Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 24
Ch.24

Ishtar had climbed three flights of stairs before she left the stairwell. The Tower's interior degraded in habitability to a Gothic architectural scheme as clustered columns covered the Tower’s support beams. The level she navigated was full of these beams without any walls on the floor.

She ran towards the end of the level in hopes of finding stairs that lead down to the prison floor. Ishtar tried to think of what Samael wanted with Ben. The memories of the look in his eyes when he killed Dagon burned inside her head.

Ben’s my ticket, Samael,” she said aloud.

Ticket? That’s an interesting term to use when referring to the person who saved your life.

Huh?” She stopped running and looked around the floor.

Stand still. We need to talk.

Ishtar’s vision cut off and she could only feel herself standing. The floor faded beneath her and she involuntarily looked down. Her body returned to human form, wearing all red clothes. “Have a seat,” she heard to her left. Trisha turned to see Lilly sitting, legs crossed, at a white table with a chair on the opposite side. Lilly’s face was plain and her contracted pupils focused on Trisha.

“Hey, I found a guy who’s trespassed in the Tower. He says he used to be a part of the first group in Compound 5 way back when. I’ve tricked him into traveling with me so I can hand him over to Chen, but Samael is going to rip him to pieces if I don’t get to him first.”

Lilly gestured her hand to the open seat.

“Sorry, Mistress Lilith. I apologize for not addressing you properly, but I’m serious about that guy. I need to get to him fast.”

“Where do I begin with all the things you’ve done wrong so far?” Lilly asked.

“What?”

“Ben’s a great guy but he was disregarded in Chen’s plans for the future. You were not supposed to let him pass your floor.”

Trisha’s eyebrows perked. “What are you saying?”

“One of the reasons we are given a room is to uphold a barrier between the top floor and those who are not allowed to Ascend with us. Do you realize how bad it looks that you’ve left your room and are seen traveling with Ben?”

“I’m trying to personally hand him over. Not all of us have as much praise and liberty as Demon members, my mistress.”

“Are you alluding towards leaving the Tower again? Last year you took two weeks of vacation and gone past your time limit. You could have jeopardized everything Dr. Chen has worked for over some ranch in Alabama. One year under room arrest was too light of a punishment.” Lilly leaned forward. “And don’t think we have not identified signs of another planned escape. London, is it? No place on this earth is too far from Demon. You’re nothing but a con artist. Not to mention the lies you’ve told Ben.”

“Excuse me? Don’t act all high and mighty, when he’s here to save you from the Tower. You could get him to leave, but I haven’t seen much effort on your part, dear.”

“I’m not the one trying to make him believe I’m his friend or trying to help him. You’ve been picking up his brainwaves also. He’s considering to trust you, and look what you’re doing.” Lilly shook her head at Trisha, sending a sense of disgust into her mental perception.

Trisha ran her hair behind her ears and adjusted in her seat. “I…”

“You what? You just think doing that to a great guy like Ben is good as long as you get yours in the end? What’s next on your scheme? Buy our trust with Ben so you can skip off to London the first chance you get?” Trisha’s heart began to beat faster. “I knew it. Ben has feelings too you know? Maybe I should talk to Chen about using a more reliable test subject.”

Trisha’s eyes widened and she leaned forward.

“All I’m saying is not to get too attached to your medallion.”

“I can do good. I promise I’m not trying to escape again. I just don’t want Ben to get hurt on his way up the Tower is all. We might be able to use him or something.”

“There you go with using Ben again.”

“You’re being unfair.”

Lilly looked away and tapped her fingers on the table. Ben was already halfway up the Tower and she still couldn’t decide herself on what to do with him. He is risking his life to save me, she thought. “I don’t want him hurt either. I have an idea. Bring him to my room and I’ll wipe his memory. He’ll forget everything that has happened here and I’ll erase all the way back to when he and I met.”

“Why didn’t you do that before?”

“I did.” She clearly remembered wiping Ben’s memory when he laid unconscious on the hood of his car. “I wiped his memory but for some reason he didn’t forget. It all came back to him.”

“There’s something more to him,” Trisha said. “Have you looked into his eyes? I mean really looked.” She leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. “Walking around with him I’ve been picking up this strange resonance coming from his brain, but the way it travels from his body its-”

“Not coming from his brain,” Lilly interrupted. “I know what you mean, but that’s irrelevant at the moment. I’m going to take away his memory for sure this time and then I’ll try to take away his powers. After that, he’s going right back where he belongs. He’s a great guy, he just doesn’t understand our world.”

Sometimes Trisha didn’t understand the world she lived in either.

A looming cloud of guilt formed overhead while traveling with Ben. Every time he said something funny or something nice, the emotional cumulus grew. “Maybe erasing his memory is the proper thing to do.”

“I just want things the way they were. Once Ben’s back in his hometown, Chen’s plan should be finished and we will have the new world to greet us.”

Trish thought about it some more. “Would you ever go see Ben afterwards?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’ve said he’s a great guy like three times already. I can tell that him being here is affecting you.”

She turned her head away from Trisha. The dark room they were in was slowly turning grey and the table faded away. “He’s just some guy.”

Ishtar blinked a few times and noticed she was back in the divide. Her mind returned to her and all the feeling of the conversation came with it. She ran for the end of the hallway and found the stairs she needed. Now that Lilly gave her an alternate solution to turning Ben over to Chen, the choice was easier to make. “Sorry, Ben.”

 

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