Chapter 13 – Reflection

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. 

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

 


 

Henrikh woke with a start inside Noah. He immediately started hyperventilating and started pacing up and down the cabin shouting chants in his native tongue. The others rushed to him. Jenny raised an eyebrow to Brugu as they both wondered what was going on. Henrikh looked possessed. He looked disturbed and demented.

Finally Robert caught hold of him and shook him. After this he gave an intense look into Henrikh’s eye and asked “Stop panicking and tell us what happened!”

Henrikh finally seemed to regain his balance and cognition. He wasn’t quite himself until then. Regaining his bearing and looking bereft and lost, he said “Someone mass murdered the monks in one of the monasteries I was raised in. I saw a lot of Rabbis. I heard their cries as they burned, brick, mortar, wood burning. I heard the wailing of children and their mothers. I saw them all die.”

Robert let go of him, looked around him and saw that everyone shared the same disturbed and distressed look on their faces. He figured he’d have to contain the emotional wreckage that this would bring. He quickly said, albeit not convinced, “It was just a dream. Maybe it didn’t happen.”

Henrikh looked at him a profound sorrow that made Robert almost apologize for his statement. “It happened,” he said, “I know it did”.

And then the floodgates opened. He started crying with great pain – an anguished cry that wasn’t expected from a quiet guy like Henrikh. Brugu was quick to embrace him and give him some semblance of warmth and human. Jenny shared tears with him. Robert knew this pain all too well. He lost people he had come to think of as his own too.

“They aren’t done, you know. I can feel it, they are just getting started. These are the same people that blew up the lab too. They will kill everyone. Everything will end. We are doomed” Henrikh says with dread.

Everyone ponders this as Robert scans the room. His eyes come to rest on Saleem. The kid is livid. He is scared and possibly scarred. For a kid his age, this kind of consistent anarchy is something of a farfetched anti-theist enigma. He did not sign up for this and it was becoming painfully evident.

Robert immediately pulled him out of the crowd and into another room. Asked him how he was.

“Fine” came the answer.

Then he asked him if he wanted to talk.

“No, sir”

Robert sighed and mimicked Jenny in hugging Saleem and hoping the feelings get transferred if not the warmth, because Robert wasn’t feeling any warmth right now.

***

With two monasteries having been destroyed with a third one in progress, Patrick had come a long way from a week back where his kill and burn count was considerably lower. He had leveled major monasteries that benchmark an entire religion. Not an easy feat and not one that warranted much pride.

But Riley would beg to differ. Riley had been up beating the intrepid shit out of the situation and granted medals to Patrick and for some reason, Cherrie in full military honor fashion. What glory blowing up a few barely guarded religious institutions held, Patrick would never understand. But for Riley it is all about symbolisms – sending the right message, to the right people, at the right time.

This emergence of such a force that plays whack a mole with buildings would forge fear – Fear among the people, fear among the officials, fear among religion, everywhere, and that was the game plan, wasn’t it?

Patrick looked with bafflement at the insistence of the press. They refused to give Riley what he wanted. They called it gas leaks, they called it geo-thermal implosions, and skirted around the word “terrorism”, but such was the world with its infinite cover-ups.

But this brought a bad aftertaste in Patrick’s mouth, because he realized he would have to kill and burn a whole lot till either Riley gives up or the media relents.

But Patrick reckoned that moment wasn’t far when Riley got his bid; he always did, didn’t he?

Yes. He always did, sadly.