Lust for Power #3

Fox found his boxers and dress shirt, reassembling himself as he watched June prepare a pot of coffee. “You’ve got dirt on someone you want me to see? You got some blackmail for Camullus? You didn’t have to fuck me for that.”

“Not exactly, Jon.” She turned on the coffeemaker, and went to a suitcase on the couch. “I wanted to show you this.” She pulled a metal cylinder from the suitcase and handed it to him. There were rings of letters along its shaft, like a combination lock. “The password is ‘Callie.’” His throat went dry.

His throat went dry. “Are you fucking with me? You know about my sister?” He gripped the cylinder like a club.

“Jon, I need you to put in that name and open the cylinder. It will be worth it, I promise you.”

He keyed in her name, his fingers shaking. He hadn’t seen Callie in twenty years. They knew where she was, what happened to her? The cylinder opened, and a canister slid out. He looked inside and withdrew a rolled parchment.

“I think you’ll find everything you’re looking for there.”

He unrolled the parchment, and stared at a symbol of a fish, made from the halves of a circle. “This is bullshit. You’re taunting me. A fish?”

“Just keep your eyes on it, Jon. It’s not a fish.” He stared at the shape as the lines began to move and multiply, becoming first a circle, and then two overlapping circles, and then it began to spin.

“It’s a homing beacon for Barbelith,” she said quietly. “This will be very hard for you.” He smelled perfume and roses, and he started to see pink and green squares on the paper, on her face; for a moment her skin was the darkest black, onyx, and she had great black wings, and burning red eyes, and then he felt love, warmth deep in his heart.

The room faded from him, and he was dissolving, only aware of the tears on his face. He saw her, tiny, golden, glowing. “Callie.” He reached for her.

“They made you forget, Foxie.” Foxie was her nickname for him, because he had always played hide and seek with her, and she pretended like he was hard to find. He’d changed his last name to Fox when he was in the military.

“You know what they did to me, Foxie.” His heart was beating so fast he thought he would die. No. He’d been dead. His heart was restored to him. He could feel again, he was alive again.

He remembered them breaking down the door, beating him unconscious and snatching Callie. And though he couldn’t have seen it, he watched them rape and torture her, in an old factory, surrounded by candles, a ritual.

A furnace squatted in the center of the room, and the air there stank of kerosene and shimmered with heat. After they finished with her, they dragged her, screaming, and stuffed her inside. He saw their masks, faceless masks, but underneath, he knew them. Camullus. Durcet.

“They burned you, Callie, they burned you to death and we never found your body. I couldn’t find you and I cut my wrists and Camullus took me out of there and I didn’t know he was the one. They sent me to war and now I’m hurting and killing people for them. I’m so sorry, Callie. I failed you.”

Callie stroked his face. “I didn’t die, Foxie. A black angel came to me and I didn’t burn. He took me away from there. Now it’s time for you to remember everything. You’re alive again now. You have to bring justice.”

Tears streaked his rugged face, as the room faded back into view. His head was in June’s lap, and she was stroking his hair. He sat up slowly. “It was Camullus.” June nodded.

“What happened to me?”

“The symbol connects you to Barbelith, a satellite in deep space that’s connected to the true world, reality as it is. The fish symbol tells your mind to disengage your forgetting, and then the beam of information from the satellite connects you with the true reality, the twin of our world. What you learn reflects what’s you’ve hidden from yourself.”

“You knew, about Camullus and Callie? That Camullus and Durcet are the leaders of the Faceless Men?”

“I suspected, but I don’t have the same information you do. My instructions from Barbelith told me to construct the Cryptex in that fashion. I have some telepathy, and I watched your thoughts while you were in the light.”

Fox breathed deeply, and he knew what he had to do. “OK then. Let’s go get these fuckers.”


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