Part Eight: Lost Monastery
"My what?" Caleb asked, half bemused, half p*** off.
"It is a little bit melodramatic isn't it" the Elder admitted, still smiling incessantly. "But I do so love being honest, and I can assure you that it is the truth. You are going to die."
"If you wanted me dead, why did you go through all the work of dragging me here? Why did you not simply kill me while I was down?" Caleb replied coolly, his arms fighting with their binds more out of unconscious spite than due to any firm plan of action.
"Now, that wouldn't have been very fair now would it?" the Elder cooed mockingly. "Besides, I so wanted to see this done personally. Sometimes certain fancies do need to be addressed after all." Having now grown weary of threats, the Elder instead moved to address the rest of his men. "Take off the net, but leave him bound. I want to see his arms flaying towards the end." As the net was removed, Caleb saw something strange move from on top of the Elder's lap. Upon seeing that his prisoner had now finally realized the true extent of his fate, the Elder's smile increased from a beam to an all out grin. "I believe you have met these things before, haven't you?"
"Met them? I was around when they were created! I saw them on that dark day in the underground labs when you people built them! I know more about the Cabal than you ever will!" Caleb was getting a little sick of being second guessed by men that were less than half his own true age.
"You must learn to control that temper of yours Betrayer" the Elder lectured, shaking one of his fat fingers at Caleb as if he were a naughty child. "Your statement is flawed by definition, as someone with true knowledge would never betray the Cabal. Someone with true knowledge does not kill the almighty Tchernobog. It really is that simple."
"I did not betray them..." Caleb growled. "You have no conception of just how long I was in that grave Elder. How long I was left to rot in the dirt with only the rats for company, rats whose only interest in myself was as an easily accessible snack. I was the one that was betrayed, and nothing that you can say is going to change that. The time has come for me to shut you up for good."
"That would be rather difficult with you being bound and all" the Elder retorted confidently. "What could you possibly do to me like this Betrayer?"
"But see, I am no longer bound!" Caleb proclaimed triumphantly, throwing his hands in the air. A resounding silence spread through the room as the smile on the Elder's face move from a grin to a grimace. Lying limply on the ground behind Caleb was his binds, still burning from the fire that the old gunslinger had started in order to set himself free.
"You idiots forgot to remove his lighter!" the Elder cried out, as the thing that was previously prancing around on his lap finally leaped into action. Caleb reached for the disembodied hand too late, as it still managed to successfully hit its target and start to clasp the old gunfighter's throat between its dexterous little fingers. Caleb's own appendages went to work, trying to pry the hand off, but met with only limited success. Then through the lightheaded cloud that was now enveloping Caleb came an idea. He freed one of his arms from its current futile employment and instead reached for the silver metallic box that had served him so well just moments before. He brought his arm back up to his neck, and flicked the lighter back alight.
The Hell Hand, as these things are known, was more startled than pained by its recent experience, but still relented its grip and allowed itself to fall back down to the ground. Caleb quickly grabbed a torch from a nearby perch in the wall and swung it towards the somewhat dazed and unsuspecting Hell Hand. Still coated in a solution of formaldehyde from the embalming process, its palm landed straight in the middle of the flames and immediately caught fire, promptly burning into a black dark crisp on the cold stone floor. First principles having now been attended to, Caleb took a quick glance about the room. The area had gone quiet during his contest with the Hell Hand, but now things were beginning to move again. Caleb saw that the two Cultists who had previously been holding him hostage were now desperately trying to reload the drums on their Thompson Machine guns, hoping that they would be able the put an end to this before it was too late.
"Don't worry!" Caleb called out, brandishing his torch like a sword. "There is pain enough for everyone!" Just as one of the Cultists was finally able to shoot, Caleb ran forward and flung his torch straight at his enemy's robed face. He screamed in agony as his also surprisingly flammable clothes burst alight, while his compatriot responded by opening a little fire of his own. Caleb swerved behind a nearby pillar as the Cultist ran forth and started firing again and again. Caleb lunged from pillar to pillar as his opponent's steady stream of bullets hit the wall barely a few steps behind their intended target. Suddenly the gun fire stopped with a hollow click. Out of ammo.
"This should be fun..." Caleb jeered as he ran forward, scooped up the Tommy gun from the already fallen Cultist, and disarmed his rearming enemy with a swift kick of his boot. He then placed the same boot hard on the Cultist's chest and forced him to the floor. The Cultist looked up helplessly as Caleb aimed the Tommy gun right between his opponent's eyes. Caleb smiled a hideous sadistic smile as he placed his forefinger on the trigger. The Cultist had nowhere to run now.
"Stop!" someone cried out from somewhere behind him. Caleb turned to see his former cell mate peering at him from behind one of the pillars, staring at the bloody scene with a look of unrestrained horror. "He's unarmed, it's not right!" he called out again, his voice shaky and now intimidated by Caleb's cold level stare. Caleb turned slowly back to his captive, who was now begging, pleading for his life. Caleb then considered the poor wretch that was now before him, and straightened.
"It's time you died!" Caleb declared just before he pulled the trigger, emptying a full drum of bullets into the Cultist's chest, who writhed on the floor spasmodically. All that was left when the deed was done was a few pieces of cloth and whole lot of blood. Behind the pillar, Caleb's cell mate winced and almost wished he was still in captivity. "This ain't no time for morals, sonny" Caleb commented dryly, chucking the now useless Tommy gun to the floor. The other Cultists who had been involved in bringing him up from the dungeons seemed to have disappeared. He walked back to the Elder's chair, and wondered what his next move should be. Then he heard the sound of frantic footsteps running up a spiral stair case nearby.
"I have you now" Caleb stated malevolently, grabbing another torch from a nearby wall socket. Gradually the footsteps got louder and louder as he got closer and closer, with him managing to ascend the stairs at fair rate of speed. Caleb could soon see moonlight coming down from the top of the spiral, which meant that these stairs must lead to the roof. The Elder had no place to run and no place to hide. "Where is my scroll?" Caleb barked, seeing the Elder pitifully hiding behind a stone gargoyle that helped decorate the ornate roof of what Caleb now took to be a former Monastery.
"I... I don't know where it is..." the Elder stammered, by now having lost all of his past zeal.
"The truth Elder, where... is... my... scroll?" Caleb growled, saying each word as if it was its own sentence.
"I don't know, I swear!" the Elder protested again. "The gargoyles took it, headed off towards the mountains! That is the truth, I can not tell you anymore!" The Elder shivered, but it was not from the cold. Caleb walked up slowly but purposefully towards the cowering man. Caleb's cell mate, who had ran after him up the stairs, had by now reached the top of the spire and was looking over at the situation grimly. Caleb walked up so close to the Elder that his face was directly above his. He looked down at him, his eyes burning their way into his very soul.
"That wont do Elder." With those words, Caleb delivered a sharp kick to the Elder's solar plexus, sending him reeling breathlessly backwards off the side of the roof. Although his hands were merely a few centimetres away from the ledge, he was too disorientated to grab hold, and fell cleanly to the ground with an audible thump. After that, all was quiet on the roof for several moments. The moon was shining, the wind was blowing, and the owls were hooting. All was calm. Caleb turned, moved past his former cell mate, and walked quietly down the stairway. His mission here was done.