The Deal: Soul Protection Part 4

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Using a nearby tree to hide myself I studied their movements, hoping that at some point they would break from their stances and go elsewhere. I could feel frustration begin to well up inside me as they showed no signs of moving. Eventually I guessed that I would have to find another way in, and that was when the idea suddenly occurred to me.
   I had gained entry to the courtyard via a small service door and I was certain there must be another such entrance into the building itself. I was already on the east side of the building so I started off in that direction, again trying to be as much of a ninja as possible.
   Fortunately for me the parameter of the decaying building was lined only with grass which seemed to emit a pungent odour every time I stood on it.
   My intuition had been spot on for once in my life. After a few minutes of walking I finally found the smaller door I was looking for. I approached it with caution, aware that it could take only the smallest of sounds to alert the Grimoyle’s to my presence in their realm.
   I reached out and grabbed the wrought iron handle, surprised to find that it was warm instead of cold. That meant someone or something had not long used the door and could still be close by. I was going to have to do my best ninja impersonation from that point onwards.
   Turning the handle I slowly edged the door open, trying to create just enough of a gap so that I could peek inside. I really shouldn't have been surprised by what I saw given that I was in Hell, but I could still feel my stomach lurch as I peered into what must have been the kitchen. A Grimoyle was standing near a work table, a meat clever in its hand.
   On the table lay a naked man who I did not recognise was spread out on the table, large nails had been hammered through the palms of his hands and the shins of his legs.
   I watched as the Grimoyle grabbed hold of the man’s penis and yanked it hard enough to tear it free from his body and discard it to the side like a used tissue.
   The man let out an agonised scream which briefly filled the air. My natural instinct to help him was tempered by what the monk said earlier about the woman who had endured a similar torture only a short time ago.
   No soul in Hell wasn't there for no reason. They had all done something to deserve their punishment. But still, as I watched the winged demon begin to hack at the man’s thigh with the cleaver I couldn't help but wonder just how long that punishment should be for.
   I continued to watch the demon heft the severed leg in its bony claws. It seemed impressed with the weight and trotted off towards a set of stairs which seemed to lead upwards. If I was going to infiltrate the building now was my chance.
   As quietly as I could I snuck into the kitchen and closed the door behind me. I noted that the demon had left behind the bloodstained meat clever. I quickly made my way over and grabbed it. Holding it in my right hand I could feel the power of the gold ring work its way down my hand and connect with the clever. Suddenly I felt like I had a fighting chance, albeit not a big one.
   ‘Please help me.’ The choked cry came from the man on the table. I turned to face him and recognised that he couldn't have been any older than twenty. Still a kid in my eyes.
   ‘There's no point. There is nowhere for you to run to.’ I said, sounding more callous than I had intended.
   ‘I know, but you could at least give me a fighting chance?’ He asked, pleading in his voice.
   I looked down at the ragged wound where his manhood had been and then at the blood soaked stump where he was now missing a leg. I couldn't see how he was going to do any kind of fighting at all.
   ‘They grow back after a time and then it starts all over again. Please I'm not asking to go back home I just want a chance to defend myself from those things.’ He said, his voice soaked with tears as he noticed me checking out his wounds.
   I glanced towards the stairwell listening for any footsteps or other noises that might signal someone was coming. I already had the feeling that if Satan found out I was helping the monk then I could very well end up worse off than the wretched soul on the table. But the human side of me, the side that still actually gave a shit about anything wanted to let the man go.
   ‘Please!’ He cried and it was then I decided that it might be a good idea to let him go. Although one part of me wanted him to at least survive the night, if there was such a thing in Hell, but also he could very well be a handy distraction.
   He screamed through gritted teeth as I pulled each nail out until all his limbs where free. I could feel a thick layer of sweat form on my forehead as I took a step back and glanced over at the stairwell again. There was no way all that noise had gone unnoticed, not in a place like this where they actively sought out anything breathing to kill just for the sport of it.
   I kept my eyes on the stairs as the wounded man swung his good leg off the table and let the weight of his body pull him to the floor. I turned just in time to see him crawling towards the door and I couldn’t help but hope that his missing body grew back quicker than he said they did or he wasn’t even going to be much of a sport for the smaller winged demons.
   ‘Thank you. I won’t forget this.’ He said, gasping as he clawed his way towards the door.
   ‘Good luck.’ I thought, before deciding it was time to head upwards.

The stairwell was narrow, even for me, there was only single lit torch every few feet making it hard to tell if the shadows dancing on the moss covered walls belonged to me or something more powerful.
   The air became more stagnant as I made my way upwards and I figured by the overpowering aroma that I must have been getting closer to an entrance. Sure enough, a few steps later and the last of the torches illuminated yet another closed door.
   Feeling claustrophobic by that point I gratefully reached out to grab the handle and almost fell backwards as the door was whipped open. For a few moments of silence I couldn’t quite comprehend what I was looking at, and then it suddenly dawned on me.
   I was staring straight into the huge black eyes of the Grimoyle that trotted off with the freshly cut leg of human. I gripped the machete tight in my hand as it too seemed to come to the same realisation.
   Better make a move now Sammy boy. I thought to myself as I saw its mouth open, ready to scream.
   Without any further hesitation I brought the blade of the machete down as hard as I could on its head. There was no noise except a soft wet explosion of blood as the razor sharp blade sliced down the centre of its head like it was made of butter, leaving behind it a bloody stump.
   I raised the blade again, wiping globules of blood from my eyes, ready to finish the job. But just as I was able to clear my vision I could see its now lifeless body fall to the floor in a heap.
   Just because my little encounter was quite possibly the quietest killing I had ever performed it did not mean that others would not come looking for it once they had waited too long for fresh body parts. I was going to have to get moving quickly now.
   So I stepped over the fallen demon and into a long hallway which after a few feet opened out into the great hall. I continued to edge my way forward, listening and watching for anything that might pose a threat.
   As I moved and was able to take in more of the hall, I noticed that it was actually pretty barren. In the centre was a huge pit that roared with crimson flames. I assumed this was Argol’s fire, the very thing that could destroy the scroll Henetia had stolen.
   Other than the fire I couldn’t see any other forms of light, although there definitely seemed to be more light shining outwards in the direction I was moving. As I got closer to the end of the hallway, I came across an opening and that probably once had a door on it but had long since been removed.
   This time I could hear something. A voice that sounded like finger nails being drawn down a chalk board with each word that was spoken.
   ‘Sire, we cannot find the means needed to destroy the scroll. We have been unable to get any more information from the monastery and the sacred texts have offered no guidance.’ Flattening myself against the wall I peered round and through the opening.
   I found myself looking into a large, brightly lit stage area which looked out towards the rest of the hall. Sitting on a throne made entirely of human skeletons, was this huge, obese creature with massive razor sharp horns protruding from the top of his head. Its skin was a mottled green colour with a constant greasy shine.
   Standing before, who I was certain was Henetia, was a much smaller minion of darkness. This one wore a robe just like the monk but it had none of the fancy embroidery around the hood or the cuffs and the quality of the material did not look as luxurious as my good friends.
   ‘It has been two days and not you or your brothers have been able to find a solution to my problem, Azry. I am beginning to lose patience with you, and I can’t help but wonder if I should just through you into the mighty fire.’ Henetia was a stark contrast to the other demonic creatures in terms of the way he spoke. His words where softly spoken and cleanly weaved together under the control of a deep and commanding voice.
   I watched as the massive creature chewed on the freshly chopped leg I had seen the Grimoyle preparing for him.
   ‘I beg your forgiveness sire. We are still searching the texts but the dark lord keeps a lot of information hidden from us.’ Said Azry, keeping his head bowed in-front of his master.
   ‘Yes, the dark one did not create all of us with the knowledge he has, but that does not mean we are too stupid to learn Azry.’ Said Henetia, gulping down the remainder of the leg.
   I quickly ducked back into the hallway when the huge demon turned to face my direction as if he had sensed my presence.
   ‘Where is my food? Why is it taking so long!?’ He demanded, and when no answer came I could hear him direct his anger at the small minion. ‘Azry, go and see what is keeping my food from being brought to me or I will eat you instead.’
   I peeked back through the opening to see Azry the minion bow and mutter something in his own language before heading in my direction. It was as I glanced back that I noticed the ornate gold case of the scroll, tiny compared to the throne it had been placed under, but at least I now knew where it was.
   Pushing myself as far into the darkness as I could, I waited for Azry to come through the opening, machete ready. I had no place to run or hide, and since the clock was ticking my only option left was to stand and fight.
   Sure enough, the brown robed minion stepped through the doorway and once he was just about to step past me I lashed out with the machete. The blade connected with the spot where its neck should have been and sliced all the way through.
   There was a brief gush of blood from the headless body before it fell to the floor and without wasting any more time, I turned my attention back to Henetia. There was no sneaky way of getting my hands on the scroll. Frustrated I realized that the only way to get to it was to show myself.

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