The Destruction of Beautiful Things

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


17. Chapter Fourteen

Millicent and the Bodybringers strode through the city just after curfew. The streets were deadly quiet, and for some reason, they had not seen a single Crack. It turned out that one of the Bodybringers, Mason, had his own boat from when he used to go fishing with his sister Madison. They headed towards that boat, and Silas walked beside Millicent.

“Do you think this will work” He asked her.

She looked at him and shrugged, “I hope so.”

Mason led the way to the boat, and it was not long before they had all climbed aboard. It was a small boat to fit nine of them on it, but they just about managed to fit. It was a rowing boat and so two of the Bodybringers started to row towards the island. There were four benches in the boat, just about enough so that they could all sit down. But the boat went slowly, and Millicent was starting to get worried.

She sat beside Kenja, who was sharpening a twin pair of throwing knives. Millicent had to borrow some of their weapons, and had opted for a spare gun to keep at her waist, a few knives hidden in her boots, and a sword that was strapped across her back. Her patchwork gun was also strapped to her waist.

They were about halfway, and Millicent was beginning to see the lights that lit up the windows of the manor house. She tried to look in Nathaniel’s window, but the light was not switched on. How strange, she thought, but dismissed it as they began to make their loop around the island. They hadn’t been seen yet, because if they had they would probably have been dead already. Millicent didn’t want to have to fight anyone tonight. All she wanted was to get Nathaniel out of the house and back to Shalom, but she doubted it would be that simple.

“Are you okay?” Asked Kenja.

Millicent nodded, and looked over at Silas. He looked about as nervous as she was.

Finally after what felt like an eternity, Mason ordered the people that were rowing to pull up on a small patch of sand right at the back of the manor house. From here, you couldn’t see the house as it was obscured by trees, but Millicent trusted that the Bodybringers knew where they were going. They all stepped out of the boat and pulled it up onto the sand. Millicent brushed her hands off on her trousers and stood beside Silas.

“Madison and Mason, you stay out here. Prepare to alert us if anyone is coming,” Silas ordered, “the rest of you are coming inside. Pair up, take a floor each. Do not go out of your way to kill, just let us know if you see Doctor Ellsworth. Millicent, you’re with me.”

They left Madison and Mason to survey the grounds whilst the rest of them began down a pathway that Millicent hadn’t noticed was there until now. They didn’t walk on the path as it was made of gravel, but walked alongside it on the grass. Tall black lamps lead the way to a small door at the end of the path.

“This is where we leave the bodies,” Silas whispered to Millicent, “it’s the back entrance to the Manor house.”

“Have you ever been inside?” She asked.

Silas shook his head. He motioned to Fyn, who counted to three with his fingers and then twisted the door handle. Nothing happened. Millicent unsheathed her sword and held it out before her. One by one, they stepped through the door. Millicent was last, and closed the door quietly behind her. Where they ended up was a room made of concrete. Beside the walls there was massive trolleys full of Crack bodies, and then in the far corner of the room was an incinerator.

This is how they get rid of the bodies, Millicent thought to herself.

Beside the incinerator was a set of stairs. Silas went first, and Millicent went last. The only sound was their feet on the concrete floor, and even that was muffled by the rumbling of the incinerator. Millicent stopped halfway up the stairs as the rest of them stopped. She heard the click of a door opening, and then they were moving again. When she was up the stairs, Millicent recognised where they were. They had come out of a door at the side of the grand staircase that led up to the bedrooms.

Millicent pointed upwards, and Silas motioned to Fyn and Bruce to stay on that floor. That left Millicent, Silas, Wesley and Kenja to ascend the stairs. Millicent took the first right and followed the corridor towards Nathaniel’s room.

When they reached his door, Millicent pressed her mouth against it and whispered, “Nathaniel?”

There was no answer. Silas sent Kenja and Wesley off to scout the rest of the floor. Millicent tried the door handle, and found that the door opened with a gentle push. She flicked on the lights as she entered and left Silas outside.

“Nathaniel?” She whispered again, checking the kitchen and then making her way into his bedroom.

He wasn’t there.

She checked everywhere one more time, but he was nowhere to be found.

Millicent left the room again and looked at Silas, panicked, “He’s not there.”

“Where else would he be?” He whispered.

Millicent thought about this. If he were outside, they would have seen him when they were approaching the island. He definitely wasn’t in his rooms, and he would have no reason to be in the kitchens because he had his own kitchen. Millicent shrugged, and made her way back through the corridor and down the stairs again. She still held her sword out in front of her, waiting for someone to hear them and alert Doctor Ellsworth. When she got down the stairs, she noticed something glimmer in the corner of her eye.

An elevator.

Millicent motioned Silas over, who looked at it as if he’d never seen one before and definitely never been in one.

“Where does it lead?” Asked Silas.

“Let’s find out,” Millicent said, and pressed the button. The doors opened smoothly and quietly. They took one last look around the foyer to see if the sound had alerted anyone, and then stepped inside. The inside of the elevator was painted pure white, and Millicent squinted against the brightness of the fluorescent lights on the ceiling. Millicent reached over and pressed the button with a downwards arrow on it, and then they began to move.

How did she not notice this when she’d visited the manor house before?

The elevator shuddered to a stop, and the doors opened slowly. They were greeted with one long white corridor, and they stepped out into it.

“What is this?” Millicent asked.

Silas didn’t reply. The pair began to walk through the corridor, walking past numerous windows. All of the windows were mirrored, so all they could see was their reflection as they walked past. Finally, they came to a crossroad.

“Which way?” Silas questioned.

Millicent hushed him and closed her eyes. She could hear faint noises coming from the left, and so she turned that way and quickened her pace. They stopped just outside of a room that was seemingly identical to all of the others, and yet this was where the noise was coming from. Millicent nodded to Silas as she placed one hand on the door handle and opened it slowly, silently. There was a man hunched over a table with what looked like a bone saw in his hand. Even from this angle, the man was unmistakably Doctor Ellsworth.

Millicent had her sword at his throat before he had time to react.

“Where’s Nathaniel?” She spat in his ear.

He bared his teeth at her, “You have no idea what you’re doing.”

“Take me to him. Now,” he dropped the bone saw and she shoved him out of the door, keeping her sword at his throat as Silas drew his gun and kept it aimed at his head.

Doctor Ellsworth led them further into the maze of corridors, and then finally said “You don’t understand the effect of your actions, Millicent.”

“Shut the fuck up,” said Silas.

Finally, Doctor Ellsworth stopped at a door that was right at the end of a corridor.

“My keys,” he snapped. Silas searched his pocket and found a chain of keys.

“Which one?” Asked Silas.

“The silver one.”

Silas pressed the key into the lock and opened the door. Millicent shoved him down the steps and into the room. The stench was terrible, and it was as though they were in a prison. Three cells lined the right wall, and in the far one sat Nathaniel. Millicent almost collapsed in relief.

“Hold him,” she told Silas, and he took her sword and pressed it hard against his neck.

“Make one move,” whispered Silas, “and I will slit your throat.”

Doctor Ellsworth didn’t reply.

Millicent took the keys from Silas and unlocked the cell. Nathaniel was laying on the bed, his eyes closed and his breathing rasped. She ran over to him, avoiding the piles of vomit, and took his face in her hands.

“Nathaniel,” she said, and his eyes fluttered, “It’s time to go now. It’s time to go.” 

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