The Bright Side.

Peter Smith has just found out he has a month left to live due to a lethal brain tumour.
He has also just found out that in less than a month, the human race will become extinct and that he has been chosen to be one of six humans to survive the approaching apocalypse. And who has saved him? E.I.P.F, the Earth Inhabitant Protection Front, a group of intergalactic environmentalists who want to save just one species.
And so, whilst also keeping his deadly secret from the aliens, Peter embarks on a quest to rally the chosen survivors, whilst avoiding Government Agents, the secret services, Satanists, Velociraptors, and a manic depressive Tyrannosaurus .

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14. Chapter 14

 The group sat in the small, dingy café, all silent and sombre, they stared at their coffees, lost in their own depressing thoughts. “Nothing.” Reginald stated, taking a gulp from his black coffee.

Lionel sighed forlornly, “I never thought saving the world would be this difficult.” he muttered, resting his head in his hands. Alison stirred her coffee, the spoon clattering hopelessly against the mug. “How could it be so hard to find one person?” she murmured.

There was a collective sigh of disappointment. Emilia turned to the members of The Pentagram Society of Evil and Unbidden Thoughts Worshipping The Almighty Prince Of Darkness and Bringer Of Ultimate Destruction, Lord Lucifer, Satan, King Of The Underworld, with an irritated glare. Even with her experience of working at a cash point in a supermarket, she had never seen such a pathetic group of people all gathered in the same building. They had been searching for the past four days and hadn't found any sign of Peter, the group hadn't even managed to track down where the man lived. In fact, they're searching had consisted of getting shouted at by Peter's doctor's receptionist and walking around London looking for someone who 'looked as if he'd hung around with aliens for a bit'. They had found six possible matches, all of which had turned out to be someone either drunk or drugged up to their eyeballs. Even their supposed Demonic connections hadn't proven to be any help at all. Emilia had sat in on one of Reginald's attempts to summon up a denizen of the deep, using the only materials he could get to hand. A mushroom, two Chinese chop sticks and a scented candle. He had managed to summon up nothing. He had sulked for two days straight. And now, after a fifth day of lumbering through the London streets and even venturing out as far as Stratford, the clan had given up for a coffee break and were attempting to drown their sorrows. “Look guys.” she snapped, “We have one week and three days to find Peter Smith!”

“We've tried Emilia!” Jimmy exclaimed pouring a sixth sachet of sugar into his coffee. “We just can't find him anywhere!”

“We're obviously not looking far enough.” the woman snapped, “It's obvious he's not going to be in London, he's travelling with Aliens!”

“Well where else can we look?” Myrtle asked.

“I have an idea.” Rogers said slowly. All eyes turned to him.

“Well?” Reginald asked, leaning forward, it was always good to listen to an ex military man he thought. “Well,” the colonel said pompously, “it seems to me that we've tried finding him, and that hasn't worked.”

“We noticed that as well.” Emilia snapped. She was regretting teaming up with these idiots more and more with each passing hour. Rogers waggled a finger in the air, “So what we need to do my friends,” he said dramatically, “Is bring him to us.”

“And how do we do that?” Lionel asked, scratching his pimple nervously.

At this point, Colonel Rogers smirked devilishly, “We tell everyone about the end of the world.”

All eyes stared at him blankly. Finally, Emilia cleared her throat, “And what sane person is going to believe us?” she asked.

“Why everyone!” he exclaimed, “We have a prominent meteorologist in our midst,” he waved lazily at Reginald, “and an old soldier. Together, they're the reporter's dream team for truth telling!”

Emilia frowned, in her opinion the reporter's never believe anything that didn't involve a politician fiddling the country over in some way. And she highly doubted people would readily believe that the world was about to become a crisp floating through space. But still, they'd exhausted every other method that they were willing to pay for. Reluctantly, she nodded. “All right.” she said, “We'll tell people. For what it's worth.”

 

Rome is a beautiful place, with the withered Colosseum and the sprawling mass of tourists, sometimes it's hard to remember that it houses some of the best kept secrets, all secrets stored deep inside the bowels of the Vatican city. Secrets collected by loyal servants to the Order of Icarus, servants who swore an eternal silence to what lay within the chamber they guarded. But one man was intent on unearthing one of those secrets, and he was not to be denied. Sir Hubert stared at the spectacle surrounding him, book cases vaulted from the ground and up to the domed ceiling above him, impossibly high shelves, stacked to the brim with an impossible amount of books. Each book containing the secrets of mankind, secrets that the disciples of Icarus were determined that mankind would never find out.

And he was searching for just one.

Since he had begun his hunt for Peter Smith and the aliens, it had bugged Chesterfield as to why they were truly here. It couldn't be some invasion, he had guessed that much. No, if they were going to invade they would have done so already, the earth was weak enough as it was, crippled by squabbling politicians and petty conflicts in pathetic countries.

So what did they really want?

The end of the world.

That's what the prophecy said, but, if it was the end of the world, what did the aliens have to do with it? What did Peter Smith have to do with it? What did Martha Kelly, some random Irish mad woman, have to do with it? All these questions ran around the secret agent's small mind like a hamster in his wheel. Questions he had to answer if he was going to complete his mission, or decide whether he was going to finish his mission. And the answers lay in this vast hall, and his employers had no idea he knew about it. They had no idea about most of the things he knew about, and he'd prefer it to stay like that.

Hubert turned to Brother Maxwell, a thin worried priest with wet eyes and a runny nose. He glanced back at the barrel chested spy. “What was it you were looking for, Mr Chesterfield?” he asked in his thin voice, tinted with worry. “I'm looking,” Sir Hubert said for the fifth time, “for the Esmerelda Wickham prophecy!”

“Esmerelda Wickham, of course.” the priest said nodding.

Chesterfield sighed irritably, he had been wandering around this labyrinth of a library for nearly two hours with only this priest for his company, and his patience was running thin. “This way sir.” Maxwell then continued shuffling along the dusty corridors, the lines of books staring imperiously down at the spy and the priest. “How long have you been a priest then?” Hubert asked, in a vain attempt to fill the dreaded empty silence that sucked at his voice. Maxwell merely shrugged his small shoulders. “Only my entire life.” he remarked simply.

“Oh right.”

The pair shuffled on in an embarrassed silence, they passed hundreds more book cases, Hubert feared that the pair would end up lost down here, deep beneath the Pope's bed chambers, but finally, Maxwell threw his arms wide. “We are here!” he exclaimed. The pair stood in front of a small wooden door, the iron hinges going half way across the door, thick iron rivets going through the wood. The priest scuttled closer and removed a ring of keys, he fumbled quickly with the bunch, then held up one small grey key. With trembling fingers, as if seized with excitement, he slotted the key into the hole, then twisted it with a click. With a slight tap, the door opened inwards, with barely even an aged creak. Without even realising he had been holding it in, Sir Hubert released his breath. “What is it?” he asked.

“The room of prophecies.” Maxwell exclaimed in a hushed voice, his eyes wide as saucers, staring into the room. “Haven't you ever been inside?” the spy asked, the priest shook his head silently, his eyes glued to the doorway, “It is forbidden for any to enter.”

“Then why are you letting me in?” Chesterfield asked stunned, suddenly fearing a sudden attack, followed by a painful interrogation as to why he was breaking into the Icarus vault. But Maxwell merely shrugged, “I was curious.” he stated. Together, partnered in their curiosity, they stepped into the room. It was low ceilinged, so low, Chesterfield had to stoop just to stop his head from hitting it. He stared in subdued silence at the collection in the room, various scrolls and books, all hidden behind glass cases, or chained down to the floor. There was a stillness to the air, a chilling patience, as if the books were content to be imprisoned, they had something to wait for, and they were willing to wait for as long as it took. It made the man's spine tingle merely to be in the room. Maxwell gasped and hurried over to a huge tome, chained and bound shut by a gleaming lock. “What is it?” Chesterfield asked, stepping beside the priest. His eyes were wide with shock and awe, “It's the book of predictions made by Nostradamus!”

Chesterfield snorted, “Everyone knows about those.” he stated, but he fell silent as Maxwell turned a pale face towards him, “These are the ones he got right!” he gasped.

Hubert loosened his collar, it was suddenly getting very stuffy in the room. He stepped away from the priest, and continued to search among the articles and documents, finally, he stopped at one glass case. “This is it?” he asked.

Inside the glass box was a single, brown piece of paper. The inky writing was blotchy and was barely readable, no more than a scrawl, the last thing that Esmerelda had written down. It hardly seemed worth it, surely it would have been easier just to burn it if they hadn't wanted anyone to read it, keeping it here was just asking for someone to come along and read it. “How do we open it?” he asked, scouring the glass case for a key hole, but Maxwell was shaking his head. “They're not meant to be read.” he said, and as evidence, he swept his arm around the other books, there were no keyholes, even the padlocks had the holes covered with metal, welded down. In other words, the books were trapped, the fortunes never to be told. Sir Chesterfield sighed and removed his gun, he held it by the barrel and smashed the butt into the glass, it bounced off and almost threw Hubert onto his backside. There wasn't even a crack in the glass, not as much as a scratch. “Damn it!” Chesterfield cursed. He steadied himself and dusted down his pristine suit and replaced his gun. “I need to read that prophecy!” he exclaimed. He turned to Maxwell, the priest was watching the glass dome with an intent expression, as if he expected merely his gaze would break the glass. “Desperate needs call for desperate measures.” Chesterfield stated, he then threw himself to his knees, his hands clasped in front of him, “Dear lord,” he murmured, “I know I haven't called in a while, and I'm sorry, I've been busy with work and all that other stuff, all in your name, but, if you could see your way clear to opening this glass case, I'd be ever so grateful old chap, so what do you say? Just for old times sake? Amen.” slowly, expecting a miracle, Hubert opened his eyes, and saw the page before him, utterly absent of a glass cage. With a cry of joy the old man jumped to his feet and turned to Maxwell, his jubilant smile vanished. The priest was holding the cube of glass, the bottom missing. “It was never attached.” Maxwell stated with a shrug.

Chesterfield ignored the priest and sourly approached the paper, he delicately picked it up, he removed from his breast pocket, a pair of half moon spectacles. He placed them on the tip of his nose, then started to read the almost unintelligible dribble on the page. Maxwell peered over his shoulder. “'On thee forth daye of April, thee sunne will belch out a grate wafe of fyre that shale consum the whole worlde and its peeple'” Chesterfield said slowly, frowning as he did so, “Well I already knew that!”

“Keep reading!” Maxwell insisted.

Sir Hubert sighed and went on, “'Butte, otheres wille hafe prepareed fore thee grate fyre, and sixe shall bee taken inne a chariot that flyes through thee heavens, ande they shall continue the legacy of Adam and Eve'” Sir Hubert Chesterfield gasped and slapped his forehead, “Of course!” he shouted, Maxwell jumped back in shock, tripping over the glass case he had set down. “Six shall be taken in a chariot that flies through the heavens!”

“What does it mean though?” Maxwell asked, picking himself up.

“It means, that whilst we all roast with the earth, six lucky bastards are going to be safe and sound in a space ship finding a new world!” Chesterfield snarled, squashing the prophecy into a ball in his fist. “But why did the Order keep this from us?” Maxwell asked.

The spy snorted contemptuously, “ha!” he snarled, “You really think people would hear about this and just sit back? Oh no, there'd be pandemonium on the streets! People would be rioting and attacking any strange looking idiot, all hoping that they'll be chosen to escape the extinction!” he threw the crumpled paper viciously at the wall and stormed out, “But what are you going to do?” Maxwell asked, Chesterfield paused at the door and turned, a vicious gleam in his eye. A gleam that reminded Maxwell all too much of the Spanish Inquisition.

“What am I going to do?” he asked, “I'm going to find those six lucky bastards, and make sure they burn on this earth with the rest of us!”

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