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The Chronicle of Belthaeous

by John W. Steele

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Chapter 49: Malcolm

Malcolm stood in the squared corridor outside the doors of the assembly. When he saw me, he smiled. “Please come with me, Dr. Neumann.”

We rode an elevator to the third floor above the library. Malcolm did not speak; he remained stoic and self-assured. Though he was a man of small stature, there was a quiet courage about him, a quality inside that could not be taught or counterfeited. I sensed he was a theomorph and wondered how he’d ended up as a servant of evil.

He did not appear intimidated by the Enukai agents, and I wondered if he really knew what these things were. Though the Enukai were strange, they could easily be mistaken as human by someone unfamiliar with their ontological and biological profile.

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“You need to be briefed, Dr. Neumann. The details of tonight’s ceremony are a secret. No one but Dr. Nacroanus and a few selected others know entirely how this evening is to unfold. Miss Whithers holds a piece of the puzzle. You will meet her in a conference room at six pm. At that time, she will instruct you about your role in the proceedings.”

Malcolm eyed the agents warily. “This is all I’m supposed to tell you, Dr. Neumann. It’s all I know. Please do not ask me any more questions. I am not privy to what is going on. It’s my job to make sure you are prepared for the cameras.”

I followed him to a suite that had been prepared for me. The Enukai took their post outside the door and stared into space like the programmed robots they were.

Once inside, Malcolm went into the closet and removed an Oxford tailored suit. “This is the garment you are to wear this evening,” he said dryly. “I’m sure you would like to rest for a while. After your shower, Miss Whithers will meet with you to outline your part in the ceremony. It’s my job to correlate your itinerary.”

“Can I make a phone call?” I asked.

Malcolm shook his head. “No, that’s not possible.” His eyes bored into mine. “I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t want to know, but you are very important right now. The CIA agents will be outside your door until you leave.”

Malcolm brushed my suit and draped a black silk bow tie over the shoulders of the jacket. “It’s time for me to go. I’ll be back around six pm to give you the once-over.”

“How long have you been with Genibolic?” I asked.

Malcolm froze and our eyes met. He paused for a moment and then looked away. “Things are never as they seem, Dr. Neumann. I have no choice about the design of my life. I have three children. My youngest is on dialysis. Genibolic has provided her with the best of care for almost ten years now, and I owe them a great debt of gratitude. I’m aware of the rumors that abound, but I don’t have the luxury of those able to pick and choose.

“You exist on a different plane, sir. I am indentured by design. I tell you this because you need to know: there is many a mouse caught in a trap. I make the best of what the world has to offer. But do not think for a moment you are the only one bound by a conscience.”

I lowered my head. “Yes, of course, Malcolm. I meant nothing by it, but thank you.”

He smiled, his eyes filled with Light. “This is big, Dr. Neumann. I have to trust in the powers that be, and I can’t wait to see what Genibolic has been up to.” He turned abruptly and left the room.

When the door opened, the Enukai scum glared at me for a moment. The ruby beads of their eyes glowed like cherry embers.

Somewhere outside, I heard Croitus barking orders in the hall. His voice boomed like a drum. You can always tell when assholes are around; they seem to be in awe of their own presence, and it goes doubly so for Enukai assholes, because I could smell them, too.

I dreaded the thought of tonight’s proceedings. The sense of being trapped by circumstances that have no solution is just another form of exploitation in Mammon’s reality.

I stepped into the shower and removed the Eye from around my neck. I rubbed it gently with my thumb. The focus of the gemstone glimmered and was more mysterious than the wall of diamond in the cave of the ancient. I knew this thing could kill me in a second if it wanted to. I knew that I’d been spared for a reason.

Now that I had seen through the lies of my programming, I would not relinquish this precious gift until I knew for sure its true purpose and my role in this carnival of insanity.

I felt a pressure in the back of my skull that rolled forward to the roof of my mouth. A feverish sensation seeped into my marrow. I clenched the Eye in my hand and braced myself for a fall.

“Well, well, well, my bright little star. I see you’ve not yet surrendered your will to Darkness.”

The unpleasant sensation disappeared.

“Get out of my head, Belthaeous. You’re not welcome here.”

“You need to awaken further,” the Avatar said. “One small act of courage tonight will create a wormhole for millions of theomorphs. A little more time is all they need to see through the illusion that has bound them here for eternity. Many stand at the edge of awakening and are about to emerge from the slumber of their programming. You could be instrumental in this revelation, Dr. Neumann. Give me the Eye, and I will rescue the dead.

“The evil Archons on the Astral are a short time away from embarking on a crusade outside the black hole of this universe. No theomorph will be safe, and countless beings of Light will become ensnared in the inferior dimension of matter. Have you no heart, man? You can prevent this sacrilege. Give Mindy the Eye before it’s too late.”

“It’s already too late, demon.” I said. “It’s impossible to escape from the power of evil. Even the pure of heart are misled by its design. You are no different. You say you were sent here to rescue mankind, but you’ve already enchanted Mindy with your lies.

“I don’t believe you. You may want to destroy Nacroanus, but in your heart you seek his power. As long as I hold the Eye, there is hope. Time will reveal why it has been delivered to me.”

“You are no longer asleep, you have reunited with your essence,” Belthaeous replied. “You have seen through the illusion, a feat accomplished by one in a million. But this is no time for self-congratulation. Had you not experienced what is most difficult to experience, you would be as blind and brainwashed as any other Light being shackled in this dimension.

“Nothing but a vague sense that something wasn’t right would dwell within you always, but you would be powerless to grasp what it was. This is the awesome depth and power of Maya; it is entirely invisible and inconceivable from the fetters of intellect.

“You must trust me. Do not allow the powers of darkness to dissuade you from your mission. Give me the Eye or be prepared to serve in a virtual hell for eternity.”

I slammed my fist on the wall and kicked open the shower door. “Apparently I was born for Hell, because this Eye has brought me nothing but suffering. I want to be freed from it, but I believe no one. Words create lies that are more powerful than irrefutable evidence; truth is a mummified parody in this realm of shadows. No one can take the Eye from me, and I will not give it to someone based on faith in their words.”

“Our time is short, Dr. Neumann. Listen to me carefully. There is a secret that has not been revealed to you. Not even Jerus understood the implication of all the codices in the Chronicle of Belthaeous. But there is a season for all things, and I will deliver the prophecy to you:

The chosen one stood at the crack between the worlds, one foot beyond heaven, the other chained to the earth. And the power of the Usurper was delivered unto him.

And no earthly prophecy could dispel its curse, for the burden was born upon him, that the daemon of Darkness would be wounded for a season.

“What are you talking about, Belthaeous? Who could fathom such gibberish?”

“You will discover the meaning in due time. The curse is upon you, and nothing on this plane can alter the power of your will.”

The pressure in my head leaked from my ears and out through my sinuses, and he was gone.

I got dressed and sat in a chair at the desk. I thought about Heidi and contemplated the new order that awaited my son. If I could just say, “Screw it all.” I would feel none of it, my anguish would pass. I would be as free and appeased as the robots and the psychics, content to believe that the written words of men are beyond corruption.

Proceed to Chapter 50...

Copyright © 2014 by John W. Steele

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