When Roman Laneg turned fifty four years of age both his parents had died: First his mother went, then his father followed her to the grave four weeks later. Although he had once been married and had two sons, he had not seen his ex-wife and children since his youngest son had turned eighteen three years earlier. Laneg was alone in the world without any family or meaningful connections. While he was a surgeon, and had accumulated much money, his life felt empty and joyless. Bored with watching television alone every night he set to visit his local church in the hopes of finding a meaning to his existence outside his job. Not finding it there he tried other churches, a new age group, and even a community of atheists. Yet after a year of looking for a purpose and place to belong he felt no better than how he had when he first started. His life while comfortable lacked any meaning, and he found the various ideologies of these different groups entirely insufficient to answer his need.
One night at the hospital he had just finished his shift when he saw something that he hadn’t seen before: a medical doctor and a nurse having an argument about the diagnosis of a patient. The nurse was young, she looked to be least than twenty years old yet she was the calmer one in the argument trying to make her case rationally for why the doctor should order a specific blood test. While the doctor twice her age was gesticulating and talking over her with a raised voice and flushed cheeks. Normally no nurse that young would dare contradict a doctor, much less do so with such an insistent rational manner. Seeing that this nurse was in serious danger of being disciplined Laneg decided as the most senior physician present to intervene and restore peace. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 30”
Oriana proceeded directly from Kelly’s house to the community library. Her father had been in a better mood this morning and when Paul came around to pick her up in the morning he seemed relieved that she was with him. Paul was well liked by parents across the neighbourhood, Oriana mused that this was because while most boys were of the rough and tumble variety, Paul was a reserved and generous boy who had a reputation unblemished by teenage scandals. Oriana had speculated that her father secretly wished that she would date him instead of merely friend him, yet for all of Paul’s positive traits, there was something plain about him. It was splendid of him to care so much about the poor, yet a man who cares too much for the poor runs the risk of being poor himself, or so Oriana had reasoned, and while she agreed with her reasoning, she felt agonisingly aggrieved with herself to judge him so harshly. Indeed, sometimes in her low times she speculated if perhaps she was not unwittingly making the same mistakes her mother made.
However, there was now a new man in her life; Kent, and this man was in some ways similar to Paul. He was reserved, gentle, and exuded no malice at all in his manners, just like Paul. However, while Paul had a naïve confidence in the good nature of his fellow man, Kent was a troubled man who seemed suspicious and wary of everyone he encountered. Justifiably so since these Tyranni have appeared on the scene, but nonetheless, whereas Paul was naturally inclined to believe whatever someone might tell him, Kent was the opposite. Kent had in some ways the character of a bad dinner guest: constantly questioning and cross-examining others. He might even come across as arrogant to the eyes of someone who doesn’t know him well enough, but Oriana had by this time concluded that he was not in fact arrogant, but precocious and confident in his intellectual abilities. Perhaps too confident in them, although she didn’t feel ready as yet to make that judgement of Kent. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 29”
Oriana rapped on Kelly’s door, flanked by Paul. Kelly opened it up it up almost immediately, but instead of her usual boisterous greeting she placed a finger over her lips and motioned for her friends to come in quietly. Moments later the trio were sitting in the back room overlooking the backyard.
“Well?” Started Oriana, “what happened? Where’s Kent and Suvarin?”
“Kent helped to drop Suvarin off this morning and then left right away. He figured that you guys would want to come over and he didn’t want to put all five of us in the one location to tempt the Tyranni into killing us all. He said he had work this morning too, and besides, I think it would have made my mother more suspicious.”
“What does your mother think of Suvarin being here?” Asked Paul.
“The story I have told her is that I was at a party with Suvarin and she got so drunk that she fell down a slope into the mud and almost drowned.”
“How is Suvarin?” Asked Oriana.
“She went back to sleep, she’s in my room completely out of it.”
“So what happened last night?” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 27”
The hospital was more than just one building, but a complex of buildings, carparks, and gardens. It was located on the edge of the city centre. The whole facility was surrounded by a red brick ring wall with a small cottage for the original groundskeeper when the hospital was first built. The days of indentured caretakers tied to the land were passed of course, but the original building still stood there as a reminder of quainter days. It was a tall white wooden building with high ceilings and a steep wooden roof. Green fungus had taken over patches of the roofing tiles with obvious gaps where old tiles had been replaced with new ones in recent years. The cottage was located at the corner of the hospital estate closest to the city centre and had been taken over by a Christian charity for the homeless organised by a local church.
Paul was busy making sandwiches with the other volunteers who came in from the parish. Every night the volunteers made hundreds of ham and cheese sandwiches for the homeless. Sometimes they had a huge pot full of soup as well to share, and tonight was one such night so Paul had to go in and out of the kitchen to check on the soup. He had just ducked out when a woman dressed in a short skirt, leg warmers, and stylish leather jacket walked into the area where the volunteers were busy preparing the sandwiches. She looked at each volunteer’s face coolly observing them. Some of the volunteers noticed her and bid her a warm welcome which she ignored. When she spotted Paul through the doorway to the kitchen she drew herself up to her full height on each high heel and allowed a hungry smile to emerge from the sea of cosmetics covering her face. The woman walked quietly into the kitchen, all sense of apprehension now missing from her thin body. She was standing right behind Paul as he was carefully stirring the huge pot of soup.
“That’s a big dinner you’ve got there,” said the woman slowly. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 22”
Kelly walked into her Nutrition and Health Sciences class and quickly moved to claim her favourite workbench to set her books down on. The room was full of ovens, stove tops, and all the equipment needed for a chef to make anything they wanted. No sooner had she sat down than the teacher came up to her with a new student to the class. Kelly glanced at the overweight woman with purple curly hair beside the teacher and confirmed that she had never seen her in the college before.
“Hi Kelly, Jonathan your practical partner has dropped out of the class. Since he won’t be coming back your new partner will be Syndi here.”
Kelly politely exchanged hellos, “I don’t understand, Jonathon said nothing about wanting to quit, he wanted to be a chef as much as I do. What happened to him?”
The teacher looked uneasy and said simply that she wasn’t allowed to talk about it. Kelly continued, “But it’s week five into the course, isn’t that too late for some new to join?”
“Yes, it is rather late, so I am putting Syndi with you so you can help her catch up.”
Kelly shrugged her shoulders and started showing Syndi around the classroom. Kelly spent most of the class frantically trying explain to Syndi what they had to do. Syndi didn’t seem to care as much as Kelly thought she ought to, but she didn’t want to judge. Kelly was happy to be a helper. On the first break, Syndi leaned across and whispered to Kelly.
“I know what happened to Jonathon.”
Kelly immediately demanded to know. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 21”
Kent shook his head slowly.
“Show me or I will kill you now!” shouted Nix.
“No. You won’t do that. You have been ordered not to kill me.”
“Are you so sure about that?” said Nix, bringing the gun back up to Kent’s face again.
“Yes, I think Peterson would have been very particular about that. Especially to you.”
Nix stared down the sights of his gun, his resolve fading away. Eventually he put the gun down and nodded.
“Yes, Sophim Peterson has specifically told me not to kill you. He wants to kill you himself.”
“Has he told you this? That he wants to kill me himself?”
“No. But I think I know him well enough. I think he enjoys the killing and doesn’t want to share the fun. Which is fair enough, I intend to do the same thing when I am his rank one day.”
“Hmmm, so Peterson doesn’t trust you to know the truth then. Interesting.”
Nix laughed, “You’re trying to spread suspicion into the ranks of the Tyranni? Have you any idea how ridiculous that is?” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 20”
Kent’s custom was to eat lunch at his home between work shifts on a Friday and as such he was pedalling down Cutters Court when he caught sight of Nix sitting in a car near the entrance. Pretending not to have noticed him Kent pulled over and parked his bike on the opposite side of the street from the factory he lived underneath, and chained it to the fence leading to the park and brick kiln beyond. Knowing he was being observed he made a subtle spectacle of looking out towards the path leading away, and started walking towards it. It wasn’t long before he heard the sound of a car slam to a halt at the end of the street. Jerking his head back there was Nix erupting from the car and preparing to dash after him. Kent quickly sprinted straight for the path that went out towards the lake area beyond the kiln. Behind him Nix was following.
The brick kiln was originally built next to a clay quarry so it could be supplied with the raw materials for making the bricks. With the closure of the brick kiln this area had been turned into an artificial lake. Since it wasn’t a natural lake, minerals had seeped into the water and turned it opal green. There was no top soil around the edges but hundreds of pine trees grew up around the banks, obviously not affected by the minerals in the water as much as the other plants were. A local environmental group had built boardwalks along the edge of the lack and through the forest of trees growing up around it. On the weekend there might have been people around, but on a Friday afternoon it was deserted. This was the place Kent had fled into and the place he was leading his hunter. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 19”