A Long Walk

Brain Demons

There is this stretch of road in a little town called Hamlin. It is about a mile, maybe a little under that. Now, the last time I checked it went from a gas station to a pizza place, but having studiously ignored the existence of the town since I happily left it twenty-odd years ago, I couldn’t tell you, or care, what may be in those two positions now. What is, or for that matter what is not there isn’t of particular note anyway.

I used to walk this stretch of road for hours some nights when I couldn’t sleep. I would walk twenty, twenty-five times before fatigue, boredom, or usually, a lack of tobacco products, made me go to wherever it was that I was sleeping that night. I memorized every little nook and cranny of that street. From where I would buy weed by the VFW to where I would sell the weed behind the K&K. Most of my good friends lived on that particular stretch of road and, if they saw me walking and were so inclined, they would occasionally join me on my circuit tither and hither.

It was a pointless thing to do, but when you live in a pointless place, I suppose it is just what you are supposed to do until you get to those hours of the day that you get to do the things that have a point and a purpose. I never really saw it as exercise either, I would stop every few feet to do whatever, plus smoking probably didn’t help my aerobic activity to be sure. No, it was a time killer, pure and simple.

When Naomi and I lived in the Port we would do something similar. Walking down Main St. to Ridge Rd., down Ridge to Redman Rd., down Redman to 4th Section, then into the driveway of Viking and home to my sisters place at first, and then when we could get the little dude watched, back to our place in the same complex.

On and on really. In Medicine Lodge I would walk across the fields, in Sainte-Thérèse I would walk down to the train station, even here in the delight sub-ghetto I walk own and do a three or four-mile loop when I need to think and get the fuck out of these four walls for a few minutes and there is no other alternative because it is always two in the morning when this urge hits me at full bore.

Sometimes you just need to leave and walk away from the world for a while and maybe while you are gone the world will reshuffle itself just enough for it to make sense to you when you come back because no matter how much you want to, you have to come back.

A Prologue Of Sorts

Pater Noster

As I was writing this today I realized that there may be people in my life that are offended by the material herein and to them, I simply want to say, don’t read this. None of you would ask me to censor myself I know, but I will not be silenced by my fear of disapproval either. That having been said, here is the beginning, the continuation of the beginning I suppose, and I will be writing a great deal of this in the very near future. As always, translations are on mouseover.


James stretched his arms and cracked his neck to the left and the right, taking a moment to savor the echoing pops as the air exploded from where it was trapped. After a few minutes of doing this to various limbs and joints, he stood and walked over to the balcony and lit his first smoke of the day. Montreal, as always, was a gorgeous jewel in a river that was filled with more heroin needles than water and James spat the cigarette to the ground a few hundred feet below the Delta Montreal’s twenty-sixth floor. He didn’t want to be in the hotel, but the Diocese had insisted that he be put in seclusion after they had found the body of the late Father Jacobi floating in the river with his heart removed and smeared with shit.

Funny how accidents like that happen.

Earlier he had received a phone call from the Archidiocèse de Québec, in fact, it had been a call from the Archbishop himself. He was to essentially take over Jacobi’s “important work” in the exorcism of those that had been deemed worthy and true by the Mother Church. James of course humbly accepted this “honor” with crocodile tears in his face and even when the Archbishop had elevated him to a special status and told him he was

About that.

Immediately after he had hung up the phone with the Archbishop, Elizabet had rang his personal mobile number that he had given her and had told him in great detail how she was done with the work in the North and asked him if he could arrange her transport to Montreal so that she could continue her, and James’, important work. He had told her she would be in the adjoining suite before the sun set the next day and called and immediately made arrangements for not only Elizabet to be brought to him so that she could continue her work and meet the Grand Master, but for the area to be cleaned of all traces, be put ut lampas accendatur, if you will. No one would notice, no one would care, no one ever cared.

James lit another cigarette and took out the mobile he had been authorized to use and called the only number in the phone’s memory.

“Quis me vocat?” The feminine voice made James smile as he remembered so many things that voice could do depending on the activities involved.

“It is Pater Noster, Elizabet will be here within the day and I am formally requesting an interview and assessment from the Grand Master to see if she is relevant to our work, or if she is to be purged from the world like the others when It begins.” His voice was without emotion and the response he received was just as devoid, almost as if invoking the name of the Grand Master was a sobering thought to all involved and should never be done lightly. As she spoke, he heard a shuffling of papers and a deep voice in the background.

“Pater Noster, your interview request is approved and your assessment will take place at the same time as Elizabet.” The line went dead and the cold in the room seemed a palpable thing.

An assessment? For him? had he not undergone one already? Had he outlived his usefulness? Had he failed?

He laughed loudly, knowing that the prayer that had died on his lips was the last thing he needed to do right now.

Dmitri

Black Sun

Dmitri shook his head as the blinds in the window at the Hotel Bonaparte parted once more and the Ferret, as Dmitri had come to call him, took his seat with his cheap booze and continued destroying a 17th century Andrea Brustolon hand carved Italian walnut armchair with his dirty boots and the stink of his cheap booze.

He didn’t need to watch the camera feed streaming on the computers to his left or listen to the audio in the headphones that he wore. Dmitri was very good at what he did for a living and the Ferret posed no challenge to him at all.

He stretched the immensity of his seven-foot frame and quickly took a few bites of the dinner from last night before he took off his headphones and headed downstairs to make his report. The Ferret would not move for the rest of the day unless he ran out of gin, and even then he would call the front desk and they would bring him one from the bar.

He walked down the red-lit corridor that the observation room was located in. The veined glass looked crimson and black as he walked and it had a natural calming property to it. Dmitri made no sound as he moved despite his massive frame, his shoes made no noise, everything was secured tightly to his person and every millimeter of him was perfected over decades of expertise in the fields of more countries than most people could easily name, He did not allow his mind to wander, he was formulating his report with every step closer to the offices.

When he was two steps short of the door he stopped and announced himself to the seemingly empty hallway.

“Dmitri with the morning report for the Headmaster.” A soft breeze hit his face as the air locked door opened with absolutely no noise and the nine men inside lowered their automatic weapons as they saw that the voice did indeed match the face of their superior. In a single motion, all of them lowered their weapons to rest and stood at attention.

Dmitri acknowledged each man with a nod as he walked slowly past them, visually inspecting the absolute best of his men, hand picked for this duty based on years of loyalty, absolutely no family ties and unwavering devotion to The Cauldron. Seeing nothing wrong, as expected, he stopped and rapped a single time on the African blackwood door. He waited the two seconds he had always waited and pushed open the colossal door, leaving his men to their duty and the beginning of his own.

The office of the Headmaster was ornate in as many ways as it was spartan. Each and every single thing in the office served a purpose and there was no superfluous decorations or ego boosting self-aggrandizing curios from former battles won. The man himself was a huge figure, only slightly smaller than Dmitri and muscled from daily workouts even though that part of his life was long over. His voice was a deep well of a thing and it always took Dmitri a second to adjust to it. It sounded like it was coming from a hole sixty meters below them and a mountain kilometers away. A surround sound of a thing.

“Dmitri, report.”

His mind instantly snapped to the precision that the Headmaster depended on. “He has not moved at all save for the two times he went out to retrieve alcohol before he learned that the hotel would do such things for him. The first time we made use of his absence to fully bug his room for audio, video, and call recording. All of his data will come to us before it is transmitted. No offensive countermeasures have been taken per your instructions and I have let all other men go from the detail to attend to their duties and have maintained a watch on him personally.” A hand reached into his pocket and pulled out a cell phone. “He has made 11 phone calls outside of his hotel, all of them have been run through cryptography software to make sure there was no obvious code language being used. He spoke to his employer each time and each phone call was him asking for additional work so so as to fund the vigil he has taken it upon himself to maintain on our activities here. For your later perusal, I also have the exact contents of each email he has sent, meals eaten, credit spending, the usual things.” Dmitri finished the report and stood ramrod straight as the Headmaster spoke, anger obvious in his tone.

Very good Dmitri, there is nothing wrong with your work, as per usual. Maintain the watch for three more days, after that, I will need you for another large aspect of the works that we are doing here. This, what did you call him that first day, Ferret? This Ferret will serve us in time, the curious always do, To prepare for that I need you to make sure that everything about him is erased systematically from everything. From grocers tab to the birth record. His employer will be purchased by us by the end of the day. His phone company is already ours, even the Bonaparte has finally agreed to our generous offers. We will show this man how insignificant of a creature you can be in the Darkness of the Cauldron.”

He stomped his foot slightly as the last word exited his mouth in near rage and Dmitri’s adrenaline was coursing through every part o his body and his mind was hyper-aware of every detail of what needed to be done. No one would be trusted with this. Each thing would be done personally and if there were no agreements by all parties, well, he had received his kill authority two dozen years ago and such trifling things did not need to be brought to the attention of the Headmaster.

“This will be done Headmaster, no loose ends, no compromise.”

The Headmaster smiled as he sat back down behind his desk and nodded to Dmitri, dismissing him as he spoke.

“There are two things in this world that I have faith in Dmitri. The first is the perfection of the Choice made by the Blind Goddess, and the second is that you will never fail me.”

Dmitri whispered his silent prayer as he heard the name of their Matriarch and his heart swelled with pride with the final words of the Headmaster. He turned on a heel and walked out the door without a word.

The Ferret had no idea what Hell he had just awoken.

Montreal – The Beginning Of The Changes

Basílica de Notre-Dame

There are three things I can tell you about downtown Montreal.

The whores are cheap.
The booze is cheaper.
People really do ignore things.

When a private group bought La Basilique Notre-Dame, no one blinked. Not the city with its insane Catholic heritage, not the country losing one of it’s five top money-making attractions, not even the goddamn Church.

La Basilique Notre-Dame. You know the site that had been a church of one kind or another since 1672.

Sold for an undisclosed to a very public and very popular organization.

The Cauldron.

—-

The Cauldron was one of those things like the Knights Templar, The Freemasons or Ordo Hermeticus Aurorae Aureae. People made shit up about them all the time and people either really didn’t care, or they accepted it at face value.

Most people did agree that it was one of those secret society things for incredibly rich people to walk around naked and fuck people other than their spouse in the guise of being spiritual about the whole thing. They would throw lavish parties taking over entire blocks of hotels in the largest cities in the world. Montreal was no different, they had taken over the Delta and Queen Elizabeth with great regularity.

Security was insane with them. If you did not belong there, you didn’t find out about anything until after the fat when they would post multi-page thank you letters to the cities they invaded for weeks on end and disappear like smoke from the fired gun.

The Basilica though, that was something that they were very public about. They tore down centuries-old works of art by some of the greatest masters of paint and sculpture. They, very publicly, blew out the world-famous stained glass windows and replaced them with immense panes or red and black crystal glass.

Not a word. Not a whisper. Not a complaint or parade, no signs int he streets or even a mention of it in the papers from Cape Wolstenholme to Sherbrooke.

The gargoyles were removed, the buttresses replaced with steep sides leading to the pointed apex.

They never changed the name. They left that as it was as they changed every single other feature. The public was forbidden from getting inside, news crews didn’t even bother and even the rumors and gossips that Montreal are famous for said nothing. The city went on as if nothing happened and I, maybe just I, was left to wonder if the world had gone mad, or perhaps it was me that did and no one had the courtesy to tell me.

—-

I took a room at the Hotel Bonaparte, just south of the once beautiful church and I watched every day I watched and filed away the stories and freelance writing I did for money. I watched what they do get bigger and bigger. Streets were closed, the Metro was rerouted twice, all of this costing the city most likely hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars it simply did not have.

I watched and I waited. I knew something was coming, I knew that there had to be a method behind this madness.

I rested my feet on a chair ten times older than I was, opened my second bottle of gin for the day and watched out the window and waited.

Quarter After Seven

Notre-Dame Basilica

I didn’t sleep very well last night and instead of sitting on my bed staring into the whirling fan of my air conditioner that, yes, I still have on as snow melts outside my window, I decided that maybe I would come downstairs and do dad things like the dishes. I did those things and now here I am, sitting in front of my computer writing because that is what I do and that is what I love more than anything save people on an ever shrinking list.

There is football to watch today, so that is good. The Bills aren’t playing, so that is better. I can only put up a strong front about them for so long and then I just accept the inevitability of fate and remember there are 31 other teams in the league that are can be cheered for in a variety of positive and negative ways.

The Ducks go to school for two whole days next week before the break and it just occurred to be that while I was proactive and bought my turkey early, I neglected to by virtually every other thing for the holiday repast, and I should probably go and do that sooner rather than later. I do no want to have a death match with an Irish grandmother over the last ten pound bag of potatoes in the produce section of TOPS. Mostly because I would almost invariably lose that battle and force myself to walk home in shame as I failed my family and did not provide them with starchy goodness.

I have a really bad migraine right now, like, not fun on levels kind of bad. It is just below where I need to think about the entire shelf of drugs I have for these kind of things, none of which has proven effective, but there is always that hope that THIS TIME they will help and give me the relief I need. I need t believe this like crazy stupid people need to believe the Earth is flat.

I am rambling, but it solves the pain problem for a few seconds at a time if I give myself over to something else and make myself hyper focus on it. There is a Babeh Duck with me now, always the wonderful addition to any early morning excursion. He may be loud, but he is cute and that is a balm for a variety of sins to be sure. Plus, he constantly reminds me, as do my other two Ducks, that no matter what it is so very worth it at the end of the day.

My wedding anniversary to my Dove is Tuesday. We would have been married for fourteen years. I can still remember, nearly verbatim, the conversations we had in the days leading up to, and the day of, our wedding. There was never any fear or nerves, we had already lived together for a year at that point. I had been a father to her child and there was another one we just found out about on the way.

Excitement, it was excitement. We talked about the where and the if’s of things. We never did ninety percent of the things we said we would try, but life isn’t precisely fair now is it? The things we did get to do though, wow. We walked hand in hand through Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal and for about an hour she got to see the priest I would have been come through as I explained Mass and all the other Catholic things around her. She got to walk me around the streets of Montreal, up Ste-Catherine and down President Kennedy. We smiled as we drove through Kansas and laughed as we took a train ride out of it. We were terrified together. We screamed at one another. We loved like explosions so vast you don’t even know you are standing inside of them.

I think now that I will go and smile into the upcoming sun of a Sunday morning, my youngest at my side and think sweet and happy thoughts.

Just a Bear thinking of his Dove while holding his Duck.