Today's muse: This is an excerpt from a short story I started writing. I admit that I am now a little hung up on continuing...I'm not very good at writing sci-fi or fantasy. So the piece is shelved. For now.
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The Vessel of Ropav
“Do you have it?”
“Yes,” he replied, for what seemed like the hundredth time that morning.
The two men—one young, one old—marched in step with the other commuters, blended in with their dark suits and even darker overcoats. They walked onto the train platform, scanned the crowd that formed along the thick yellow line that ran parallel with the track. The old man smiled when he thought how ridiculous it seemed to have nothing but a swish of bright paint act as a barrier; as though there was an unseen force field preventing commuters from pressing too close to the tracks.
It would have made his task more difficult, he acknowledged. Difficult, but not impossible.
He gestured at the younger one to take the agreed-upon place near the yellow line and walked over to the public pay phone. He could hear the distant chime of the train bell and willed his arthritic knees to move faster. He lifted the receiver and punched in the three numbers.
“911. What is your emergency?” Odd, he thought, that the voice should sound so cheerful. Perhaps she knew.
As the train approached, the tracks sang as though they heralded a new day.
“The Vessel has been filled.”
“I’m sorry, sir, could you repeat that?”
“The Vessel has been filled.”
He dropped the receiver and it swung like a pendulum from the metal coil.
“Sir? Sir? Hello?!”
There was no time to waste now. He pressed his way through the crowd, ignoring the obscenities shouted by angry business people. Breathless, his ancient knees aching, he reached his young friend.
Here, the edge of the concrete platform gave way to gravel and sporadic patches of grass. The train would enter the station at top speed, making this location ideal. And, of course, the telephone. It was petty, he knew, but he wanted the higher powers to know they were bested.
The old man had no doubt the message would be conveyed.
He stood next to the younger one, made no eye contact. It would be dangerous for anyone to associate them.
“You know what to do, yes?” He spoke so only the younger would hear. It wasn’t a question, really, it was confirmation. Confirmation for an old man who knew there was only one chance to change the world. That such a sacrifice could be made only once.
The young man gave an imperceptible nod as he moved his hand across his loose overcoat—over the small lump at his chest—and brushed away a non-existent speck of dirt. The old man closed his eyes and murmured a chant.
“Blessed be, my son.” And the old man stepped off the platform into the rushing path of the 06:07 morning train as horrified rush-hour commuters looked on.
As the 911 dispatch received dozens of calls from eye witnesses to what was later ruled a suicide, one other phone call was made.
“My lord, the Vessel of Ropav is now filled.”
There was a pause before a deep voice replied.
“Prepare for battle.”