Book II: Chapter 17
It’s not often when I actually want my revelations to continue, but today I did because I was curious to know more about the relationship between Pope Benedict and Teri Abbracciavento.
“You’re hiding something.” The Pope calmly averred to his guest. He was sitting in his high backed chair behind a massive desk that was itself situated upon a raised dais in the middle of his office – all of which allowed him to look down upon any visitors seated before him.
“Oh, I wish you’d close those drapes so I don’t have to stare into the sun behind you.” Mystery complained. “It’s not creating the halo effect you’re looking for, so can we lose the charade in my case?”
A momentary tightening of the jaw was the only perceptible sign of Joseph’s irk, yet outwardly he smiled as he pressed another button on his desk – causing the heavy curtains to close.
The room grew noticeably darker, yet Joe made no effort to turn on any lights, “I’d imagine you’re more comfortable with the lights off, my dear? After all, from The Darkness you came, and to It you shall ret—“
“Spare me the dramatics, please, Joe. I already told you I appreciate the praise for the Ki-Moon mission – although that was a pretty easy job. And yes, my father is doing well at the chateau you secured for him. But this meeting was supposed to be about Ma’bus and what we’re going to do next.”
“Haven’t we been discussing that for the last 45 minutes? And yet YOU who are the one not being forthright with me.”
“You can read me like a book – or so you believe.” Mystery smiled. “Well if you are correct, then what is it that I am hiding?”
“You have avoided my questions about Professor Zarus.”
“What is there to tell? You told me to ensure that he was safe.”
“I told you to bring him to me!” Joe slammed his fist onto the desk.
“It wasn’t safe here.”
“But it was safer to bring him to Ma’bus?” Joe took a deep breath and sat back in his chair – he looked at Mystery for a long time without saying a word.
At last, he got up, walked over to his sidebar, poured himself a tall glass of Barenfang – sans ice – and then returned to his seat.
He did not offer Mystery a drink.
(Good for you, Joe!)
Looking at his guest, Pope Benedict took a long pull of his liquor and let out a big sigh. “Mystery, so help me God, you are playing a game you cannot win. If you try to double cross me, I will not only see that you burn in Hell – which is already a given – but you’ll lose your promised riches in this life too. Is that what you want?”
Straightening her shoulders and raising her chin high, Mystery gamely replied, “I merely want what is coming to me. No more. No less.”
“Oh, you’ve got that coming, sister. Don’t worry.”
“In any case…”
(Hmmm, that’s news to me. Like I said before, perhaps if I had attended some of the more recent Brotherhood meetings I’d be more up on current events – interesting).
“I only did as I was told.”
“Not by me! I told you to bring Zarus to Rome.”
“That plan is still in progress.”
“So who told you to take Zarus to Ma’bus first?”
“I can’t answer that question.” Mystery looked down at her lap.
Another nod to ponder, another sip on his drink,. “Interesting. Yet, no matter. I’ll let you can keep your secrets, Mystery – for now.”
But then, Joe’s voice grew darker, “It’s not a sin to expel a demon. With that in mind, dear, I ask you — why should I even let you walk out of my office alive?”
(Wow, now this was clearly a side of my friend that I had not seen before!)
Yet Mystery didn’t even flinch. “We both know that you cannot complete your plans without me.”
Joe finished his drink, “You’d better hope that’s STILL the case, eh?” And before Mystery could reply, he added, “But let’s get to the heart of the matter — Zarus is secondary — it’s his prized possession I really need.”
(Oh no, not you too, Joe).
“Oh that…” Mystery snickered.
“Well, it seems… there’s been a change of plans there. You see, although Alan himself will be coming to you, his Nail won’t.”
“What good is Zarus to me without The Nail?”
(This is looking worse for you, Joe. Whose side are you on, anyway?)
“That’s between you and Ma’bus. My mission, in your very words, was to ‘deliver Alan Zarus’ to you and, as I said, that is still in progress.”
“You, demon-whore!” Joe snarled, slobber running down the side of his mouth. “You know Zarus is worthless to without The Nail. Mystery, you have failed me!” And he arose from his seat and moved menacingly towards her.
Mystery made no move to stop him — for she appeared certain that the Pope was all bark and no bite.
It must have come as a surprise then when Joe viciously grabbed her by the throat and pulled her out of her seat!
Spinning her around and slamming her back against the desk, Joe continued choking her, “You knew it was Zarus’ Nail I wanted. You knew I needed all three. And yet you dare to defy me? Why?”
(OK, I am as confused as you are. I was certain that Ma’bus was The Beast – hell, Ma’bus himself said he was Satan’s Son! But what about Joe?)
My God, is there more than one Antichrist?!?