Title: The Aftermath
This has all been done for love.
UV7: The aftermath
Pearse couldn’t remember the last time he had felt so alone and defeated; he had never anticipated this. He felt like a blanket of smog had enveloped him muffling sound and blurring sight. He shook himself trying to concentrate on what was being said to him. He was missing words and knew he must concentrate if there was going to be any possibility of understanding how and why. It seemed important, even as he knew that his survival and worse his very soul was at risk.
“Are you listening Pearse?” asked Paul Hoyle, lying back in the reclining chair with a look of satisfaction on his features.
The shock of walking in his office and seeing Hoyle sat there, reading his correspondence had almost killed him then and there. He had entered HQ, noticing nothing amiss. It was quiet, but it always was at this time in the morning. The guards had nodded at him as he walked in as usual and whilst he hadn’t recognised them, nothing in their behaviour had alerted him to any danger. Vaughan was constantly moving men, he often said that change kept them alert, and Pearse had total confidence in his ability. When Hoyle told him that Vaughan was dead, killed by his old mates, he had felt like weeping. Not that they hadn’t tried to persuade him, Hoyle had explained, but Vaughan had gone to his death implacable in his hatred and hostility.
“You had a good man there,” Hoyle had said, sounding almost sympathetic. “It’s a pity he was just so incapable of understanding us.”
Hoyle had spent time bringing Pearse up to date with what had happened during the night, explaining that when he knew that they were to stay throughout the next day to net the rest of the squad, he had made sure that he got the job of dealing with Pearse.
“I wanted to return the compliment you had so kindly paid me, Pearse,” he said smiling serenely. “But I thought I would conduct the interview in a much more civilized manner that you ever did.”
Pearse shivered at the subtle threats he heard in the vampire’s voice. Hoyle had gone on to express his pleasure at hearing how the whole idea had formed.
“To think it was one of your precious squad that initiated this.” He chuckled, sending a shiver of fear down Pearse’s neck.
“I am looking forward to meeting this Michael, I understand that the elders are rather pleased at the way he has turned out.” He smiled a small secretive smile, as Pearse continued to stare at him in horrified fascination.
“They certainly were delighted when you involved him in the shadowy squad they knew far too little about, and from what I gather, the initial disappointment when he did not produce Dr Marsh as intended, was quickly forgotten when they understood just how much his revived friend meant to him.” He raised his eyebrows in amusement.”
“I am told that I will more than likely meet this Jack if I meet Michael. It seems that they are seldom seen without each other. Now isn’t that a tale to warm the cockles of you’re heart Pearse?”
He laughed at Pearse's lack of expression.
“I forgot you don’t believe that we vampires have any emotions do you? How was it you so delightfully put it cold, emotionless unfeeling monsters I seem to remember? Well some of us have rather shed most of that baggage Pearse, but I can certainly gain a lot of pleasure from this situation.”
Pearse remained motionless, staring in frightened fascination at Hoyle.
“But let us return to my enforced stay at this establishment, Pearse.” Hoyle waited for a reply, before continuing. “You lied when you said I had talked about destroying humanity, we want to control it yes, but not destroy it, our experiment with blood is a back up, and a way of keeping our food source pure.”
“No you lie,” Pearse came to life with a vengeance, anger trembling in his voice. “You want to destroy us, why else the nuclear winter scenario you are so obsessed by?”
“We will destroy some people if our attempt succeeds,” Hoyle said calmly. As I explained before, our plan is short term, we do not want to destroy all life on this planet that is unthinkable, what would we do to amuse ourselves? No we want a time of darkness to take full control of you humans but you wouldn’t be aware of it.” He smiled cheerfully, seemingly unaffected at the thought of thousands if not millions of human deaths.
“Your scientists would be able to keep most plants and animals alive in controlled conditions, and when sunlight did return you would get on with repopulating your world. We realise that constant darkness is impractical, although some of the very oldest would do it if permitted.”
It was at this point that Pearse felt himself drifting in and out of the words, shocked by the calm and calculating manner in which Hoyle spoke, pulling himself up short at Hoyle’s demand that he listen.
“Ah I see you have returned Pearse I was getting quite concerned about you, were you praying to that god of yours?”
Pearse ignored the taunt, but found himself troubled by the feelings of desertion he was experiencing. “Where are you my God?’ he called silently. “The very devil is in front of me.”
“You know we have still not found anyone who claims to truly know you.” Hoyle sounded incredulous.
“The others were telling me that we know little about you, except that the fear of us drew you to the priesthood. Who or what were you running away from Pearse to make such decision? We gather you had not shown any such vocation before.”
“How would you know or understand that? asked Pearse in anger. “What do you and your kind know about vocation and commitment?”
“I’m disappointed in you Pearse,” Hoyle said charmingly. “You were so hospitable and calm at our previous meeting, until you destroyed me of course.”
Pearse closed his eyes briefly, this leech wrong foots me at every turn he thought, angry with the ease in which he was being manipulated, but I feels so tired and hopeless and bereft of anything, even my faith seems to be evaporating in this vacuum of despair.
“I was called to the priesthood by my need to understand,” he eventually said quietly. ”And yes, as you are well aware you leeches played a part in that need.”
“I’m a leech now am I?’ smiled Hoyle. “A very clever use of words, it destroys any need to face the possibility that we might worthy of understanding. Did you coin that description?’”
“No, but it did seem to sum up a widely held opinion of you which I may add that neither you or others of your kind have managed to dispel.”
Hoyle shook his head. “You are blind Pearse, what we are as humans becomes transformed when we become vampires. We strip away the inessential froth that clogs up our intellect, and reject the tight and rigid morals that humanity has imposed on itself in the name of religion. We exult in our powers and are certain in our aims.”
He flung out his hands as he spoke as if embracing something.
“Among our kind many continue to enjoy the pleasures of sex and companionship, whilst others like myself find our greatest pleasure in knowledge and power. Like humanity we are individuals, but unlike humanity we are linked to each other and answerable to the greater cause. We have freedom but we also have an overriding responsibility to the whole. We are the future, Pearse.”
Pearse remained silent after Hoyle had stopped speaking, unsure that he understood the implications of what had been said to him, he swallowed, cleared his throat, and formulated a denial of what he understood Hoyle to be stating.
“You have chosen to desert the human race, to loose your soul and your God, without light and salvation what can the existence you have chosen possibly offer.” He leaned earnestly towards Hoyle. “We are more than the molecules and atoms that bind us together, we are spiritual beings.”
Hoyle laughed. “So I get a lesson in spirituality as answer to my attempt to make you understand Pearse. This leopard obviously does not change its spots, I believe we have had most of this conversation before, but last time you were asking me what you would lose if you crossed. Did you have to beg your God for forgiveness in betraying my trust in you?”
“What trust?” Pearse sneered. “Your ‘confession’ was yet another of those party tricks that you use so successfully to fool humanity. Tell me Hoyle, why this constant emphasis on free will that you yet again try and trick us into accepting as an almost moral constancy?”
Hoyle put his fingers together on the desk, and thought for a while before replying.
“Those taken against their will have proved to be self destructive and have taken many of our kind with them in their decaying spiral,” he said slowly. “So you see Pearse, free will isn’t the truism you think it is, you need to want to come.”
“I suppose persuasion by infecting you’re victims is not counted as removing free will?” Pearse said scornfully.
Hoyle sighed. “Pearse, we can influence and persuade subtly but finally the decision must be an individual one, we cannot make someone do something that they are implacably opposed to, even you must accept that.”
Pearse groaned, ‘Where is this conversation leading?’ he asked Hoyle wearily.
“I think you know that, Pearse,” Hoyle said smiling serenely. “You leave here as one of us, or you die here, there is no alternative. That is the choice we give to you and Dr Angie Marsh. Your colleague Frances we would like back in her old job under our care of course, whilst we have people already working for us she would be useful
So we have organised that she will not be coming into work today.”
There was silence in the room. Pearse had known this from the start, but having it so baldly stated made him realise how frightened he was for himself and mostly for Angie. If she was dealing with her husband and daughter, she must be in turmoil.
Hoyle waited out the silence for a time and then started talking again.
“You and your squad have done immense damage to our networks. Even I knew of you and I was in South America for much of the time. Your Vatican credentials, ears in high places and almost total autonomy has been a plague in our house for many years. Other countries have far less resources and far less influential ways of dealing with us.”
He glanced at Pearse as he spoke. “I say this as a compliment to your efficiency. We want you destroyed, so we are slowly removing those people in responsible positions that believe you, and we intend that humanity in this small island return to it’s previous happy lack of knowledge of our kind as nothing more than stories and myths, or flights of fancy from big name science fiction writers and film directors.”
He laughed humourlessly. “Mind you, some of them have been a little hard to stomach.”
He stood slowly from the chair, extending his hand towards Pearse.
“Come, Pearse, I will show you how your little empire will be destroyed,” and gestured for Pearse to precede him from the room.
Pearse looked around him as he walked the corridors. Little looked out of the ordinary and few people were in evidence, those he did see in the distance he didn’t recognise. He could not tell if they were human or leech.
Hoyle was taking him towards the incarceration chamber, he wasn’t sure that he wanted to see this.
When they walked in Pearse was again surprised by the lack of obvious difference, except that the chamber looked duller with the UV turned off, it all looked so normal. A woman seated at the computer terminal, turned round to face him.
“You must be Pearse,” she said smiling at him as if welcoming him at a cocktail party, “I’ve heard a lot about you from my son.”
“And you must be the monstrous woman that he wrote about,” Pearse said equally pleasantly.
The woman seemed amused. “My what a thing to say of a lady you’ve only just met,” she exclaimed melodramatically. “He finally told us about the letter, but of course we were aware of it, we thought it would be amusing to leave. What a sweet trusting boy he was.”
She laughed happily. “He has changed since you last saw him, Pearse, but not as much as you might think. Come, Michael, face your old leader.”
Pearse sighed looking towards the entrance, so they intend to taunt me as well as weary me to death he thought, I don’t know that I can play this game for much longer.
After a brief wait, Michael walked into the room.
“Hello Pearse,” he said softly. “This isn’t my idea of fun, but I always do as my mother commands, like a dutiful son should.”
He smiled wryly, “I’m not into gloating and whilst I am glad to have helped our cause, I do feel a certain sense of sadness that this should be happening to you.”
He smiled again at Pearse’s look of outraged disbelief, turning towards his mother. “May I leave now mother, duty done?” he enquired, and Pearse heard the faint sarcasm in his voice.
“Foolish boy," she said amused, reaching forward to kiss him on the lips.
“Goodbye, Pearse, I hope that I will see you again,” Michael said gently, smiled at him once more, then left.
“He’s a handsome boy don’t you think?” his mother asked. “I do so enjoy him in many ways.” She winked provocatively at Pearse.
“You’re shocking the priest,” Hoyle said in obvious amusement as Pearse struggled to keep quiet and not allow his feelings to be expressed. He had been shaken by seeing Michael and disturbed at his words. He was beginning to wonder if the leeches were as cold and emotionless as he had always believed. That they were ruthless was obvious, but this possibility of emotions in a sense made them even more dangerous.
He turned to Hoyle
“I believe you wanted to show me something interesting,” he said coolly.”
The woman laughed and returned to her work.
“So what was it you wanted me to see?’ Pearse asked Hoyle. “The empty chamber or one of my failures?”
Hoyle smiled but didn’t answer. He continued to show Pearse around a calm, normal looking and basically unchanged HQ.
“What are you trying to show me Hoyle?” Pearse finally asked as they stood outside the medical centre.
“The normality,” Hoyle said. “But look in here Pearse,” and he pushed him through the door.
Pearse saw bodies everywhere, recognised the security and admin staff from the building. Out the corner of his eye he noticed a young leech feeding, she had a dreamy expression on her face and he noted with shock that she was wearing a hospital nightgown.
Pearse felt very weary and was aware that his hands were trembling slightly. He clenched them tightly and looked towards Hoyle.
“I see Hoyle,” he said quietly. “What am I suppose to infer that I couldn’t have surmised anyway?”
“Very good,” Hoyle said approvingly. “No hysterics, ranting, abuse, just a wise and patient priest dealing with an irritating little difficulty.” He glanced at Pearse’s hands. “You are dying Pearse,” he continued in a milder voice. “I can sense the cancer in you more, the shock has triggered its growth.”
Pearse was silent. Hoyle contemplated him for some time.
“Pearse the time for your decision in now. We intend to blow up this place, a gas explosion we think, a sad accident. They will find all the right bodies in here with no other sign of violence on them that cannot be explained by the explosion. Your body will be found in your office, but as you know it need not be that way. Come Pearse make your decision now. I will give you a few minutes on your own in your office, unless you want to speak to someone else?”
Pearse shook his head silently and followed Hoyle back to his office. He felt utterly exhausted and totally without hope. When Hoyle left, he slumped to his knees and began praying in desperation.
A few minutes later the door quietly open then closed. Pearse stood up and prepared to meet Hoyle and his fate with dignity.
“Hello, Pearse my darling,” said a soft, female voice.
Pearse clutched at the table, grief, pain and anguish clawing at his soul, making him tremble with exhaustion and terror.
“Look at me Pearse,” the voice gently commanded.
Pearse looked up into the never forgotten, much loved face and knew he was damned.
Continued in Part 8, Ambiguity