Welsh Road (The Depravity Chronicles) (10 page)

BOOK: Welsh Road (The Depravity Chronicles)
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“I don’t know.
Do you feel nervous?” Simon asked.

“Don’t you?” she
returned.

“A little,”
Simon confessed. “And a little more with every minute that freaking passes.”

Jena laughed
dryly. “I hear ya,” she said. Without warning, Simon began pushing Jena down
the hall.

“I think we
should move a little,” Simon said.

“Thank God,”
Jena said. “I didn’t want to make the decision,” she said. “I’m sorry. That
sounds terrible.”

“No, it’s all
good. I’m there with you. I’m sure that was hard to see Nicholas like that.”

“Wow,” was all
Jena could say at first. “It sucks hardcore.”

“I’m sure. Where
should we go?”

“There were a
few couches over by the elevators,” Jena said. “That way at least we can keep
an eye on who’s coming and going and not look suspicious.”

Simon smiled.
“Good plan. Let’s do it.”

Jena and Simon
spent ten minutes watching people come and go. At times they would crack a joke
and laugh, helping to regulate the adrenaline coursing through their veins. It
was giving Jena a headache.

Jena started to
get antsy. Just as she was about to scream from the building stress, Anish
walked through the elevator.

“Good to see
you,” Jena said. She figured it was better than saying,
It’s about time!

“Give me two
minutes,” Anish said. “Then, we make it happen.”

“Ready,” Jena
said, thinking the conversation probably sounded weird if someone had been
listening.

After two
agonizing minutes, Simon and Jena began walking toward the nurses’ station.
Before they rounded the corner, however, Anish appeared. He seemed to fill the
entire hallway with his presence. At the moment, however, he didn’t fill it
with the feeling of good news. Quite the contrary.

“He’s missing,”
Anish mumbled.

“He’s
what
?”
Jena and Simon said simultaneously.

“You heard me,”
Anish said.

“But … but … but
…” Jena felt like a parrot again, just like the night before on Welsh Road with
Nicholas.

“How could this
have happened in the last ten minutes?” Simon asked, also shocked by this
revelation.

“A nurse was
with him,” Anish said.

“Nurse Poppins,”
Jena said blankly.

“Who?” Anish
asked.

“That’s what I
named her,” Jena explained. “She was amazing.”

“Amazing?” Anish
repeated.

“Yeah,” Simon
agreed sleepily. “She was a nurse.”

Anish folded his
arms across his chest. “Why did you move from your location when I went to
speak with Trevor?”

Jena damn near
gulped. “We got really nervous that we looked suspicious,” she said.

“How nervous?”
Anish asked. It was like he was interrogating them.

“Pretty bad,
come to think of it,” Simon said. “Oh. My. God.
Shit
!” Simon said
harshly. It was obvious he wanted to scream.

“Are you
freaking kidding me?” Jena asked loudly, not wanting to believe what Anish was
implying.

“We are so
stupid!”
Simon said, fuming.

“You need to
calm yourselves right away,” Anish instructed. “Things have not gone as
planned.”

“Ya think?” Jena
asked, waving her hand apologetically.

“She must be
powerful,” Simon said.

“A Demon Master
often is,” Anish said solemnly.

“Poppins? Nurse
Poppins
?”
Jena asked, more to herself than to the others.

“Should we try
to catch her?” Simon asked, not sure what else to do.

“She will have
left by now,” Anish said. “Let’s get back to Trevor.”

Little was said
in the short journey between the third floor and the back lot of the hospital.

“Uh, what’s
going on?” Trevor asked, getting out of the car. “Why are there three, when
there should be four?”

“Get in the
back,” Anish said as he walked past Trevor.

With Anish
driving, the boys in the back, and Jena in the front passenger seat, it didn’t
take long for Trevor to speak.

“So what
happened?”

“Nurse
Poppins
!”
Jena exclaimed.

“Say what?” Trevor
asked.

“The Demon
Master,” Simon said.

“What about
him?” Trevor asked.

“Her!” Jena
corrected. “The Demon Master is a
she
, thank you very much.”

“That’s a
strange victory for feminism,” Trevor observed.

“Really?” Simon
asked, slapping Trevor on the back of the head.

“She disguised
herself as a nurse and stole him out from under our noses,” Anish said,
obviously disgusted with himself for having been outsmarted. “Apparently
dressing up in scrubs does have its advantages.”

“And she used
her powers to scare us off,” Simon added.

“Her powers?”
Trevor asked.

“We need to
refocus our attention,” Anish said urgently.

“But we have no
idea who – or what – this Demon Master is,” Simon interjected. “How could we
possibly find her?”

“Jena,” Anish
said matter-of-factly.

Jena froze.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked.

“You have a
connection to Nicholas,” Anish explained. “You’re also naturally gifted in many
ways. We need you to tell us where Nicholas is.”

“Oh, sure, let
me pull that out of my psychic ass,” Jena said, not meaning to sound
disrespectful. But geesh.

“You won’t have
to pull it out alone,” Anish said sharply. He pulled out his cellphone.

“Who are you
going to call?” Simon asked.

“My guess would
be Ghostbusters,” Trevor answered.

“Your mother,”
Anish said to Trevor. “She needs to be aware of the situation.”

“Do you think
she can help?” Simon asked.

“I’m sure of
it,” Anish said. He turned to Jena. “It’s time to learn something new.”

“What do you
mean?” Jena asked nervously.

“It’s time you
learned a little about astral projection.”

“Oh, shit,” Jena
mumbled. She seemed to be saying that a lot lately

CHAPTER FIVE

Altered Altars

 

1

 

Nicholas stirred
restlessly in his sleep. It was as if he was somehow aware of the foul aroma
coming from his new makeshift bed. The dark magic that had induced his coma was
lifting, and it wouldn’t be long before he awakened. Nicholas’ facial muscles
twitched as a long, black fingernail stroked his cheek. 

“Youth is wasted
on the young,” Nina sneered as she licked her finger. “But it tastes good.”

Nina was
struggling against her intense desire to mutilate Nicholas’ body. She stood at
the edge of the urine-stained mattress, studying her surroundings. She was
standing in what was once the charming living room of a one-story farmhouse.
The home had been abandoned for several years, succumbing to the wrath of time
and the elements. Nina didn’t even need to coerce the owner into selling the
property. The old bitch’s husband had died long ago and she was all too happy
to be rid of it.

The farmhouse
was the perfect location to implement her plan. The property was remote and
difficult to locate. The meandering, winding driveway had long since become
overgrown with grass, weeds, and small shrubbery. Most importantly, it was
located off Welsh Road, which provided more than enough psychic energy from
which she could draw if necessary.

The farmhouse
sat on thirty acres of private land, separate from the city. Although the city
had tried to purchase the land from the farmer, he and his wife would not
budge. Their ancestors had cultivated the land for more than two centuries.
Unfortunately for them, their children had moved away and had no interest in
continuing the family business. With limited federal subsidies and the rising
costs of agricultural equipment, the farm gradually declined until they were
unable to manage the costs of maintaining production. Once he died, his widow
was ready to let the land go and retire to sunny Florida.

“Humans and
their bonds,” Nina hissed.

 “Please, help
me,” a hoarse voice called from the other side of the living room.

Nina danced
across the room, singing Mozart’s aria “Queen of the Night” from
The Magic
Flute.
Her hypnotic voice filled the air, unique and rich. She kneeled down
beside the tortured body of a 19 year-young man.

“What can I do
for you, William,” Nina cooed in his ear.

“Please, save
me. Let me go.”

“Oh, baby boy,”
she sang to him, cradling his head in her arms. “Do not despair. You are in
luck. I brought you here to be saved.”

William stared
at Nina, his expression confused and terrified. She grabbed his head with both
hands and twisted his neck to the right. William moaned.

“Behold,” Nina
ordered sternly, taking one of her hands to gesture around the room. She waited
for William to process what he was seeing. Aside from a few other bodies strewn
in various positions around the room, Nina had built a towering altar in the
center of the room.

“Is that a
cross?” William asked, hope filling his voice.

“Oh, poor soul,”
Nina laughed. “That, my child, is a symbol much older than your Christ. Such a
shame, really. So many ancient meanings lost because of some high-minded
zealots.” She knew now that William believed his death was imminent. She
shivered at the pleasure that rushed through her body. It was the greatest high
she had ever endured. She loved the danger that addiction promised.

William started
crying softly. “Please, ma’am. Please don’t kill me.” 

“But I’m
saving
you, William. Your sacrifice will open doors. And not just for our
brethren, but for you as well.”

His soft cries
grew louder. It wasn’t long before William’s cries escalated into wails and
sobs.

“Such whiners,”
Nina complained. She snapped his neck and threw his head into the mattress.

“Ah, peace and
quiet,” she said with a sigh.

CLANG!

Startled, Nina
jumped to her feet with grace and inhuman speed. Amused, she howled with
laughter and glee.

“Just where do
you think
you’re
going, young man?” she called.

Nicholas leapt
toward what he assumed was the front door to the house. He opened the door and
was slammed with the odor of decomposition. Stunned, he fell backward into
Nina’s arms.

“Whew!” she
said, gripping Nicholas’ nose. He struggled against her, which excited her.
“Would you like me to let you go?”

Nicholas fought
harder. He bit into Nina’s wrist as hard as he could.

“Damn you!” Nina
yelled, throwing Nicholas to the ground and clutching her wrist. Blood was
squirting from between her fingers. Nicholas smiled, rose to his feet, and
sprinted toward the actual front door.

“Not!” Nina
barked as she tripped him. She climbed onto his back and thrust her wrist into
his face. The look of shock on his face thrilled her.

“All better,”
she sang, revealing a perfect wrist. Though there was dried blood around it,
Nicholas could tell that she had somehow healed herself. “Look in that room,
boy,” she said, dragging him back to the doorway.

Nicholas stood
and did as he was told. Nina watched him as his eyes scoured the bodies of
several animals. Rabbits, squirrels, skunks, opossums, a few deer, and other
woodland creatures were littered across the room. When he got to the
domesticated animals, he gasped.

And she laughed.

“I must say,
young Nicholas, that I am impressed by your tenacity. Most people in your
position would have shit themselves by now, or at least would have cried like a
little bitch,” Nina said as she stroked his hair. When he tried to pull away,
she ripped out a handful of his curls. As he cried out in pain, she dragged him
from the doorway and into the center of the living room. She shoved him to the floor
at the base of the altar.

“What is
that
?”
Nicholas asked as he stared, his jaw practically on the floor.

“Isn’t it
grand?” she said, admiring her work. “I guess you were expecting something made
of dead things,” she mused. When Nicholas didn’t answer, she continued. “See
how the ebony vines snake around the marble column? Now that took some time,
Nicholas,” she laughed as she flexed her biceps. “And some muscle. In any case,
this is where it happens. You know, the birthday party.”

“You’re an evil
bitch
,”
Nicholas whispered. He took a deep breath before spitting in her face.

“I’ve been
called worse,” Nina replied as she wiped his saliva from her cheek. “I’ll let
you slide this time. But you had better be nice or I will uninvite your
friends.”

Nicholas arched
his brow. “My friends?”

“Of course!” she
giggled. “They carry with them some necessary ingredients.”

“Ingredients?”
Nicholas asked.

“Is there an
echo in here? For the party, silly!” Nina suddenly jerked her head to the side.
Then a wide smile spread across her face.

“And it looks
like our first guest has just arrived.”

 

 
* * * * * *

2

The drive from
the hospital was silent and tense. About halfway home, Anish had asked Trevor
to take over the driving. Apparently Anish had a headache.

Simon was
admittedly excited to see Anish teach Jena about astral projection. Even more
than that, he was looking forward to seeing Anish’s house. Trevor mentioned
that maybe Anish’s office wasn’t the best place to do weird shit. So Anish
began giving him directions to his humble abode.

“Take a right,”
Anish said. Trevor laughed, nearly missing the small turnoff.

“You live in
BFE,” Simon said as he tried to locate a street sign.

“BFE?” Anish
asked.

“Are you kidding
right now?” Jena said, incredulous. “I thought you were a little more hip than
that.”

“What does it
mean then?” Anish asked impatiently.

Jena rolled her
eyes. “It means Bum Fuck Egypt.”

Anish cocked his
head and looked out the window, as if pondering the challenge of world peace.
“I’m having a difficult time understanding the meaning,” Anish said
matter-of-factly.

The three
teenagers laughed.

“It just means
that you live out in the middle of nowhere,” Trevor said as he patted Anish on
the back. “And seriously, dude, does this road even have a name?”

“Of course it
has a name,” Anish said. “I should know. I named it.”

“What’s it
called?” Simon grinned. “Lives in Sticks?”

Anish laughed.
“Not quite, smartass.”

“Nice!” Simon
said. “He curses!”

“The road is
called Misabe Mukwa Trail,” Anish said proudly.

“What the hell
does that mean?” Trevor asked.

“Grizzly Bear,”
Anish answered.

“God, can you
imagine trying to spell that over the phone?” Jena asked.

“You have a
thing with bears,” Simon observed.

“It is my clan
animal,” Anish explained. “And my namesake of course.”

Simon felt safe
when he was with Anish. He had an enormous level of respect for the man. It
didn’t hurt that he could crack a good joke with the best of them. As they
turned onto a gravel road, Simon could make out a small wood cabin in the
distance.

“That is sweet!”
Trevor sang. “How come we haven’t seen this before?”

“Not many people
do,” Anish said.

Once the car was
parked, Simon took in the view. Anish lived in a cozy, two story cabin. He
figured it couldn’t have been more than a thousand square feet at best.
Together with Trevor and Simon, he jogged up to the front porch. Several wind
chimes hung from the large wooden beams that formed the roof. Colorful flowers
surrounded them, along with remarkably lifelike animals made from small pieces
of wood.

“Make yourselves
at home,” Anish said warmly as he opened the door.

If Simon had
been impressed by the porch, he was absolutely floored by the wonders of hearth
and home. A beautiful, two story fireplace was the central feature. It stood at
the opposite side of the living room from the entrance. The mantle alone was
magnificent. At least four different types of wood had been used, all of which
were intertwined to create a string of infinity symbols. The trunk of a massive
oak tree served as the supporting cast to the mantle. Several pieces of the
tree were framed with varying pieces of wood. Each makeshift portrait glorified
the life of the tree, telling a tale that spanned two stories of history.

The living room
was oddly separate from the rest of the house. Simon caught small glimpses of
the kitchen through an archway to his right. A fantastic circular stairway on
his left led to the second floor, and that about covered it. In the center of
the room were two couches, two recliners, and two archaic – yet beautiful –
rocking chairs. The furniture was brought together by an intricately patterned
coffee table.  

As Simon scanned
the room, he noticed that Trevor had wandered into a corner to mess with stuff.

“You can’t keep
your hands to yourself, can you bro?” Simon teased as he shook his head.

Trevor grinned,
but he didn’t look away from his discovery. In his hands was a book that
appeared to be at least a thousand years old.

“I’ve always
wanted to do this,” Trevor said as he lifted the book closer to his lips. He
blew hard, expecting a funnel cloud of dust to erupt from the old pages.

Nothing
happened.

“Sorry to
disappoint,” Anish chuckled. Trevor shrugged.

“What’s it
about?” Simon asked as he glanced over Trevor’s shoulder.

“I haven’t the
slightest idea,” Trevor answered, flipping the pages.

“Are you looking
for the pictures?” Simon joked. He recognized some of the words on the pages.
“I need to learn Latin, like, asap.”

“All in good
time,” Anish said. “But for now, we have more pressing matters at hand.”

“Right,” Jena
said. “Shall we?” She gestured to the leather couches.

“Whoa,” Simon
exclaimed as he sank into the brown rawhide. “This is the most comfortable seat
ever
.”

“Good to know,”
Jena said as she sat down in the matching couch opposite him. Immediately she
began laughing, bouncing up and down on the cushion. “This
is
really
cozy.”

“Now that you’ve
both gotten your jollies from the furniture…” Trevor moaned.

“I’m nervous,
asshole,” Jena shot back.

“Nice,” Simon
said as he threw a surprisingly heavy coaster at Trevor. It nailed him right
between the eyes.

“Holy shit,
Nolan Ryan!” Trevor cried. “Screw the band. You should play baseball!”

Anish grabbed
everyone’s attention when he noisily pulled one of the rocking chairs across
the room, stopping in front of Jena. He sighed heavily as he sat down and took
Jena’s hands in his own.

BOOK: Welsh Road (The Depravity Chronicles)
10.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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