The Island Part Twelve
In less than a few minutes we reached the beachhead and the chapel for ancient mariners and lost souls. I briefly wondered how many of those who perished on the nearby rocks found solace in heaven and how many had the misfortune to run up against Mister Bitter Almonds. A cool breeze blew in off the Atlantic Ocean. I secretly hoped it was not an ill wind. In less than a minute Kell had the rusty, decrepit padlocked door open and we went inside.
Inside was sparse, to say the least. A simple altar, two small pews, a crucifix and a font full of holy water.
Kell took his martial arts weapon and the grenades out of the bag and secreted them inside his protective jacket. However, not before superstitiously dipping them in the font of holy water.
“ You never know what you might run up against around here on a night like this. Every little helps, huh,” he said grinning.
“ Ok, let’s go. You tuck in behind me and keep your ears open for anything untoward behind us.”
The figurehead museum was but a five-minute walk down a little-used dirt track, a track Kell seemed to know well, much to my relief.
The idea that Bitter Almonds might not actually be human did occur to me more than once. Maybe he was a ghost who could manifest himself any time he pleased. Or maybe, he was simply a useful earthbound agent of evil for those demons that liked to snatch the souls of those unfortunate enough to cross their paths. Then again, maybe he just a lone operator evil bastard who got some sort of kicks out of murdering a defenceless child. We would soon see, unless I was wrong and all we would come across was a dozen or so all-too-lifelike figureheads from old wrecks.
In no time at all, we reached the carefully cultivated gardens that surrounded the museum. So far all was quiet on the western front as they say.
Slowly we entered the actual museum and had a glance around the exhibition. What we saw was nothing less than an incredibly realistic collection of larger than life figures.
Some were armed, some were not. All leaned into the wind, jutting forth from their primary position on the prow of a long lost ship.
Suddenly a roll of thunder, accompanied by flashes of lightning, began to head our way. Kell and I both looked skyward in askance.
In no time at all the rolls and bolts seemed to be directly above us. Suddenly, both subsided somewhat and it seemed like some unearthly presence had descended upon us.
And to make matters better or worse, whichever way you chose to see it, the all too familiar aroma of bitter almonds pervaded the heavy night air.
“ Good evening gentleman.” Echoed the unmistakable voice of bitter almonds.
“How kind of you to join us. I must say I have been looking forward to seeing you both here in my humble abode. I do hope you like it. Quaint, but in its own way homely, wouldn’t you say?”
Steven and Kell, I believe. I do know a lot more about both of you than you would be comfortable with.
Of course, as you can see Steven, I too am not alone. You see, apart from our long lost friends who you see mounted here on their plinths, I have taken the delightful pleasure of inviting one or two others you may well recognise. Look carefully around you gentlemen.”
As Kell and I glanced around we saw lurking in the shadows the two goons who had rammed Kell’s new boat, The little shit of a kid who had three times tried to kill Kell and the slimey kitchen porter who I had overheard plotting to dump me in the Ocean.
“ Uh uh. Looks like we’re gonna be having us some fun at this here shit fest for the devil’s henchmen. Stick close to me Stevie boy and get ready to pull that mask down over your face. And when I say go, you just cut and run back to base. Here, you might be needing this.”
And with that Kell slipped me a large blade I hadn’t even been aware that he was carrying. The blade was like a miniature samurai sword two feet long and as sharp as a razor. Suddenly I felt armed not just with a lethal weapon, but also with the confidence of a giant against a few squabbling ants.
The pathetic murky, motley crew of minor players started towards us. Kell did no more than single-handedly pick up a figurehead armed with a sword directly at the three musketeers and scored a direct hit on the icky kitchen porter. I swear I have never seen anybody go down so freekin quick and noisy. The sword part of the figurehead, although not a real weapon, went straight into the little shits solar plexus and pierced his rotten heart. One down, four to go.
The two goons ran around the back of us to try to take is from behind. Kell and I stood side by side and took one each. Kell with his two sticks and me with the blade.I couldn’t quite bring myself to administer a killer stroke, but I managed to hold my guy at bay until Kell has despatched the other with a killer blow to the throat. Then in the blink of an eye Kell turned, grabbed my arm holding the miniature sword and thrust it forward toward the other goon, missing contact by no more than a tenth of an inch. Before the good could react, Kell, still holding my arm swiped right across the goons throat and opened him up like a tin of beans. Tomato ketchup spilt all over the floor between us. Three down, two to go.
Kell still had his nunchaku in his left hand as we turned to look for Arsey Kid and bitter almonds. Arsey Kid was holding back, no doubt a tad cagey after the last time he took Kell on. Kell simply swung the nunchaku and swung it at the kid. The chain and two sticks hit him under the chin and wrapped itself around his scrawny little neck. Kell marched over and took hold of the two wooden sticks and tightened the chain til it strangled the kid to death.
Meanwhile, I looked over to where I’d last seen bitter almonds under some arches behind the figureheads. I started to slowly walk towards him when suddenly a big black crow swooped down and flew right into the face of bitter almonds. The ravenous bird started to claw at his eyes, causing bitter almonds to dance around screaming out in pain. The bird clearly was not going to stop until it had clawed his eyes out. Which is exactly what it did. Finally, the bird let go and flew off with bitter almonds’ two gelatinous orbs in its clammy claws. It was no less than he deserved I thought. But I wasn’t finished with him even if the crow was.
I got right next to him and simply toppled him over onto hard quarry tiled museum floor. He started to scream out in pain as he reached for his ankle. I looked own to see it was broken. I could have just stuck him the mini sword Kell had passed me, but I thought it was deeply fitting that I should despatch him in exactly the same way he had mercilessly despatched Charlotte.
I reached down and with my right hand, I gripped his prodigious neck. I squeezed that evil bastards throat with all my might until he breathed his last. His head fell limply to one side.
“ That was for what you did to Charlotte, you piece of shit” I muttered to myself.
Just then things started to get real hairy. It was as if the gates of hell had been flung open. Talk about Pandora’s Box.
The thunder and lightning were now in full chorus. Looking around the museum I started to see some pretty wild shit. Ghosts were leaving the figureheads and swirling all around us screaming and wailing as if they were in excruciating pain of their death throes.
I looked across at Kell and he too was clearly startled by what we were witnessing. He came over to me and said…
“ Ok big boy, time for the mask and hit the friggin’ road, c’mon man, let’s get the hell out of here.”
We started off in the direction from which we had come when Kell suddenly stopped.
“ You ready for the biggest firework display you ever saw in your entire goddam life, buster?”
And with that, we pulled down our masks and Kell hurled all three grenades right into the museum patio.
Oh my God……I could not believe what I was seeing. Everything caught fire as a thick orange and pink glow started to fill the air all around us. A horrible stench began to drift towards us.
Old timber began to burn and what looked like it might be wax began to ooze and drip from the top of each figurehead down. Faces looked like they were melting into some horrible gargoyle like distortions of what were once real people. One in particular caught my attention, a middle aged female figure that looked like it might be a fully grown up version of Charlotte. Her face was intact, but translucent tears were running down her cheeks. Nearby bushes too, began to catch fire and give off a toxic stench. It was all getting too much.
“ Go man, go….!” Kell screamed at me.
We turned and ran back towards the mariners chapel. Thank the lord the wind was in our favour as it blew the acrid smelling napalm away from us.
Quickly we ripped open the door and dived inside. Once in we stripped off the protective jackets and began to block up all the draught points around the battered old door frame as best as we could manage.
There we just sat in speechless silence on one of the pews.
Tonight had been a truly shocking one. And I do not think Kell nor I could quite figure out what we had seen. The five goons were one thing, but that weird stuff at the end was as spooky as hell.
How little did we know what tomorrow held in store for us. In the eerie silence that befell the inside of the chapel we eventually simply dozed off into some sort of deep slumber.