Teleportation and rage flashed together in perfect harmony, as the head who had supported Lahm so closely, teleported into the hidden cave where Lahm’s body lay.
Fury at Lahm’s sudden death had overwhelmed him. When he and the other three heads got the call and learned of his demise, he took it the worse.
He felt he had a grip on Lahm, an understanding of what made him tick which allowed him to manoeuvre the genius so purposefully. He felt he had Lahm in his pocket and despite the recent challenges, he sensed the Dr would not resist their latest grand task.
How wrong he was. It didn’t appear to be suicide though he knew Lahm capable of the act. Perhaps they had pushed him too far. More importantly the great work he was to undertake was dead in the water.
In the middle of the lab lay Lahm’s corpse, with a flicker of a smile on his face. He kicked Lahm’s body and let out a scream of frustration.
The next step, the pursuit of becoming Gods, had been destroyed before it had even got started. Nobody else out there had the ability or the ambition to match Lahm’s. The vision of immortality could not be achieved.
Now there was nothing.
He felt betrayed, angry and deprived of the right he and his three brothers had earned. He saw a manual on the lab table in front of him and picked it up.
In his infuriated state he did not pay it close attention, but he did pocket it, just in case.
The landlord entered sheepishly and looked down at Lahm’s corpse before his eyes settled on his own shoes.
“Well?” asked the head.
“One of the girls found him here. He was dead by the time she arrived then she alerted me. I can’t see why or how it happened. Must have just collapsed and bang, game over. It happens, I guess. You hear about it with joggers and athletes and all sorts, runners...”
“Shut up! Shut up shut up shut up!!!” yelled the head.
The security guard looked into the eyes of his mysterious employer and didn’t like what he saw. They burned with such venom, as if he could happily kill everyone in this cave in a heartbeat. He decided to stare at his shoes again instead.
The few girls who worked here had also gathered and stood around the room wide-eyed and recoiling from the screams of rage. A couple of them had expressed concerns to the guard regarding Lahm after he first arrived. They found him oddly frenetic and unnerving to be around. They were told to just do their job and that Lahm was of no direct concern to them.
“We need to get rid of the body... and this entire place in fact. It is done here. You are all finished here too. Closing up time,” stated the head conclusively.
“But where do we go and no offense sir, but we are not paid to clear up bodies or handle the dead. We need to call someone, the emergency services or something,” replied one of the girls.
The head started to laugh hysterically. When he popped back up for air, he wore a sneer.
“Forgive me employees. Oh, dear me. I forget how shut away we keep you all. The City so cut off and you, lovely little people wandering around in all our secret quarters, dotted here there and everywhere, unquestioning and unknowing. There are no emergency services, not near here my delicate little flower. Oh no. Emergency services have diminished because the world you know is dying. The world is mine and that of my three brothers. We own it. We own everything.”
The group gathered around him and looked on terrified and disbelieving, apart from the guard.
He could see this man was not only mad but also telling the truth.
He felt it, he knew it.
Perhaps he’d always known deep down, such a job in a place like this with so much secrecy. Strange people teleporting in and out like it was an everyday event when he himself was astounded at what he saw. They were all sworn to secrecy, but they all made good money and had free roam of this secret place. Supplies were plentiful and they had need for little else. Each of the few who worked here were loners, remote from one another in mind, just how they wanted it.
The guard found himself wishing he had asked more questions, fed his fires of curiosity or been more alert to the underlying murkiness of what really went on with these four unusual and powerful men who were his employers.
He decided to proffer a question. “So, what now, we what, shut up shop and simply go? We’re fired, sacked? That’s it? How do we get home, what do we do with this place? I mean what the fuck is going on here!?”
The head looked at the guard with a hint of amusement. He didn’t answer but instead left the room and made his way to the teleportation pad in the adjoining room. He stood on the pad as they followed. They assumed they would be joining him.
He held his hand out, “Wait there a moment,” he said, “This thing is losing power, I didn’t arrive as cleanly as I’d like. I’ve sent a message to the receiving pad to check its safe. While we wait let me tell you all something important. Lahm was here to create and make my brothers and I, God’s. That is ruined, destroyed. We own the world with all the wealth and power you can barely begin to imagine, but where now my people? Lahm’s task was the final plan. Now we will always be vulnerable and open to attack. Just mere mortals like you. Weak and snivelling, easily bowed, never questioning what it is you do or why you are here and whether you could be so much more. You are bottom feeders happy to hoover up the filth that we drop for you. If we can’t be God’s, then we will speed up the suffering of the world and those that scrabble across its surface. We intend to make you as close to extinct as possible. It is the only way now. Think of it as a mercy killing. In death you will be far more important than in life. You made room for the four of us. Now, it’s time to die.”
The guard lunged forward but was too late. The head shimmered into transportation and was gone.
The guard looked around at the girls and beckoned them to leave, make for the exits. They started to run as a group to the cave exit but were stopped in their tracks as an explosion echoed through and shuddered the caves foundations.
As they raced towards the daylight it was shut off as the exit collapsed in on itself. They ran back the way they came and sprinted down another hallway, but were soon met by a crashing wave of water. There was nowhere to run. They returned as a group back to the main lab where Lahm lay. The group clutched each other as water started to spill into the lab and rapidly fill it.
They clung to each other as the water level rose, first past their ankles, then their knees. The guard looked frantically for a way out but there was none.
The water rose quickly and was reaching neck level. He plunged under the water searching for a way out, but the currents and increasingly violent water left him flailing uselessly. He sensed the water rise overhead and saw the first of the girls go under as her body sank past him.
Not like this, he thought, as he opened his lungs and let the water in.
The deaths in the hidden cave were not a unique scene.
Overcome with sickening rage at the death of Lahm and their vision of God like immortality, the four heads teleported across the globe to many hidden locations and tore apart their secret places and those who resided in them.
Like spoilt brats seeping with spite, they resolved to destroy and tear without thought or mercy.
Fires and floods filled the lungs of hidden employees across the globe. Structures fell and were forever lost making tombs for its inhabitants. Death was everywhere, in underground quarters, hidden woods and vast mountains. If the four heads could not have immortality, then they would toy with the mortality of others.
Back in the City, the echoes of the terrible acts of its founding fathers seemed to reverberate in its walls and streets, in people’s homes.
The panic and underlying fear of impending doom went up a notch that night for those that could no longer deny their senses or instinct.
They knew it was the end times. It was as if they could hear the hooves of the four horsemen of the apocalypse thundering through the city.
Some decided to prepare for the worst, try an escape, or find a place to hide.
Others planned a coup and dreamed of taking the City for themselves.
Andy Petrie was just one of these people.