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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18. Chapter Fifteen

Nathaniel had spent his day slipping in and out of consciousness. Since being thrown in the cell, he hadn’t heard a single footstep outside the door to his far left. The only sound had been that of his own breathing or vomiting, neither of which were pleasant.

He finally came to when he heard the door unlock and footsteps coming towards his cell. Nathaniel sat up and the first face he saw was Millicent’s. He almost cried out in relief, and probably would have were it not for the gun that was held against her head as Doctor Ellsworth led her into the cell furthest away from him, and without saying another word left.

Nathaniel turned towards her and wrapped his fingers around the bars, “Are you okay?”

She nodded and a tear ran down her cheek, “What did he do to you?”

So he told her the story of how he’d found a human head in the labs, and then Millicent told her story of Eidolon and how she’d seen Doctor Ellsworth in the temple. Once she’d finished, Millicent collapsed onto the bed and sighed.

“There are others in the house,” she said, “they’ll find us.”

“What do you mean others?” Questioned Nathaniel.

“Silas, and his Bodybringers.”

Nathaniel looked at her as if she were mad, “Why are you not worried?”

That was when Millicent looked up at him and removed her boots, revealing at least three knives hidden away. Of course, Doctor Ellsworth hadn’t thought she was smart enough to have more weapons than a sword and a couple of guns. This wasn’t the first time that Millicent had been in a cell, and it certainly wasn’t the first time she’d broken out of one.

“When my brother was sent away I was kept in the prisons in the city,” she told Nathaniel as she took one of her smallest knives and began to fiddle with the lock on the cell, “and I broke out.”

“That’s it?” He asked with a smile on his face, “you just…broke out?”

“Yeah,” she said, and then the lock clicked and the door was open.

Nathaniel saw that she hadn’t made any attempt to step out of her cell, “Are we going to go?”

Millicent shook her head, “We need to find out what your Uncle is doing. I know he’ll be back for you, and so we wait. Here.”

She tossed him a knife underneath the cell and he stopped it with his foot.

“Let him take you to wherever he’s going. Then slit his throat. I’ll follow.”

“Smart idea,” Nathaniel said.

They sat in silence for what felt like hours, and then finally Nathaniel spoke, “So about the other night.”

“What about it?” Millicent asked, hiding her smile.

“Do you not want to talk about it?”

“Right now? Whilst we’re being held captive by your Uncle and there is an ancient God right underneath the city? Sure.”

Millicent opened her cell door and stepped out, making her way over to Nathaniel’s cell. She wrapped her fingers around the bars and pressed her face against them.

Nathaniel sat awkwardly for a minute, and then stood as he said, “I enjoyed it.”

“So did I.”

Millicent laughed then, and so did Nathaniel, and he placed his hands on top of hers. She tilted her head to the side and kissed his lips, quickly, but he held her there and reached his hand through the bars to run it through her hair. She pulled away and smiled at him, but that smile fell when she saw his leg.

“He did that to you,” she said. Not a question.

“I’m okay,” Nathaniel reassured her.

Suddenly, they heard footsteps. It had been about an hour since she’d first arrived on the island, and Millicent motioned Nathaniel to get ready. She got back into the cell and closed the door, placing the lock on it to make it look like it was still locked. They heard the rattle of keys, and then the door swung open and Doctor Ellsworth made his way towards Nathaniel’s cell. She looked over at him, and suddenly she was panicking. He unlocked his cell and grabbed Nathaniel by the arm. Then he was gone.

But Millicent followed. When she was sure that Doctor Ellsworth wouldn’t hear, she opened her door again and began to pick the lock on the door that Ellsworth had entered through. It wasn’t long before she was back out in the corridor. She listened for footsteps, and followed their sound. Nathaniel’s leg was still bleeding, leaving a blood trail on the floor. She followed it, and eventually caught up.

Meanwhile, Nathaniel was watching Doctor Ellsworth intently. He hadn’t spoken since throwing Nathaniel in the cell a few hours ago. Nathaniel could feel the coldness of the knife pressing up against his thigh, and he brushed his hand against his pocket for reassurance that it was still there. Unlike he did earlier, Doctor Ellsworth no longer held a gun. He simply grabbed Nathaniel by the arm and dragged him to wherever they were going. Nathaniel’s leg was still injured, and with every step a bolt of pain was sent through his leg. He gritted his teeth and kept moving.

They reached a door that was in a place Nathaniel had never visited. Here, the door was not painted the same immaculate white as everywhere else, but was instead made of the thickest metal. Doctor Ellsworth scanned his ID card and the door clicked open. Was this another prison?

When he pushed the door open, Nathaniel saw just how many locks were on the other side. They were stood at the top of a metal spiral staircase.

“Now you will see what work we’re doing here, boy,” said Doctor Ellsworth.

Nathaniel gripped on tightly to the metal handrail and they descended the stairs out of fear that Doctor Ellsworth would simply push him over the side and leave him there to rot. The stairs seemed to go on forever, and as they got further down Nathaniel began to hear voices. He couldn’t make out what they were saying.

Millicent followed the whole time. She’d managed to slip past the door as it was opened, and was now descending the stairs herself, making sure to stay at least ten steps further up than the two of them so that she wasn’t caught.

When Doctor Ellsworth and Nathaniel reached the bottom of the stairs, Nathaniel felt like he was going to vomit. The sight before him was unlike anything he had ever seen.

There was a long corridor before him, and along each wall were cages. Not like the one he had been in only a few minutes ago, but the kind of cage you would keep an animal in. The cages were stacked three high, and in the cages were women. Some of them were asleep, and hadn’t stirred at the noise they had made whilst coming down the stairs. Others, however, leant forwards in their cage and gripped the bars.

“Help us!” they shouted at him.

“Please help us!”

Millicent was seeing this too. She was almost at the bottom of the stairs, and Nathaniel knew she was there.

“ENOUGH!” Doctor Ellsworth shouted, and the women fell silent. He led Nathaniel past the cages, and he looked at the women in despair. That was when he noticed that many of them were pregnant.

“What is wrong with you?” Nathaniel asked, “What have you done to them?”

“This is none of your concern, boy.”

“Did you rape them?” Nathaniel was getting louder, and he turned his head towards the women, “Did he rape you?”

They didn’t reply.

“I am not a rapist, Nathaniel,” said Doctor Ellsworth.

That was when Nathaniel reached into his pocked and dove his knife into his Uncle’s thigh. He grunted in pain, and then shouted, “Tie him up!”

Nathaniel looked at him with confusion on his face, and them arms were grabbing him and dragging him over to the other side of the corridor, where there seemed to be a lab. Some of the women were crying now, and Nathaniel couldn’t bear to look.

Whoever held Nathaniel now pushed him down into a metal chair and continued to tie his feet and hands to it. Nathaniel tried to protest, but failed.

Millicent watched from her position on the stairs, a knife in her hand. She couldn’t go yet, there were too many people.

Doctor Ellsworth limped over to Nathaniel with the help of a woman that seemed to be a nurse. She whispered something to him and he shook his head.

“Prepare the table,” he told her. She obeyed.

“What are you going to do to me?” Asked Nathaiel.

Doctor Ellsworth laughed then, “Stupid boy.”

He pointed to the table that the nurse was preparing, “This isn’t for you.”

And then he pointed right across the corridor to Millicent, who was now stood at the bottom of the stairs, “It’s for her.” 

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