Automobile

‘Thats ok, I’m driving.’ I looked at him skeptical.  Cars were rare, but people who were willing to drive nearly 250 miles, rarer still. I kept my mouth shut and waited by the curb with my bag packed, dawdling on the pavement in front of the fine establishment which I had existed in for somewhere close to six month.  The boy scurried away carrying one of my bags under his well dressed arm. When Grim said he would send for me, I didn’t imagine this.
The man behind the iron mask was most interested in my stuborness when it came to dying. “You seem to be most reluctant” were Grim’s exact words. This had preceeded the events to unfold when I would see myself swathed in fine linen and fed like a king. Oil. It had begun to grip the planet in its greasy grip. And I was one of the benefactors, for a time. 
Purring like a kitten a vehicle approached and came to an unusually smooth stop by the curb where I stood.
‘Mr Game, if you please’ he gestured to me from his driving position.  I was no automible fanatic but I recognised a Silver Ghost when I saw one. The pride of the North, people daydreamed about this exquisite machine, while I usually daydreamed about overcast skies, so long ago.
I placed my bag on the rear seat and climbed in along side my chauffeur.  Ha! I had a chauffeur. They would love this at the Order…no they wouldn’t.
‘So where exactly in London is Mr Iron mask?’ The lackey ignored the childish jibe as he forced the gear stick down.
‘Why, she’s at the Palace, of course!’
‘Pardon?’ I was shocked. But he didn’t reply to my question, instead he smiled at me through the side of his face while he kept his eyes on the cobbled road ahead.


Head hunted

‘How many?’ He asked out of the darkest corner of the pub. His face was completely shrouded in darkness,  the only light came from the occasional flare from the angry red bulb of his pipe.
He was a big one, and wore a large rimmed hat of sort, like I said, he was sitting in the dark.
‘How many what?’ I knew exactly what he meant but his sudden question and spooky appearance in the corner behind me had pirked my temper slightly. I don’t like surprises.
‘How old are you?’ Again the bulb glowed. I had to think. I mustn’t have looked any older than late twenties, what a bizarre question to ask me. Unless, of course, he knew exactly who he was talking with which disturbed me even further. If I disliked surprises then I hated uncertainty.  I slammed my glass down on the bench and approached the big man in the corner who stayed exactly where he was, still puffing on his pipe. He seemed relaxed but I couldn’t tell either way.
‘Are you going to answer any of my questions, Mr Game?’ Now he leaned forwards, his eyes hidden beneath the rim of his fedora hat.
‘Not until you have answered mine first. And think carefully because the answer to this question could determine the rest of your life, or to be more precise, how much of your life you have left to live.’ His response was raucous laughter which must have cleared the bats out of the loft it was so loud. And, despite myself, I found myself laughing along with him after a moment or so.
‘He said you were a wild one, but shit boy. Go on, ask away’ he clapped his big hand down on the table. I was impressed with the size of this man but I was far from intimidated.
‘How do you know who I am, and who said I was wild, am wild?’
‘Now, now! That’s two questions Mr Game.’ He laughed again. I found myself relaxing,
‘Just fucking talk.’ I sat down.
‘Ok punchy. You ever heard of the Iron mask?’


The Bastard of Bolton

Ok, so out on my own.  I hadn’t realised how much I had come to think of them as my family, again. Not a mistake I ever intend to repeat.
The year is 1913, and the world is charged with evil. Me chief amongst them, apparently.  The Order has packed up and gone to the United States of America. Apparently to re-connect with another, similar, sister-like Order that shipped out over there back when the land barrens were located over there to help colonise the ‘new world’.
Maybe that seed had come to fruition, because this fucking place…it was sick and rotting from the core.
Its fucking raining, to top it off. Out on my luck and deserted by the only people who ever, really knew me or at least where I came from, I left them behind me and crossed over the pennines to the red rose counties. I had found shelter in a disreputable drinking establishment, which of course, also offered whores and a great number of nefarious services to the bearer of the correct sum. I was not a punter. I had settled as a rogue trader. My speciality was bounty hunting, or rather making sure these people never got found again. That was until my fortunes changed and I got given a name that would eventually set me back on the correct path, I think. Well if not correct then at least one that pays better!
What? Don’t judge me, you don’t know what I’ve been through…or maybe you do. I’m bad and I fucking love it.
Thats me, Henry Game the bastard of Bolton.


Excommunicated

Apparently I have serious anger issues…Funny that. I have never thought of myself as an angry person. In fact, I can’t say that I am ever angry.  I just react.  Yeah, that sounds about right. I react to the situation, or action taken against me or my interests.
I’m not angry.
Am I?
Irritated from time to time maybe. Often. Always. This is fine with me. But the boys of the ‘order of st oswalds’ reckon they cannot condone such violent behaviour. They don’t want to, no fuck that, they ain’t ever seen violence till they’ve been writhing beneath my cold grip and I hear their bones pop beneath their lumpy throats…
Fuck them, all of them.
I’m going, I don’t need them anyway.
I’m gone.


Son of the Wicked.

Was this what I was always meant to be? I looked down at my hands soaked through to the bone with the blood of the countless. In a way, I felt relieved to finally have some semblance of clarity. As shitty as it may be. Now, at least I know where I, no not where, what I am.
The son of the wicked.
However, the pastor certainly seemed to be shining a rose tinted light on the prince of darkness,  for a man of the cloth. He knew too much to be a regular Priest. An old and withered hand rested on my forearm.
‘I know son, the truth can both set you free and improsen you to the inevitability of self fulfilling prophecy. You do not always get to choose.’ I pulled my arm away from him before responding.
‘And how is it that you have all this knowledge of my…heritage?’ He laughed a horrible choking gagg which resulted in a long hawked out ball of bloodied phlegm.
‘Something amusing to you?’ I snapped, half concerned.  He couldn’t die now, I needed answers!
‘Ahhh, just you. And how you assume.’ His eyes flashed at me again causing the hairs on the arm closest to him to raise. I pulled my arm away from the draw that resonated from him, again.
Assume? You lost your mind Priest?’ I teased as I rubbed the hairs down on my arm.
‘You will see. But first you need protection from the spectres. I am aware of your…travels. ‘ I looked at him again, but this time I saw something different, behind the veneer of vulnerability, behind the facade of age. This was no ordinary priest. I’m not even sure if it was Human.
‘I, ahhh, I don’t know what you-
-come off it!! You think that your evil deeds go unnoticed? You think that your actions go unnoticed by him?‘ For the first time in over four hundred years I felt like a child again being chided by the monks for some wrong doing. I smiled, but the way he said the word ‘him’ sent goose flesh up my arm again.
‘By ‘him’ you mean-
– I mean the devil, your true father.’ I sniggered before responding.
‘Now that you mention it, I don’t suppose I did, no!’
‘Do not mock!’ He spat before turning away from me,’you were created for more than this…existence. You were meant for more than the what you are now, a mere puppet for the world’s greater evils.’
‘Really?’ I let the question hang in the air but I hadn’t finished and the priest knew this, ‘So what was I meant for?’ The priest fished inside his loose black robes and produced a brown leather book. A pentagram was branded into the front cover. He held it out toward me.
‘You were meant for this. The world and everything in it, my son.’


Descendant.

‘As it was written: The Lord of Lords, our heavenly father bore his first creation. A son, to rule as his equal. And, his beloved was seated to the right of the divine and ruled over all the Angels in heaven.’
I blinked hard. Why was this old fool reciting some biblical passage to me? Does he think I have come to be converted, again? Shit. Maybe I have.
‘Well that sounds great.’ I said as I shot to my feet and turned to leave,  preferably before he starts again. I felt a cool hand on my shoulder.
‘Wait, there is more.’ My patience had officially run out.
‘Oh I am sure there is father. But, the thing is I am not interested in fucking hearing it!’ He removed his hand from my shoulder. Good, at least I will not have to break your hand.
‘I know what you are.’ The words hung in the staleness of the empty chapel.  I had stopped. What do you mean!
‘I beg your pardon?’ I menaced as I approached him. However, he did not flinch in fear instead he opened his arms to embrace me. I drew my dagger.
‘You are not like us’ he began as he gripped my forearm and dragged the edge of my blade across his open palm.
‘We mortals!’ He spat as he clinched his hand and the blood dripped from his fist.
‘I bleed.’ I objected. I wasn’t sure why I felt like I needed to defend the vulnerability of my skin, but…and I sure as all hell wasn’t going to cut myself to prove it to him. But something in his glittering eyes held me. He knew what I was, but the funny part of all this was, I didn’t even know what I was.
‘Yes you bleed. But no weapon made from the hands of men will kill you. This, you already know.’ He said as he slowly circled me as if inspecting his live stock at the markets.
‘Equal in every way except one…for the Lord was not ruled by anything but his son was ruled by his heart, as-‘
‘-for the love of God, just fucking tell me!’ The old man’s smile grew even wider. I felt like a fly caught in the web of the spider.
‘No, not God Henry. You are not of his creation, you are the work of his son.’
‘His son?’
‘Archangel Satanael. Or better known, simply, as Satan.’
‘Shit…’ I breathed in realisation.  All the bad things I had done started to finally make sense. I am a monster, a true monster.


The order of St Oswalds

image

I returned to the chapel. More than four hundred years had passed since I left on my personal crusade of righteous revenge. Funnily enough, as I stood at the door of the ancient church I looked up. The sky was overcast and threatening.  I thumped on the huge door once more. Rain was coming, I could smell it. The barren land to the side of where I stood echoed with the horror of the flames that engulfed my home. Or what was…now, it has been erased from existence. I felt moisture on my cheek. I looked up again and saw no rain, then I realised, I was weeping! I pounded the door with my clenched fist and left dents in the sun bleached paintwork of the plain red door.
I turned away and headed back up the stone slabbed path. I wanted to turn back and walk over the earth that raised me. I hoped that the well still stood. Probably not, probably destroyed. 
‘Yes?’ Called the weary voice from behind me. I turned and looked into the eyes of the old pastor whom remained half hidden behind his door of isolation. He opened his door wider and a knowing smile spread across his face as he walked toward me. I paused and actually felt a little unnerved by him. He looked like he knew me and even looked happy to see me! I thought of turning and leaving again, but something he said stopped me dead in my tracks. A simple statement that felt like home. And as the rain began to pour so too did my own tears as he softly said;
‘You have returned’


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