[Mock-Fiction] II - Memento Mori

Note: Please read the Formal Notice movella. It should be on the list on the right hand side.

The sequel to 'Requiescat in Pace'

Cover by Secrets Unfold

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2. Prologue – The Misunderstanding

Quote removed for fear someone might get offended.

 

 

Liam opened his eyes and groaned. There was a splitting pain in his head and he couldn’t quite feel his nose. The room he lay in was extremely dark, and the mattress on which his aching back was rested was as hard as stone.

 

Oh, wait, he thought, The stone is the mattress.

 

With great effort, he sat up and rubbed his forehead, finding a huge bump on it. He looked across from him and, when his vision cleared, Liam saw Louis and another shaken-up baby-faced man. Though, he barely recognized his old friend [and definitely couldn’t quite place the stranger] – bruises and a number of frightening cuts [well… as frightening as they get with ex-superstars] rigged the younger man’s face, and a rolls of bandages were swathed around his limbs. The place stank of stale sweat and soiled hay.

 

Liam shivered and then, his mouth hurting, said: “Where are we?”

“What does it look like?” Louis croaked, angrily.

“I’d say it looked like prison.”

Louis smacked his forehead, and didn’t reply to the obvious remark.

“Who’s he?” asked Liam, pointing at the stranger.

“You don’t remember him?” said Louis, all aghast, “This is the all-famous Justin Bieber.”

“…I will never say never…” mumbled the stranger to no-one in particular, “I will never say never… I will never say never…”

“Oh, right. Wasn’t he part of the WD at one point?” asked Liam.

“Yeah, he was but then dropped out after Harry all that thug violence. Apparently, Bieber was a pacifist. But looks like Old Lud Smith still don’t want him around,” Louis looked around the cell, “If this is the Emperor’s doing…”
“If not the Emperor, then who…?” mused Liam.

 

“…I will never say never…”

“You do realize you’ve said ‘never’ like… eight times now,” said Liam to the shocked Justin.

“I SAID I’LL NEVER SAY NEVER, SO I’LL NEVER SAY NEVER!” barked Justin.

“Don’t Liam, he’s a gone case,” said Louis.

Never!!” Justin rasped and curled up in one corner of the cell.

O-kay, thought Liam.

“How long have we been here?” he asked.

“Don’t know,” Louis shook his head, “Could be a couple of days, couple of weeks, a month or, hell, even a year! There hasn’t been light in here ‘cept the times the guards come in to give us some gruel to eat. And they aren’t talkers. Ha’en’t said a word ‘cept to each other, if two of ‘em were to come in.”

“Sounds pretty depressing…”

“It’s prison. Of course it’s depressing!” Louis snapped.

 

The pair [and the nutcase in the corner] hushed abruptly as they heard footsteps clack outside.

A shaft of light appeared, “All I’m saying is that Italian doesn’t sound good with you,” said one voice, the light disappearing as a door clicked shut on rusty hinges.

A beacon was lit somewhere, and a red-yellow glow grew gradually as the footsteps approached.

“I have no idea what you mean, amica,” said a second, deeper voice.

“You’re not an Italian, Richard!”

Si, si, but I can try, Rouge.”
“Are you kidding?” said ‘Rouge’ incredulously, “Have you got any idea what Italian sounds like in an Indian accent? Or can’t you hear yourself?”
“That’s racist,” Richard sniffed.

“Oh, sure – I’ll shut my mouth until some non-Indian comes along to tell you that your accent doesn’t line up with your language.”
“Are you sure we originate from the same place?”

“Well, yes. At least, until they discover aliens…”

The glow of the beacon was distorted by two dancing shadows.

“How could you be an alien?” asked Richard.

One of the two shadows shrugged, “Have you never seen Men in Black?” said ‘Rouge’.

Richard sighed, exasperated by his companion’s nonsense, “Shh, we’re near the cells. And remember: Professionalism! And maturity wouldn’t kill you either!”

“Hey, I can be mature!” said ‘Rouge’.

 

The two appeared before the cell bars. A woman and a man, the latter holding the beacon, the former with her arms crossed. The man, Richard, wore a peaked hood casting a shadow over his face; a young beard sporting on his chin, wreathed around a grinning frown. He wore white robes, a red doublet beneath and metal arm-guards. Heavy armor covered his shoulders; a worn, brown cape fluttering down on his right – like a Venetian – though the color of his hands and the lower half of his face clearly stated that he was no European. The woman [her choker read ‘M. Rogue’] wore a Venetian mask on her face – the top half an intricate gold, cracked in the middle and complemented by black feathers, the lower half – bone white; and her eyes: two black, soulless voids. Her neck and shoulders were shawled by a navy scarf, and heavy black boots covered her calves. She wore knee-length white robes, held together by a thick brown belt; which displayed an impressive array of knives and daggers. At her side hung a huge sword. A Damascus. Liam and Louis shivered at the sight of the sword, and they cowered at the brutal memory of the All Souls’ Day Massacre.

 

“Well?” barked Rogue, “On your feet!”

Justin shot up immediately, the other two looked at each other. They wondered what was going on.

“Are we… Are you going to let us go?” asked Liam hopefully, rising to his feet painfully.

Rogue snorted, “Let you go? You’re lucky I didn’t kill you both,” she swung the cell door open. It creaked and then smacked against the neighboring cell, rattling on the impact.

“There is someone who wishes to see you,” said Richard, a little more diplomatically, “The Bureau has come to a decision as to what to do with you sorry lot.”

“Lodovico? He wants to see us?” asked Louis.

Richard and Rogue regarded each other. “This has nothing to do with Mr. Smith,” said Rogue.

Louis raised an eyebrow, “He isn’t the one who sent you to kill us all?”

Richard was about to put in a word, when Rogue angrily snapped, “Enough of this! Out with the lot of you! Now. It ain’t Mr. Smith who wants to see you. Hell, why would he? ‘S far’s he’s concerned, you’re’s good as dead anyway. He did want the lot o’ you dead, but that don’t mean we do his butchering for ‘im.”

With that, they all shut their mouths and followed Rogue’s lead, Richard trailing behind them.

“Some would think she’s the Mentor…” he muttered, “Well, there goes professionalism and maturity…”

 

“Aren’t you going to chain us, or something?” said Liam, as he struggled to keep up with the masked woman.

“Chain you?” she snorted, “As it is you can’t walk, and you even try to escape, you’ll have a dagger through your skull in no time. Mr. Bieber over there,” she pointed at the shaken-up man, “could tell you all about it.”

Justin shook his head furiously, “Never! Never!”

“So…” said Louis, feeling more comfortable now that they were nearing the light emerging from a crack in the door ahead, “are you going to be disciplining us?”
Rogue paused, “You with your scrawny limbs and pampered faces. And you especially, Mr. Tomlinson, who pissed himself and passed out on All Souls’? Disciplining you would be like teaching cockroaches in a sewer to be clean. There won’t be no disciplining on my part, no, but it all depends on the Bureau. They want to ‘test’ you. Frankly, I don’t see the point – killing you would be more merciful.”

The three prisoners shivered at the words, but as Rogue pushed aside the exit carelessly, they all sighed and squinted at the sudden rush of light. Ahead, they could see people busy with their day-to-day toils, rushing from here to there – carrying baskets of food or clothing; or children playing in the sand.

 

“Where are we?” asked Liam, “Miami?”

Marshall tilted his head to a side, and said, “Miami is in the UAF.”

“Yeah, so…?”

“You’re really going to be the nice guy with these fools, Richard?” asked Rogue, shaking her head, “I almost feel sorry for them –”

“Really?” asked Louis.

Rogue stared at the man with her blank eyes, “Can we at least kill this one?”

“No,” said Richard.

She sighed, “Well, he’s idiot enough. If anyone’s going to fail, it’s going to be him. Mr. Lunatic-Bieber over there has a better chance of passing. Anyway,” Rogue swept up a hand to dismiss the look on Louis’s face, “You are in Anarchistic Jordo-Syria – different tribes protect and rule different cities. This is Masyaf, and we make the rules here.”

“Who exactly are you?” asked Liam.

“We are the members of the Brotherhood,” explained Rogue, people silencing and frowning at the prisoners, “and frankly, Mr. Payne, you pampered dandies have been a thorn in our throats for years.”

 

Liam and Louis looked up ahead, and gasped at the sight. A huge fortress stood up proudly – strong and impregnable – the walls fortified, and the spire of the citadel pointing high into the sky. A squat, brown door was agape, waiting for their arrival.

“What is this place?” asked Liam, “Hogwarts?”

Rogue stiffened and spun around as though he’d said something of a huge degree of offence, “Hogwarts?! When the hell was Harry Potter in Syria?”

Richard clicked his tongue, “Enough of this, Rouge!”

“He said the Fortress looked like Hogwarts!” protested Rogue, gesturing sharply at the building, “Not even the boys from Busted said that when we brought them here!”

Richard paused, considering the memory, and then shook his head, “No more of this.”

“But –”

Richard raised a finger sharply, “Not. Another. Word.”

Rogue growled, fists clenched, and said, “Fine. Another word from any of them, and they die, Richard. And the Dr. won’t look at me for explanation!”

 

Rogue stomped off in the direction of the Masyaf Fortress, and the prisoners scrambled after her.

 

Doctor? thought Liam, We’re going to see a doctor?

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