Friday, October 4, 2013

Hollow World Book 3 Chapter 21


Graham stared at the Pennyman.  He ordered the driver to run him over, but the horses would not budge.  Finally, he managed to move them, the beasts giving his nephew a wide berth.  As he finally passed the Pennyman, Graham never once took his fire filled eyes off of him.

Statuesque, the Pennyman continued his gaunt smile until long after Graham’s army was gone, the soldiers continuing their silent march toward White Sands. 

Graham shook with rage.  “What’s gotten into him?”  He asked but the driver remained silent, indifferent to his passenger’s plight.  The horses jumped when he slammed his fist into the cars dash, but the driver managed to regain control quickly.  

The continued forced march brought them to Albuquerque two days later.  A rising column of smoke offended Graham but when he sent scouts out to investigate, the found no signs other than a quickly doused fire pit.  He lost two of these scouts when a lioness attacked and mauled them both.  The last glimpse he saw through their eyes was a pair of lions coming out of the opening of the nearby zoo.  

“Keep a perimeter up,” He told his guards as he settled back into his nightly routine.  He ensured that his torchbearers were taken care of, and that his cannoneers had everything they needed for their weapons before he closed his eyes.  He checked in with his spy at Boulder City, and with the soldier at White Sands before shifting his attention back to Las Vegas.

It was not long before he was brought into the presence of his sister.  “Ah, Nyx, how good to see you again,” he said to the beautiful woman before him.  “I will be in White Sands within the week and wanted to know how long it would be before you joined us?”

“You shall have your soldiers shortly.”

“And what of your son?  Any more word on him?”

“No, he is still a thorn in our side.”

“We will have to see that he is not.  Have you heard from anyone else?”

“Erebus is still missing,” She said with a forlorn look on her face.  Graham managed to suppress his smile.  “Thalassa and Gaia are both content in their roles and will not help us, but nor will they hinder us.”

“Just as they agreed.  We will deal with them when we are done here.”

“Well brother, is there anything else?”  Nyx asked.

“No, but we must do this again sometime,” He said, dismissing his focus and snapping back to New Mexico.

The next morning they were moving south along I-25 before the sun rose above the distant mountains.  They traveled fast and after two days time, they turned back east along 380 before finally heading south.  They reached the high fence of the Air Force Base slightly after noon on the seventh day.

The large gate stood open and he led the army in, his horse drawn Mustang gleaming in the high desert sun.  He ignored the sweat dripping from his brow onto the black leather interior of the car.  Graham picked a large open field as they passed and told his army to set up camp there.

He called his torchbearers before him and gave them instructions to burn every house of worship they found within the nearby community.  He smiled as they left, and it was barely an hour later when he saw the first telltale wisps of smoke.

His hunger for destruction sated, Graham hunted the all too familiar brick buildings he had visited many times before as someone else.  He soon found them and stood before the locked door.  He took the key down and fit it into the lock, turned it, rotated the knob.

“Tartarus, is that you?” The man with the scruffy brown beard asked. He hung limply against the wall, his emaciated wrists looking like they could almost slip through the chains that held him.

“I’m so glad you remember me Erebus.”  Graham said, leaving the room and coming back with a metal chair, which he sat down with a loud klang on the concrete floor of the cell.  He sat before his brother, just out of reach, although Erebus did not try, and stared.  “Where are your souls?”

Erebus spat, the trickle of spittle almost reaching Graham, who rose and slapped the man before him before resuming his seat.

“None of the others know you are here.  In fact, my dear sister Nyx, you remember her don’t you?  She remembers you.  She thinks you’re missing, thinks you may have abandoned her by the look on her face when she mentions your name.”

The man that was Erebus spat again, this time the glob of blood and saliva landed upon Graham’s pants.

“I’ll ask you again, where are your souls?”

“I told you before, I never asked my son to let them cross the river.”

“You expect me to believe that?”

“Believe what you,”  Erebus was wracked with a fit of coughing, after which Graham kindly forced some ice cold water down his throat.  “Believe what you will.  It is the truth.  I have no army and even if I did, I would not offer their services to you.”

Graham raised his hand, but stayed it.  Instead he tossed the chair into the rooms corner and stormed out.  He slammed the door behind him, and had to go back to lock it.  His mood was only brightened when he stepped outside and was greeted by the sight of the smoke from nearly a dozen fires throughout the city.  He had one more place to visit, and he made a beeline for where his soldier sat, inside the room with the two other men, one from his sister, and no one had ever laid claim to the third man in the room.  The room was exactly as he had pictured it the many times he had visited it before.  His man continued to sit in silence, staring at the wall before him.  He left the three men to their blank expressions.

“Now, where to next?”  Graham asked as he walked back toward his chariot.  “I know just the place,” he said as he shifted his attention to the man hiding amongst the shadows outside of Boulder City.

1 comment:

archnemesis_goldenhair said...

Ah, now we get to see Dad! Also, Nyx is gonna be posed when she finds out what Graham did.

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