The Devil’s Heir

The Devil’s Heir-Chapter 17

CHAPTER 17: THE MIRROR ROOM

The kitchen was cramped as the nine temporals and one half-angel gathered around the table to plan their next move.

What do we know about this man Darrach?” Carlos asked.

From what Donal’s told us he’s a Sí.” said Kathy.

Fine, what do we know about this woman, Darrach?” Carlos asked.

No. He’s a . The Sí are a race of angels who were expelled to earth because they refused to take sides in the war between heaven and hell. They live amongst humans now. This Darrach is apparently a genius at combining divine power with human technology. So if, for example, you wanted a bomb that could destroy the human soul…”

He’d be the guy to talk to.” Eamonn nodded.

Right.” said Kathy “So we’re going to go and have a talk with him.”

Just a talk.” Donal growled “The Sí are under my protection and from what I see you don’t have any proof against him yet. You’ll need to convince me before I’ll hand him over to you.”

Fair enough.” said Kathy, pointedly ignoring the growl that emanated from the direction of Junko Imai.

Magnus gently shouldered his way through Eloi and Carlos and set a tea-tray on the table and began to quietly pour cups for everyone.

Is this going to be dangerous?” Baako asked, and instantly felt like a coward for saying it.

Good question.” said Kathy “We’re hoping (I’ll take coffee, Magnus, thanks) that he won’t be expecting us. It depends how much he knows. Mabus might just have showed up, asked for the bomb, took it and went. But if Darrach knows that his bomb was used to kill Temporals, he might have taken precautions.”

Let him.” said Junko hoaresly.

So, just so we know, what are we expecting? (two sugars, thanks) Booby traps?” Eamonn asked.

Probably not.” Mariana said “I can’t imagine someone booby trapping their own home (yes, a little milk, Magnus, thank you kindly) on the off chance that we showed up. But he might have a safe room. A hidden passge, an escape route. Something like that.”

Maybe it would…thanks…” Aoife took a mug of tea off Magnus and took a swig “Maybe it would be a good idea if I went and scouted around first? Get the lay of the land?”

A silence descended on the table. Aoife realised that everyone was looking at her.

Yes.” said Mariana, very quietly “I think that’s a very good idea.”

Well.” said Aoife, suddenly feeling very nervous “I guess…I’ll go do that. Then.”

Black.

Aoife collapsed on the table with a thud, spilling her tea.

(more…)

The Devil’s Heir-Chapter 16

CHAPTER 16: A DARK SPOT

“So you’ve come to kill me at last? I can’t say much for your punctuality.”

Isabella froze. The chamber behind Nyquist’s altar was pitch black, and she could not even see five inches in front of her. But she knew the voice was Joriel’s and she felt a little sugar rush of joy. We’ve found him. At last.

“No, no. I’ve not come to kill you Joriel.”

Cold fear washed over Isabella. That voice talking with Joriel. She knew it, as anyone in New Gomorrah would have.

“I will not go back to Groethuis and his knives and poisons, Mabus. Nor will I trade one cage for another.” said Joriel.

“My, it’s dark in here.” Mabus mused, as if he hadn’t heard him “Shall we have some light?”

“I can see perfectly.” said Joriel “But by all means, if you wish. There’s a lamp on the table to your left.”

Un-oh, thought Isabella.

She heard Mabus’s hand press a switch and a small lamp flicked on, bathing a corner of the room in muted yellow light and casting shadows over everything.

Isabella looked around and breathed out in relief. The room was divided by a thick black curtain, which she was standing behind. Inside the curtain, invisible to her, Joriel and Mabus continued talking.

“Oh dear.” said Mabus sympathetically “They have not been treating you well, have they?”

“This is not their doing.” said Joriel, and Isabella realised the angel’s voice sounded so much older than when she had last heard it “Apart from keeping me here in chains, they treat me well enough.”

“I assume they found you after the battle outside my chamber?”

“Yes. I retreated to the sewers. I was badly injured.”

“Shot off a helicopter, I believe?”

“Yes.”

“I am sorry. I hope you know that there was never any malice in my imprisoning you. I needed to be sure my New Matter weaponry would work. I needed to test it on someone. I just hope you don’t think it was personal.”

“I don’t see how it could have been.” said Joriel “You stole my wife, after all. Not the other way around.”

“Well. Ancient history.” said Mabus “Quite literally.”

(more…)

The Devil’s Heir-Chapter 15

CHAPTER 15: THE LORD’S PROPHECY

A Deva, a human being who has crossed over body and soul to the afterlife, is a hardy creature. He or she will not age, will not succumb to disease and does not need to eat or drink. They do sleep, but less than when they were alive, and when they do they do not dream.

And yet, they can die. A Deva whose skin is pierced will bleed the white/pink sand that fills them. This is the remains of their bones, organs and bodily fluids that were compacted when the body and the soul fused at the crossing over. And once it has bled from them, the Deva dies. Finally. Totally. There is no after-afterlife. Those who die in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory cross into the final realm, from which even angels cannot return. The final night, that no dawn shall ever pale. They say that those who go there linger for a few brief moments over everything, and can see the whole infinity of creation, the endless lattice of light and dark, the Yoli-awhey and Goli-awhey snaking and curling and cascading over and around and through each other. It is said that from that cold perch, far above all that is, they finally know a true wisdom, one beyond the knowledge of angels and devils, even of Yol and Gol themselves. And with a sad smile, they nod, and turn to face the final night, and pass away to shadow.

  (more…)

The Devil’s Heir-Chapter 14

CHAPTER 14: THE PROMISE

“I…” he paused for dramatic effect “have a theory.”

“What is your theory, Virgil?” she asked.

He was sitting on a rocky outcrop a few hundred feet outside the city limits, staring at the glinting black

mountains in the distance that erupted from the earth like solid night.

She had her back to him, and stood bent over with a black, charred stick in her hand, writing words in the

fine grey sand.

“You may not like this theory.” he warned her.

“Oh really?” she noted, not looking up “Is it controversial?”

“All the best theories are.”

“Go on then. Shock me.”

“My theory…” he said turning and walking towards her over the outcrop, and nearly tripping over a jutting

rock “…is that you are absolutely insane.”

He stood and looked at what she had written. Words stretched off in a good thirty foot radius, variations of a

single sentence repeated over and over again.

STRANGE DAY TO GREET ANOTHER

STRANGE WAY TO SEE ONE OTHER

STRANGE GREY TO MEET OLD LOVER

STRANGE WAY TO SEAT A PLUMBER (This one had been crossed out with repeated angry strokes.)

“Really?” she said, looking up with genuine puzzlement “Why’s that?”

Virgil decided that if she had to ask the question, she was beyond help.

“You do realise.” he said “That the more you try, the less sense it makes.”

Marie gave an angry grunt and threw the stick down. She reached for the bottle of Red Marie that she had

left half buried in the sand and was about to raise it to her lips when Virgil grabbed her wrist.

“Hey.” he said “Enough for one day, day don’t you think?”

She looked at him for a second, and the nodded.

He nodded in return and let go of her wrist.

Quick as a flash, she had raised the bottle to her lips and drunk.

(more…)

The Devil’s Heir-Chapter 13

CHAPTER 13: THE TRAITOR WAITS

Eamonn closed his eyes and breathed in, letting the night air tell him it’s story.

He could smell car exhaust, sweat and fast food, all grace notes against the crescendo of alcohol and gunpowder smoke. He opened his eyes.

Dublin on Halloween night, halfway between a party and a warzone. Same as it ever was.

He smiled.

Good to be home.

  (more…)

The Devil’s Heir- Chapter 12

CHAPTER 12:  HOOK-HANDED COYBOY

A new recruit to Mabus’ army, fresh from some howling battlefield and now standing shivering and quaking in the presence of the king of New Gomorrah, being given the old “You stand in the belly of the beast…” speech would naturally have a great many questions.

What is this place?

Why am I here?

What should I do now?

Once the reality of his situation had sunk in, our new recruit would find himself beset by slightly more mundane questions;

Where can I find food?

Where shall I live?

Are there others like me in this city I can join for my own safety?

Can I survive here?

In time, all these questions would be answered, some more suddenly and brutally than others.

But perhaps the one question that would never be answered for most of the men and women conscripted into Mabus’ crusade was this:

What the hell is up with all the scorpions?

Why are there scorpion banners hanging from archways and nailed to walls? Why is there a scorpion on the back of every Gomorran talon? Why the Red, Blue, Black and Green Scorpions?   

The answer to this, Cole knew, was no great secret. It was simply not widely known.

The reason was that when Mabus’ father, Gedi, had needed to choose a totem to represent his house, he had chosen the scorpion. The House of Gedi had been one of the smaller houses in Babilu, but still wielded a considerable amount of wealth and influence. By choosing the scorpion as his symbol Gedi was displaying to his enemies an animal that was small, but could still be lethal to much larger creatures should they be foolish enough to anger it.  

To be the Golden Scorpion, Mabus had once explained to Cole, was to be the physical manifestation of the will of the House of Gedi. A shining, invincible, seemingly godlike avatar.

To be a Black Scorpion, on the other hand, meant something different entirely.

The Black Scorpions had, before their dissolution at least, acted as Mabus’ secret police. It had been their unenviable task to keep tabs on the innumerable guilds, secret societies, mobs, gangs and fraternities that had sprung up like weeds in the fertile soil of Mabus’ army. If any particular organisation seemed to be becoming a little too powerful, more often than not the leaders would be paid a visit in the night by a close friend who they had trusted implicitly, and never wake up.

But the Black Scorpions were gone now.

And it was time for something else to replace them.

“Wait here.” said Cole

Isabella looked around nervously, brushing the handle of a dagger with her thumb over and over.

The hallway, dank, dark and stinking, looked deserted. But then, in Gomorrah, it was the people you couldn’t see who were the ones to keep an eye out for. The fact that there didn’t seem to be anyone here did nothing to reassure her. Every step they had taken since leaving Mabus’ throne room to this ten storey tenement building just north of the Combat Tower, Isabella had been unable to shake the feeling that they were being followed. She glanced nervously to where Cole was dragging his finger lazily over a grimy, brown-stained wall.

“What are we doing here?” she asked, and it felt like the hundredth time.

“Ssshhh.” he whispered “Got ya.”

“What?” she turned to look at him, only to see that he had been talking to the wall, not to her.

With a low, dreary moan, the wall was sliding to one side, revealing a dark passageway.

“Let’s go.” said Cole.

They disappeared into the opening, and seconds later the wall slid shut again.

“What is this place?” Isabella whispered, her keen eyes slowly adjusting to the darkness of the room.

“Hang on. I gotta find the light switch.” said Cole, talking over his shoulder as he felt along the wall “Every tenth building in Gomorrah has one of these rooms. They’re safe houses, for any Black Scorpion who’s cover his blown and needs to lie low. He can hide out here, live off rations for weeks if he has to. There’s a weapons locker under the bed. A radio to call into the Blue Room for rescue, or just to listen in to see what’s going on outside. More importantly, only the engineers who built it, and the Scorpion assigned to it knows where his individual safe room is. And only one man in the entire city knows where all of them are.”

“Mabus?”

“If Mabus knew about this place, do you think we’d be hiding out here? Nah, I ordered these to be built, never told Mabus.”

“You knew you might need to hide from him?”

“No, actually. I just never told him. Mostly because I thought he wouldn’t care. He told me to build him a spy network, and I did it. He never really asked how. But we’ll be as safe here as anywhere. We can stay here while we look for Joriel. Then we are getting out of here, and we are not even stopping to shake the dust off our shoes. There you are…”

His hand touched the light switch and the room was thrown into a sickly green haze.

Cole turned and froze.

“Oh you’re smart Joe. Got it all planned out. But let me ask you this: How fast are you?”

Isabella’s eyes stared at him, terrified, over the arm that was wrapped across her face. The silver muzzle of a Colt single action Army was pressed to her neck.

And the eyes that stared at Cole over her shoulder were as pitiless as they were desperate.

Cole almost burst out laughing. Of all the safe houses in the city, he had chosen the one containing New Gomorrah’s most wanted citizen; Ezekiel Holtz, the man who had raised the riot with Thomas, and shot Mabus himself. For a mad second, Cole considered how capturing Holtz might just be enough to put himself back in Mabus’ good graces. But he dismissed the idea almost as soon as it came to him. They were getting out. That was the end of it. At least, they were if could convince Holtz to let Isabella go.

“Hi Holtz.” said Cole as nonchalantly as he could.

(more…)

The Devil’s Heir- Chapter 11

CHAPTER 11: THE CONQUEST OF MABUS

Groethuis was halfway through explaining exactly how the God-killer worked when Mabus raised his hand to silence him.

“Master?” said Groethuis, looking up from the schematics he had spread across the table like a treasure map.

“That will be all today, Doctor. You may finish tomorrow.”

“As you wish, Master.”

Can the weapon be fired?”

It is primed and ready.”

“Good. We may get precious little warning.”

Master, if I may ask…”

That will be all, Doctor.”

Sensing that Mabus was close to simply vanishing him out of the throne room with a thought, and without much consideration as to whether he reappeared on the ground or a hundred feet above it, Groethuis gathered up his papers and left without another word.

Mabus silently rested in his throne for a full two minutes.

Finally, he rose to his feet and opened the door to his private bedroom.

He already knew, indeed had known from the second he had raised his hand to silence Groethuis, what he would find there.

“Ave Mabus.” said the figure who was now sitting in his chair with his legs crossed nonchalantly over the table.

“What do you want?” Mabus asked.

“Why do you think I’m here?” the second Mabus asked.

Mabus studied his double. A horrific, skeletal figure draped in sack-like skin and with the barest, mist-thin wreathing of grey hair here and there. And those terrible, milky pale eyeballs, nestling in cavernous sockets like terrible pearls in some ancient shell. Since he had no memory of this meeting, this Mabus was from his future, not his past. But how far in the future? Impossible to say. Even back in the living world, Mabus had been aged as much as a person could be aged. He could not look older if he tried. And here in Hell, no one aged anyway, making it doubly pointless. This Mabus could be from ten seconds in the future, or ten million years.

“To warn me?” Mabus asked.

The second Mabus opened his mouth to let the pale lips slip over his teeth, the closest he could come to a grin.

“To give you a little helping hand.” he said “The hard part’s coming. I think you know to what I refer?”

“But I do win? We win?”

“Well that’s up to you, isn’t it?”

Am I truly this insufferably smug? Mabus asked himself.
“Yes.” said his double.

Walked into that one, I suppose, Mabus thought.

“Yes you did.” said the second Mabus, again with the awful skull grin.

“Get to the point.” Mabus snapped irritably “What do I have to do?”

“Here.” said the double, passing a roll of yellowing paper across the table to him.

“What is this?” Mabus asked him, unfurling it, his eyes adjusting to the script. Ancient Greek. He tried a few words as an appetiser, long disused parts of his brain flickering into life at the taste of them.

The Conquest of Mabus.” said his twin “It’s a poem, written by one of your soldiers. It commemorates your glorious victory.”

Why give it to me?”

Because it’ll tell you everything you need to do. And it’s good for your ego. Enjoy.”

Mabus simply nodded. He didn’t bother thanking himself. What was the point?

His double vanished, and Mabus unfurled the scroll and began to read.

(more…)

Catching up on the Devil’s Heir

Sorry, sorry, sorry.

Sorry.

Sorry. It’s taken a ridiculously long time for me to do this and I can only apologise. Anyway. Regular updates of new chapters of The Devil’s Heir will resume starting next Thursday and Chapter 11 is up now. In the meantime, here is a master list of all the chapters of the Hangman’s Daughter/Devil’s Heir just in case any one wants to get caught up or has forgotten where we were (and I could hardly blame you if you have).

The Hangman’s Daughter

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 44

Chapter 45

The Devil’s Heir

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Huge thanks to my brother Eamonn for all his help. You’re a legend, dude.

 

Links and stuff.

Howdy peeps! I hope it’s as beautiful a November day where you are as it is here in Ireland.

"Colours. Remember them?" "No."

“Colours. Remember them?”
“No.”

The fundraising for Joanna is progressing at a fair clip (we’re already at 16%) so I thought I’d drop a few links that might of interest.

Firstly, here’s our Facebook Page, where we’ll be updating with news on the production, interviews with cast and crew and all kinds of stuff.

And here is our Twitter page which you can follow. And because it’s Twitter it’s free to use. It won’t cost you a thing!

Flanders

And lastly, a very nice write up about us in the Sunday Business Post. (There’s a paywall but you can still read some of the article.)

Oh, and lastly I have a little bit of bad news for people reading the Devil’s Heir. It seems that some of the chapters have gone…missing. It’s possible that they got lost in the shuffle from moving from the wheezing asthmatic contraption that was my old computer to my new one so I’ll have to search there but there may be a hiatus on new chapters for a while. Sorry.

Anyway, thanks for reading and for all the support.

Mouse out.

The Devil’s Heir- Chapter 10

Kathy wondered if she was going mad. It was a common enough condition for people like her, she knew that. When simple, basic facts like what year it was or what country you were standing on could change purely on your own whim, it wasn’t really conducive to a stable sense of reality.

No, she reassured herself. Im not mad. Im in shock, traumatised, psychologically scarred, neurotic and constantly on the verge of a panic attack but I am most definitely not mad.

Well. Thank goodness for that.

To be perfectly honest, in the aftermath of the bombing, she had been plagued with a horrible feeling that she was coping too well. It was almost as if there was a giant cartoon anvil of utter grief hanging overhead, to which she was totally oblivious. Only when she chanced to look up, it would come crashing down on her, crushing her with the memory of everyone she had lost.

Milo was gone. There was no way that had struck home yet. When she finally acccepted that, when she finally realised he had gone…

Or maybe she wouldnt. Maybe this was all there was. Maybe this was all the grief that she could actually muster, and she just felt guilty because it seemed such a pitiful offering for such a terrible loss.

Maybe she was just some kind of souless machine.

Maybe she was a sociopath and didnt know it.

Maybe she was going mad.

Maybe she was exhausted, stressed and needed some sleep.

Maybe that was it.

Sure you dont want me to come in with you? Eamonn asked.

They were standing outside the door to Marianas home.

Kathy shook her head wearily.

Less is more. she said Ill go.

Scream if you need me.

Okay. Dont let anyone see you.

But Im so pretty. How can I deny them?

Be cruel.

(more…)