Ko Val sits in a small back leather chair behind a makeshift desk that has to be propped up on one side by a phone book. His pale face, exaggerated by his dark clothes, gives him an almost ethereal look. His cherubic features make his face look childlike. Looking at him one might be tempted to say he is even beautiful. That is until one looks into his black eyes and realizes that they are in the presence of a true predator. He glances around slowly between stacks of books and papers trying to look as if he is sitting comfortably relaxed. On some of the stacks strange objects sit. Carved skulls, cracked wands and various pouches and vials containing god knows what. He looks at these things carefully trying to glean information about his host from the objects in the room. He takes stock of all that he sees, but outwardly gives no indication of what he is thinking. His face is a pale mask of apathy.
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Nigel for his part is busy at a small hot plate. Quickly, he turns and reaches across the desk to place something in front of Ko Val. Ko Val shifts his gaze towards the man, watching him as a cat would watch a mouse that has come within claws reach. As Nigel pulls back, Ko Val sees that it is a cup and saucer. Nigel reaches back and turns to his hot plate. Ko Val sits there and looks at he china with curiosity on his face, his mask broken by the act. Ko Val’s concentration on the cup and saucer is broken by the sound of liquid being poured. He looks over at Nigel who is enveloped briefly in a cloud of steam. He turns back to the desk and in his hands is a small china teakettle. Setting down a towel first, he places the kettle down and then turns back to retrieve sugar and dry non-dairy creamer. Before he sits, he placed a spoon into the saucer of each setting.
He pulls his chair a little closer and says, “This will take a minute or two to steep.”
The minute passes more slowly than Nigel would like to admit. Ko Val looks at him intently trying to distill any information about the man from what has just transpired. Breaking his gaze and shaking his head, Ko Val realizes that he is over thinking this situation. He also realizes that Nigel is waiting for him to make the opening move.
“You are a strange little man, aren’t you?” He says, leaning back further in the chair, making his posture at least look more natural.
Nigel raises his eyebrows in disbelief as he reaches over to check the brewing tea.
“Me, strange. You are from a universe, no a reality that doesn’t even exist anymore. I believe that you are more a fish out of water than I could every be.” He takes the tea ball out of the kettle and pours some into both their cups. Ko Val smiles and leans forward to take sugar into his cup after Nigel has finished.
“I am sorry about the cream. Don’t have any refrigeration down here I’m afraid.”
“No problem. It has been so long since I’ve had tea this will be like nectar.” Ko Val responds taking two teaspoons of powered creamer into his cup. Both sip the tea careful not to burn their mouths. Nigel notices this and thinks it odd that a creature such as this would have to worry about burning his mouth.
“Mmm, this is very good. What is it?” Ko Val asks.
“Darjeeling. I’m afraid that being down here has just about moved it on though.” Nigel says taking another sip and slightly wincing from the less than fresh taste.
The two sit there for a few more minutes making small talk and sipping tea. Each sizing the other up like dogs in a cage fight looking for an opening. After the pleasantries subsided, Ko Val’s patience wore thin.
“So, how can I be of service?” He asked leaning back in the chair and crossing his legs.
Leaning back in his own chair, Nigel pulls a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket. Lighting one he takes a long drag and exhales.
“About three months ago we got a call to investigate some strange homicides,” he begins stopping to take another drag.
“I have a friend on the force and he tipped me off. Told me that it was the kind of thing that might fit the type of work we do.” He taps the ash on the floor and takes another drag.
“The first set of murders was of three young women approximately eighteen years of age. The three of them were laid out, naked head to head with their hearts ripped out. No sign of struggle, no rape, no prints, nothing, just three dead girls with no hearts. I thought that it was just another wacko. Until the next set of bodies were found,” he taps the cigarette out on the floor and proceeds to light another.
“The second set were boys approximately eighteen years of age. Only this set had their eyes removed, same scene as the first set of murders. I tell my friend that maybe he has a repeater on his hands and that he should call the FBI.” He takes a drag off of the smoke and leans forward on the desk. “That’s when things started to get weird.”
“So far everything that you have described to me is nothing more than a series of killings that anyone could have performed for any bizarre reason. I don’t see what this has to do with me.” Ko Val states looking rather annoyed.
Leaning back into the chair Nigel says, “I didn’t tell you about the last set of bodies that were discovered.” Again he taps out his cigarette on the floor and lights another.
“You of all people should know that this region is littered with unexplained phenomena. Relics from the past are left strewn around.”
“Yes it’s true. This planet was often a way station for the night tribes to wage their war on the light.” Ko Val responds.
“But the planet changed hands many, many times. Things were left behind, forgotten, lost. Some even picked up by man as the spread across the globe.” Nigel says.
“Ok, that could have happened, but what does it have to do with me?” Ko Val asks, his irritation growing.
“I’m getting to that.” Nigel says.” “One month after the initial murders took place there was another set of bodies. Twelve in all, six males and six females. These had their brains removed and apparently burnt with the eyes and hearts of the other victim. This happened in a park not far from here at approximately midnight. The twelve were gathered in a large circle, naked and strapped wrist to wrist. In the center just behind the offering fire was a huge amount of granite rubble. It was at one time a huge boulder, but now it’s just rock and dirt. The debris was everywhere. It was as if the boulder was exploded from the inside.” Nigel stops here and leans back into the chair.
“So, you want me to do what?” Ko Val asks.
“I want you to tell me what is running around our city.” Nigel says lighting another cigarette.
Ko Val leans forward on the desk causing it to creak as he places pressure on the rotting wood.
“What makes you think that I know anything about what’s going on here?”
“You know. I know you know because I have studied the documents written by the N’kovis and I have found an obscure mention of a charging ritual. I am sure that it was the same ritual performed here two months ago. I’m just not sure what the rock charged or what was in it. What I do know is that this person or persons has an intimate knowledge of the N’kovis and the workings of their rituals to be able to perform them. This means that you know as well.”
“I’ll have to see where this ritual was performed and what is left.”
“We’ll go now.” Nigel says, rising from his chair and taking one last sip of tea.
In the lobby, Nigel informs the others of where they are going.
“Give us a sec and we’ll join you.” Thomas says putting down a rather large axe with a clunk.
“No, we need you three to stay here. Someone needs to be on guard against whatever is out there. Also, Emily,” he says turning in her direction, “we need you to continue to try and find a connection in the other deaths. We have to know how these people are related to one another.”
“Now wait a damn minute!” Thomas says, angered by Nigel barking orders.
“You shouldn’t be going anywhere with that thing.” He says nodding in Ko Val’s direction.
“We don’t have time to debate.” Nigel shoots back.
“You can’t just go rushing into the night without knowing what’s out there. It’s suicide.”
“I don’t have time for this.” Nigel spits back and turns to leave.
Thomas starts to run after him.
“No, don’t. Just let him be.” Emily says grabbing Thomas’s arm to try and stop him.
“I’ve had enough of this shit.” He says, moving towards Nigel.
“Don’t!!” Emily pleads.
“It’s ok.” Thomas says quickening his pace towards Nigel. “This will only take a minute.”
Reaching for Nigel he grabs his arm and spins him around. Thomas anger has built to boiling and he looking forward to squaring off against the smaller weaker man. When Nigel finally turns completely, Thomas finds himself not looking at the man’s face, but the barrel of a .44 magnum pistol.
With a slight smirk on his face Nigel says, “Actually I think it’ll take less.”
He cocks the gun and presses into Thomas’s forehead.
“There are really only two types of people in the world. People who are part of the problem and people that are part of the solution.” He tells Thomas pressing the gun very hard into his skull.
“Don’t be a part of the fucking problem.” With that he turns and heads out into the tunnel’s darkness with Ko Val.
Thomas just stands there seething, looking at the dark, and burning with anger. He turns and walks past Emily. She reaches for him to try and comfort him.
“Don’t.” He barks and then storms off.
Name Forgotten, Grave Unknown - Chapter 14 Final Name Forgotten, Grave Unknown - Chapter 13 Name Forgotten, Grave Unknown - Chapters 9, 10, 11 and 12 Name Forgotten, Grave Unknown - Chapter 8 Name Forgotten, Grave Unknown - Chapter 7 Name Forgotten, Grave Unknown - Chapter 6 Name Forgotten, Grave Unknown - Chapter 5 Name Forgotten, Grave Unknown - Chapter 4 Name Forgotten, Grave Unknown - Chapter 3 Name Forgotton, Grave Unknown - Chapter 2