Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 18

“Back in Eindhoven, I ran numbers during the summer weeks when I was a little boy. With that money, I helped keep me and my mom fed, and became affiliated with the local muscle. There were two opposing crime bosses I worked between, Mr. Frans and Mr. Janseen. Ten years old at the time, I was so small they agreed to put me in the neutral territory.

“After running numbers for so long I realized all I was doing was simple courier tasks, which showed me that there’s always a courier, even in this age of technological advances. Your car takes you anywhere you please, but you put the gas in it. A nice girl will play with your pecker, but you have to pay her in money or time. Even our bodies demand we give it something in order for it to work. We are slaves to ourselves even, don’t you see?”

Ignis was at the end of his cigarette. He put it out the same way he extinguished the previous one, in the eye sockets of his victims. The room filled with the man’s screams. A woman tied to a chair, next to them, began to cry again. The other staff members that were still alive joined her in tears.

Some submitted with ease while others were made an example of. There used to be twelve. Now only six of them sat in a circle, facing away from each other in a ten foot diameter. When the screams began, it was hard for them to determine who was getting hurt. Ignis would occasionally circle the group and randomly decide whom he would inflict pain upon. He would walk into their field of vision, smiling, his goatee neatly trimmed and his clothes portraying the image of the devil masquerading as a gentleman.

“Do you want to know how I got a promotion?” He sat in a man’s lap and put his arm around him, puffing on a freshly lit cigarette. He exhaled the smoke away from the man’s face. “I waited until there was a big win at the race track and sleuthed on over to the Gestel neighborhood, where Mr. Frans operated. The boss only won a small amount, but he got two prizes, his winnings, and Mr. Janseen’s ticket slipped into his coat pocket. When I told Mr. Janseen that I was shaken down for his fixed bet earnings, he was rabid. He should have been. He had his own courier tasks to do with his money. The note on his Italian sports car, his boss needed rent, and anything left after that went to his wife.” Ignis smiled as a thought came to mind. “She loved the dick, but that’s another story.

“These two bosses had a field day with each other. For a week straight, it was hit after hit after hit. More bullets flew than birds. When the smoke settled, Frans and Janseen had their back turned to, would you believe it, a bigger boss from the town over moving in and shutting down both operations. I was placed in a higher income bracket and always held that ace in my sleeve for helping Mr. Rodrick get rid of Frans and Janseen.

“I learned a very important lesson that week.” He neared the end of his cigarette. Ignis looked into the burned sockets of the man. The tortured soul was still inside that husk somewhere. “Kings, peasants, derelicts, and prophets, we’re all the same; slaves to a greater power.” Ignis stood and his left hand turned red. He placed his palm against his victim’s forehead and the skin sizzled. As the man tried to scream, Ignis shoved the cigarette down his throat and made him choke on it.

Ignis patted his pants, and discovered he was out of cigarettes.  “Damn.” He marched around the circle of sadism and found a red pack in the breast pocket of one sacrifice. “How about that.” The man started to shake from hearing Ignis’s voice. “My favorite.” He lit another cigarette and pocketed the rest. “Ain’t that a kick in the head?”

He picked the shaking man’s chin up and said, “Now keep your face pointed at the ceiling.” The man did as he was told. Earlier, his ear was burnt for asking “What?” and his kneecaps shattered for trying to run. “Thank you.” Ignis then performed a flawless spinning back kick, connecting his heel to the man’s Adam’s apple. The scientist fell backwards and slid to the center of the group.

Gulo reached over and drew the freshly slain meal to his mouth. Bodies of torn flesh and broken bones were piled to his left. The chunks of human he would soon satiate his hunger with piled to his right.

“You about finished? I’m getting bored of these ones.”

Gulo brought his head out of a man’s chest cavity he held between his claws.

“There’s always more food on the way up,” Ignis said.

Gulo dropped the body and got to his feet. He threw up a little, standing straight, letting the bits of limbs and quarts of blood drool down his body. Vomiting helped his stomach whenever he overate.

“Need a napkin big guy?”

“It is nice to know the both of you are having an enjoyable time on mission,” Deus said. He came into the room with his hands behind his back. “What's the status on your mission progress?”

“Be a good boy and finish of the ones that are left alive in the circle over there. Take all their heads off just to be sure,” Ignis said to Gulo.

The beast looked down at Ignis then at the bodies who still had a head. The beast lumbered over to the circle and proceeded to conduct a series of decapitations.

“So far we've been taking out the future batch of telekinetic kiddies, and a few staff members. Trekking up this Tower is giving my hand a good work out.” Ignis brought his left hand in front of him and heated it up. At the peak of its brightness, small vents in his wrist expelled the heat, making it cool to the touch in seconds. “I honestly like my new toy.”

“You could have had it sooner if you were not stubborn. You should get more enhancements you know.”

“Ah, they’re like tattoos are they? Once I get one I've got to get one more? I do like it. Just a bit ago I was trying to warm up the women sitting over there, and wouldn't you know it I got her too heated. Accidentally burned the clam, pearl and all. Smell probably won't get off my fingers for a week.” Ignis held his index and middle finger up to his nose and chuckled.

“If you ever want more, I have schematics prepared. Just let me know when you're ready.” Deus walked past Ignis. “Team beta should be just a few floors above. The meeting should take place within the next hour.” Before Deus left the room, he came to a halt. “One more thing.” He turned around and said, “There seems to be another entity in this Tower making its way to the top. Have you come across anything that would indicate my hypothesis?”

“There was this one kid that had his skull caved in from a plant. Didn't look like an accident, and the kid was one of them that owned a large room.”

Deus nodded his head. “Your orders still remain the same, and if you come across anyone else in the Tower be sure to give them a proper greeting before getting them out of our way.”


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