The tunnel was old, in fact is was so old that the bricks felt like sponge underneath Kelly’s touch. Decades of exposure to moisture had seeped through the bricks and rotted them through. The water lapped at their knees and if it the tunnels hadn’t been so narrow the current would have easily washed them away. Their progress was slow but morale picked up when Kent announced that he could get a clear signal from Suvarin’s phone.
“Just up this way, Kelly!” exclaimed Kent.
Kelly’s legs were going numb as the water sucked the warmth out of them. The air was stale, thick with enough moisture that it was becoming difficult to breathe. Kelly started to wonder if maybe there wasn’t enough oxygen this far underground and if she might faint? Kelly had started out this adventure believing it to be fun, but the rising waters were filling her heart with fear now. At last the tunnel opened up into a large rectangle concrete tunnel with a trough running down the middle.
“According to the tracker, she’s located just down this tunnel.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 25”
Kent was lying in bed working on his tablet computer when there was a knock on the hatch. Startled Kent slowly placed his tablet down and crept towards the hatch. The knocking came again. He put his ear to the top of the hatch and heard the unmistakable voice of Kelly calling out to him from the other side. Slightly bemused Kent undid the bolts and opened the hatch. Out sprung Kelly with her characteristic smiles and enthusiasm. She was wearing her gym gear which fitted tightly over every part of her fit body. Kent found himself having to make an effort to stop his eyes from wandering away from her face. Kelly noticed Kent’s struggle to remain focused on her face and giggled internally to herself..
“Kelly, what a surprise to see you, can I do anything for you?”
“Not really, I was in the neighbourhood so I thought that I would drop by,” said Kelly in her enthusiastic tone of voice.
Kent frowned, “it’s not a good night for spelunking down there. There is rain forecast tonight. Those tunnels are deadly in the rain.”
“Oh, I won’t be long, unless you think I should play it safe and stay here for the night?” Kelly bit her lip anxiously. Concerned she’d played her cards too soon.
Kent blushed involuntarily, “well actually I am expecting Suvarin to stay the night here. So there wouldn’t be enough room.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 24”
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”
After Kent had finished telling the others his parable there were scarce seconds of silence before Kelly, who had been struggling to contain herself, spoke up.
“Kevin, come and change your clothes… you’re very smelly!” shouted out Kelly laughing hysterically.
“Kevin, come and change your clothes again! You’ve been a naughty boy getting dirty underground!” cried out Oriana.
Paul laughed along with the girls, only Suvarin was unaffected by the intense jovial laughter coming from them. Kent, shielded from scrutiny thanks to the blind folds kept silence.
“Thank you, Kent,” said Suvarin warmly, “I like that parable. It is coming along nicely.”
Kent thanked her, and they continued on for a couple more minutes before Kent announced they had arrived. Paul, Kelly, and Oriana were relieved to have their blindfolds removed. They were still underground, but underneath a ladder up to a manhole. Kent went ahead and opened it up for them to climb out, Paul needed help to climb out but was starting to manage better. They were on a quiet backstreet in a suburb over from where Oriana lived. Kelly recognised it immediately and announced she knew a friend nearby who could give them a room to stay for the night. They said goodbye to Kent and Suvarin who departed back down the manhole, closing it behind them. The trio then set off with Kelly in the lead. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 15”
Suvarin returned with a stretcher with two harnesses that looked remarkably like vests. She was out of her uniform and now dressed in jeans, thick boots, and warm hooded jacket. She looked remarkably unremarkable now; just like a typical young woman one might see on a cold night outside on main street. Oriana shivered for reasons she could not identify, there was something disturbing about how differently Suvarin looked now that she was wearing different clothes. Kent and Suvarin demonstrated the stretcher by putting it on Kent and Kelly first. Paul climbed onto it and was quickly blind folded by Suvarin. Kelly and Oriana were when blind folded. Suvarin and Kent gave the three blind youths the instructions they needed to start walking down one of the tunnels. Kent was in the lead, while Suvarin positioned herself behind Kelly with Oriana at the rear holding onto her backpack. Slowly at first, they moved down into the tunnels, gradually the walkers got used to being blind folded and the pace picked up. Oriana tried to keep track of which direction and how far they had gone but within minutes she gave up as it was obvious they were inside some colossal labyrinth. They just had to put their trust in Kent and Suvarin to keep them safe on their subterranean journey.
Kelly grew tired and Oriana took over helping to carry Paul for a while. Suvarin appeared to know Kent somewhat and was asking him about his writing.
“Writing?” asked Kelly, “What does Kent write?”
“Druids as part of their study need to write a series of parables that highlight key values of our faith in a way that is accessible to other people,” explained Suvarin.
Kelly chuckled, “Oh, so that’s why he told us that strange story about the boy being eaten by dogs on the way here!” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 14”
Oriana arrived back the main chamber to find Paul on the embankment and standing upright. Kelly was busy gesticulating flamboyantly. Realising that Kelly was clearly trying to keep Suvarin distracted for her still Oriana quickly rushed forward to inspect Paul’s knee.
“You can stand on it now?”
Paul explained that Suvarin had given him some medication for the pain and that it was fine to stand on it, just not to carry anything or run for a few days at least.
“You must be some kind of physiotherapist!” exclaimed Oriana.
Suvarin looked at her with an expression of puzzlement on her face, “Has Kent told you about the Salvati?”
“Only that you’re one of the five orders of the Aeshir,” then before she could stop herself, “and that you’re forbidden to carry weapons or do anyone any harm.”
“Oh! Yes, that is true. We are forbidden to carry weapons, but to say that we can’t do anyone any harm is another matter. There are strict rules regarding such matters, yes. It is odd that Kent should tell you that much about us but not about other aspects; such as our primary goals and values.”
“Yes, it is, so, if the Druids are the nerdy, preachy types of your religion, what are the Salvati?” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 13”
The man’s face betrayed no emotion, “I see. Well, then I suppose you did the right thing in bringing them here where they would be safe. However, we will have to make special arrangements for their passage out of here. Do you know who the Tyranni are?”
“Nix and Peterson,” Kent answered. Oriana thought she noticed a particular stress on Peterson’s name.
“Ahh, I see. They must have travelled from interstate to be here in this city then.”
“That’s true,” cut in Paul, “I have a photo of their number plate. They came from interstate.”
“I am sorry, my name is Laneg. How do you do, young man?”
“Well, I’m Paul and my knee is badly hurt.”
Instantly Laneg’s expression changed from neutrality to deep concern. “Oh dear, did the Tyranni injure you?”
Paul nodded affirmatively.
“Well then,” Laneg turned to the young women next to him, “Suvarin, could you please take a look at Paul’s leg? See if he is well enough to walk on it.” Continue reading “The Monk – Part 12”
“Are they up to anything illegal?” asked Oriana.
“Illegal yes, immoral no,” said Kent plainly.
“Ahh, yes, you live a life straddled uncomfortably between those two things.”
“Between chaos and order, yes, I suppose I do. But who says that I am uncomfortable? It’s actually kind of fun when looked at from the right perspective.”
Kelly nodded enthusiastically with this statement, “I get it, I wouldn’t do anything that hurt anyone else, but I don’t really care about the law either.”
“Kelly!” gasped Oriana, “You don’t really mean that!”
“Yes I do, why should I follow the law?”
“Because, well, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” replied Oriana sounding far less confident than she thought she ought to be.
“Well, I suppose I should in case I get caught by the police or something, but I wouldn’t hurt anyone or their things. Really, when you think about it, a law is simply the opinion of a group of old men.”
“With guns,” added Paul. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 11”
Oriana and Kelly looked at Paul with a mixture of surprise and sadness, neither of them had known this about Paul. Kent reached out and put a comforting hand on Paul’s shoulder.
“I’m sorry Paul, you clearly care about her a great deal. It sounds like she doesn’t think she’s worth praying for herself to get better though.”
Paul shook his head, “Nope. She doesn’t think it matters if she dies of cancer.”
“Wow,” said Oriana, “I hadn’t thought of it like that, I thought that prayers had to be directed to god or something. I didn’t think you could just pray for yourself.”
“Oh, having some gods to pray about certainly helps with prayer too,” remarked Kent.
Kelly sniggered, “What, do you believe in gods?”
“Of course I do,” answered Kent calmly.
Kelly laughed at this, “But gods aren’t real, they’re just myth.”
“I agree with that too,” answered Kent with a trace of a smile. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 10”
“So joining this cult, the Aeshir? Well, did that give your life meaning?” asked Kelly.
Kent shook his head, “No. Well, not at first. By the time I completed my seasoning I was actually miserable and quite depressed about my life and the state of the world. I was ready to quit then, give up on my inheritance and just try to go back to being ignorant about my life again.”
“What does seasoning mean?” asked Paul.
“Seasoning? That’s the term we use for the initiation period. You need to pass a test to join, then spend one season in a monastery, swear an oath, and presto you’re part of the Aeshir. You can choose to stay more than one season if you like, but if you want to get your inheritance then you have to join one of the religious orders. There are five to choose from. I chose to join the druids as the membership challenges appeared the least odious to me.”
“Oh, so did becoming a druid give you a sense of meaning to your life?” interjected Kelly.
Continue reading “The Monk – Part 9”