The Black Knight

The Crusades. In medieval times, these were nothing but military campaigns to the world leaders. But to the knights that took part in it, the journey of their lives. What was written in the history books is what we call truth, but they call a simple cover up. Even though there was no such thing as a fire-breathing lizard called a Dragon or a hybrid of an Eagle and Lion known as a Griffin, the Knight's Christianity was more than just a belief.

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2. The Hunt Begins

For 200 hundred years, the Crusades ravaged the lands of Europe & the Middle East. Beginning in the year 1095, and ending on 1291, the Popes have led the king’s armies of Templars to fight their religious wars. Between the religious knights and foreign Muslims, the war had left the land of the Middle East scorched and while the Templars relentlessly slaughtered everyone that stood in their way, they did not win the war. Before the battle of Jerusalem in 1099, the Templars were resting the night before in unexplored mountain caverns. Unholy grounds that the Muslims themselves feared to travel. And what the Templars awakened there, was far worse than what they could have ever imagined. Something so horrid, that it had the power to bring the fall of man and the end of the world.

 

* * * 1,000 years later, 2016 * * *

 

“I got them!” Jonathan yelled from the other room. He was coming outside of his office putting on his black jacket while trying to slip his gun into his waist holster. His brown hair was still in perfect condition, sparkling with light reflection and pulled back to reveal his large small forehead. I would see the struggle in his blue eyes as he tried to multitask.

 

Janette walked out of her small office as well. She was already set to leave. She came outside and slammed a thick tan file onto the counter in front of my cubicle, “Chestnut & Lake Shore Drive. Camera spotted them and we got a 97% match on both of them walking towards the abandoned warehouse.” Her black wavy hair flailing behind her as she speed walked around the office getting everyone ready to go after the notorious criminals. Her brown eyes that matched her dark skin were filled with a hint of quick eagerness but also anger that could be seen plain as day.

 

It was the notorious Thomas Capone & Christopher Toreo. Both relatives to the well-known gangsters Al Capone & Johnny Toreo, famous bootleggers who operated in Chicago, much like their grandfathers. I swung on my jacket around my back and put my handgun in its holster strapped around my rib.

 

“Get the other ground units ready! We’re not letting these guys get away this time!” I said to the officer in the neighboring cubicle, “You guys ready to finally catch these bastards?”

 

We ran outside to the parking garage and got into our two separate black 2010 Chevy Suburbans. I drove alone and followed behind Jonathan & Janette who were sharing the other vehicle. They’ve been in a relationship for two years now, but it’s been difficult for them because our boss restricts us from entering relationships with partners because it could put them at risk of danger. We quickly drove down two layers of a parking lot and onto the streets, sirens blaring & lights flashing. Even with other people moving to the side from the sirens, it still took us around minutes to drive to the warehouse at the coast.

 

We’ve been tracking these two criminals for six months now. They’re notorious for shoplifting, murder, robbery of multiple banks, attacking high-level convoys and bootlegging an illegal alcoholic drink that was very potent and would get you wasted with a single shot, but even that little of an amount could kill you. But the people that drink just to get drunk still buy it anyway just because of how strong it is. If this was medieval times, then they would have bounties on their heads that would make a king broke. After a short five minute drive from the station, we finally reached the abandoned warehouse on the coast and met up with three S.W.A.T. trucks with men armed with assault rifles, shotguns and a few snipers on nearby buildings. When we parked, each vehicle was placed at the back and front to prevent anyone escaping. The warehouse was a small two story building built on a large stone platform protruding from the mainland with two smaller wooden docks on the back with two speedboats each. The warehouse was completely empty from what we know of after it being an old storage facility, but knowing these two it could be filled with anything. The structure was large and small parts here and there were beginning to mold or fracture, showing that it wouldn’t be able to last through an entire firefight.

 

We had two of the S.W.A.T. trucks go around back and the other one stay up here with us in the front. We all got out of our vehicles, weapons trained on the door, using the car doors as cover. Jonathan stepped out and pulled out a megaphone and turned it on.

 

“Attention! We have you surrounded! If you do not come quietly, we have the authorization to use lethal force! And believe me, I’m very glad we do! So why don’t you all surrender, and we can all go home safe and sound,” he called out on the megaphone. We waited for some sort of response, but through the filthy and shattered windows, we could see lots of movement. My guess was that they were setting up to defend the building, “You have 60 seconds to surrender or we will use lethal force! Sixty! Fifty-nine!” he started counting down until we broke in.

 

“Snipers. We have movement in the second story windows, west side. Keep your eyes out,” Janette said over the radio to the three snipers watching our backs.

 

“You scared?” I asked Janette, Jonathan was somewhere around the thirties by now and my handgun trained on the door.

 

“If anything I’m more prepared than afraid. But these bastards deserve to die,” she said with anger. Even after all these years, I still remember the night when Capone & Toreo raided the station and killed her brother who was also an FBI agent.

 

As Jonathan reached five, the large wooden doors began to slowly open. At first, all we saw was Capone walking out, hands up. He was a middle-aged man around his early thirties, only a few years younger than his partner, and was wearing an old 1920’s mob outfit. He wore a white button-up shirt, black trenchcoat, gray 1920’s shoes, black pants and gray cotton fedora hat. We saw no holster on his chest or waist and no seen weapon, but being related to Al Capone we couldn’t be too safe.

 

“Where’s Toreo, Capone?” I called out from my Suburban.

 

“You should never have come here,” he spoke loudly with a Brooklyn accent, “This building is about to light up like the FOURTH OF JULY!!!” he yelled out excited with his hands straight up as fists.

 

When he did, two smoke bombs were thrown from the windows and shrouded Capone in a thick layer of white smoke.

 

“Move in! Watch your backs!” Jonathan called out as we made our move.

 

The smoke burned our lungs as we breathed it, but it wasn’t deadly. When we came through, we were forced to dodge to the sides as gunfire came from the balconies above us. We hid behind old shipping crates to give us cover from the flying bullets. I peeked my head over the crate and saw the other teams coming in from the back and hiding behind crates as well. As each side exchanged rapid gunfire in the old building, I saw Capone running up a set of metal stairs off to the side.

 

“Capone!” Janette yelled out as she charged after him.

 

“Shit,” I whispered as Jonathan and I stood up and began to fire at the men on the balcony to charge after Capone & Janette.

 

The men working for Capone & Toreo seemed to be either Hispanics or African-Americans, it was hard to tell from my distance, but what was for sure was that they were armed with AK-47’s and were wearing simple clothing such as tank tops and jeans with sneakers or sandals. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they looked like drug cartel to me. Janette ran up the stairs after Capone who went to an office room above the back entrance with most of the walls made of glass windows. While the enemy numbers began dropping, the S.W.A.T. members were able to suppress them along with the help of sniper support and allow Jonathan and me to run after Janette & Capone. We bolted up the metal stairs and towards the office in the back of the warehouse. Before we got there, there were streaks of white light from the inside that shone through the windows and blinded everyone that was in the warehouse for the few seconds that it lasted. While we were blinded, we heard a man cry out in agony from the office and saw a woman thrown from the entrance and onto the balcony in front of us. When the light faded, we saw that the woman was Janette. Jonathan ran up to her and elevated her head up with his arm. Her eyes were closed and blood was trickling down her forehead from a deep wound. There was so much blood pouring out that I wasn’t able to tell what did it.

 

“Stay with her,” I said looking up at Jonathan. He nodded in response.

 

I stood up with my gun in both hands and walked towards the office. The glass was shattered in all the windows of the office not even leaving a shard on the window pane. I stood up against the wall next to the door and swung myself into the doorway, pistol aimed straight ahead. But what I saw was indescribable. Papers were scattered all over the room and scorched on the edges. There was a brown maple desk on the left with the opening facing the front of the warehouse and a black office chair knocked off to a corner. Opposite of the desk were filing cabinets with broken locks and drawers wide open and empty.

 

In the middle of the floor, I saw Capone lying there, lifeless. But what was more nightmarish was the sight of his eyes. Left in their place were empty, scorched eyelids and black like staring straight into an empty void. Next to his hand was a .44 revolver with a few empty bullet casings scattered on the floor. Off to the side, I heard weak but rapid breathing. I looked next to the desk and in the opening where the chair would go, I saw Toreo leaning up against the inside, holding a five-pound handle weight above the trigger of a rectangular detonator. Toreo looked exactly like his father, Johnny Toreo, lightly tanned skin, green eyes and shiny white teeth. His tan skin was dripping with sweat as though he had bathed in it and his eyes were filled with fear like a priest meeting a demon. His gelled hair was pulled back like Capone & he was wearing a full black suit. What was unnerving was that in his left shoulder there was a foot long iron crossbow bolt.

“Toreo. What the hell happened?” I asked, taking away the handle weight from Toreo’s hand.

 

“It... killed him,” he whispered, his Hispanic accent weak yet still firm.

 

“What did?” I asked peeking my head over the desk, looking around for signs of what he may be talking about.

 

He grabbed my shirt which surprised me because of his unusually strong grip for a dying man, “It’s going to stop everything we worked for. It wants to kill us all…” the life in his eyes began to fade and his eyelids began closing.

 

“Hey! Wake up! What did this?!” I called out, shaking his shoulders which woke him with a startle.

 

He lifted his hand and bent them inwards to whisper in my ear. I leaned in with my ear facing his lips to hear what he had to say.

 

El Diablo…,” he whispered gently. His warm breath and the life in his eyes faded. I looked down to see his fist shoved into my hand which fell to the ground and left in my palm, a small golden cross with a thin silver chain.

 

I was left there alone with the still warm body of Christopher Toreo, Thomas Capone and the gold necklace in my hand. The detonator still active and ready blow up whatever it was rigged too. I picked up the remote and deactivated it. The area was safe until I heard it. The sound of a speedboat leaving the docks. I dropped the detonator and ran out the office and looked out one of the windows facing the water. In the distance, I saw a speedboat piloted by two cartel fighters and another man in a black suit and gray fedora stand up with what looked like a wooden log with a green tip that he pointed at the warehouse. In horrid realization of what it was, I ran over to Jonathan and Janette who were still on the balcony.

 

“RPG! Everyone get out!” I yelled to the officers on the ground level.

 

I ran over and helped Jonathan pick up Janette and we hurried her down the metal stairs. We were halfway down before there was an explosion in the distance and the sound of shattering glass above us. Before we reached the ground, the roof above us lit up in orange flames with a loud explosion. The explosion shook the old building and we ended up rolling down the rest of the stairs. For a moment I lost focus of what was happening and forgot what was happening. I saw Jonathan running out the front with Janette’s arm wrapped around his neck and had just made it out before burning wood collapsed in a mushroom cloud of thick gray smoke behind them, blocking their returning path. One of the many crates in the warehouse had broken in front of me and revealed that it was filled with dozens upon dozens of packaged C4. I looked around to notice how filled the warehouse was with these crates all shipped from a location with its name stamped in large black letters that were in Latin or something. It was too hard to tell for sure because the smoke was making it hard to read. I looked back to see the clear blue ocean waters through the rear entrance and made a run for it. As I ran through the exit, the roof collapsed behind me, creating a chain reaction of small explosion leading to one large explosion that sent me flying out into the ocean. The last thing I remembered before blacking out was slowly sinking in the harbor and hearing muffled helicopter blades above.

 

* * * * *

 

When I woke up, I was wearing a hospital gown in a white bed and covered up to my stomach with a white cotton blanket in a room with white tile floors, gray roof with square patterns, a rectangular sliding window on my right and a closed door on my left. Through the window, bright midday sunlight was shining through and onto the hospital bed, I was in which made me officially wonder to myself how long I had been unconscious.Next to the door on the left side of my bed was a brown maple wood dresser with two small black knobs for handles on each of the six rectangular drawers. Resting on top of it were my clothes, except they looked dry and were folded nicely with my shoes placed next to them. Around the edge of the bed, there were several chairs all facing me. And sitting in the chair to my right was my closest and oldest friend Jonathan, still in his uniform. He was simply resting with his elbow on the arm of the chair, his cheek in his palm and his mouth wide open which along with the red around his tired eyes and his white skin made him look like an albino which made me chuckle. I looked down at my arms to see a Velcro strap on my left bicep and finger clip on my left pointer finger to monitor my heart rate.

 

“You’re awake,” I heard the tired voice of my friend off from the side.

 

I looked back at him to catch him stretching his arms above him while yawning, “How long was I out?”

 

“Almost a whole day,” he said clearly once he was done stretching.

 

“What happened? The last thing I remember was sinking in the water,” I asked sitting up with my back against the wall behind me.

 

“The impact from the explosion and landing in the water at a weird angle messed with your brain & put you in a small coma. We had to drag your ass out of the harbor,” he said leaning forward, his elbows resting on his knees.

 

“Thanks,” I replied with gratitude.

 

“So what the hell happened back at the warehouse?” he asked with the evil look of intent in his eyes.

 

“You’re hiding something,” I told him without answering his question, “They want to interrogate me, don’t they? The authorities?”

 

“Yeah…” he quietly replied, “They said that if I didn’t do it peacefully then they would come in here and force the questions out of you.”

 

“What are they gonna do? Torture me? I’ll give them the answers but I just wasn’t expecting them to be so harsh about it,” I replied, disgusted with the methods they made him be a part of.

 

“Well they weren’t sure about how you would answer, seeing as how it would’ve been the second you just got out of a coma,” he said looking cautiously at the door. He sighed slowly with a hint of stress and pulled a notepad and pen out of his inner jacket pocket. He opened the notepad to a clear page and clicked the pen, “I don’t want to do this as much as you, but let’s just get this over with.”

 

“Agreed,” I said fixing my positioning in the hospital bed, prepared to be interrogated like a suspect.

 

“Alright,” he said quietly, prepared to write, “In the office back down at the warehouse, you were alone in there, aside from the notorious criminals Thomas Capone & Christopher Toreo. What did you see in the office? What happened to Capone & Toreo before the building collapsed?”

 

I hesitated before answering, trying to remember the image I had seen, “When I walked in, Capone was lying there in the middle of the floor. Dead,”

 

“Who killed him?” Jonathan asked.

 

“I don’t know. I didn’t see any sort of entry wound from a bullet or any sort of weapon. But what was strange was that he had fired a few shots, possibly during the gunfight in the warehouse. But what was strange was the Capone’s corpse, its eyes were… missing. His eye sockets were scorched and black like the night,” I explained, remembering the horrid image.

 

There was a moment of silence as Jonathan tried to comprehend what he had just heard.

 

“What of Toreo?” he finally asked, jotting down the previous notes.

 

“When I found him he was wounded badly. He was dying,”

 

“Gunshot?”

 

“No,” I replied. The look on Jonathan’s face had a strange confused look when I said that, but he was about to be more confused, “Some sort of Crossbow. In his shoulder, there was a long crossbow bolt.” I said lifting my right hand to point to where the bolt was.

 

“Strange,” he whispered to himself, writing down the notes.

 

“Anything else worth noting?” he asked.

 

“Ya…” I refused to tell my friend about Toreo’s last words to me, so instead, I told him about the rest of the scene, “The filing cabinets in there were all wide open and emptied, with their locks broken off. Like ripped clean off. And scattered all over the floor were papers. Like office papers, as though someone was searching for something. But the weird thing was that they were scorched on the edges like someone was also trying to cover their tracks, burning the evidence. Literally,” I explained.

 

“Maybe Capone & Toreo had a slight disagreement? Couldn’t decide whether to keep their evidence for future work or to stop us from figuring it out?” Jonathan asked, leaning back in his chair to get comfortable.

 

“No. Like someone else was there to stop them. Someone who got there before us. But there is one other thing I need to tell you,” I said readjusting my positioning in the bed.

 

“What is it?” Jonathan asked, pen ready to continue writing.

 

“Before he died, Toreo told me that something was “going to stop what they worked for” and that “it wants to kill us all.” explained, remembering the last words of the criminal.

 

“Something?” Jonathan asked.

 

“Yes. And I would tell you what it was, but even I don’t know. Toreo was lucky enough to even tell me that much,” I finished quietly. Feeling slight pity for Toreo.

 

“Do you know why a dying criminal would be willing to tell you what attacked their base of operations?” Jonathan asked, eager for an answer that made sense.

 

To his disappointment, I replied truthfully, “Not a clue. Everything today has been weird so far. None of it made sense to me. But if it helps, as the building was collapsing, on the boxes in the warehouse were the same words in black print. They could be where they got the C4 from,” I explained.

 

“C4? Is that what blew the building?” Jonathan asked in shock.

 

“Yes. Can I see the notepad & pen?” I asked.

 

He handed them to me and using my leg to write on, I jotted down the words that I saw in the warehouse. But with all the smoke and the very short time I had to read it, it was hard to remember exactly how the words were spelled and if I even remembered what the words were. But I still tried anyway and handed the notepad back to him. He looked at it in curiosity.

 

“Is this Latin?” he asked, pointing at the words.

 

“Yes. And if I remember anything from my private lessons in college, it’s Terrae Sanctae. “The Holy Lands.”

 

“The Holy Lands?” he asked, confused.


“Middle-East. It was considered the Holy Lands during the Medieval Crusades,” I explained, “If Capone & Toreo got the C4 from the Middle-East, then that’s our lead and we need to go and find out what they were up to with all those explosives.”

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