Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 26
Ch.26

Ben entered the prison level through a heavy metal door that hung open. Marble pillars connected the ceiling to the floor in four symmetrical rows. Two rows went from left to right in the middle of the room twenty feet apart, fifteen feet between each pillar, with the other two rows perpendicular to the first set. Near the far wall, to the left, steel bars created three walls for the only cell in the prison level.

He noticed a pile of dirty blankets and rags near an opening in the right wall of the level. He could see a mirror set up against a corner that showed him the prison bathroom and showers. Smiley faces and abstract carvings were etched into some of the pillars and the walls of the prison.

Ben looked around the room as he made his way to the steel bars. He walked between the two rows of pillars, keeping a distance of potential hiding spots.  An ex-Demon member. His thoughts focused on the threat. I have to be on my game. I'm up against someone strong this time. The turbine pumped energy to his hands. I've held the telekinetic flow inside before, but this is different. The energy felt warmer inside his body. His senses seemed acute. The walls were perceived in greater detail, his footsteps louder, a slight draft in the level rushed across him. I’m feeling…strange.

Ben reached the steel bars and looked inside the cell. “Empty.” The cell door was open. “Where are you?”

“What's up?”

Ben turned around with his fists up. He saw Samael leaning against one of the pillars near his cell with his arms crossed. Ben noticed the muscle definition beneath Samael's shirt, moderate. He stood three inches shorter than Ben, buzz cut hair with a low hairline, brown eyes with flat eyebrows and a Roman nose.

“I'm here. What did you want to talk about?”

Samael pushed off the pillar with his back and put his hands on his hips. He walked in a circular pattern around Ben. “Answer my question first.”

“What?”

“That's two questions now you've asked. I told you, mine first.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I asked what's up? You don't understand common greetings?”

“Quit playing games.”

Samael walked towards Ben with his hands out. “Games? Hell yeah I'm going to play games.” Ben walked backwards trying to keep his distance. “On a scale of one to ten, staying in this prison for the past two years was about a nine point bogus. The food was garbage cooked with a microwave. The heater is broken in this place, try getting a repairman this high up, right? Don't even get me started on my roommates; it was like spending time with a bunch of twelve year olds.” Samael put his hands out to his side and did a half spin, then another complaint came to him. “Believe it or not you’re my first visitor.”

“You don't say?”

“Real talk. How has your Tower tour been? Causing a lot of havoc so far?”

Ben still had his guard up. “A little. Tell me what you wanted to talk about. I can't really afford to waste time here. Not only do I have to reach the top of the Tower, but there's some sort of cyborg people trying to kill telekinetic beings.”

“Bio-Machina.”

“Who?”

“Bio-Machina, that's the name of the group. I've been sitting up here picking up stray brainwaves for the past few hours and that's what I've been hearing. There's a cannibal, an arsonist, a samurai, a crow, some crossbow woman, and a zombie. Pretty unique group. Their leader is keeping low key for some reason, but If I was the boss man than I wouldn't be doing a damn thing.”

“You know all this from your powers?”

Samael shrugged his shoulders. “I had a lot of nothing to do here, so there wasn't anything to distract me from picking up anything unusual. Tell me something though,” Samael's right hand reached out and the wrapping around his wrist shot towards Ben. The tendril gripped Ben's neck and brought him forward into Samael's hand. “What's up? I've been answering your questions this whole time and you can't answer a single one of mine.” Ben struggled against Samael’s firm hold. “You came to the Tower early this morning and things have been changing. Not too long ago Lilith left and ever since she came back, her attitude is different. Now, Trisha, the deserter, is traveling with you.”

Deserter? Ben thought.

“That's right. You might want to know the company you’re traveling with if you’re going to… travel with them.”

“I think you’re trying to confuse me.” Ben had his hands on Samael's wrist, focusing his powers into his strength.

“If we're going to have this conversation you have to stop it with the bitchassness.”

“Ha. Oh yeah?” Ben roundhouse kicked Samael in the ribs and slapped away his hold. He followed up with a right hook that caught Sam square in the jaw. “I'm not going to let you stop me.” Ben took hold of Samael's collar and used his telekinesis to grab his upper body. Ben grunted and threw Samael to his right, making him fly into a pillar ten feet away. The ex-Demon’s body smacked against the support structure and fell to the floor. “Now I'd like to stay and chit chat but I really have to go.” Ben turned to walk away, but Samael started laughing.

Samael rubbed his chin as he got to his feet. “Didn't see that coming. You look like more of a push over than anything.” He slowly popped his neck and rolled his shoulders. “So you've learned to enhance your body? Good. Takes most people quite some time to learn that trick.” Samael put his left arm out to his side and a tendril shot to the left in a large arc towards Ben. When Ben took his eyes off Samael he felt a blunt force punch his chest, as the tendril from Samael’s right arm struck him.

He stumbled back, and grabbed his chest. “Bastard.”

“Yeah, that’s kind of my nickname.” Samael retraced both tendrils and pointed with his right hand towards Ben. “Now tell me how this feels?” A tendril shot at Ben’s chest hitting the same spot, with twice the speed. Samael watched Ben’s brain automatically protecting its host body. A flow of blue energy came from the center of his body to the surface of his chest, invisible to the naked eye. The tendril hit Ben’s chest and caused more of a pinch of pain than an actual bout. “Nice. Your brain is good at picking up skills, but it’s still sloppy. By the way, to give you a warm fuzzy, that strike was three times harder than the last.”

A warm flame rose in the back of Ben's mind. He could feel anger seeping into his veins. “I don't like being toyed with Samael. Stay out of my way.”

“You know I'm usually the one with the label of asshole, but you’re a close silver medal if you catch my drift. I just want to talk.”

Think. Think. This guy is just messing with me. I've got to do something.

“Don't think too hard now,” Samael smirked.

“Think?” And Ben thought. “What's the deal with you? You even said it before, you could have left this place to come find me, but you didn't. Is there something keeping you?”

Samael smiled. “The psychological approach I see.”

“You didn’t learn your place the first time around? I don't know what happened two years ago, but whatever it was it has you scared to leave. Here I am trying to get to Lilly and you just want to be a nuisance.”

He tried to hide it, but Samael winced when Ben said her name.

“All I have to do is get past you and I'll be on my way.”

“It's getting past me is the hard part. So you’re here for Lilly? Funny, she doesn't get addressed by her nickname from a lot of people.”

Ben found a niche. “Lilly wants to lead a normal life, but you people can't seem to accept that. Are you trying to be a nuisance to everyone in the Tower?”

“Me and her happen to have a history.”

“That's funny. She never mentioned you. Must not have been that special,” Ben said.

Samael turned and hit the pillar he stood beside with the back of his fist. Chunks of marble fell to the floor; a small crater formed from his punch. “Still need to knock some rust off these muscles. I'll use your face as a warm up.”

“Tough talk.”

Samael ran forward and threw his hands out at Ben, sending two tendrils in his direction. Ben charged in and slapped at the tendrils with his telekinesis, deflecting them at the ground where he then punched forward with heavy telekinetic force.

Samael threw his head forward and caught Ben’s fist, making his knuckles pop as they both bounced off each other’s attacks. A tendril came from behind Ben and wrapped around his left arm, and folded it behind his back. Ben sent a knee into Samael’s stomach and grappled his head with his free arm. The tendril twisted Ben’s arm farther behind his back, sending pain up his shoulder.

An image flashed in Ben’s mind about a wrestling match he saw. He kicked his leg out, Samael’s head still in the fold of his arm, and performed a DDT. Samael’s head smacked against the floor with all of Ben’s weight backing it. “Give it up, Sam,” Ben said.

“So you wanna get raw do you?” Samael whipped around and brought his elbow down between Ben’s shoulder blades, making him falter in stance. Samael stood behind Ben and bent down to hug his waist. He stood with Ben in his grip and said, “P-p-p-power bomb,” then slammed Ben on the ground behind him.

The blow made the room shake in Ben’s eyes as his back hit first followed by his head and arms. The ceiling raised above him and the pillars wavered in his peripherals. Samael took a few steps back and pumped his fists in the air, pantomiming cheering with an invisible crowd.

“And the king is back ladies and gentlemen.” He did a victory lap around Ben as he waited for him to get back on his feet. “I want to see blood Benny boy. Come on and get up.”

Ben laughed a little. “You know in a sick way I’m enjoying this,” he said. “It’s something about you that pisses me off.”

“That’s the spirit.”

Ben got to his feet and raised his fists.

Samael punched forward, two feet shy of Ben, but sent a wave of telekinetic force at him. Ben gathered energy around his fists and pushed the blast away from his body as he took a long step forward. He came at Samael with a swift uppercut and caught him on the chin. An unusual blood lust fueled Ben, something he had never felt before. His mind screamed for more action, his perception sharpened, the pain from the fight benign. He then jabbed at Samael’s throat, but the blow was slapped away, making him lose balance. Samael reached in to Ben’s body as he fell forward then threw him off his feet and into a pillar ten feet to his right.

Ben hit but landed on his feet and came back for more. Telekinetic energy flowed through the room, both fighters letting loose.

“Get angry, pussy,” Samael said.

Grunting and loud popping noises of fists against flesh surrounded them.

He punched Samael across the jaw with a strong left. “I’ve fought cripples that hit harder than you,” Samael said. “Hit me like you mean it.” Ben swung again, but Samael brought up his left forearm for the block. Hitting Samael’s left forearm felt harder than when his back hit the floor. He kicked forward, making Samael take a few steps back. “Are you sure you’re taking this seriously?” They both ran at each other and locked hands, coming together in an aggressive embrace. “Let’s bring this whole place down. What do you say?”

“I was thinking more along the lines of decorating the floor with your blood.”

“Music to my ears. I can see it in your eye-” Samael cut his sentence short, his face grim.

Ben was smiling. He tasted blood in his mouth, possibly from his lip. His head felt heated, and his body warmed all over. The feeling of spikes tipped on his knees begged to run through Samael. A list of ways to thrash Samael to pieces came to his mind. He wanted to try all of them. Ben’s grip tightened. “I want you to hurt,” he growled.

Samael looked confused as he stared into Ben’s eyes. “Where did you come from, Ben?”

“No more talking.” Ben brought his hands up with his powers fueling his movements. Sam came off the ground, abruptly reunited with its surface being slammed against the concrete, and was then brought back to his feet. Ben held his leg back and kicked as hard as he could. Samael pulled his left hand out from Ben’s grip and let his forearm catch the blunt of the strike. His left arm was kicked out of the way, and Ben brought his leg back again. Samael blocked again with his left forearm catching most of the blow, as it still knocked away his defenses.

Samael did a spinning back kick and smacked Ben across the jaw. Darkness filled Ben’s vision, but a flash of red chassed it away. “That’s how you kick, Benny boy.” Keep at it Benjamin, Samael thought.

With the help of his telekinesis, Ben performed the same spinning back kick only to be blocked by Samael’s left forearm, but a pop sound was heard underneath his wrappings. A small smile crept across Sam’s face.

“I’m done with you,” Ben said. He then reached out and grabbed Samael by the throat, holding him off his feet.

“Not yet you’re not.”

Samael’s tendrils came undone and reached for Ben, but fell limp midway through their flight. A wave of energy emitted from Ben’s core and broke Samael’s concentration.

“Die Demon.”

“Look who’s talking,” Samael said.

Ben squeezed as hard as he could, counting the pulses that beat beneath his fingers. He could almost feel the wind he trapped inside Samael’s larynx, smiling all the while as someone was dying in his grip.

Ben?

The red in his vision came back and started to glaze over everything.

Ben let him go. You’re hurting him.

Something deep inside Ben was awakening.

Ishtar put her hand on Ben’s shoulder and shook him. Ben mindlessly turned and sent a shock wave of telekinetic force at Ishtar. A force so great that it sent her flying against a marble pillar, and knocked her out of her dragon form.

He saw her fall to the ground and reality set in. He let go of Samael and said, “Trisha?” An immense weight sat on his heart as he slowly walked towards her. The beads of sweat across his face became apparent to him. The damage from the fight sprouted up along his back and shoulders. His knuckles felt like paste, and his right foot blossomed in pain. “Are you okay?”

Her head faced down at her lap. “Get away from me,” she said in a shaky voice. She looked up at him with tears in her eyes.

“I didn’t mean to-”

“Just leave me alone.” She stood and turned back into Ishtar, pain in her voice as well as her heart. She returned to the back exit and left him there.

He gave chase after her, it was all wrong.

Samael coughed a little then sat up. “That was disappointing.” Samael brought his left arm up. “It looks like this kid is trying to steal my show.” He started to unravel, by hand, the Kevlar wrappings around his forearm. “He did address her by Lilly, and there are a lot of distractions going on.” As Samael unraveled the wraps, a pink glow came from underneath them. “Maybe today is a good day for revenge.” Underneath the wrappings was a thick telekinetic chain that covered his arm from elbow to wrist. The chain was slightly cracked and the pink glow flickered at him.

 

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