Chapter 12 – Shadows
Author’s Note : Thank you, friends and readers, for reading this far. I am going to update as frequently as possible. Any reviews or opinions privately or publicly are most welcome! If you are visiting for the first time, there are links to the earlier chapters below, you might want to read them ahead of this.
Loading the guns, plasma bullets, grenades, C4 packaging – Patrick’s definition of ‘gear’. He enlisted Ramsey and Pike to help him with that. Cherrie was too trigger happy and he didn’t like nor trust Stevenson. Something about him set him off, somehow.
Riley was on the upper floor looking over the preparations, and simultaneously making them want to work faster. Riley had something steely about his stare, as if it would burn through them. Patrick remembered when Riley had come to him. He was the first person to get recruited into the Realists.
Riley was younger back then. He was more – humane. Yes that was the term. Now he looked consistently battle worn and brutal. As if he had lost all feeling. It was a pity, Patrick pitied him – the gradual and downtrodden process of losing one’s humanity is always a pity to witness, much less from a balcony seat.
Back then, Patrick and Riley had started The Realists from a truck. They just had that RV, where they set up their gear and from there their organization. In that duration, he came to learn a lot from him, when he was awake, the rest when he slept. Riley spoke in his sleep, and evidently he had the worst nightmares.
Born in a family of devout Christians, he was taught to follow Godliness to the tip. He was in training to become the next monk of this Generation. He was considered blessed. He was considered the ‘God’s child’ and everything that came with it.
Until the incident happened that would change him and reorient him towards hating religion and everything that came with it.
His father was a wealthy businessman, and with wealth came a lot of competition and hatred. His mother, however, was as plain as a hat on the rack. She was simple, sweet and loving – everything a boy wanted. And she was beautiful – which added fuel to the jealousy that was already being targeted at his father. There were attacks at his life, his house, his family. But they were always somehow saved. Everyone in the family attributed that to God. They were convinced their son – Riley – was a savior and that was protection enough. This somehow granted them confidence enough to not have employed any protection whatsoever.
Until one day, that was their folly. Riley’s Father was in a business trip – and he was attacked and killed. His mother blamed him for not having protected his father. In the depression fueled with sadness and loss, she killed herself.
Although this entire scenario was cliché, what happened to follow this, wasn’t. Instead of getting angry at his mother or sad at his loss, or anything else that would be understandable, Riley proceeded to lose all faith – lose all faith on his God, on his monkhood, on humanity in general. Soon after that, he joined the militant group that had been instrumental in the assassination of his father.
He was still in his teens, he grew in that group. There he learned that brutality has a macabre beauty to it. He learned that violence can be a faith too. He learned how to do what needs to be done. Once he was done learning whatever he could, he blew them up. Just like that, blew them up. Then he roamed the land and found Patrick and together they set something up that would be the synonym to anti-religion. They would stand for science, yet be humane. They would have a single vision, to do what needs to be done to improve what they had with whatever they had. Riley often joked, “We are all fucked anyways, might as well enjoy it and go down on each other with flair!”. Patrick never understood that joke.
Patrick tasked Pike and Stevenson to evacuate the monks from the monastery, the first one in the four that they had to obliterate. He took care of the C4 planting himself, along with Ramsey. Cherrie meanwhile stayed in the car. She was too restless for tasks delicate and covert such as these.
The monks created a lot of uproar at the sight of guns and grenades, and trampled each other as Stevenson voiced the words “Come on, you cloaked bastards, file out.”
Once the monks were out, Patrick and the others rushed out. Cherrie meanwhile had gotten bored of waiting, and had gone to the group of petrified monks.
“Who’s your boss?” She asked them as she let loose a bullet up into the air.
“God is our boss, but if you are looking for the head monk, it’s me” A bald, aging man in a brown cloak said. Age had been kind to him. He had been the head monk of that Judaist monastery for a decade now.
Cherrie shot him, laughed and said “Not anymore” and continued snickering as Patrick rushed to her and snatched her gun from her.
“No more shooting, Cherrie. Shut up and keep your hands to yourself as you stand here or go wait in the car” He said.
The other monks were meanwhile scared skinless as they watched someone who was like their father to them – perish in front of them.
“Barbarians” Shouted a monk in the back.
Patrick looked at the crowd and said “Yes, maybe we are barbarians. Maybe our approach is a little more… crude than most. Maybe we are kidding ourselves with this. But at least we aren’t sitting around waiting for some GOD to save us. Now let us see if the God that you so adore saves your home.” as he said that, Pike pressed the detonator.
The monastery behind them instantly exploded. Every window, every brick, every bit of mortar, everything was aflame. The fire cast dark shadows. Dark, long shadows. Patrick was standing nearest to it, casting the longest. With the fire and burning debris behind him, he looked like the devil to the monks, among whom some had fainted, some vomited and others had just crashed on their knees.
“Yes, maybe we are barbarians, but we at least have a purpose” He said, while wondering to himself – do we really?