donderdag 30 april 2015

Silent current

Just like the water polishes a cobble after cobble
and the sharpness with the stream is falling away,
all these little things get smaller all the time of the day
travelling with the silent current as they wobble

in my mind and the image I keep is fading in a haze
just like a very old ink written on an ancient parchment
it disentangles as a beloved but threadbare garment
it resembles to the feeling and the look upon my face

will I then forget how you look and who you are
or will I miss you every morning less and less
on a certain moment finding your presence even bizarre
will I have so many doubts that I simply only can guess
the name I gave you when I caress, it flies and is too far,
for me I hope to be wrong, this way is not at all a bless.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere


Stille stroming

Zoals water kei na kei polijst
scherpte met de stroom verglijdt,
verkleint elk stukje met de tijd
met de stille stroming meegereisd

het beeld vervaagt dat ik bewaar
als inkt op perkament geschreven
wil het niet meer blijven kleven
dit lijkt op het gevoel dat ik ervaar

zal ik dan jouw gezicht vergeten
of je elke morgen minder missen
op 'n moment niets meer van je weten

zal ik naar zoveel moeten gissen
zelfs naar hoe ik je in liefde heette
ik hoop dat ik mij mag vergissen.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

Requiem: Chapter 17


       ‘I want you to find me an unscrupulous person. A cold-blooded murderer for whom I have an important mission!’ That had been the senator’s first question with which the project started. At that moment, there was not at all a project called ‘Michael’. Jack Sterlington remembered it as if it was yesterday. Jack was a man of few words, still he frowned when this influential woman asked him this question.
            ‘Just a murderer… or someone with special qualities?’ was his short response. When he was called for a new mission, there was always something dubious going on. Amazement was for idiots, for people who didn’t know the world. A world of violence, hate and especially a world where everything was about power and money. The senator had the power to give orders to certain persons, orders that otherwise were unacceptable. Not acceptable for the legislative authority of the United States of the Western Community. A world in which the senator concerned was a respectable and democratically chosen representative.
            She silently had looked at him for a moment from above her reading glasses whit those cat’s eyes of hers. ‘A serial killer, Jack! A wacko, but one that can be bent the way we want. In what way we’ll proceed, I’ll let you know later. Search and bring me the right man and I let you know what we will do and what our target is. Oh yes, you’ll need three men for this mission. So I presume you can gather your team in the meanwhile. Let them know that this mission will pay extremely well if it succeeds. The initial amount will be put on an account of your choice. A matter of keeping the motivation alive!’
            She had pushed her reading glasses higher on her nose and had taken another file. That was a sign Jack could go. This was a woman who said the necessary words, nothing more and nothing less. He appreciated it in her. Professionals like to work with kindred spirits.
            Jack Sterlington was the man and the means to bypass the laws, a man who in silence and without making much rumpus could have the right result by going outside the system. His first steps in this world of violence and power he had made after a few years of military service and afterward as a well-paid mercenary during the Big War.
            His file mentioned he had worked for different parties in the Western World. He even had done some undercover missions in the Old World, commissioned by some important men from the East. That wasn’t in the file the senator had in her possession. It was a secret he had kept from the Western World. It was something for which every Westerner would crucify him.
            Even after the Big War a soldier didn’t get a pardon for collaborating with the enemy of a former enemy. Jack always had one important principle. The one who paid the most became his liege and master. He didn’t care about politics or sentimental patriotism. The coins they’re paying… that was what it was all about. His banking accounts in tax havens, countries where the law wasn’t read in little letters, had been credited with considerable amounts. They were always payments for achievements that shun the light of day.
            In the commission of the senator, he had surrounded himself with a trio of men where he, except for Markus, had done some dirty jobs in service of who paid the most. Jack knew that in his world, trust was an overestimated principle and so he trusted nobody, but he knew what he could expect of Clint Ellory and Walter Fallon.
            He had met Clint during his mercenary period in Mozambique in the course of one of the actions by revolutionaries under the command of a mutinous army general. Sterlington used to work alone. The mission of the president of Mozambique was a downright disaster. Jack had been captured by the rebel general and met Clint Ellory when he shared a primitive cell with him.
            During a bombardment of the rebel camp by the government troops, Jack Sterlington had been wounded. Not a life-threatening injury, just a fracture of his leg, so that he was immobilized at that moment. Clint had pulled him along just in time through the debris of their collapsed temporary cell and had just put him in safety when a heavy bomb made a crater on the place they were a few minutes before. They had escaped death at the last moment. In his world that created a special bond.
            When the senator gave him the mission, he instantly was thinking of Clint Ellory. The first member of his team had agreed with pleasure after some negotiating about the price. They were both a few years older now and the field work lately had been replaced by tactical operations they led from a remote distance. Not that they didn’t keep themselves in shape, but they were older and had become smarter, now they gave the younger once their chances on the front. Clint was a military adviser. He made attack plans, analyzed the impact of the strategies. In that function, he had seen a cell from the inside where Jack had first met him and shared more sorrows than joys. Both Clint and Jack thought it was time again to play the field again.
            Walter Fallon was his second choice. An old army buddy and someone who had two right hands. Technique skills were just a second nature for him. All kinds of guns of different countries, hardware big and small and other sorts of high-tech novelties didn’t have secrets for him. When he found something he didn’t know, he couldn’t rest before he had unraveled the mystery and until he could with his eyes closed dismantled and reassemble the thing.
            He only had one big fault, he was a passionate gambler. Sometimes he was lucky and he could win back his bet triple, but as most obstinate gamblers, he was so addicted he didn’t know when to stop. Mostly he lost his winnings in the high of his former luck. A gambler needed big money for his hobby. That’s why he worked without remorse for people who thought the law wasn’t the be-all and end-all. The gambling environment, he usually frequented, after all, was a world where you kept your hand on your wallet or you would lose it in no time. At least the content if it was of any importance. Walter couldn’t resist the numbers with many zeros Jack had promised him on his bank account. With a big initial payment as a proof of confidence the senator had in Jacks preferences, Walter Fallon had joined Jack Sterlington and Clint Ellory in this project.
            For his last choice exceptionally and for the first time he was guided by his family ties. His sister, Patricia, once happily married with Doctor Albert Moore, had a son together with him, named Markus. He was a promising kid who obtained the best results at school and who, after a successful university period could call himself Doctor in psychology.
            After a failed bank robbery by which Doctor Albert Moore was one of the unfortunate victims, Patricia became a widow. Her husband had been in the wrong place at the wrong moment. She fell into a deep emotional pit and got to know the white stuff cocaine. A dangerous powder which gave her the consolation she didn’t find. She had no lack of financial means and the moment she had a shortage she sold piece after piece of her jewels and left in pawn her beautiful furniture to get her daily dose of cocaine.
            This lasted till the day Markus came home from his practice and he saw his mother hanging on one of the bars of the stairway in their classy home. They had left him orphaned and Jack had looked after him. It was a difficult time for this young man. He lost his ambition to work and investigate. Maybe it’s a platitude to say that the best psychologist can’t help themselves, but in the case of Markus it was. His practice went broke in no time and Markus became depressive till Jack picked him from the streets as a disgusting hobo without a home and goals. Jack had been close to his sister and in his way he had a soft spot for the kid.
            Nonetheless, Jack could understand the problems of his relative, he was hard on him. Eventually, he got him back on his feet and Markus became Markus again. He looked up at Jack still more than before and would go through fire if he would ask it from him. Things went so well, Jack lifted a little corner of the veil about the job he was doing. Most of the times, he romanticized the stories and that it was all legal and very top secret. Markus, blinded by the adventurous accent in what Jack was doing, had asked him several times if he hadn’t a job for him. In this project, he also needed a psychologist, someone who could read ‘Michael’ as a book. The pages to come had still to be written before ‘Michael’ could think them himself. Markus was young, but a natural and that’s why he became the last member of the team. Till now Jack hadn’t been sorry. He told Markus there would be victims, but they were enemies of the United States of the Western Community. Markus saw nothing wrong in this and so the last member had been recruited.
            Jack had informed his friends Clint and Walter about the story he had told Markus. A few white lies and ‘Michael’ changed because of Jack’s nephew in a spy who had to kill a group of terrorists in the Old World in the order of the highest upper command of the United States of the Western Community.
            It wasn’t an ordinary mission, Jack had received from the senator. Together with Walter Fallon he had hacked the necessary hardware on different places. Jack and his old army buddy had by the illegal eavesdropping through a number of satellites – it is worthwhile to be on the secret payroll of a senator – looked at thousands of images of fixed camera’s and hours of filming of mobile spybots they had taken over, to find someone who could become their serial killer. He was certainly a man who had all the necessary psychological characteristics of a serial killer and they had the evidence of it.
            After months of searching and finding some persons who were not quite what they were looking for, they had found a young fellow who was busy torturing and murdering young animals. They even had a video of it. The boy hadn’t been aware that he was filmed and photographed. After they had placed the necessary eavesdropping hardware while the boy and his mother were outdoors so that they could follow him there too, they knew they had found the right person.
            The sexual violence that spattered of the images during the nightcaps of the mother and the arousal with her son during these fragments said enough. Jack had informed his nephew Markus for the necessary profile they were looking for. It would lead to too many questions by his relative. He wanted Markus with the team, but on his conditions and without risking the family ties broken.
            The final decision was made when the young boy they had chosen on an evening returned from his Kenjutsu Keiko and met a beggar. After their subject and the beggar had passed each other, the boy returned upon his steps. He followed the drunken man and when he took an abandoned alley, where he would spend the night beneath some newspapers or a worn out blanket, they had captured his first murder of a human being on an infrared camera.     
            The boy had jumped on the man and had overpowered and tied him with a rope he obviously had with him. Probably he was already planning a long time to trade his usual animal victims for a greater challenge, a human being. Something that would give him still more power and a greater satisfaction.  In a blind haze of anger, he had made minced meat of the man. That he was aroused by the violence was also recorded on the images. At that moment, they had found their ‘Michael’.
            When Jack Sterlington brought this good ‘news’ to the senator, she looked emotionless at him. Eventually, there came a smile around her lips. ‘Take him off the streets tomorrow and bring him to the Cellar. I’ll tell you then what has to be done.’
            The following day Jack and Clint had surprised him coming home after his Keiko. Without further problems, they had sedated him and brought him with their black autobot through Jefferson Street to the underground floor. At the Cellar, everything had been prepared for the birth of an inhuman being. They would call him ‘Michael’, after the archangel Michael the companion of souls.
            They were the Christianized characteristics of the Greek god Hermes as a soul companion or with the old Greek name ‘psychopompos’ that formed the basis of the characteristics that were attributed to the archangel Michael. Hermes brought the souls to Hades, god of the death and guardian and ruler of the Underworld or Spirit World. The archangel Michael brought the souls to heaven, where he also was the guard.
            Jack made a short call to a secret and secure number. ‘Our angel Michael has descended,’ he couldn’t resist mocking about the name of the project. Of course, it was the senator who had chosen that name.
            ‘Alright, within an hour my men will arrive. They have all the equipment that is necessary for the birth of our Angel. Keep me informed!’ As always she was very brief but still her words replicated on Jack’s ironic message. A woman with balls, he casually thought.


            In the period after the Big War the United States of America becoming a part of the Old World had less damage than their opponents in the East and as a consequence they were able to repair or rebuild their destroyed buildings much faster. The battlefield in the Big War mostly was fought in a part of the countries of the Eastern bloc and China. It was not so that the countries, as there were North-America and South-America, came out intact. There had been some kamikaze missions of the Chinese Air Force on different places in Central-America and there had been heavy losses in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua by these actions. There also had been an attack on the cities of the West coast like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. In the region of the San Andreas Fault and due to the plate tectonics it resulted in a series of devastating earthquakes at which hundreds of thousands human beings died during and in the aftermath of them.           
            In Eastern-Europe, it had been the panic reaction of Russia that had taken care of a nuclear inferno that half Russia and a part of Chine had been razed to rubble and ashes. In those areas, there was no fresh start possible. It was a cemetery where only some loners had survived this Holocaust and would still carry the consequences with them for generations.
            In the United Nations of the Western Community, new laws were voted and they had chosen for the heavy-handed approach. People had become too lax. Before the Big War, everything was allowed. That was common for the time, everything was permitted, sometimes feigning ignorance of the facts, but mostly as vested rights. A time where privacy, freedom of speech and accessory mass demonstrations were no idle words. An era where big-brother practices were serious crimes and were punished that way. The decadent West looked among themselves and the democracy was questioned. Certainly some values of it.
            Privacy was a beautiful word many politicians had won some votes with. It didn’t seem to work. That was the final decision of the leaders. The more privacy, the more riots, the less they were prepared for these riots, demonstrations, assault or even worse. It was the conclusion of the new group of politicians. The new government of the United States of the Western Community possessed all the means at their disposal to confine a part of that Western mentality and to change course. It became a well-reasoned transformation of the society they were used to.
            The chipping of everybody had still been one of the easiest missions. Especially in Europe, close to the nuclear areas, people were convinced of the benefits of built-in alarm in their body against radiation. In the former United States of America, they had to use some force, but eventually everybody had been mapped.
            About the satellites they shot into space they didn’t give a lot of explication. The freedom of the press was partly reduced and from the side of the Army of the Western Community there wasn’t so much automatic information about the possibilities of these satellites. The truth was that nine of the ten satellites were equipped with some sort of spyware. Today, in the year 2112 it was possible to zoom in on everybody’s house and garden, to snoop on every telephone call or to put a tap anybody’s mobile. If Joe Public wiped his behind with the wrong color or sort of paper, it was noted and a report was sent to some kind of a Security Service, which, if necessary, removed the man from his bed, questioned him and the right measures were taken. In some cases, afterwards nothing was ever heard of this person in question.
            In other cases, some people came home and told their wife or husband and kids that they had run against a wall or accidentally fell from the stairs. The fear of telling the truth was so deeply rooted that they rather lied to their dear ones while the reality could be read in their eyes and their body. They were harsh times, but after a while it was business as usual and some measures became somewhat more flexible. Not because the assignment came from the government, but because of the laxity people treated each other. The laziness that was typical for a lot of human beings, not to do what has to be done, just because it needed an effort. Instead, they looked the other way and some had no difficulty with it.
            Then the day arrived a resourceful man discovered something with which he outwitted the government. Someone, for example, who could bypass the effect of the chip or could temporary jam the signal. It was a little seed that germinated and grew. He or she found an ally and so it went on. A human person is a very creative being, a survivor. He adapts very quickly in bad times and has resiliency which can lean on centuries of evolution.
            And so sources of resistance came into existence in the United States of the Western Community. Groups of people, which melted together and that found the means to play a bad trick to the government. They gave their association a name just like every righteous assembly of human beings granted itself a title. A name that was typical for the character of cornered human being. It wasn’t a new term. In history, so many people had used it before. ‘The Resistance’ was a group of people that wanted to sabotage some imposed government rules that were crap, especially the rules that violated the privacy of people. The steps these members of ‘The Resistance’ took were small and extremely innocent in the beginning. As one of the first members said at the start: ‘It is better to take small and cautious steps forwards than an uncertain big jump in the deep.’


            Feliciano Louis Díaz y Garcia was a ‘Graduado inventor de cosas inútiles’ or a ‘Qualified inventor of useless things’. Anyway, that was the title his mother was giving him when she had to clean up dozens of his monstrosities which here and there were hanging around in her house. ‘Feliciano, you have a studio where you can put your little toys away, why do you let everything flying about in mi casa. Busca una mujer amante. It becomes the time you search yourself a nice little woman and moves into a bigger house, otherwise I’ll still break my old legs over your… things’. She really wanted to say junk, but after all she was still la mamacita of Feliciano.
             Actually, he was graduated as a civil engineer in electro-technics. He worked already a while for the government. In his free time, he always diddled on something or tried one or another idea. ‘Someday I’ll invent something that will change the world, ahora verá mama, ‘You shall see, mama,’ he had said to his mother when he was still younger. His mother as any good mother tried to stimulate her child in everything he undertook and she had taken this illusion from him. But now, twenty years later Rosita Margarita Garcia y Pérez wasn’t so sure anymore.
            The parents of Feliciano were exiled Uruguayans and lived already for almost twenty years in Asuncíon, the capital of the República del Paraguay. As in every country of the United States of the Western Community, of which Paraguay was part of, there was a division of the ‘International Chip Scanning Agency’ or in short ‘ICSA’. Feliciano worked as an assistant with the ICSA, which mapped all the data from the capital Asuncíon of the chipped citizens. Because he was offered this job it was also the reason that the family had moved. He wasn’t homesick for Uruguay, maybe a little for the beach and the sea, but his work and his hobby absorbed him so much that he wasn’t thinking a lot of it.
            When he applied for the job, there had been just a little voice in his head whispering that this was something for him. He was extremely curious about what the chip could do and for what purposes it could be used apart from the things the government was telling. His father had also been a government official for years before he had died from the consequences of a pneumonia. Maybe Feliciano had got some preference by it in the course of the applying for the job.
            Feliciano had served so well, so that after a few years of service with the ICSA in Asuncíon there was a promotion for him that served him well. A position with the ICSA in New York. The head office! To convince his mother to go with him was a whole other matter. Then she was still further away from her native country. But as a mother as so many mothers she loved her son so much and eventually she gave in to Feliciano’s arguments and they moved to New York.
            Normally every employee of the ICSA was scanned with special equipment, leaving the workspaces or the offices to prevent the stealing of government property. Feliciano, the inventor, had worked at his new home in New York on a device that would solve this problem or obstacle. He had kept it secret from his mother. If she would hear of it, she certainly wouldn’t survive, the poor soul. The fear of repression had deep roots with her generation and she would have talked him out of it, how well he would try to explain it to her.
            His new invention looked like a small flat, pliable envelope in black fabrics. Inside there were delicate metal threads weaved and they made the envelope a mini Faraday cage. He had tested his invention at home on many occasions with his own electronic devices and a scanner. The object he scanned when they were in that little envelope didn’t show on the radar. The scanner should not react scanning a chip in this black envelope. It was a simple solution to a difficult process. Maybe because it was just so obviously nobody had thought of it.
            Feliciano Louis Díaz y Garcia had in his new position as head manager access to different kind of sections in the ICSA like there were the storage unit and the local medical department. In the storage unit they kept a significant load of chips in specially protected boxes which were implanted in the medical department in persons who weren’t chipped yet, or with persons who for one or another reason the chip didn’t work as presumed. They just implanted a new one without removing the old one.
            At this moment, the old chip couldn’t be removed because of the merging with the natural fibers that were generated during the encapsulation of the chip in the brain. Through the central computer in the head office in New York, the old chip could be deactivated, without any risk for the carrier. In the course of time, new connections were made by the chip and the brain and there was again a new light on the screens of the ICSA. The light got a code number and connected with the correct identity of the carrier present in the databases of the Agency.
            It was a little trick for Feliciano to take away a few of these chips, alter the inventory control in the computer and smuggle these chips past the scanner without it giving a signal. Feliciano was the first member of The Resistance who had played the government a very important bad trick. That also he didn’t tell to mamacita Rosita.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere


The Swan Song

Bad news it was when the world broke
out in rain, out of my eyes a piece
of sorrow flowed, a sudden decease
came effortless and pitiless it stroke

into a last and sober writing, closed
and intertwined with a cross on wood,
returning to the earth, cold and for good
with your hands entangled like you dozed

off and never will sing your song again,
in verses you disappear, the Swan on the lake
so silently swimming away and trying in vain                                                                                    
to hold you in my eyes, in my mind, to take
your words of a Swan Song, my heart’s full of pain
forever and ever, your rhymes will now come awake.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

dedicated to Iris Van de Casteele (23/11/31-13/02/15)
She was a great poet and muse for a lot of my poems.      (her website: see e-books English)


Slecht nieuws, de wereld brak
in regen, uit ogen liep een stuk
verdriet, teniet ging plots geluk
met moeiteloos gemak.

Een laatste schrijven, dicht
verweven met kruis op hout
teruggegeven aan de aarde, koud
met beide handen voor gezicht.

De zwaan zingt maar één keer
zijn laatste verzen op het meer,
een lied verdwijnt stil in de mist.
Gelezen en geproefd in woord,
zwanenzang, zuiver van akkoord,
eeuwig wordt je rijm gemist.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

opgedragen aan Iris Van de Casteele (23/11/31-13/02/2015)
Zij was een groot dichteres en muze voor mijn poëzie   (haar website)

dinsdag 28 april 2015

The Woman in Red: Chapter 25

25. Pajamas and little bears

            ‘I thought you were dead tired?’ Jean-Pierre laughed. It wasn’t because he didn’t find it pleasant to say good night like this. After their chaotic adventures of the last days, he had expected her to sleep like a log already. He was surprised by Katarina’s resilience and the way she processed everything.
            Teasing, she kissed him on his belly while her tongue tickled his belly button. ‘Maybe I just sleep better after this,’ she answered him. ‘You do like me, don’t you?’
            Jean-Pierre hadn’t to answer this, the proof she had found in the meanwhile. Her hands were virtuoso in manipulating his body, and her lips weren’t bad at all too. Somehow his boxer shorts had disappeared mysteriously.
            ‘Do you really love me, I want to hear you saying it, Jean-Pierre. Do you want to stay with me, despite everything? Not everything is rosy in the garden of my world. You’ve experienced that recently, haven’t you. So? Meanwhile, she sat up and kept the sheets decently in front of her naked body.
            ‘I love you, Katarina, I’ve said it already in the car, have you forgotten?’
            A moment she looked surprised. ‘No…, but with the accident everything that has happened before is a bit blurred. ‘I’m happy you’ve said it again, Jean-Pierre. Maybe you’re right, it’ll be good to have a long lie in.’ She kissed him on the point of his nose and escaped, while taking all her clothes, outside the room.
            Jean-Pierre shook his head. He would better take a very cold shower because Katarina had warmed him up so that he would be able to sleep. Thoughts must be matched by deeds, and he hurried to the bathroom.


            The next morning Jean-Pierre unexpectedly was much earlier awake than he had thought. He smelled the coffee while he approached the kitchen. He saw Katarina baking an omelet. Her pajamas with little bears on flattered her. He stood behind her and folded his arms over her belly.
            ‘Excuse me, Jean-Pierre, you’ve got the wrong one, it’s me… Cecile! ’
            Startled, Jean-Pierre made a step back. ‘But… last night. In your pajamas…? He thought whole his body turned red. ‘What’s the meaning of this… was it you last night in my bedroom or not?’
            ‘Maybe you could ask Katarina? What would she say? ’ Cecile looked at him with a mysterious smile on her lips. ‘I had to know if you loved my sister, Jean-Pierre. A woman feels that, and I felt it and seen in your eyes. Don’t worry, it will be our little secret. For that matter, you have nothing to be ashamed of. ’ Cecile kept working on her omelet, which was almost ready.
            Jean-Pierre didn’t know very well how to react. He had experienced the last days that love and lust were two different concepts, and so it was with his feeling towards Katarina. Now that he looks closely, he saw that Cecile differed somehow from Katarina. She was much more relaxed than her sister, and she had a different look in her eyes. There was some sneakiness in her glance while she tilted her head in a special way and looked at him. She would play that game a second time with him.
            He heard a stumbling behind him. It was Katarina, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, entering the kitchen. ‘Hello, I’ve slept so well. Obviously I needed it. It has really performed miracles. Mmmm… that smells good, Cecile.’
            Cecile filled the three plates with the warm omelet while everyone took place at the table. Jean-Pierre now felt he had a terrible hunter. His stomach made all kinds of strange noises. It was already since he was at the Chateau that he had a normal meal.
            ‘We have to make plans, Cecile,’ Katarina spoke with her mouth full. It definitely tasted very good. ‘What will you do to get information about mother?’
            Cecile looked for a moment at her and then showed her mobile phone to Katarina. ‘I’ve taken the liberty to call a friend who’s working with the local police. He knows me… rather good I may say.’
            On the mobile Katarina read the text message from Cecile to François where she asked if he would inquire if Beatrice was in prison and where she was. The short answer from François was clear: ‘For you I do everything, my dear!’
            ‘I’m expecting an answer from him later on. So, we should have to wait a little and then we’ll know more. By the way, Katarina, what do you think about my new pajamas? Beautiful little bears, aren’t they. Jean-Pierre just said it was a good-looking design. Maybe you may borrow it sometime.’
            Jean-Pierre almost choked in his omelet, but wisely decided to stay silent.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

vrijdag 24 april 2015

Requiem: Hoofdstuk 20 (1e deel)


            De Weerstand was onderverdeeld in cellen van vier leden. Dit was een veiligheidsmaatregel omdat een grotere samenkomst van individuen veel meer in het oog liep dan een klein groepje van vier mensen die even wat vertier zochten in een of andere donkere kroeg.
            Het 'Gewonnen Goed' was het spreekwoordelijke voorbeeld van zo'n donkerbruine kroeg. Weinig licht en met een lange bar met een rij barstoeltjes die hun betere tijd hadden gekend. Hier was de tijd blijven stilstaan en was de vooruitgang niet binnengeraakt. De geur van verschaald bier kon men er zelfs met de beste wil en veel bleekwater niet uitkrijgen. De kroeg was in twee delen ingericht. Vooraan had je een aantal ronde tafeltjes waar de niet echte barhangers hun drankje konden drinken. De vaste klanten konden rechts aan een lange bar aan hun gading komen, voor zover ze niet vies waren van een plakkende toog en een tot vervelends toe zwanzende barman. In het diepste gedeelte had je twee snookertafels die meestal de ganse tijd bezet waren. Boven de tafels hing er een felle lamp die het groene vilt van de biljart extra goed deed uitkomen in de eerder schemerige omgeving. Er waren nog twee deuren aan de linkerkant van de laatste biljarttafel. Volgens het universele pictogram leidde de eerste deur naar de toiletten en boven de tweede hing er een bordje 'PRIVÉ'. Feliciano herinnerde zich nog dat er ooit nog een bordje ‘PRIVAAT’ gehangen had. Maar dat had hij, na verkenning van de ontmoetingsplaats, via de eigenaar van de bar die hem de ruimte verhuurde, laten veranderen. Zeker toen hij bemerkte dat men zich dikwijls van deur vergiste.
            Feliciano Díaz had de dag voordien via een mailtje een onschuldige boodschap gezonden naar de andere drie leden van zijn eigen cel. Het was een zin die ze vooraf hadden afgesproken en die hen die avond samenbracht in het 'Gewonnen Goed' in de kamer achter de deur met het bordje 'PRIVÉ'.
Iedere cel had een leider en elk lid van deze cel kende enkel de leider van zijn eigen cel. De leider was hierop de uitzondering en kende daarnaast ook diegene waaraan hij verantwoording moest afleggen en een trapje hoger stond in de hiërarchie van de groep. Daarnaast kende ieder afdelingshoofd nog een aantal leiders van cellen die op hun beurt weer hun contacten hadden. Dat was één van de manieren waarop boodschappen doorgegeven werden onder de leden van de Weerstand. Zo werden instructies van boven naar onder en omgekeerd doorgegeven, maar was er ook op horizontaal niveau contact. Op die manier had enkel de leider van de cel contact met andere cellen. Een veiligheidsmaatregel die meestal zijn voordeel had bewezen. Het contact met andere cellen werd tot een minimum herleid tot voordeel van het geheel van de organisatie.
            Rond een rechthoekige tafel zaten Feliciano met de andere drie mensen van zijn groep. Recht over hem zat de man die het meeste gewicht in de schaal wierp. Edmond Foster woog zo rond de 130 kilo en zat wat ongemakkelijk op de te kleine stoel te wiebelen. Heimelijk was hij bang dat hij door de stoel zou zakken. Edmond had echter heel wat paardenkracht. Niettegenstaande zijn wat corpulente omvang was hij een robuuste man met ijzersterke spieren die zware dingen kon tillen. Als Weerstander kon dit in sommige gevallen van pas komen. Niet dat Edmond Foster dit nodig had voor zijn beroep. Als leraar fysica was het zwaarste dat hij moest dragen zijn persoonlijke laptop. Daarnaast had hij nog een zwak voor snelle en dure wagens.
Links van Feliciano zat de aantrekkelijke Iléna Federova met haar Slavische trekken en mysterieuze grijsgroene ogen. Ze pasten heel goed bij haar karakter, niemand kon haar peilen. Iléna had van haar hobby haar beroep gemaakt. Ze was zangeres en had heel wat talent. Een diepe warme alt die iedere man met haar jazzy songs het hoofd op hol kon brengen.
Als het aan Mamacita zou liggen, dan zou ze Feliciano direct koppelen aan Iléna. Gelukkig kende mama Rosita geen enkel van de leden van de cel, dus ook niet Iléna en daarvoor was Feliciano dankbaar. Ergens was hij bang voor Iléna. Hij wist niet echt waarom dit zo was, misschien kon hij gewoon niet goed opschieten met de leden van het vrouwelijke geslacht.
Aan zijn rechterzijde zat de wat oudere en heel wat minder aantrekkelijke Lucy Nicholson. Zij was de leidster van de cel en dat zag je ook aan haar manier van doen. Af en toe was er een vrouw die de broek droeg. Zo werd Lucy Nicholson in het hoofd van Feliciano gecatalogeerd. Iedereen werd in een vakje gestopt of je het wou of niet. Met haar zware bril met donkere montuur – ze weigerde pertinent contactlenzen te dragen niettegenstaande die haar een wat minder streng uiterlijk zouden bezorgen – en haar grijze haar in een knotje samen gestoken, zag ze er eigenlijk op zijn minst tien jaar ouder uit dan de vijftig jaren die ze telde. Haar vooruitgestoken kin en flitsende blik liet niet mis te verstaan dat zij voor niemand zou onderdoen, niet voor een jonger iemand en zeker niet voor een andere vrouw. Soms kon je de vonken tussen Iléna en Lucy heen en weer zien springen, toch tenminste als je de verbeelding van Feliciano had.
            'Als het blijkt te kloppen wat je zegt,' reageerde Lucy ad rem, wat haar direct een verontwaardigende blik van Feliciano opleverde waar zij zich totaal niet aan stoorde en verder ging, 'dan is iedere gechipte persoon een menselijke antenne waarlangs iemand satellieten hun baan rondom de aarde kan aansturen om te spioneren of iets in die aard.'
            Feliciano schudde ontkennend zijn hoofd. 'Ik zou het zo niet willen formuleren. Het spreekt vanzelf dat ik het een en ander heb uitgeprobeerd bij mijn onderzoek op de chip. Blijkbaar is er ook een code of paswoord aan verbonden om dit te kunnen doen en dat hebben we niet. Trouwens volgens mij is de afstand van de chip naar de satelliet te groot dat dit fysisch mogelijk is. Misschien dient het eerder als een soort marker tussen de satelliet en iets…iets anders?'
            Edmond Foster knikte. ‘Volgens mij kan de chip dienen als marker voor het doel voor een raket of zo. Er zijn al vele systemen die op die manier werken. Het is wel de eerste keer dat de marker een mens zelf is, wat de mogelijkheid tot onherstelbare schade bij de persoon in kwestie euh…heel waarschijnlijk maakt. Wat ik daarmee bedoel is dat de man met de chip ergens heel dicht gaat staan bij een mogelijk doel. De chip in het hoofd van die ongelukkige vrijwilliger komt in contact  met de software van de raket die op zijn beurt geleid wordt door de satelliet. De raket, op voorhand geprogrammeerd op de code van de chip van de vrijwilliger kan op die manier zijn doel heel gericht raken. De chip dient dus als een soort baken, een vlaggetje die zegt: Hier vallen en ontploffen alstublieft!’
Edmond veegde na deze uitleg voor de zoveelste keer met een tissue die hij uit een doosje trok die bij hem stond, het zweet van zijn voorhoofd. Het kamertje waar ze met zijn vieren in zaten was niet ruim en bezorgde hem bijna een aanval van claustrofobie.
            'Het is zeker niet het enige wat de chip aan mogelijkheden of toepassingen bezit.' Feliciano pikte gevat in op de uitleg van Edmond. 'Veel meer dan wat de overheid wil loslaten.' Zijn drie toehoorders luisterden met volle aandacht. 'Er zitten verschillende verbindingen op de chip die ik niet eens begrijp. Het ding dient in eerste instantie als zender en ontvanger, dat staat vast. Dus iedereen staat op het scherm als 'stip nummer zoveel'. Maar dat wisten we al gezien het feit dat ik voor de ICSA werk en dit mijn kleine en eerste bijdrage aan de Weerstand was. Dat de chip dient als stralingsdetector is ook geen leugen. Er zit een mini-elektronische soort geigertellerprintje op de chip. Maar in plaats van de straling te meten, geeft hij een sein naar het sympathische stelsel dat ontspringt in de cervicale thoracale en lumbale streek van het lichaam.' Men hing bijna letterlijk aan zijn lippen. Feliciano voelde zich in zijn element. Eindelijk wat waardering voor zijn talenten. Hij vervolgde daarom met plezier zijn monoloog.

'Laat ik dit wat vertalen, zodat iedereen begrijp wat ik bedoel. Het lichaam voelt door dat specifieke sein die het printje doorgeeft dat het zich in een gevaarsituatie bevindt. Dit resulteert in een logische reactie, namelijk het ontvluchten van de gevaarzone. Maar eigenlijk is dat ook niet nieuws. Het klinkt misschien allemaal wel geleerd, maar het is enerzijds wetenschappelijk onderbouwd en het is ons eerder in lekentaal die iedereen begrijpt, verteld via de media. Ik heb trouwens deze gegevens uit informatie gehaald die op het internet beschikbaar is, info die de overheid bij het begin van de lancering van de chip had vrijgegeven. Dus als jullie daarover nog iets wilt weten, is er genoeg info op diverse sites van de overheid te vinden. Er zijn nog te veel elementen op de chip die mij niet vertrouwd zijn en als zij onder andere pulsen naar onze hersenen kunnen sturen kan ik via deductie besluiten dat als de overheid het wil, ons kan besturen als robotjes. Helaas beste vrienden vrees ik dat mijn vermoeden daaromtrent maar al te waar is!'

copyright Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

donderdag 23 april 2015

De vrouw in het rood: Deel 50


            De deur van de slaapkamer die naar de badkamer leidde, vloog uit de hengsels en tegelijkertijd vloog het venster van de badkamer aan diggelen. Het voorwerp die naar binnen werd geworpen, begon geweldig te roken.
            Katarina had de tegenwoordigheid van geest om zich van haar stoel op de grond te werpen. Geen seconde te vroeg want de leider van de gangster had vliegensvlug zijn pistool getrokken en schoot wild in het rond. Gelukkig had men Jean-Pierre nog niet in het bad gedeponeerd, want de gangster die hem vasthad, liet hem op de grond vallen toen zijn baas begon te schieten.
            Een van de kogels raakte de man die Jean-Pierre had vastgehouden in de keel en hij zonk op de knieën terwijl het bloed uit zijn mond en uit de wonde liep. Hij zakte opzij op de grond terwijl hij met alle macht zijn handen tegen zijn keel drukte in de hoop dat dit zou helpen.
            Jean-Pierre die op zijn zij lag en de man zo goed als in de ogen keek, wist dat als deze man in de komende minuten geen hulp zou krijgen, hij zou sterven. Het was duidelijk dat zijn longen volliepen met bloed. Zijn adem kwam in horten en stoten en zijn ogen stonden wijd open in doodsangst. 
            Je kon bijna niets meer onderscheiden. De rook werkte gelukkig niet op de adem, anders had het er voor Jean-Pierre slecht uitgezien, die nog altijd gekneveld was. Katarina hoorde overal geluiden die ze niet kon thuiswijzen. Ze dacht dat ze schaduwen door de rook zag bewegen, maar het kan ook haar verbeelding zijn.
            Een van de slachtoffers van de schoten van de gangster was de spiegel in de badkamer. Niemand was er door gewond geraakt, maar Katarina had een van de scherven niet ver van haar op de grond zien vallen, voor dat de rook de badkamer had gevuld. Gedurende de momenten dat de rook de badkamer vulde, had zij de scherf gebruikt om haar boeien door te snijden. Ze had geluk. Ondanks het feit dat ze haar een paar keer een snede toebracht, kon ze haar boeien lossnijden. Ze sloop met bebloede handen over de vloer naar Jean-Pierre toe die ze ook van zijn boeien en knevel ontdeed.
            Toen de rook begon op te trekken, kregen de schaduwen vastere vorm en zag ze drie tot de tanden gewapende soldaten. Een van hen hield de wacht in de slaapkamer, een andere had de leider onder bedwang. Een derde boog zich juist over de tweede handlanger, die blijkbaar ook gedood was.
            De man in de slaapkamer gaf een bericht door in een draagbare mobilofoon. ‘Alles veilig. Geen slachtoffers in ons kamp. Twee doden bij de tegenpartij.’ Blijkbaar was dit voldoende want meer wou hij niet kwijt aan de persoon aan de andere kant.
            Jean-Pierre en Katarina waren nog niet van de verrassing bekomen, toen Generaal Tavernier binnen kwam gewandeld. ‘Blij jullie levend te zien, vrienden. Het zendertje heeft goed gewerkt en onze richtmicrofoon heeft alles kunnen volgen. Ik ben blij dat Katarina ons het sein heeft kunnen geven, het was ander misschien heel anders verlopen.’
            De verbaasde blik van Jean-Pierre naar Katarina werd met een glimlach beantwoord. Ze kuste hem in volle publiek van de aanwezige soldaten op de lippen. ‘Ik heb het zendertje nog kunnen inslikken, door te veinzen dat ik viel tegen het nachtkastje in het Carlton.’
            Dat verklaarde natuurlijk waarom de soldaten juist op tijd binnen waren gevallen. Het kon inderdaad helemaal anders uitgedraaid zijn, had Katarina deze list niet kunnen gebruiken. Jean-Pierre mocht er niet aan denken. Hij keek nog even naar het bad dat gevuld was en de handdoek en de kan met water die op de kant van het bad stond.
            ‘Generaal, waarom hebt u een van de diskettes uit onze kamer weggenomen?’ vroeg Katarina verontwaardigd. Ze was nu wel blij gered te zijn door hem en zijn soldaten, maar het zou misschien nooit zo ver zijn gekomen, waren alle diskettes door de gangster gevonden.
            De Generaal keek haar even verontwaardigd aan. ‘Op mijn woord van eer, Katarina, ik heb niets uit jullie kamer weggenomen. Ik veronderstelde toen ik hoorde dat er een ontbrak dat jullie die ergens anders verborgen hadden.’
            Katarina schudde heftig met haar hoofd. ‘Neen, ik zou dit nooit doen. Ik acht ons leven meer waard dan een domme diskette.’
            Was de aandacht van de soldaat afgeleid door de discussie tussen de Generaal en Katarina, wie weet, maar het gebeurde razend snel. De gangster met de handschoenen, kon zijn ellenboog in het gezicht van de man slaan en in de zelfde beweging trok hij het tweede pistool van de man en hield hij het tegen het hoofd van de man. ‘Niemand een beweging of de soldaat sterft. Werp jullie wapens op de grond’ Hij ontwapende de man die hij onder vuur had vliegensvlug.
            De overgebleven boef zwaaide met zijn vrije hand naar de Generaal en de andere soldaat dat zij de weg naar de deur van de slaapkamer moesten vrijmaken. Deze konden dan ook niet anders dan voldoen aan de eisen van de gangster.
            ‘Misschien is op dit moment twee diskettes beter dan drie. Daar kan ik voorlopig vrede mee hebben, maar dat je mijn twee beste mannen hebt neergelegd, dat kan ik niet vergeven.’ Hij duwde de man voor hem in de rug zodat hij in de armen van de Generaal en zijn vriend tuimelde.
            Jean-Pierre zag hem zijn pistool richten naar Katarina en zonder een moment te aarzelen sprong hij in de vuurlijn om Katarina te redden. Een schot weerklonk en de schreeuw van Jean-Pierre die daarop klonk was het enige wat de gangster nodig had om zich uit de voeten te maken.
            ‘Neen,’ Katarina zag Jean-Pierre voor de tweede keer in zo’n korte tijd tegen de vloer gaan. Deze keer had de man niet gemist. Op het hemd van haar vriend verscheen een bloedrode vlek en Jean-Pierre bewoog niet meer.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere


maandag 20 april 2015

The Woman in Red: Chapter 24

24. Cecile

          Jean-Pierre and his female companion had arrived at the beginning of the afternoon at the place where Katarina’s friend lived. Jean-Pierre had experienced a lot since the day he met her, but he still was very surprised when the door of the house opened to where the taxi had driven them.
            Before him stood a perfect replica of Katarina. The only difference was that the woman wore her hair in a ponytail while Katarina’s this time hung loosely. His mouth dropped open, and both Katarina as the woman in the doorway laughed because of his shocked look.
            ‘Watch out, Jean-Pierre, next you know there’ll birds flying into your mouth,’ Katarina smiled. ‘May I present you to my older sister, Cecile? She bore five minutes earlier than me, and I’ve heard this already umpteenth time.’
            The woman stretched her hand and welcomed him. Jean-Pierre woke up out of his trance. How strange. Even her gestures, her laugh and her voice, he almost couldn’t notice a difference. He shook her hand a bit speechless, but she pulled him near and gave him two smacking kisses. Katarina loved his reactions. Obviously it wasn’t the first time this had happened.
            After Katarina had told their experiences during which Cecile frowned a few times as if she couldn’t believe what she heard, they both were assigned a room on the second floor. They would stay till the situation was a bit clearer.
            ‘Have you heard of mother yet, Cecile?’ Katarina asked while she was relaxing in an easy chair. She had kicked out her shoes and obviously felt at home with her twin sister.
            Cecile was pouring a drink for them while she looked up from her work. ‘You know, mother and I aren’t hand and glove at all. I just call her when it’s highly necessary and so I wasn’t aware of this situation.’
            Katarina was worried, and Jean-Pierre saw it whole over her face. He suspected her to think about her mother. With the answer of Cecile that her relationship with her mother wasn’t so good, he realized that he didn’t know how it was between Katarina and her mother. He supposed it had to better than Cecile’s otherwise Katarina would never have worked together with her mother at the Chateau.
            ‘May I propose something?’ Cecile suddenly asked when she passed the drinks around. ‘Maybe I can get some information. I may look like Katarina, I also can legitimate myself as Cecile. By the way, the police know I’ve my distance concerning the activities of mother and Katarina.’
            She explained she absolutely had no problem with those activities, but the bad understanding had come into existence because her mother had always some comments about the man she brought home. After the umpteenth quarrel, Cecile had closed all the doors and had left the house. Meanwhile, all things had been regularized with her mother even if their contacts were limited to the minimum.
            ‘If you would do that, Cecile, I would be relieved to know if she’s alright. She’s not the youngest anymore, and she has to take her medicine for her high pressure. I don’t know if she got them with her wherever she may be.’
            Cecile went to Katarina and put her arms around her sister. ‘Don’t worry, tomorrow I inform myself and ask around, we surely know more by then.’ Katarina let her sister hug her while she blinked away a tear.
            ‘I’ll never forget this, Cecile, thanks. I owe you one.’
            Cecile smiled. ‘I’ll remember you, wait till I ask you something, you never know with me, are you!’ Now her sister also laughed. Obviously the two sisters did get along very well.
            Meanwhile, the evening had fallen, and Katarina tried to disguise a yawn behind her hand. Cecile had seen it. ‘Well, now, children, it’s your bedtime. You’ve had a rough time, so a few hours of sleep will do you good.’
            Tired but somewhat reassured Jean-Pierre left in the wake of Katarina.
            At the moment, Jean-Pierre had undressed himself the door went open, and Katarina entered, dressed in an adorable pajama with little teddy bears on.
            ‘I didn’t want to go to sleep without saying good night, Jean-Pierre,’ she answered his unspoken question. She pulled him near and kissed him wildly on the mouth. While one hand laid upon his neck, the other searched his way over his naked upper body. He was dressed only in boxer shorts and nonetheless he was tired, a certain body part didn’t agree with that feeling.
            Katarina’s hand found the evidence of that, and while she was pushing her passionately against him, her hand glided inside the boxer shorts. Jean-Pierre easily surrendered to her and fell with Katarina upon him into the bed.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere

Bloodrage: Chapter 12


            Mercedes found it hard to fall asleep. The strange alliance she had to forge was against her inner nature. Julius, he was okay, but Diana was another matter. She felt the sexual tension hanging between both vampires. They had a relation that was a fact. Even if she wasn’t a witch, she would have read the signs. Diana felt threatened on her own territory. Mercedes knew she had to watch her mouth because she couldn’t risk putting their cooperation to a test.
            Eventually, after remembering and going through the conversations a dozen times, she had fallen asleep right into a restless dream. When she suddenly startled out of her sleep and remembered what it was about, she realized the enemy had struck again. She jumped out of the bed, pulled on her clothes and went to the room where Diana and Julius were staying.
            When the door opened, after an impatiently bouncing, she saw Julius’ distorted face who looked surprised at her. ‘What’s up, Mercedes, is something wrong? I can’t imagine sleeping in a bed, but I thought the mattress was sublime quality.’ The sarcastic sound was proof of his suppressed powerlessness against the situation. Mercedes knew that the solution she had dished up to them to travel to the Water of the Lost Sighs hadn’t received a positive response.
            ‘I’ve got to go, it’s urgent. The enemy has attacked again. I’ve dreamed about it!’
            Diana came behind Julius and frowned. ‘Those dreams of yours, Mercedes, aren’t what you call pretty at all. Maybe you have to try a sleeping pill sometime.’
            Without paying much attention to the nasty reaction of her female opponent Mercedes spoke further. ‘I’ll try to be back by morning light. Then I’ll look how we can pass to the Underworld.’
            ‘Who has he slaughtered now? Someone in your witch-family or has he come for my people again? Julius looked at her with piercing eyes. He didn’t doubt her words for a second. Mercedes was a witch and she saw things, it was her power just working like the inherent powers of a nightwalker.
            ‘No, not witches or nightwalkers,’ this time she instantly had used the right term, ‘my brothers and sisters of the werewolf community have been attacked. An old friend, Marcel Thibodaux, who once with his flock has helped me, has sent strong signals. A slaughter between the ones who are near and dear to him in a place called Dead Men’s Hill. He’s the only survivor. Red Fang, that’s his wolf name, is afraid, that I’ve felt very clearly. I’ve never experienced that my wolf brother takes a step back in danger. I have to go to him. He’s a powerful ally and if I can persuade him, he has to go with us.’
            ‘No problem, we have to join forces to kill that monster. The more we are, the stronger.’ Julius gave his blessing with these words. Despite the fact he didn’t know yet how Mercedes would succeed to let them travel beyond the death to the Underworld, he knew that to prevail they’ll have to tread on extraordinary roads.
            Diana’s answer was signed by brevity. ‘Go!’
            Mercedes hurried to the elevator that would bring her to the surface. It was still early in the night. She would travel better in her wolf form. Her transformation wasn’t painful as with the werewolves. The air was wrinkling around her body and while as being Mercedes she started running, she changed in a few moments in an auburn colored wolf with shades of red. Nobody witnessed the changing. The night was young and the loner who saw her running through the streets of Horseville would think a large dog was passing. Now she was Flame. It was the name she was known by her animal and half-human kindred.
            Flame possessed an incredible endurance. She ran along the streets and alleys and jumped over almost impossible barriers. This night nobody would stop her or they would pay dearly trying. She felt her body in the deepest cells of her muscles. Flame sent her thoughts to Red Fang, the one who was called Marcel Thibodaux in his normal life.

            I’m coming, my friend. I know of your loss and your sorrow. Wait for me. We’ll fight together and avenge the death of your friends. We shall have to put aside all our prejudices to win this battle. I’ve already made an alliance with the Nightwalkers. Wait for me. I’ve got a lot to tell you about our enemy. Maybe we have a chance to beat him.

            She heard no answer, but she felt his sorrow. A piece of him had died together with his murdered friends. His next of kin was almost eliminated, but his kind was also in danger. When she returned being Mercedes, Flame would tell him everything, after all some things, were more difficult to tell as a wolf. She would tell him about her mother Pandora and about all the evils she had unleashed on the world. Also about a second box and of the Water of the Lost Sighs. Eventually, she would ask him the question. Would he want to die first to get the information about the finding place of the artifact of their salvation? For her, there was another difficult question. Would she be capable to bring them back from the Underworld to the world of the living?


            Vladimir Sango under the name of Daniel Ainsworth had booked a trip to Lourdes. From there it would be a short voyage to the caves of Bétharram in the Pyrenees. There he would find the man he needed. Eligo was the name of the hermit. Vladimir had made a few phone calls to the touristic service in Lourdes. First, they wouldn’t give information to him about this recluse. Eligo was a stain on their flag, they preferred his room to his company.
            The man was aggressive when tourists tried to approach him and he eschewed every attention of the media. He was last seen in the proximity of the caves of Bétharram by a Swedish couple of archaeologists who did research for a university. They had spotted him on the lowest floor of the caves where you could pass through by boat. The public services wouldn’t confirm it, but Vladimir knew from the couple the police had made attempts to remove the man of the caves. They hadn’t succeeded. Eligo seemed to know his way in the caves and they had lost his trail very soon.
            Vladimir had sponsored the Swedish archaeologist service of the University of Uppsala in Sweden to obtain plans of all the five floors of the caves. With the explanation, he had received from the married couple he had studied the plans in advance. There had to be something the police was looking over. There had to be a secret way to the cave of the hermit. The man who had sold his soul to the devil. His memories told him about Abigor, the demon Eligo had called to in his death-agony. Eligo had asked for an eternal life to the demon Abigor who was the Grand Duke of Hell. In exchange, he had given his soul and his demand was granted. As every contract with servants of the devil, there was a little bitterness in the aftertaste of the made pact.
            Eligo had become a creature of Darkness and his eyes had changed in proportion. His meeting place with Abigor, the caves of Bétharram became his final habitat. He kept living, forever like he had asked, in the dark caves of Bétharram. Some claimed that the spirit of Bernadette Soubirous, a servant of the Blessed Virgin Mary, denied him the exit to civilization. Abigor’s power was finding what was hidden and forecast and insight in the future. He had given a part of his power to his disciple. This power would help Vladimir on his quest after the second box of Pandora.
            He would go on foot to Bétharram and at night. He also had the night view, dark didn’t confine him, but he liked the light equally. For him, it didn’t make a difference. He would squeeze the truth out of this elder if it was necessary.
            The trip was more difficult that he had thought because he had to avoid public roads as much as possible. It resulted in climbing steep slopes and descend in dangerous ravines. His superhuman force and resilience compensated the shortcomings of the human body possibilities. He could exclude the pain when he made an unfortunate fall or when he ripped his arm or leg open on the sharp rocks. His powers made sure he was healed a lot faster than a human being. That he shared with the vampire people he hated so much. He knew sometime in the past it had been different, but he pushed that thought the moment it surfaced in his head.
            He had memorized the plans and at his arrival in the caves of Bétharram he hurried further down according to the scheme that was engraved in his memory. Steel fences and gates didn’t stop him. They weren’t a match for his force.
            When he was on the deepest floor, he stood still. He lifted his head a bit and let his nose do the rest. In the chill air, he sensed something bitter, something old. Unwashed it almost reeked in front of him. A normal person would never have noticed it. His nose followed the track which ended in a corridor that was closed to the public. There was a notice board in front of it written in French: ‘Attention, Danger, Effondrements.’ Pay attention to the danger of collapsing ceilings. He saw in the dark as if it was as clear as daylight. A bit further into the corridor he saw a pile of big rocks. The way through was blocked. Even so, the smell came from that direction. He broke open the fence that led to the collapse and went into the corridor.

© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere