Monday, August 31, 2009

The Learning Curve: Chapter 5

CC was only vaguely aware that she had been slammed into the block wall behind her. The blast of air that had seemly exploded out of her room had launched her into the room across the hall from hers and into the far wall. The impact did not hurt, but CC knew that it should have. She stumbled away from the wall and looked up to see Gunther, Ellison and the man she did not know rush into the room. She lunged at them and did not know why.

“Grab her!” Gunther cried as he attempted to restrain her.

“What the hell is she doing here?” Ellison yelled as he also tried to grab CC. CC’s mind was reeling. She flailed and struck at the two men. She did not want to and tried to stop, but she could not. She tried to speak but could not. The man in the dark suit hung back. There was something strange about his eyes, but in the confusion CC could not process what it was. He was speaking again in what CC could only assume was Latin. He began to approach her as the noise from the struggle, Gunther and Ellison’s yelling and the man’s speech faded to silence.

She felt her mouth move but the voice that came from it was not hers.

“You cannot stop us! They shall rise and claim their dominion over man! They shall start with this one!” CC was still flailing against Gunther and Ellison, but they had each grasped one of her arms fiercely. To her surprise, they were having trouble holding her. They both seemed to be very strong and fit, yet they struggled to hold her. She wanted to scream. She heard the voice again, but this time did not feel her mouth forming the words.

“Give yourself to me, Cecelia Tucker.”

She refused.

“Give yourself to me, and serve the Masters of this world. Theirs is the power to deliver you.”

She asked what the voice was talking about.

“Uninitiated! You know not the secret history of this world; it’s place and role in this plane of existence. I can teach you. I can make you understand so that you my revel in your new Lord’s service.”

She demanded to know who was talking to her.

“I am of the many. I am the seed, which will grow and strangle the light of the world. I am you.”

She denied the voice. The man in the suit was over her. Her eyes were drawn to the amulet hanging around his neck. It was silver and had a heart shaped stone in the center of it.

“You are nothing. Your only hope is through me.”

She felt her thoughts becoming cloudy. Her body still struggled against the men holding it, but it was as if she looking through someone else’s eyes. The man in the suit reached out and covered CC’s face with his hand. She saw nothing but darkness now. She could not feel anything. All she could hear was the voice.

“You shall be given pleasures you can not fathom. You can revel in your lust and have your desires filled. Give yourself to me and legions will give themselves to you.”

CC rebuked the voice. It was then that she began to feel something. It was sharp and feral and it was all over her body. She wanted to scream.

“This is the fate of those who stand before us! Open your eyes and look upon the Pillar!”

CC vision was obscured. She saw nothing only darkness. She felt as though she could not breath. The sharp pains were in her chest, as if something were digging into her.

“Your spirit will be inscribed upon the Pillar! Forever shall you know its weight! Accept the Masters! Only their grace can spare you from the Pillar!”

CC now knew pain that she had previously not thought possible. Even worse in her mind was how powerless she felt. She felt violated and was not even sure how. She hated the voice. She hated it and every word it uttered. She hated every vile idea it had suggested to her. She hated the pain it inflicted. She hated the numbness even more. She cursed it. With every fiber of her agonized being she wished it to hell.

“Banish me and your pain shall be eternal!”

In a rage, CC Tucker wished a gruesome end be visited upon the voice. The pains stabbed through her mercilessly. Coherent thought left her. She saw nothing. She heard nothing. She knew only the pain.

And then she saw the ceiling of the room she was in. The hand of the man in the suit withdrew from her face. She was lying on the floor. Gunther and Ellison eased their grip and looked at each other.

“Miss Tucker?” Gunther asked as the man in the suit left the room. “Are you alright?” CC muttered something incomprehensible. There was an elated smile on her face. Her body relaxed and her eyes closed gently. She sighed softly as endorphins flooded her body in reaction to the pain she had just been in. Combined with the previous night’s lack of sleep, CC Tucker’s body rested peacefully. Gunther and Ellison did not have time to panic before she began to snore.

CC woke up back in the room she had stayed in the previous night. She was wearing a set of soft green pajamas. There was a glass of water and note on the nightstand. She sat up and slowly sipped the water. She checked the time on the digital clock that sat on the nightstand. It was ten thirty at night, over twelve hours since what had happened. The note instructed her to go to a room on the floor below when she was ready. She found her keys and wallet on the dresser as well as her clothes, which were neatly folded and laundered.

She took her time getting dressed. She felt well rested, but still she felt uneasy. Her body ached. She wanted what had happened to be a nightmare.

Once she was ready, CC followed the note’s instructions. She walked down the hallway, then down the stairs. She passed the lobby where she had coffee with Chad. A young man was sitting at the table reading and making notes. She walked past the vending machines and turned a corner to find the room she was instructed to go to. The sign of the door read: “Doctor Carson Rodgers. Professor of Archeology.” After a little hesitation, she knocked on the door.

“Come in.” She heard Doctor Rodgers call from inside. When she opened the door he looked genuinely surprised to see her. “Miss Tucker! I didn’t expect you until tomorrow morning.” He got up from behind his desk and walked around it to offer CC a seat. The office was very organized, and looked comfortable. She took a seat in the black leather chair by Rodger’s desk. One thing she quickly noticed about his office was that there were no pictures. There were a few certificates hanging on his wall, but CC did not bother reading them. There was another door in the office near the desk.

Doctor Rodgers had a kind face. His dark eyes were warm and friendly, but betrayed weariness. That fact that he kept his head shaved did not seem intimidating. His complexion was that of milk chocolate. CC had never thought much about the professor other than how boring his class was. She now saw him in a whole new light.

“I want answers.”

“Chad warned me about that.”


“Nothing. You’re going to be fine. You were examined by a physician; who will be happy to speak with you in the morning if you’d like. She recommends rest and some Motrin for any discomfort.” Rodgers took a seat behind his desk.

“What the hell happened to me?”

“You fainted. There was a gas leak in your dorm room. Everything’s fine now.”

“BULLSHIT!” CC cried out as she leapt from her seat. She slammed her hands down on Rodgers’ desk. “Don’t you dare lie to me!”

“Miss Tucker…”

“Who was the man in the suit with necklace? I know you’re assistant and that Ellison guy were there!”

“CC, please! I’m afraid your still a bit disoriented from the gas leak.” Rodgers’ voice was even and soothing. It did not help. Her head sank and she cursed under her breath. Her anger was quickly giving way to hopelessness. She knew she was not going to get anywhere with questioning these people. Rodgers, Gunther, Armstrong, the Ellison Brothers and now the man in the suit; they were all in on it. Whatever horrible thing that had happened, they were not going to let CC in. Deep down, she knew that they must have had their reasons. Still, she did not care. She turned to leave.

“Can I go back to my dorm room?” She asked coldly.

“Of course. Everything’s fine now.” He responded. She walked to the door.

“Will you at least tell me what the hell the Pillar is?” She asked as she opened the door.

“What did you just say?”

“The Pillar. What is it?” CC turned and her eyes met Rodgers’. He sat there. The warmth fell from his face and he sat expressionless. Slowly he stood up, and moved to the door.

“Come with me.” He gave the order and made it sound like a suggestion. He opened the other door in the office and ushered her through it. It led to a small landing and a staircase leading down to the building’s basement level. They descended the stairs. Rodgers’ was silent and his silence bore enough weight to keep CC from speaking. At the bottom of the stairs there was an unmarked door. Rodgers opened it.

The room inside had every wall practically covered in bookshelves. It smelled like old books and newsprint. There was a table in the center of the room where Chad Armstrong and Tommy Ellison were sitting reading. They quickly looked up and Rodgers and CC entered.

“What’s she doing here?” Chad asked looking more than a little surprised.

“They mentioned the Pillar.” Rodgers said.

“In that case…” The man in the suit was standing in the corner. CC could have sworn that he was not there when she had come in. The suit was the same. The Heart’s Blood Medallion still hung around his neck. “… it seems we have a new player in the game.” He walked towards her. She could tell he was older, but could not even begin to guess his age. His hair was dark and had no gray to it. His face seemed weathered and years shown upon it. His eyes looked as old as the world and sparkled like rare gemstones. “My name is Dante Amethyst. Welcome to our world.”

It had been one day since CC Tucker’s main concern was hooking up with a cute guy at a party. Her mother had told her that college changes a person and makes them grow. She had not expected this. One word. One thing that she knew she had heard. That was enough to change her life forever.

This month's artist: Mister CM Frank.