“Welcome everybody.” The voice blared again as the cage was lowered to a safe height that nobody in the group could have possibly reached.
In it was a man clothed in a charcoal black tuxedo. He was standing as straight as can be with his hands positioned behind his back. His face was covered with a dark wooden mask with no holes for neither the eyes nor mouth. Jet black hair spanned from behind the mask down till the man’s shoulder. Essentially, his entire face was being covered by the wooden mask that seemed to hold an air of dignity about him.
“Who the hell are you!?” Mariah screamed from below. It was clear that her blood pressure was starting to rise again. Her face was slowly yet noticeably turning bright red with rage. The lady had a temper Carter did not want to trigger.
“Calm down my dear. Manners. Manners. Do not interrupt me while I am about to speak. Heavens.” The man spoke with a voice so deep it rang through the hall without a need for even a loud speaker. Mariah grew noticeably irritated by the response. She greeted it by clenching both her hands tightly until it turned pale white from the lack of blood flow. Seeing this, the man turned to her to give her an answer. “However, since you asked. Let me introduce myself before anybody should get equally as impatient.”
The man cleared his throat. “My name is Romanos. I am your host for this wonderful evening today.” There was a little chuckle behind the mask that was noticeable to everyone. “I believe you’ve all had your just desserts haven’t you?”
“You sick bastard!” Cane spoke as he shifted his massive body around trying to get closer to the man in the cage. He looked like a lumbering piece of pure muscle wearing a checkered shirt as a disguise. “What fucking just desserts are you talking about! One of us is dead already!”
There was a sudden realization around the crowd as the words hit each and every one of them like a bulldozer crashing into a wall of sand.
“Dear sir.” He started “Please calm down. It was expected. The child could not bear such consequences. Do you think a little girl could have done what you had? To handle a gun with such eloquence?” The man shook his head from side to side. It was as if the incident Cane had mentioned did not cause a shred of worry in him at all. “His sacrifice had already been planned from the very beginning I assure you. But if you want somebody to blame, only the girl is to answer for what she has done. Let bygones be bygones sir, nothing less nothing more.”
“You’re a fucking psychopath you hear me!” Cane screamed at him and jumped for the cage but fell short by an arm’s length or so.
“Oh, how delightful. Such scorn and pain. It brings me to tears, truly.” The man clapped, mildly amused by Cane’s effort. “Do not worry too much though, for a sacrificial lamb was needed for the gears of fate to start turning. You have made your first major step in this quest I have sought out for you. Congratulations.”
“What fucking quest?” Mariah held up her gun towards the cage, her anger peaking at the very top of its controllable threshold. “You’re just a fucking retarded psychopath!”
“Oh no my dear, I do not believe so. You see, this quest I have for you will save the world from the coming of oblivion.” Romanos laughed. It was one born out of amusement rather than humor. “The human race will face extinction from itself. We the master race destroyed by our own stupidity, a fitting end to the once rulers of this earth. Don’t you agree?”
“You’re fucking nuts.” Mariah pulled the trigger and a single bullet sliced through the air towards Romanos. The sound of the explosion from the barrel of the gun was deafening. As it reached its target however it seemed to warp around the man and pierce through the other end of the wall behind him. “What the fuck!?” She screamed as her expression turned to from angered to surprised.
“My dear, do you not understand? You are in my kingdom, and there are rules one cannot simply break.” Romanos spoke slowly, emphasizing on the words ‘kingdom’ and ‘rules’ as he did. “You are all mere pawns in a bigger game of life, don’t you understand? No mere bullet can pierce through this armor of mine, for I am an immortal king within my own walls.” He chuckled in glee and did a little dance filled with almost childlike excitement. “I do believe however that you shouldn’t waste your bullets on such a trivial matter. Instead, save it for it will serve you good in your quest through this maze of a building.”
With a shred of hesitation, Mariah pulled the trigger again and yet again with her sights aimed at the black suited man in the cage. The bullets warped around him almost as if he had an invincible shield positioned directly in front of him. They barely even grazed the man, coming short by at least the length of a toddler’s finger. She continued to pull the trigger over and over again in a relentless attempt to hit the masked man. Bullet shells fell to the ground with every shot creating a chiming ring as their empty casings hit the wooden floor below them. In a matter of seconds, her barrel went from full to empty.
“What vain effort you have. All is lost for that gun is now useless.” Romanos laughed while clasping both his hands together in a pose of delight. “You are all the same! Selfish ignorant humans left to feast gluttony on what we the creators of this great world have designed. It is through this you will all be purged in fire for your blissful ignorance.”
“What the hell are you talking about man?” Carter rebutted, his face in a swirl of confusion. He could not understand the madman’s ramblings at all.
“Have you not been listening you bumbling fool!” The man scoffed. “This world is crumbling under the weight of the human population. We are beings of intense mental prowess and yet we cannot hold the capacity to even fathom of our position in the world today. We are nearing the apocalypse, the end, the final frontier, the final hand, doomsday. The world as we know it will cease to exist after we have passed the point of no return!” He paused, creating a dramatic tension that filled the air. “And yet, nobody has noticed it. The world had already passed that point long ago, the point of no return. We have failed as a species to keep our legacy behind, we are doomed.”
“No. I mean.” Carter looked around the room, his confusion still evident. “Where the hell are we and why are we here for? And what are you talking about?”
“The apocalypse! Do you not understand!? Such foolish beasts you all are! Man has seen the death of their lineage time after time and we have yet to awaken to that truth!” Romanos shouted at him in a fit of anger.
“What are you talking about?” Carter was dumbfounded at the gibberish the suited man was spouting.
“The great plague! You foolish man! Have you not witnessed the countless deaths before you! It is written on all continents! The end of mankind as we know it has come! Your brothers and sisters are all dying and yet you cannot see it or believe it! You have all failed as fellow beings of the same planet!”
“Great plague? What great plague? You mean the black death?” Carter continued to question.
“Such foolishness! To be so ignorant! It is a crime in these walls of mine!” Romanos screamed at him. “Death and destruction are taking place behind these very walls and yet you cannot see it! Blinded by the food and wine your people are so privileged with! Blinded by the material wealth of earthly treasures!” He turned his back on them for a moment. “It does not matter now! For such matters are not for the foolhardy to question! All you are here for are to be mice in this greater experiment, to save the world from its ultimate doom!”
“Fucking son of a bitch” Mariah screamed as she stomped her left foot in fury repeatedly onto the cold hard wooden floor. It was clear that she was not handling the situation well at all. “All this shit from a lunatic and you expect us to believe it?”
Romanos just sighed as a sign of disappointment. “You will soon find out the fate of the world as it is. There is no point for me to speak any further on the matter. But be informed, the great apocalypse has descended before us. Do not take it likely. Just know, that you are all trapped within this compound to complete the quest of your failed ancestors. You shan’t leave these frigid mountains until the puzzles are solved and every nook and cranny searched and cleared.”
“Wait. Where are we?” The girl in the heavy brown coat spoke up finally, her voice laced with curiosity. Both her eyebrows were raised in a similar fashion as well. “We’re not in the Santorini?”
“Oh. Certainly not. You have been taken far from home. Then again, one’s home is subjective to their domicility. Perhaps you may prefer these hills and valleys we stand upon now. I personally call it home.” Romanos paused as his voice grew sad and solemn. “However, it has always been green in this great land. And yet, now snow falls like rain upon the equatorial forests. It is sad to see it go like that.” His back was still turned as he paused. “Do not be fooled, for it is neither winter nor upon a tall mountain that we have been bombarded with such heavy snow fall. Rejoice fools, for this is the result of your own doing. Your own miscreation. A misadventure if you may. Too bad it will be permanent for centuries to come.” He finally turned to face the group once more. “With that, perhaps you are all wondering where you are now, my fellow lambs to the slaughter.” He paused for greater dramatical effect. Everyone was paying close attention by now.
“You are all now standing in the great halls of Fort Gunterlacs.” He announced. “We are at the final frontier on earth ladies and gentlemen. The testing grounds for a planet changing experiment. You are at the forefront of what will become mankind’s final effort in their bid to survive this apocalyptical world we once called home. You are all to determine the fate of mankind in this quaint little experiment indeed.” He paused for a second or two before speaking again.
“Well then, shall we begin?” His pause turned into a chuckle. “Slowly, you will uncover the truth behind humanity’s biggest mistake and you will writhe and cry is painful agony at the tragedy that has been bequeathed unto all of us.” He was grinning under the mask. “Now, I shall leave for my time is up. Proceed to the piano for it will be your guiding star. Farewell.”
The sounds of gears crunching at each other started again as the chains seem to start rocking about with an odd dangling stiffness. The cage was slowly being pulled upwards into the dark chasm that was the hole in the wall once again. The bunch of them could only look at the cage as it was being pulled upwards with scorn.
“Before I forget as well, and I hope I am not ruining the cozy atmosphere you have with each other already.” He spoke out of the blue as he turned to look at each at every one of them. “Amongst all of you, there is but one individual who is one of our own.” Everyone turned to look at each other. “To you, I bid good luck as well. Do not disappoint us, you have been trained for this very moment.”
The cage was eaten up into the abyssal darkness and the ceiling started to close on itself again. The sound of gears stopped as the ceiling completely closed shut and now there were 7 individuals locked at each other in intense gaze.
“Six lambs to the slaughter and one traitor.” Mariah spoke with her teeth grinding against each other. “Fucking hell.”
Written by HoiHoiSoi
Enjoying The Story So Far? Vote For Us On Web Fiction Guide!