The Chronicle of Belthaeous
by John W. Steele
Chapter 35: The Equation
On the fifth night we were together, I got up around three a.m. and snuck out of Heidi’s bed without saying goodbye. There could be no goodbyes. I couldn’t bear the thought of it. She’s the only person with whom I had ever shared the trauma of my past. Not even Lydia understood how deeply I’d been scarred. I never told Lydia about the painful memories that still influenced my behavior. I didn’t want her to know.
But Heidi shared with me the awful things that tormented me, and the comfort of her understanding was something I’d never known. I did not feel ashamed around her, and I loved her as if she were part of me. She knew I had a hang-up about goodbyes, and I admired her for allowing me to leave without a celebration.
When I returned to Genibolic, I felt rested and a little more grounded. Heidi soothed my anxiety and eased the burden of despair. Despite the gloomy prospects awaiting me, we’d crammed a short lifetime into the few days we spent together.
My affairs were in order. Feinstein assured me he would attempt to negotiate a quick settlement with Lydia. Evidently her fundamentalist religious ideology had lost its charm. He told me Lydia wanted to join the Temple of Divine Fellowship, a cult nestled somewhere in the foothills of India. According to him, she’d become smitten by Swami Parese Bon Jub, and she wanted to become a member of his ashram. I thought it was a good idea. I needed to put this chapter behind me.
When I arrived at Tacoma International I waded into the crowd, oblivious to everything but my memory of Heidi and the thoughts about our new son.
From behind I felt a sharp tap on my shoulder that sent a tremor down my spine. I spun around in a fighting stance.
Croitus stood behind me. His timing could not have been a coincidence; the son of bitch must have been tailing me the whole time.
“Hey, doctor Numbnuts, where do you think you’re going? You need to follow me.”
He was alone. At least that’s how it appeared. He looked the same: rumpled trench coat, sinister dark shades, polished black jackboots, an arrogant smirk plastered in the doughy features of his face.
I’d been careful not to reveal anything to Heidi that could harm her. We wrote notes about anything I wanted to hide from Croitus, and there were times I felt we could read each other’s mind. I wasn’t sure if the agents knew about the Eye. I reasoned that if they had any idea of its significance they’d have taken it by now. I understood the minds of those sick bastards. If they thought I’d revealed something to her, they’d cut her up in front of me to intensify the anguish inflicted.
We walked to a security checkpoint. A hulking guard armed with an Uzi and black body armor ushered us around the metal detector. A black riot helmet sat like the shell of a walnut on his skull, and his eyes bulged from beneath the visor like a bullfrog. He eyed me coldly and reached down to grope my crotch.
I drew back my briefcase and would have slammed it into his stupid puss if he touched me. Croitus must have telepathed something to him, because he backed off and lumbered away like the Nephilim Nazi he was. The giant led us to a private office behind a ticket counter near the baggage conveyor, and then turned and headed back to his station.
Once inside, Croitus nodded to an empty chair in the corner. I sat down.
“You’re not as dumb as you’s look, doctor Numbnuts. I hoped you’s would give us away so Xenotula could have his way with you’s.”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you, ya twisted bastard? What now, Coitus?”
“It’s Croitus, Numbnuts.”
“It’s Neumann, Coitus.”
The corners of his mouth curled. “You’re going back to the Genibolic compound. Dr. Nacroanus has checked on your whereabouts nearly every hour you’s were gone, my how he worries about his little lamb.”
“Are we taking the spacecraft?”
“No. You’ll be riding on a Genibolic jet back to Ontario, Neumann. All our time-ships are being prepared for doomsday. The triumph of Mammon is at hand.”
Croitus stared at me, his eyes probing, and his face a frightening mask of indignant superiority. “You’re quite a lover, Neumann.” He held his arms in front of him and pumped his hips. He laughed aloud, “Oh, Heidi, I’ve got to let go.”
“Looks like you’ve got that ride down pretty good, Croitus. Is that how you guys do it up there: bareback?”
He froze in mid-thrust, and the laser holes in his skull bloomed. He walked over to me, his hands knotted to fists. “I want to be there when you’s go down, Neumann. I want to watch you’s squirm when Dr. Nacroanus hands you’s over to Xenotula. It will be just like the holy inquisition. You’s will confess. Infidels always do. Baron Xenotula knows how to treat a man.”
“I’ll bet he does. Holiness is one way of earning a living, Croitus. When the truth can put you out of business, torture works wonders.”
The whine of jet engines cried from somewhere on the flight line.
“Time’s up, Neumann have a lousy trip. His face grew hard with revenge. “Oh, Neumann by the way we’s haven’t planted a hundred pounds of C4 on board the jet, and we’s don’t have the detonator in our pocket” He tried to chortle but all he could raise was a constipated grunt.
“That’s a good one, Croitus, did you make it up or was it part of the latest software update?”
His face went out of joint, and I left him uttering profanities as I walked away.
* * *
I boarded the aircraft and sat in the middle of the cabin, over the wing. There was no one on board save for an anorexic-looking flight attendant and a young couple seated in the tail section.
I opened my laptop and focused on my research. I’d been formulating an equation based on what I knew about the Eye. It seemed to pulse with energy in a very precise but complex pattern. There were times it thrived with a force so powerful it created maddening parathesias in my nerves.
At other times, it felt as cold as ice. The swirling opalescence of its focus seemed to change frequencies, and its effect on the mind was nothing less than hypnotic. It held an energy that surged and then went dormant like a pulsating psychic thrill.
All matter in physical reality is subject to states and cycles. If I could find an event correlation that revealed the power to which the number base resonated, I might be able to find a similarity tiling, a common seam in the curve of its cycle, thus exposing a chink in the armor.
Shortly after we were airborne, the couple in the rear of the jet started to giggle. I glanced back at them, and they were making out like a couple of horny teenagers. I dreaded the idea I’d have to listen to them while trying to concentrate. I moved to the forward seat in the cabin and returned to work.
Halfway through the flight, I needed to use the restroom. I headed down the aisle and was forced to look at them. They were going at it like a couple of hamsters. Each one of them had blue and purple streaks running through their straight black hair. Their swarthy skin bore numerous tattoos, and they were almost identical, like twins.
They froze and glared at me, joined at the hip like a couple of geckos copulating in the sun; their eyes were cold slitted lunettes lined with swollen blue capillaries. The distinct odor of sulfonamides penetrated my nostrils, and my stomach grew queasy. I knew they were Enukai, and it dawned on me that the species expressed itself in a number of different forms, all of them free and uninhibited as animals.
Though the flight unfolded flawlessly, I couldn’t wait to get off the aircraft and away from these organic portals.
Sartre said it best: Hell is other people. If there is an afterlife, to be surrounded by vibratory patterns antagonistic to your own would be a fate worse than oblivion.
Despite the awkward surroundings, the trip was not a total abortion. I’d managed to find a fractal tiling in the equation. The formula was rather simple in design, and I’d mapped out much of the sequence in my head.
Plugging in the numbers and symbols came as natural as breathing. I knew I’d cracked the code. Timing and patience were the variables that I had to control. I needed to bide my time and act at precisely the right moment. This is the secret of victory against overwhelming odds.
The destiny of the world rested on the head of a pin. I remembered what Thrangu told me regarding the Eye. With each new scrap of knowledge revealed about this mission I understood more clearly what its purpose might be. Maybe my shrink wasn’t entirely wrong; at long last I’d found a purpose that mattered. I renewed my vow to guard the Eye with my life.
To be continued...
Copyright © 2014 by John W. Steele