped back the silence was disturbed by the clanging of metal on stone. Bending down Michael picked up the knife with a matching stain.
‘Is that Cayne’s?’ Joshua asked.
‘No, Henrick said she would be killed this afternoon. This blood is not fresh,’ Kris replied.
Michael wandered around the room and found the remnants of a smashed jug amongst the shattered glass the base remained and inside was a small puddle of water. Yet to contradict what was in the jug, on the floor beneath the glass was a dark red stain, although not as dark as the blood.
‘Is that more blood?’ Joshua whispered.
Michael lowered his nose to the floor and he could feel the others flinch with disgust as he sniffed the ground, but he had to be sure that his suspicions were correct and as he sniffed a smile emerged on his face.
Joshua and Kris glanced at each other.
‘Are you sure?’ Joshua asked. ‘How can it be wine, the jug clearly had water in it.’
A smile formed on Kris’s face as what had occurred suddenly dawned on him too. Michael told them both how much Cayne reacted when she felt she was being tested.
‘She must have been furious,’ Michael commented.
Joshua’s face was tight with tension and Michael felt helpless, there was no way he could make this any easier on him. Deep down he understood Daniel’s mistrust, after all Joshua had been brought up with the knowledge of who was supposed to be and that there was a sister out there who would destroy him.
In twelve hours, he had not only found out who he truly was and the man whom he had come trust was not as he seemed, but also he was just a regular guy with an extraordinary sister. Yet, here he was showing compassion and loyalty to someone he had never laid eyes on. It reminded him so much of his own sisters and how much he missed the connection he had with them.
It had been over ten years since Michael had last seen any member of his family and even then it had been strained. He had been blamed for leaving them to the mercy of their father and to make it worse when his father’s liver had finally given up after years of self- pitying abuse, Michael had not even attended his funeral. He may be a man of God, but he was no hypocrite. That man deserved none of his respect nor any of his tears.
‘Joshua!’ Kris’s voice broke Michael’s thoughts and he saw that Joshua seemed frozen to the spot. His nose was in the air as though he were dog picking up a strange scent, and for the briefest of moments Michael felt something. He could not place it, but it was familiar feeling of connection and the hair on his arms started to stand on end. Wherever she was she was calm, but only just. Her power was building slow and controlled and it's energy was seeping into the walls around them.
‘She is here. She is beneath our feet.’
'I feel here too,' Michael answered and a moment of understanding passed between them both.