Chapter I: Requiem Aeternam - Part II
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING STORY CONTAINS THE DEPICTION OF EXTREMELY VIOLENT SCENES AND ALSO ADULT LANGUAGE. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
This is the continuation of Chapter I: Requiem Aeternam Part I
Mads finally discover the name of the young man whose life he saved, then...
—Thank you, Constantine —I reply trying to emulate a smile like his, nothing but the effect of the tingling I feel to hear myself saying his name out loud.
—Well, Mr Shepard, your friend has had many bruises on his head and different parts of his body due to the impact of the car that struck him. Mainly, he suffered a mild severity injury to his spine, which we hope will be temporary, but I must and am sorry to say that for now, Mr Madsen will not be able to walk. In addition to this, Mr Madsen may have partial amnesia in some of his long-term memories —the doctor explains, while he seems reading my death sentence to Constantine.
—But will he do it again?! Won’t he? —he asks immediately, showing even more astonishment than I do.
—We trust that due to the latest treatments and under proper care, he would walk again in a few weeks —the doctor says while someone knocks on the door.
—Doctor Crow? —A nurse asks peeking.
—What's going on? —the doctor asks.
—There's a person who wants to come in to talk to Mr Madsen. He's from the Metropolitan Police.
—From Scotland Yard? Sure, let him in —the doctor says condescendingly.
—Father, what are you doing here? —Constantine asks surprised as he sees this robust man in his mid-fifties entering the room. He is dressed in a long black cloak that covers him below his knees, and on his head, he’s wearing a beret of the same colour, decorated with a red stripe at the base and over this, a small and glittering golden insignia of the G.C.U.N. in the centre of it.
Authority. The justified monopoly of violence. As someone who has lived all his life outside the law, I have never been a supporter of it and those who practice it, whose badges and uniforms are the thin line that divides the rulers of the ruled. But my rejection towards the authorities isn’t merely about their appearance, but about what they represent. Domination through control. Control through power. And they’re the ones who gave themselves the right to exercise that power over others. They’re the hand that operates the scale of justice, the instrument that works in one direction and that tends to lean toward those who really have power. However, for there to be an authority, it’s necessary that there be one or several who believe in it and are willing to obey their commands, and I am definitely a sceptic when it comes to the superstition of authority.
—Hello, Constantine, you alright? —he formally murmurs—. Gentlemen —the man says, greeting us and pulling his hand out of the long dress to remove his beret in reverence.
—Commissioner Shepherd, I had no idea this young man was your son —the doctor says in surprise.
—That's right, Dr Crow —he immediately confirms—. One security drone-bot identified my son's face in the accident, then I was notified about what occurred, and I wanted to come and know first-hand what happened.
—Father, he's Mads Madsen. He saved me today from being run over —he says as he looks at me with a smile on his face marked by the thin hairs on his cheek for a day or two without being shaved.
—Constantine, always with your mind wandering. You must pay more attention to your surroundings —the commissioner says seriously to Constantine—. Thank you, Mr Madsen. I owe my son's life. I hope you are well —he says to me—. Of course, as far as possible —he adds, clearing his throat.
—I'm well, commissioner Shepherd, and I'm glad your son is well, too —I reply as I begin to feel uncomfortable among so many strange people, seeing myself prostrate in my ordinary and deplorable condition.
—The security drone-bots identified the serial number of the respondent’s car, and this is already being investigated. Do you want to file charges against him, Mr Madsen? —Commissioner Shepherd asks me.
—I believe this man could have raised a significant tragedy today and must be held responsible for his imprudence —I say agreeing. I know you would like to have his head served on a plate for this. Me too.
—Well, then, so will be. We'll contact you to take your statement as soon the respondent is arrested —he tells me preparing to leave—. Thank you again, Mr Madsen. I hope you get well soon —he adds saying goodbye—. Dr Crow, may I speak to you privately? —he addresses the doctor, which I find suspicious and make me think there's something wrong.
—Of course, Commissioner —he answers as they leave the room.
—It was an accident. If you did it for me, you wouldn't have to file charges —Constantine says.
—Even the impulsive Achilles yielded indulgently to the old King Priam when he begged for the body of his dead son. Your benevolence is no less fascinating to me than Achilles'.
—A single moment of indulgence from Achilles was more honourable for the memory of his beloved Patroclus than a whole crusade of wrathful butchery. We must forgive as we have been forgiven.
—Are you a believer? —I question him when I listen him talking with such compassion—. I have tasted a smidgen of religiosity in your argument as your words dropped from your mouth —I say extending my arm to reach the glass of water in the cabinet next to my bed.
—What you've managed to savour is instead a concoction of beliefs — he explains, bringing me the glass and directing the straw inside the glass towards my mouth—. No. I wouldn’t define myself as a religious person. I am a believer, I believe in compassion, among other things.
—You do well because for a world of infinite possibilities, to define oneself is to limit oneself.—I answer him, drinking a small sip of water afterwards—. Compassion and religion are often related and so is sacrifice. However, for compassion to exist, there must be violence. Animals were slaughtered violently as sacrifices in ancient times. A part of these was offered to the gods, and the rest consumed by the participants of the ritual. Man cannot take communion in relish the sacrificial flesh and blood of religion without the threat of falling into animality. Violence can be the omnipresent driver of our inner intentions.
—Light implies darkness. Violence and compassion are possible and paradoxically the most natural features in mankind. Good and evil coexisting within us. Don’t you believe so? —he says sitting down in my bed, right next to my feet.
—Good and evil result in a limited Manichaean way of seeing the world and are nothing more than concepts invented by man. Violence is neither good nor evil. It's in our nature as a means and instinct for survival.
—It sounds like you’re a devotee of violence —he suggests trying to turn the conversation against me.
—Many gods are usually presented both benevolent and lovers of brutality. The goddess violence is no less indulgent than the goddess compassion. The violence that the wolf employs to devour the lamb is the same violence that the lamb applies for tears away and chews the grass in its way. Nature in its purest state is violent.
—Ingesting another living being without all the ritualism of religion or the nourishment purposes is reduced to a mere morbid act. Humans refrain from eating each other just because it’s harmful to our organism. However, the treason to our own species is hidden in our inherited cannibal nature, waiting patiently for our politeness suit to fall and our cornucopia to scarce.
—I think cannibalism is outrageous even for mankind’s distorted ethical standards.
—That’s because man is an animal whose survival has depended on its ability to alienate itself and adapt to ever-expanding artificial habitats. Humans are always trying to fake and hide their true animal nature under their boundless desire for civility. Even their morality is fake, just a malleable simulation of behaviours moulded by the expectations of society.
—Sometimes, alienation and dissociation serve as pathological states of mind that evade us from our painful realities. It’s the denial of ourselves. In your case, your morality and compassion seem authentic to me, because although I do not know you, I’ve this feeling of knowing you beyond this life.
—Maybe we know each other from a past life —he says sighing.
—I hope our memories may overcome and transcend the illusory trap of reality that way —I reply him while he stays silent and then smiles at me.
Commissioner Benedict Shepard leaves the room following the hurried steps of doctor Ambroise Crow, who guides him to his office to talk more privately. Benedict knows Ambroise since they were young and both still in college. It was even Ambroise who assisted Margaret —Benedict’s wife— to bring Constantine into the world, because he’s much more than just a renowned doctor and director of Saint Thomas Hospital, he’s also a recognised researcher in several branches of genetics.
In the clean corridors, they have a sneaky talk by asking each other about their families, but mainly about their wives, who often gather for tea as good friends.
Arriving at the office, Ambroise opens the wooden door decorated with a plain and simple rectangular skylight, then, he invites Benedict to come in first entering next after him, but beforehand, he gives a glimpse of the corridor to make sure they wouldn’t be interrupted. Closing the door, Ambroise asks for Benedict’s cape and beret to hang them on the metallic coat rack located at the entrance, and immediately, full of restlessness, he invites him to sit on one of the two black leather chairs in front of his desk. They both sit down and Ambroise, full of curiosity and without wasting time, asks:
—Benedict, what’s going on?
—Do you remember Ulrik? —Benedict asks.
—Ulrik? Of course, the deserter who disappeared without leaving a trace —he says, nodding his head as remembering a distant time—. What happens with him? —he immediately adds without being able of figure out what Benedict’s talking about.
—Well, the man lying in that bed in the company of my son, we've been tracking him down since a time ago. We believe he is the one whose return we’ve been waiting for.
—I remember now —he says leaning over the desktop and staying thoughtful—. Ulrik's last name was Madsen, like this young man's. It’s him! —he exclaims standing up euphorically—. That would explain why there's no information in the records about him and also, the fact that he survived such a violent accident. It's because that's not his real name. Do they know he is here?
—That's right, Ambroise. They know. This has been managed as an internal matter until now. We didn’t want to say anything until we were sure. They sent me here to corroborate it, but I need your help to do it.
—Tell me, What do you want me to do? —he inquires with great willingness and enthusiasm.
—We had been looking for an opportunity to get a DNA sample from him to corroborate his identity, but now, for the grace of Highest, we’ve been given such an occasion —he says smiling—. I want you to do a blood test and compare it with this sample —he adds as he takes out a small glass tube from the inner pocket of his jacket, which seems to contain crystallised blood.
—Is that blood from—? —he asks gently taking the tube from his hand.
—Yes. It is —Benedict confirms interrupting without allowing him to ask the question.
—It’s such an honour for me! But I don’t know if am worthy —he points, gently taking the small glass tube.
—All we are worthy. Soon you’ll see how we will receive our reward. Make sure to be discreet, neither he nor my son should suspect any of this. I’ll inform the great leader immediately. He will be pleased.
—Rest assured. I barely recognised Constantine. It’s incredible that twenty-one years have passed. I remember how difficult was to bring him to the world —he notes, making remembrance with some nostalgia in his gaze—. I realised that he seems to get along well with him. Is this part of the plan?
—Believe me, Ambroise. They both finding affinity is just the way it was revealed to us it would happen. This is how it’s supposed to happen. The key that will unlock our future has been finally forged.
—What about the killing and the Red Book? Any word on Vilhelm? —he questions with some concern.
—We don't know anything about Vilhelm. We assume he’s dead like the others, but now that we have found the whereabouts of this young man, we can finally know if he is the one who has been behind all this hunting. The blood that has been shed will not be in vain.
Continues in Chapter I - Part III
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