The Destruction of Beautiful Things

"They give our Master a crown of thorns, why do we hope for a crown of roses?" - Martin Luther

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9. Chapter Eight

It had been almost twelve hours since the incident in the sewers, and Silas was just still just as shaken as he was then. He’d spent his entire day pacing around the house, making sure that everyone was okay and debating what he had seen. Silas sat on a stool in the kitchen, his chin propped up by his knees. He’d been there for the better half of an hour, waiting for Eldridge Farouk to visit him. Farouk had been making his rounds around the house, speaking to each member of the household individually about what had happened. And as expected, he’d left Silas until last.

There was a tap at the door, and Silas straightened in his stool, preparing himself. Eldridge Farouk stepped into the room, impossibly gorgeous in the most aggravating way. His black hair was slicked back, and his beard recently trimmed and oiled. Farouk pulled up a stool opposite Silas and sat down, sighing as he did so.

“So, what happened last night?” Eldridge asked. No greeting, no small talk, he cut right to the chase. It was well known that Silas and Eldridge barely tolerated each other, and although people asked why there wasn’t any reason. Eldridge was rich, and young, which made him all the more dislikable. The thing that annoyed Silas so much was the fact that Eldridge enjoyed being rich. He lavished in it, and loved to play the power trip of I own this house so I tell you what to do.

“Haven’t the others told you already?” Silas replied.

Eldridge chuckled, “Yes, in their own words. But I want to hear it in your words.”

“What is there to tell you? We delivered no bodies to the island.”

“Yes I know, but why?” Eldridge stared at him for a few minutes, waiting for him to reply. What would Silas tell him? What had the others said? Eldridge wouldn’t believe what any of them had seen, let alone where they had found Kenja. And if he did tell him, Eldridge would only send people down in the sewers to search for the temple. He couldn’t tell Eldridge what had really happened.

“We were attacked by a horde and got separated. It won’t happen again.”

Eldridge smiled that cocky smile, “Good.”

He stood up to leave and replaced the stool to where he’d got it, and then turned back to face Silas.

“Don’t think that this will go down lightly with the council,” Eldridge said, and with that he left the kitchen, leaving Silas to his own thoughts. The council worked closely with the Mayor, and hardly anyone knew who they were. They were as closely guarded as the Mayor himself.

In a sudden rush, Silas remembered the girl in the sewers. Millicent.

Would she tell anyone about what she’d seen? If she was the closest person to the Mayor in the city, she could tell him everything and get Silas and his Bodybringers thrown out to the prisons Beyond Shalom for keeping this from the council. Silas had to find her.

How would he go about finding the Mayor’s bodyguard?

Of course, he would have to find the Mayor.

Silas grabbed his leather jacket from a hanger in the kitchen and left the house quickly and quietly. It was dusk, and the sun had just dipped below the horizon, casting brilliant shades of orange and pink across the city which reflected off the buildings. He assumed that the Mayor would be in his private offices, which was a massive building near the town square. He walked quickly, hoping that he would be back in time to put on his fighting leathers ready for the night. Silas ascended the steps to the offices and went through a big set of double doors. He approached the receptionist.

“Where can I find the Mayor?” He asked.

The lady had brunette hair tied in a bun at the top of her head, and a pair of spectacles in a lovely shade of green. “Up the stairs, take a right and it’s opposite you. May I check your ID?”

Silas placed his finger on a scanner on top of her desk, and she nodded when his face came up on the screen in front of her and confirmed that he wasn’t a terrorist or assassin. Silas jogged up the stairs and followed the receptionist’s instructions, and just as he was about to open the door a hand gripped his wrist.

Silas was staring into large blue eyes that belonged to a man that couldn’t have been much older than Silas. He was armed with a gun at his waist and probably many knives underneath his dark clothing.

“What is your business with the Mayor?” The man asked.

Silas sighed, “I’m looking for his bodyguard.”

“Millicent?” The man chuckled, “good luck with that.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m Flint, I work closely with Millicent. She’s off duty tonight, said she had something important to do.”

Silas swore under his breath; she could be reporting her findings to the council as they spoke.

“Okay,” said Silas, “so where would she be?”

“At her house.”

“And where is that?” Silas could feel anger boiling in his gut.

Flint raised an eyebrow, “She won’t be happy to see you, she made it clear she wasn’t in the mood for visitors when she left earlier. But if you must know, if you’re travelling down the main road through the city, take the first left before you hit the town square. Her house is the one with the yellow door.”

“Thanks,” Silas turned and left, grateful that he didn’t have to meet with the Mayor and raise suspicion. He walked along the main road, people bustling past him as they attempted to get home before the siren went off. He turned left before he got to the town square and walked down a quiet road, keeping his eye out for a yellow door. Just before he was about to give up, he spotted it. It was right on the corner at the end of the road, and Silas took a deep breath before going up to it and knocking.

There was shuffling inside the house, and then finally the door swung open and revealed Millicent. She was in what looked like a night gown, with a dressing gown wrapped around her frail body. Her eyes widened when she saw him, and the first thing she did was punch him in the face.

Silas stumbled backwards and wiped his nose, revealing a smudge of blood across the back of his hand.

“What the fuck?” Silas swore.

“What do you want?” Millicent asked, one hand on her hip and one on the doorframe, as if she had never punched him.

“Can I come in?”

Millicent stood and thought about this for a while, and then finally said “Don’t bother trying to kill me, if that’s what you’re here to do.”

She walked back into the house and left the door open for Silas. He stepped over the threshold and closed the door behind him. Millicent was stood by a kitchen counter, boiling a kettle. She motioned to the table in front of Silas, and he sat down awkwardly. What would he say to her?

Millicent didn’t talk as she brewed them both drinks, and handed Silas a mug of tea. She sat down opposite him and sipped her tea, waiting. Finally, when Silas didn’t speak, Millicent did.

“Why are you here?” She asked.

Silas leaned forward in his chair, “You can’t tell anybody about what we found in the sewers.”

“Well I didn’t find anything, you did. I just followed. But sure.”

Silas raised an eyebrow, “That’s it?”

Millicent shrugged her shoulders and continued sipping her tea.

“Look,” Silas said, “I don’t think you understand. If you report this to the council, I’ll be chucked Beyond Shalom to rot with everyone else in the prisons.”

Pain flashed across her face, and Silas thought he’d struck a nerve. But just like that, Millicent regained her composure.

“Do you know what you saw?” She asked.

“What do you mean?”

“What did you find? What was that place?”

Silas thought about it for a second, and then said, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”

Millicent rose from her chair and made her up a set of stairs to a balcony where her bed was, and then came back down clutching a book in her hands. She dropped it on the table in front of Silas and he jumped at the noise it made. On the front of the book there were three words:

KING OF KINGS

Silas didn’t understand the importance of this until he thought about the events that took place in the sewers, and what the words on the altar had read.

“Where did you find this?” He asked, “What does this mean?”

“Doctor Ellsworth’s office,” Millicent said.

“How?”

Millicent didn’t reply, and only watched as Silas flicked through the book. There were so many illustrations, all drawn in the same dark ink. There was writing too, but it was so small and scruffy that it was barely readable.

“I want to help you,” said Millicent, “I want to find out what that place is.”

“Okay,” said Silas, pushing the book across the table back to her, “how do you propose we do that?”

Millicent tapped the top of the book, “I found this in Doctor Ellsworth’s office. Surely he has to know more.”

Silas looked at her like she was mad, “We can’t just go strolling into the office of Doctor Ellsworth and ask him. What if that book is just a coincidence, and he knows nothing? Then he would know about the sewers and he’d tell the council. We can’t let that happen.”

She tutted at him, as if he really thought she was that stupid, “I have a friend on the island. He could help us.”

“So when will we go and talk to this friend of yours?”

“Now.”

With that, she stood up and retrieved a long black coat from the coat hanger by the door.

“The last boat to the continent goes in ten minutes. If you want to come, hurry. And bring the book.”

Silas grabbed the book, looked back at the house once, and followed his new ally out of the house.

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