The Chronicle of Belthaeous
by John W. Steele
Chapter 52: Bloody Liver Ridge
When I entered the assembly hall, I was not prepared for the overwhelming presence of the audience. Diplomats and delegates from every nation and beyond filled the assembly. They sat like stoic and pensive like effigies. Only the power of their gaze revealed the intensity of their concern.
Seated in the forward benches of the chamber were at least a dozen Enukai agents I recognized. Croitus sat at a desk on the first tier, and I could not fathom how anyone could mistake him for human. His sunglasses covered his eyes so completely that he looked like a fighter pilot prepared for a strafing gig.
I scanned the audience and noticed a great number of the delegates wore shades. I knew that in a short time these humanoid imposters would reveal their true identity, and the world would quake with horror.
High resolution studio cameras from the major broadcasting networks were positioned in the galleries where they could not be seen from inside the auditorium. This was the moment the world had been waiting for. I surmised that every television in the world would be tuned in to watch the contemporary Lazarus arise from the dead. The Enukai had revealed to me the awesome psychological impact of shock and awe, and I knew the world was not prepared for the devastation that awaited it.
There was little left for me now but the realization that I had to fulfill my destiny. Only death could free me from this predicament. Like it or not, I’d been chosen to usher in the new age of perfected servitude.
I thought about Heidi and Jerus, and my duty to them. I awaited my inevitable fate like a man standing on the gallows; part of me stoic and reserved and another part of me angry and bitter that I had no control over this diabolical spectacle of insanity.
I took my seat next to the cabinet that held the infusion pump. A digital timer mounted high on the wall dripped empty of seconds. Four zeros blinked on the panel and a pleasant gong sounded overhead. The lights intensified, and I saw the audience in the holographic projection of the telescreens; we were live.
Falkenhorst stood up from his chair and stepped up on the podium. He wore a black full-dress uniform with wide red shoulder boards. The lapel and the sleeves of the coat were finished with red piping.
Around his neck he wore the Medal of Mammon. The award had been presented to him at an elaborate ceremony conducted by Raom, who had honored him for the many years of service he’d dedicated to war and suffering on planet Earth.
The medallion featured a lemniscate of gold. Superimposed over the symbol were crossed long bones with the skull of a dead man at the apex. The colonel looked purely authoritarian and tyrannical; a picture-perfect fascist with the will and power to destroy anyone who disagreed with him.
The dictator gazed at the assembly, his eyes shadowed pools of menacing ill will. He remained silent for a moment, as if to assert the depth of his confidence. On the far western wall, a red beacon flashed from behind a smoked glass security mirror. The colonel made the sign of the fist, and in a voice hard as iron, he began his oration.
“Distinguished Council of Five, warlords of Darkness, elite of the earth, and minions of evil, I come to you tonight to proclaim the beginning of a new heaven and a new earth, to reveal the destiny of mankind, and to usher in an age of order unprecedented in the history of this dimension. An age where all men will be freed from the burden of thought, the curse of reason, and the abomination of conscience.
“We are witnessing the birth of our utopian elitist ideology, by which every member of society will understand its purpose in the matrix, and the curse of death shall no longer cut short the lives of men.
“There are a few times in history when the opportunity for lasting change becomes available, a change not immediately understood or appreciated, a new way of life so radical and supreme in its vision that the world can never be the same. Chosen of Mammon, that change has arrived, and we will enforce its principles with valor and allegiance.”
* * *
Max stood in his English-style pub, the Crown and Crow, located in the Bronx. He stared at the television and wiped dry a beer mug with his soiled apron. His ponderous belly hung over the belt of his trousers and his sagging face looked like a pockmarked roadmap of endless toil and hardship.
Timmy O’Doul sat across from him at the bar. His fingers held a smoldering cigarette and his hand clenched a sweating pint of bitter.
“Blimey, will you listen to that lunatic,” Timmy said. “He talks like some kind of almighty daemon.”
“Shut yer pie hole, Timmy. I want to hear what the man has to say,” Max barked.
* * *
“So it was when the bluebloods befriended the Indians and revealed to them our perfected vision of progress. So it was when the slaves were freed from the jungles of savagery to learn the virtue of serving a master with loyalty and devotion. And so it was when the Holy Inquisition exposed the pagan scourge in its quest to reveal the glory of our higher power. So it will be when the new order of law and regimented freedom is implemented on the peoples of this planet.
“In every century, men of purpose and foresight are brought forth by Mammon to guide humanity, just as an austere and perfect father guides his children that they may not stray from the path he has planned for them.
“Our duty as the superior illumined ones is to establish order in the world. To accomplish this, we must outline the destiny of mankind that it may not vary from the design we have created. And like a wise and immaculate father, we will enforce this destiny with an iron fist.
“We will not allow mankind to suffer from the errors in judgment inherent in the power of will without supervision. For as every man of regal vision and earthly status understands, without the guidance of the master race, mankind is but a wandering child lost in delusions and unable to reason as we have determined is best.”
* * *
Max slammed his meaty fist on the bar and bellowed, “And that is how it should be, Timmy. The bloody bastards got what’s coming to ’em! Without the iron fist, the hoodlums run arse over tit!”
Timmy took a long drag from his cigarette. “I dunno, Maxie, this bloke looks barmy. Sounds like a load of codswallop to me.”
“Codswallop me asshole,” Max cried. “It wasn’t codswallop when me uncle Ferguson charged through the shrapnel at Bloody Liver Ridge, his M1 blazing and a grenade wedged in his jaws. The Krauts dropped around him like flies in a hailstorm. He showed them fascist bastards where the queen shits in the clover, by God. When Cain killed Abel, the world went to war forever. God knows what he’s doing and that’s how he wanted it.”
* * *
A hushed silence filled the assembly and Falkenhorst continued his litany. “My fellow Enukai ambassadors of Darkness, we have assembled here tonight to celebrate a monumental achievement, a scientific and medical breakthrough that will eclipse every known remedy or cure ever discovered in the field of modern medicine. A miracle so profound that it will change completely the architecture and function of the human animal and alter forever its relationship to the cosmos.
“I am honored to introduce you to the father of immortality, a man of unparalleled genius who has gone where no mind has journeyed before and has returned with the fountain of youth known as Eternulum.”
The colonel turned slightly and gazed at Nacroanus, his face a mask of unfeigned admiration. “Dr. Adrian Nacroanus, your discovery of the molecular structure of the plasma Eternulum has opened new vistas in our quest for the total exploitation of the Light that is theomorphic consciousness.”
Falkenhorst raised his arms to the assembly. “It is my privilege to introduce you to the delegates of this summit that they may behold the master to which all those enlightened by Darkness will be forever indebted.
“Illumined ones, I present to you the eminent scientist, physician, explorer, and founder of the new world, Dr. Adrian Nacroanus.”
* * *
Max stood stupefied his eye wide and beaming, a look of awe etched in his gnarled features. “There he is, Timmy, the man who will unite us all in the scourge against the terrorist sonsabitches.”
Timmy raised his hand to his face and rubbed his chin warily. “I don’t know, Maxie, almost seventy years I’ve lived here and I’ve never seen one of those terrorist duffers. A while back you never even heard of the nutters; now there’s a spy camera on every corner. But all I ever see are my friends and neighbors I’ve known all my life.”
Max eyed Timmy like he would an innocent child. “Don’t think ’cause you don’t see them, they ain’t there, Timmy. I remember them when McCarthy sniffed ’em out back in the fifties. They’re out there hiding, lurking like serpents in the darkness. Deep in the crevasses of life where only the ungodly hide, they wait, just itching to take away our freedom.”
* * *
Copyright © 2014 by John W. Steele