Tower of Babel
Author: Isaac Woulms

Chapter 39
Ch.39

“Wait.”

Ben was inside the abyss again. The small red orb appeared in front of him and behind the orb stood Baal. The orb's light was bright enough now to show more of Baal's features. The ring he wore changed in hue going from a dim glow to an empty dullness.

Ben was expecting more from the Demon member. His hair was black like Ben's and his eyes were also green. Baal’s nose was narrow and his jaw closer to bold than meek. He had an overall fresh-face that reflected his youth, yet Ben could not shake the feeling that there was something wrong about his appearance.

The light reflecting in his eyes maybe? Ben thought.

“Sorry about the intermission. So you’re still teamed up with Samael and Trisha?”

“What’s the deal? Magnus is still down there.”

“So are you. We’re inside your head.”

“Maybe but I need to be back in the ceremony room before I get chopped up. What do you want?”

Baal took a deep breath and said, “How about we turn on some lights, huh?”

Ben looked around, but could only see darkness outside the red orb’s glow.

“It’s your mind, Ben. You have to create the light.”

“How do I do that?”

“Focus on what you want, think about the light, and exert your telekinetic ability. Don't worry about expending too much power, since we're inside your mind, the energy and capabilities are drastically different here.”

Ben glanced up. A flicker of light came from where his eyes peered then returned to darkness.

“Don't think about it just once, imagine as if the light was already there before you retreated to your subconscious,” Baal said.

Ben tried again, but looked forward this time. He still saw Baal beyond the orb’s dim, red hue. He thought of room lighting casting down on them from imaginary bulbs above. The light rapidly flickered above before stabilizing into a constant stream. Ben stood in an enclosed room with no windows or doors.

Baal’s green ring pulsed in intensity then became dull as the red orb disappeared. “That's better. Now that there's light you can see the walls of your subconscious. Pretty bleak, right?”

This is what the mind looks like? Ben thought.

“Not just the mind, this is the reality of the real world. Everything you experience is just the reflection of your imagination. I told you this before have I not?”

“What's the point then?” Ben shook his head and said, “Never mind, what is it you wanted to talk about? I'm kind of in the middle of something.”

“I've come to warn you about something. Lilly-”

“Is she okay? I haven't heard from her in a while.”

Baal paused for a moment and gave Ben a sideways look. “There's a reason for that.”

“Tell me,” Ben said.

“She doesn't want to talk to you. Are you sure you know what you’re doing here?”

“What do you mean she doesn't want to talk to me? I'm here to save her.”

“From what?” Baal scratched his head and began to say something but gave Ben another chance to explain himself.

“I mean, that's what she wants. She didn't seem too happy about returning here and she felt trapped. I couldn't just... why should I trust you? How do I know you're not trying to trick me?”

Baal nodded his head a little and said, “That's smart that you’re suspicious of me, but you’re pointing the finger at the wrong… Demon. Also, there’s something about Trisha that you should know.”

“How do I know that you’ll tell the truth? You’re still a Demon member, what do you get from our little chats?”

“What do I get? Your vocabulary could use some productive expansion. First, I don't get anything, congratulations, you are correct. Second, I could have just left you alone and you would have been severely surprised by what Trisha has devised for you. Third-”

“Stop. Just let me think about all of this.”

“Go ahead.”

“Shh. I got some guy with a set of swords and metal bones trying to kill me right now and I'm debating honesty with an enemy inside my own mind.”

Baal started picking at the dust underneath his fingernails. “Take your time.”

Ben walked away from Baal and ran his right hand through his hair; the room might as well have been spinning. I have Trisha and Samael there, so as long as I'm still conscious, inside my subconscious, I should be fine. What the hell have I gotten myself into? I just want to save the girl and go home.

“If you don't mind me intruding...”

“No. Not right now, you've done enough. And stay out of my head.”

“I can't help it, you think so loudly. You should really focus on not doing that. In addition, you just want to save Lilly and go home? What about...” Baal didn't finish the sentence. He didn't need to.

“My parents? So you’re saying you know something that I don't about them?”

Baal nodded his head once.

“And you’re also saying that Trish is up to something? So you’re giving me all this information for free?”

Baal shrugged and said, “Pretty much.”

“It doesn't make sense. You’re being awfully friendly for an enemy.”

Baal sighed and approached Ben. As he drew near, he brought his right hand out in front of him. Ben brought his fists up and began fueling the cycle of energy inside his body.

“Hmm?” Baal pointed his index finger at Ben then quickly pointed to Ben's left. As Baal's finger moved so too did Ben, his entire body forced off his feet and through the air by Baal's power. He hit the ground hard and rolled. Before he stopped rolling, Baal pointed upward making Ben rise from the floor to smack against the ceiling. Subconscious or not, the floor and ceiling felt like real concrete.

Ben fell back to the floor and curled up out of reflex. He coughed a little from the shock of Baal's attack and struggled to get to his knees. Not only did Ben feel pain, something about Baal's power caused an on odd sense of damage beyond the physiological realm.

“I could just kill you.”

Ben looked to his left and noticed Baal standing over him.

“That was just one finger, and a small amount of my power. You are nothing compared to me and if I had ill intent towards you, it would already have been served.”

Ben glared at Baal from one knee. He couldn't see any sense of satisfaction on Baal's face. He was simply looking down at him. “So that's your proof?” Ben got back to his feet with his energy cycling full speed.

“Are you still willing to fight me? I admire that, but you are wasting your time. I could kill you a thousand times over before you could ever harm a hair on my head. Are you ready to listen up for what I have to say? Or do you want to be ripped apart, limb by limb?”

Ben put his fists down and walked a few paces to his left. He didn't want to stand so close to Baal, aside from the overwhelming strength, there was something uncomfortable about his person. “Say what you need to say, and get out of my head.”

Baal smiled. “So where were we?”

“My parents.”

“Wasn't there something else as well?”

Ben’s eyes narrowed.

“Relax. Relax. So you want to know more about your parents, and I'm the person that knows quite a bit. But we can't really talk on that subject right now.”

“Dammit Baal.” Ben gritted his teeth and clenched his fists again.

“I don't want to be inside your mind when you find out. While I'm here I can be pretty vulnerable.” Baal winked. “Trisha, now she's the one you should be concerned about. Tell me what you think about her.”

“Does it matter what I think about her?”

“Benjamin, if you want the information you're going to have to play along.”

Ben crossed his arms. The more he looked at Baal's face the more it upset him. “She's a girl that's been really helpful so far, and on two occasions she had the chance to kill me. She hasn't given me too much a reason to not trust her, and she wants to leave the Tower as well.”

Baal rolled the words that Ben had said around in his head. “Too much of a reason to not trust her?” Baal shrugged his shoulders. “I guess I can see what you mean by that, but has she told you about her little pact she made with Lilly?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know how we're talking right now inside your head? Well surprise surprise, you and I are not the only ones who have been communicating this way. Trisha has agreed to take you to Lilly so that she could erase your memory. After your mind is erased, they plan on dumping you back off in that small town in Texas. No recollection of the Tower, and no recollection of your powers, which will be taken from you during the memory wipe process. The technique hasn't been perfected yet, but Lilly can be pretty thorough.”

Ben tried to remember when Trisha might have made the agreement with Lilly. “But-”

“But why? She tried to run away a year ago and ever since then Trisha has been under house arrest. She wanted to leave once, but now that Trisha is shunned from the community, she's been trying desperately to get back in the Dr.’s graces.” Baal laughed softly inside his throat, but loud enough for Ben to hear. “The things she tried to do when she wanted to be accepted by the community. She would just offer herself to the Demon members and the higher ranks of the Ascending.” Ben's jaw tightened. “The things she would do...”

“I get the picture.”

“And with a smile at that. Her body was like a 24 hour service center.”

Ben hadn't noticed yet, but the flow of energy inside his body was growing.

“Promiscuous would be an understatement. The only time she wasn't passing her ass around was when she was asleep.”

“Shut up.”

Baal looked at Ben's fists. “Benjamin, I'm trying to make you see that she's not worth whatever misplaced feelings you might have for her, platonic or otherwise.”

“She's just a friend, and I don't like my friends being talked about that way.”

“Your friends plot against you and agree to erase your memory? If that’s your friends than you enemies must be real... well you know.” Ben only had an idea of how much Baal was enjoying this. “Like I said earlier, relax. Now that you know about your little trader friend, it's time to turn the spotlight on Samael.”

“Let me guess, he's going to turn on me too?”

“He's going after Lilly.”

Ben wished he could slow down time. The things that Baal was saying were anchoring themselves into a very possible chance of actually being true. “But,” Ben tried to deny it yet something inside him told him to believe, “it might be...”

“It is true. Drop your frenemies and come to my quarters. You will know where to go. I'll be guiding you.” Baal turned and began to walk away.

“Wait,” Ben reached out for Baal.

“One more thing.” Baal turned around and said, “If you tell anyone about our conversations and what I told you, what do you think they will say? ‘Yes, of course we're plotting against you, duh.’ Be smart and keep them at a distance. If your all alone no one can get to you, right?” Baal turned back and walked off again towards the back wall.

Ben blinked a few times and was back in his body, and realized before he left that he was under attack. Only now, Magnus was not standing in front of him. It was another man, a man with a fedora and a black vest. He had a neatly trimmed goatee and unlit cigarette in his mouth. The man brought his left metal hand up and touched the tip of the cigarette with his index finger. As the cigarette lit, he brought his right hand forward and said, “Nice to meet you, Benjamin.”

 

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