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Authors: David Lee Marriner

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BOOK: The Gods' Gambit
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“Let’s go home now, if you don’t mind,” she said.

When they moved out of the coffee shop area, James said, “I
know one thing for sure. You won’t sleep until you finish what you’ve started.
So, tell me, what connection there is between the ‘one boy only’ tradition and
Noel’s abandonment.”

His words returned for a brief moment the smile in her
expression. “You’ve learned some things about me. I like that,” she said.

“I love learning things about you,” said James.

“That connection is something I’ve speculated on. Why not
assume that before Noel a boy only had been born in each Whiteway generation as
well.”

“So far, so good.”

“I talk about more than three centuries ago. In those times
the tolerance towards different people was low. Noel’s ancestors could have
been discriminated against due to the ‘one boy only’ tradition. They might have
stood out from the crowd in other ways too.”

“I see where you’re getting to,” he inserted.

“Maybe they were frowned upon, even persecuted, victimized—”

“That sounds a bit extreme.”

 “You have a light brown complexion, brown eyes, black
hair. These are not anthropological features typical of old England. Your
predecessors were most probably foreigners. What if they lived in a
conservative, narrow-minded community? Imagine them. People with different
origins and different religious background. They kept themselves to themselves
because that’s the only way they could preserve their identity. In that family,
the couples had always had one child only – a boy. All this could alienate the
community to them. Maybe some of the locals had grown hostile. Maybe Noel’s
parents abandoned him to keep him safe from those people.”

“So, his parents wanted to disassociate him from the bad
family name.”

“Yes.”

“There could have been plenty of other reasons for the fate
of Noel.”

Elizabeth shrugged. “Yes. But if my assumption is correct,
all this would be a pretty mysterious story, don’t you think? And our daughter
would be the first Whiteway girl ever. She’d be the exception to that long
lasting ‘one boy only’ mystery.”

James stretched his arm and embraced Elizabeth’s waist.
“Darling, I must admit you got me carried away for a moment. You’ve created an
ingenious plot. Only, all of it is just speculation, as you said. Everything
will be all right.”

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

London, UK

 

At 14.30 later that day, a dark-blue Ford Mondeo drove into
the residential parking lot attached to a new-build block of flats on Bell Barn
Street. A greying, middle-aged man sat in the car for a short while before
getting out. He then walked to the entrance of the block, unlocked the front
security door and climbed the stairs to the second floor. Stopping in front of
apartment number four, he rang the doorbell. The door opened just enough for
the newcomer to slip in and was quickly shut behind him.

Inside the apartment, he ran straight into two large, burly
bodyguards. Their open coats revealed holsters with guns under their armpits.
One of them lifted his arm in a halting gesture, while the other put a mobile
phone to his ear, saying, “Anything suspicious outside?”

The answer he got appeared to satisfy him, so he stepped
back and nodded to the newcomer, pointing to a slightly open  door at the
end of the corridor.

In the barely furnished room, a thickset man with thinning
hair sat on a soft couch. On the small table in front of him, a smoking incense
stick was dispensing an exotic aroma.

“Welcome. Glad to see you, Roger,” he greeted the newcomer,
barely moving his lips.

“Good afternoon, Mister Farhuck.” Stretching out his hand,
Roger quickly crossed the distance between the door and the seated man. He
grabbed the man’s meaty palm before turning his head towards the still open
door in a silently questioning gesture.

“Speak freely. They are our people,” the thickset man said.

“Perfecty, I’m very glad to see you, too. It’s been a
while.” A trembling emotion could be detected in Roger’s voice.

“Yes. I travelled.” The perfecty offered him a chair and
continued with a question. “Tell me about yourself. How is your practice
going?”

In response to this question, Roger stared blankly into
space for a moment, because suddenly he had experienced a vivid flashback of
the moments when he and the perfecty had first met four years ago. At that
time, he was mad on spirituality and had joined the group of followers of a
famous guru. Roger remembered sitting on a pile of cushions in a large gloomy
room with several other people chatting. The guru entered the room in the
company of another man whom he introduced as a spiritual teacher. That man was
a perfecty, although at that time he did not use his title. He revealed it to
Roger much later when they had grown to know and trust each other.

Roger was accustomed to having such flashbacks when he was
physically close to the perfecty. The perfecty had explained to him that this
was due to the special connection between them.

“I am fine. I strive not to miss a day without prayer,” he
answered.

“That’s good. Some of our friends forget how important it is
to practice.”

“Well, I feel recharged after every prayer,” Roger said,
clenching his fists in an indicative gesture. “It provides me with gusto for
life and for my business.”

“I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me. That is the right
attitude,” the perfecty said.

“There’s something I’d like to ask you, if I may. I hope I’m
not wasting your time,” Roger sounded a little embarrassed.

“What is it?” the perfecty asked encouragingly.

Roger scratched his forehead in confusion. “For some time
now I’ve been hearing voices. Distant voices, opaque voices. It doesn’t happen often,
but it’s beginning to worry me.”

The perfecty was intrigued. His eyes gleamed and a little
smile crossed his lips. “Do you catch anything from the voices? Is there any
message?” he asked.

“No, only fragments of words … thoughts rather. And some
indefinable presence.”

The perfecty knitted his eyebrows in thought for a brief
moment. With a speed unexpected of his massive body, he suddenly stood up.
Automatically, Roger followed his example.

“Would you close the door,” the perfecty said in a soft
voice.

Now he and the perfecty stood facing each other, separated
by a distance of just two feet. The perfecty began to chant something in an
incomprehensible language that sounded strange and archaic. The short,
monosyllabic words echoed sonorously in the almost empty room. For a brief
moment, it seemed to Roger that he understood this language even though he knew
he was hearing it for first time in his life. He could not translate it
literally, but he knew the perfecty was demanding power from some creature. Roger
did not have time to reflect on this fascinating happening because he saw
something even stranger. His eyes goggled. The perfecty’s face was changing.
The thick features were melting and an unknown bony face covered with stretched
greenish skin was taking shape in their place.

Instinctively, Roger tried to step away, but his body
refused to obey his brain’s command. The one who moved was the perfecty. He
stepped closer and swiftly stretched his hand towards Roger’s belly. Roger
could not move but looked down just in time to see the perfecty’s arm sinking
almost up to its elbow into his stomach.

In the next instant, the perfecty stepped back and
everything became the same as before.

“Sit, Roger. Your experiences are not something bad. You
have nothing to worry about.”

“Wha-what?” Roger stammered, still stunned by what he had
seen, or thought he had seen.

“The voices,” the perfecty looked surprised at Roger’s
confusion, as if nothing had happened between them. Inside, he was laughing,
because he knew from experience how Roger would feel in these first moments. He
was confused and scared now, but in time, he would be grateful. The process of
initiation he had just induced inside Roger needed about a month to complete.
Then Roger was going to be aware that he had received a great gift.

“Ah, yes,” Roger made an effort to pull himself together.
“Do I need to do something regarding that?” he asked.

“Don’t do anything. It simply means you have talent.” The
perfecty unexpectedly gave him a wink.

“I understand… Er … sir, what happened?”

“Nothing. I prayed for you.”

I must have imagined it … of course, I imagined it, Roger
thought in an attempt to convince himself.

“With abilities like yours, one day you may take my place,”
the perfecty continued.

 “I never dreamed of anything like that,” said Roger.
“I am far away from such a possibility.”

“On the contrary. You have talent, as I said,” the perfecty
assured him. “Now I am even more convinced that we are going to do a very good
job. The most important job we’ve ever done.” the perfecty gave Roger a
meaningful look. A few moments of silence followed.

Suddenly, Roger realised the meaning of these words. He
shook himself free from the influence of the bizarre occurrence he had just
involuntarily participated in. Almost whispering, he uttered, “So, the time has
come.”

“Yes. We have revealed one of
them
. Are you ready?”

Roger looked up, his eyes glazed, and the voices were
buzzing more strongly than ever in his head. “I am North, I am ready,” he said
firmly.

“He’s a foreigner. He’s going to make a short visit to the
UK soon. We’ve been chosen to ‘welcome’ him into the country,” the perfecty
smiled, yet his eyes remained emotionless, like those of a cold-blooded
predator.

“I’ve strongly hoped that this would come to our five one day.
My prayers have been answered,” Roger said, trying to master his high
excitement.

The perfecty reached into the inside pocket of his coat,
took out a tablet PC and gave it to Roger. “Everything is written down here. I
want you to read it. Ask questions, if you have any.”

“Are the others from our five acquainted with this?” Roger
asked.

“All of them. We’re going to gather tonight. We’ll talk more
then. Here is the address,” the perfecty gave him a business card.

Roger began to read from the tablet. Five minutes later, he
looked up and gave it back to the perfecty, who pressed a combination of
touch-screen buttons and then tossed the device onto the table. There was the
sound of a muffled mini-blast; the device jarred, giving off smell of burning
plastic and curls of smoke.

“It’s a bold and crazy plan,” Roger announced. “There is
almost no time for preparation.”

“The scene and the timing have been chosen by the High
Gathering. They are most favourable. This job will be our showcase, our
tribute,” said the perfecty in a sonorous tone.

“We’ll need to act speedily and yet with caution. This is a
public place with its own security,” Roger reasoned out loud.

“Well, we can only prepare ourselves as much as possible. In
reality we’ll have to improvise as well.”

Roger was thoughtful for a few seconds. “It’s good to get
ourselves acquainted with the place before we undertake the real action.”

“We’ll have time for a hands-on rehearsal.”

“Great.”

“Everything is ready for the operation – logistics included.
Tonight we’ll check our equipment.”

“Perfecty, if we succeed ... this will make a difference.
We’ll speed up change. Am I right?”

“We’ll be successful. Our progress is steady and sure. Have
faith and patience.”

Roger returned to the subject of the impending operation,
expressing his concern. “The file told about a blunder by our people in their
home country. That makes me a little uneasy.”

“I’ve spoken to my counterpart who was in charge of that
operation. Despite the setback, nothing was left to reveal our existence in any
way. We don’t carry any burden in this regard,” the perfecty reassured him.

 “That’s good. I don’t want the secret services
breathing down my neck.”

“I believe all these things were taken into account when the
High Gathering planned this job.” The perfecty looked reproachfully at Roger,
as if to draw attention to his lack of faith.

“Of course. So it is up to us now. We should make it
special,” Roger said, grinning broadly.

“Nothing stands in our way,” the perfecty spoke firmly.
“There is one technicality you need to know of, however. West won’t be with us
in this operation. A woman from Europe will replace her.”

“Is there a problem?” Roger asked anxiously.

“No.”

“We’re a team. Our five works best when we’re together.”

“It’s just a matter of expedience. We need somebody with
specific knowledge. The European girl is a good choice. Do you have anything
else to ask?”

“I need to gauge all this.”

“Well, don’t take too much time! Remember! – we are
reshaping the world.”

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

The Whiteway Estate, Hampshire, UK

 

Carefully covering Elizabeth’s shoulders with the sheets,
taking care not to wake her, James Whiteway slipped out of the bed. He put on a
dark-blue silk dressing gown over his naked muscular body and went downstairs
to the kitchen. He brewed a cup of his favourite Assam tea, added milk, and
took it out into the conservatory, where he made himself comfortable on an
oriental divan.

In the dawn light, a soft mist drifted over the Hampshire
hills, cascading like smoke around the dense Woodsman Green Forest, which
surrounded the estate.

James loved the peaceful serenity of early mornings here. He
liked taking his morning tea while looking at the scenery and watching the
local wildlife go about their business undisturbed in the adjoining meadow.

BOOK: The Gods' Gambit
8.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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