Ephraim Godwin and the Sins of the Past - Part 18 CH 45 & 46
Oringo ran down the tunnel, his swaying lantern casting shadows in front and behind. Mr. Cook told him to return straight away, time was running out. Oringo didn't understand what was going on half of the time, but he knew better than to disappoint the man. A lesson demonstrated on Mr. Hatty but learned by Oringo fairly quickly.
At the time, he thought all the blood was excessive but after each kill since Oringo grew to accept it. Blood was necessary for the master's plan to advance. Oringo licked his lips at the thought; necessary and enjoyable. Mr. Hatty used fear and intimidation to gain what they needed, rarely moving past a balled fist to deliver his message across. In the beginning, that alone scared Oringo. The few memories he possessed of his true father were warm and loving, more feelings than formed memories.
All that changed when his father left for the war. The family fell on hard times and then the letter came. He never remembered a time his mother cried more than when the man delivered the message with his hat in his hand and a sad look on his face; his earliest memory, but not the most horrific. That memory he blocks out...the best he can.
Oringo can still hear his mother's shrieks after Hatty slipped into their room. He stops in the tunnel, his eyes squeezed shut. Whispering a prayer to the dark god Mr. Cook introduced him to, Oringo begs them to help him forget the things done to her. His mother's cries seemed to get louder as dark, quiet laughter bounces off the stone walls. He bites the inside of his cheek until he tastes blood. The warm fluid shocks his senses back, and he is in the tunnel once again; his mother's cries as silent as when Hatty slipped his knife between her breasts.
Oringo yelped in panic when a dark blob fell on to his shoulder, slipping down his chest and into his free arm. He almost flung the thing, but something stayed his hand. The blob rolled in his grip, a face occasionally appearing, and he held the lantern up to shine brighter on the creature. It shied away from the hot box, squishing flat against Oringo's chest.
He wasn't sure what it was, but Mr. Cook would be happy. This made three. But if it's here, the others must be close. The thought did nothing but fuel his anger. Oringo needed that locket back; the last connection to his mother. If not for the creature, Oringo would wait for them to advance, so he could retrieve it but Mr. Cook would have his hide if anything happened to it.
Footsteps echoed in the darkness. Oringo held still, listening with the effort Hatty taught him over the years. Two sets of footfall, both too heavy to be a lady's so must be the Doctor and the locket-stealer. He cursed under his breath and ran the opposite directing. There'd be time; he'd been promised an eternity.
Ephraim stood at the bottom, waiting for the Inspector. The tunnel amplified all noise, and he thought he heard a scream...if not in terror than surprise at least. He strained to separate all the noise but failed as the Kimbell jumped to the stone floor. He motioned for Ephraim to lead as he slipped out his revolver.
"Wouldn't do to be caught unaware down here," Kimbell said as he fell into step behind Ephraim.
"Yes, but the Lord only knows where he is leading us," Ephraim said, his focus solely on the boy.
With all the confusion above ground, he wondered if he possibly misheard the boy. There had been a terrible racket between the screams, the water, and the creature exiting the girl; maybe the answer had been something other than mother. Ephraim shook his head as they hurried forward. He knew in his heart that the boy spoke the truth and the improbable if not the impossible had happened. His boy was alive and a monster.
Mr. Cook's eyes opened slowly. The return had been more difficult than he anticipated. Something deep in Dr. Livingstone had held Cook even as he struggled to leave. It was the first time he ever entered a living human. He would have believed it impossible to his dying breath, except he just slipped into a live man and beat back his conscious mind.
Cook continued to stare at the ceiling with unblinking eyes. He moved the man like a puppet, and the strain no more than riding a horse. Of course in his old body, he would have expired over the energy needed but Mr. Whitlock's form was special. Ojo'out delivered just as promised all those years ago.
Cook was so close to exacting his revenge. True, the men were now all gone, but Cook wanted to bring England to her knees; to make her pay for even thinking of sending those monstrous men to his homeland to do her bidding. He would open the gates of Hell in the center of her heart and let the demons pour forth like so many locusts.
Sitting up, Cook took a deep breath. There was still so much they would need to get done before that day could come. He glanced at the table and smiled. Three cages sat on a table. Two of them held the dark creatures they had called forth with the knife. The third should be on its way here with Oringo. The thought made him smile. The plans he had for the boy only made his revenge that much sweeter.
He's still just a boy, but soon, with my help, he will be a man to be feared.
Zona floated in the dark. No magic trap kept her out of the way, she was simply unconscious. Her blood boiled at her foolishness. Always be on the lookout! She told herself for the hundredth time since sipping that tea. Whatever the Doctor had used was powerful. No...not the Doctor, but Mr. Cook, the medicine man. And while Zona appreciated his pain, she could not forgive the man for his part in all the deaths over the last few days.
Taking a deep breath, Zona tried to contact Ephraim once again. Her cries seemingly fell on deaf ears, but she felt it more likely the man wasn't asleep yet. Most likely the fool still ran through the sewer tunnels looking for the boy. She shook her head at the thought.
"That boy will end up breaking him," she whispered, needing the words to be said out loud and not trapped in her head.
In all the commotion, Zona caught the boy's proclamation. She realized who the boy was and her heart ached from the information. It would do Ephraim no good to find his son after so long, to only discover his captor had corrupted the boy beyond redemption. So she floated in the darkness, praying she could either gain Ephraim's attention or wake up naturally. That is if Cook didn't overdo the poison.
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