The End is at the Beginning
She caught herself chewing her nails again. It was a nasty habit she did when she was nervous. Unfortunately, Molly was always a little nervous when Temple Hall requested her presence unexpectedly. This time however, she had been called into a morgue, which was new, and was now stuck waiting. That wasn’t helping with the nervousness.
The door to the morgue room she was standing outside of opened as two people walked out. Molly recognized DI Shelly, and although she had never met the well dressed man, she could tell from his cufflinks that he was from Temple Hall. The Detective-Inspector took a long look at Molly, before just shaking her head and walking off. The Templar stepped forward towards Molly.
“Hello, I called you here in hopes of any information you could impart on, well, it’s probably easier to just show you. Although it might be a bit, well, odd.” He sheepishly waved his hand at the door in invitation.
The morgue room was cold, and rather bare. The only thing of interest was the table obviously containing a body covered by a sheet. The Templar, who Molly just sorta realized she had no idea what his name was, carefully pulled back the sheet.
It was surprising seeing your own face, cold and unalive, on a morgue table. At first, Molly thought she must be mistaken, but no, it was unmistakably herself laying there. Staring at it felt like a calm eternity before the the Templar interrupted it.
“From your reaction, I’m guessing this is a surprise to you as well.”
Molly nodded “What, what is this?”
“We’re not sure. The body was found in Darkside, and we were informed, given your membership with us. We of course, had no knowledge of your death, given you were very much alive. Could this be a sibling perhaps?”
“No, I’m an only child.” She suspected he knew this already, Temple Hall must have looked into her entire history when they recruited her.
“I see. Quite a mystery then. A field agent’s corpse, with a stab wound, but the same agent quite alive as well, with no knowledge of how this happened. You haven’t been creating some sort of simulacrum or clone then?”
“No.” Molly looked into her double’s eyes, There was electricity, a hot humid feeling followed by a moment of darkness. A jumble of visions flashed in the briefest of moments. She saw the night she had gotten her bee, the worst night of her life. She saw herself dying alone, in the future she was sure. But the important thing she saw was the book. That damn book.
“Are you okay.” The Templar’s voice snapped her away from vision. She felt flushed, and a bit dizzy, but she kept her composure with a deep breath.
“I, uhh, yes. I’m fine.”
“Of course. We’ll get to the bottom of this I’m sure. If you think of anything, feel free to contact your handler at Temple Hall.” Molly nodded, and headed out, taking a one last look at the body as she departed. The book was supposed to have been destroyed, but it had not, she was sure. She was also sure the book was connected to this somehow.
She couldn’t bear to tell anyone of the vision, it hurt too much. It hurt too much to leave it alone too. She needed to find the book, maybe just to find the closure she had been trying to find ever since she had stepped into the secret world. For Amber, for herself.
Even if it ended up killing her.
The door creaked open, allowing Molly to see the depressing apartment within, her apartment. Sparsely furnished, it had never really become a home for her, just a place to stay at times when not being thrown into the field. After all, home was a place you wanted to go back to, and there was nothing like that here for her.
Well, except for the legion of small shems that almost seemingly appeared out of nowhere to mob around her feet. It brought a slight smile to her face, she really was fond of the little guys.
“Hey, hey, I’m back now. Don’t have to get so excited every time.” The little creatures of clay, metals and stone didn’t really understand her, and continued to stumble around her. She could almost swear they were trying to dance or something.
Stepping over them she made her way into the apartment and over to a small desk, the only part of the apartment that seemed overly used. On the desk was a somewhat outdated laptop and a number of notes, maps, and books. She sighed as she gathered up a number of them and tossed them away. Then she collapsed into the chair and laid her head down on the desk.
“Another waste of time.” She whispered to herself. All her research and investigations into the book had led nowhere. It hadn’t started out bad. The book had been in the possession of Temple Hall when they had found her. Checking various records showed that it had been scheduled to be destroyed by the Council of Venice, but no record of it’s destruction existed. Somehow, it had gotten out.
She had checked potential people who could have taken the book, but all those leads ended up being dead ends, quite literally. The Council agents tasked with the book had all passed away, some on assignment, and some by what seemed to be natural causes. She had tried to look into occult dealers, but nothing had come up on it yet.
She felt a tug on her leg, and looked down to see Orm, one of the shems, hugging her leg. The others seemed like they were trying to pick up the strewn about papers, although their clumsiness meant they were mostly just strewing the papers around more. She patted Orm on his golden head. She wondered if they could somehow sense her emotions, maybe because she created them? Could they tell that she barely slept anymore?
She turned back to the desk and turned on the computer, hoping maybe that a lead would miraculously appear from the aether. Instead, there were more messages from the therapist at Temple Hall. She was worried about how Molly was taking the whole dead body thing, and wanted to schedule a meeting.
Of course, there was no time for that. Molly could feel that the book was out there, it’s malevolent presence just waiting to cause more damage. It had to be stopped. Maybe once it was gone the nightmares would end.
The BuzzingOur wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see.
TRANSMIT - initiate the beyond signal - RECEIVE - initiate cursed cadence - IT IS THE DEATH THAT IS LIFE - the day the music died - BE WARY OF THROWING STONES - when the weak court death they find it - WITNESS - the Death and Life of Molly Dufrene
I’m going to tell you a story sweetling. It begins with the end of a life. It ends with the beginning of a life. It climaxes with a death. Spoilers!
She seeks a book, but it is not a book. It is a house, but it is not a house. It is knowledge that devours you. It is all these things and none of these things. It has been called θάνατος λοιμός πέρα Codex, the Keph-Ihughua, The Mad Poet’s scrolls, the revenant’s knife, and the Glass House. These are not it’s names however. It is beyond names, time and space, yet it desires these things. Not to be is a terrible fate.
She will find it, or it will find her. The book will burn. Time will fall. She will clip her wings, we can still hear the silent screaming. She will die. She will enter the Glass House.
WARNING: The 4th dimension is twisted here, reflected over and over. Applying dynamic filter. After all, what is time to us?
She will see what could have been. What never was. It wants her whole again. Another foothold into the real. Will she be clever enough to see the truth? Your minds are not meant to see such sights.
Circular InevitabilityThings had taken a turn for the worse. Molly clutched her side, the knife wound exactly where it had been on her body in the morgue. She instinctively tried to shield herself, but he was too quick, knocking her to the ground. His eyes had been replaced by those soulless pits of black, the same as the people, no not people, the things that had dragged her and Amber out into the forest before. The events that led to this moment flashed in her mind.
Molly had an odd feeling going into the catacombs. Not her usual jitteriness when out in the field, and not a true fear of the creepiness of the place. Well, it was super creepy, but that wasn’t the feeling. Something was going to happen.
She hoped that the leads had finally panned out. The Codex had been stolen from Venice archives, snuck out by Phoenician agents. That in turn had led to the codex making it’s way through various occult dealer circles, where it had been auctioned to a man, who had made his way down into the Paris catacombs, if her magic was right.
She sighed and continued deeper in. It was really creepy here.
Someone had definitely set up shop here. The room had a small cot, but more interestingly it had a wall covered in various notes, papers and diagrams of an arcane nature. Quite a bit of it was beyond Molly’s understanding, but it seemed to be a ritual of some kind. A summoning…
“No way.” Molly whispered. He wanted to summon what they had summoned, her friends and herself, except a much larger scale. That was bad, really bad. She glanced around the room, where was that book?
“You’re here looking for the book, no?” Molly awkwardly jump turned to the entrance to the chamber, which a man now occupied. The man, a bit scruffy but with a zealous gleam in his eyes, carefully moved forward. “All my careful plans to get the book, yet you are still here. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. You survived Keph-Ihughua, but you cannot escape him so easily.”
“Wh-Who are you? Why are you doing this?” Molly asked.
“Just a lowly archivist of the Council. Yet soon I will be the one who brings Keph-Ihughua to this place and time.” She could feel the man start to call upon magic energies as he drew a blackened athame. Molly instinctively called upon her anima, as she drew blood runes in the air, and their magic clashed.
She could tell that he had more experience, more knowledge of magic. It didn’t matter. The bee’s sheer power was just too great, and his protective wards faltered.
In the back of her mind she felt some remorse. He was human, not filth infected or inhuman. However, he intended to use the book to release that thing, he called it Keph-Ihughua. She needed to find the book, prevent it from ever being used.
She quickly left the room, knowing the book had to be close. If she had been more attentive, she might have noticed the athame pulse with a dull glow.
It was in one of the bigger rooms that she found what the man had been working on. The book was carefully placed on an altar. Around the altar were various unfinished arcane preparations, much like the diagrams she had previously seen.
Approaching the book, she found her hands shaking. Memories involuntarily rising to the surface of her thoughts, the realities of the past and the nightmares of the present. It was distracting, and probably the reason she never heard him coming until his fist was upside her head.
She fell to the ground, her vision blurry. He quickly followed up the advantage, stabbing the knife into her side, the sharp pain pushing her to react. She tried a blood magic trick to slow him down, messing with his internal life force, but it didn’t seem to matter as he knocked her to the ground again.
It had to be the knife. She got the same feeling from it that she got from the book. They were connected, or at least similar, and it was controlling his body now. It all had to be destroyed now. Focusing every bit of anima she had, willing it into fire.
The blue fire that erupted from her body consumed everything. The book, the knife, the puppet body attacking her. Molly could swear, as the book burnt to ashes, and the knife glowed hot and melted, that they screamed. Everything started to warp and distort around her, then into her. It was the greatest pain she had ever felt, like her soul was being sliced into little pieces. She collapsed fully, laying on the mausoleum floor. She knew the next sensation well, she was dying.
Please let me die this time. I don’t want to come back.
She wished this every time she died. She knew that it didn’t matter, that always the sound of buzzing and the smell of honey would bring her to wakefulness.
The buzzing never came. In an apartment miles away, the residents were disturbed by the noises of a group of agitated mini-golems. Three weeks prior to Molly’s death, her body was found in Darkside.