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The Priest: The Luke Titan Chronicles #2, page 1

 

The Priest: The Luke Titan Chronicles #2
 

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The Priest: The Luke Titan Chronicles #2


  The Priest

  The Luke Titan Chronicles

  David Beers

  Contents

  I. The Book of Genesis

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  II. The Book of Lamentations

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  III. The Book of Titan

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  IV. Epilogue

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  The Lover

  Also by David Beers

  On Purpose and Other Things

  Part I

  The Book of Genesis

  Chapter 1

  Lucy Speckle stared at the television. Her attention focused entirely on it, not noticing the small tics that broke out across her face from time to time. The people around her didn’t notice either, but it wasn’t because they were focused on the TV like Lucy. They had … other issues.

  “We are here today to commemorate an FBI agent whose name many of you probably already know. His accomplishments are nearly legend, and we are all lucky to have him helping keep our citizens safe. We’d like to present Luke Titan with our highest award…”

  Lucy didn’t know the man speaking and she didn’t care about him either. He was nonessential. Lucy believed heavily in the essential and the nonessential. Anything that didn’t fit into the first bucket could be discarded without further thought, and in Lucy’s mind, there was only a single essential guiding force: the one true God, of Abraham and Isaac.

  Yet, despite the non-essentialness of the man speaking, she couldn’t pull herself away from the screen. She wasn’t looking at him, though, or the person he appeared to be speaking about.

  Lucy watched someone on the back left. His hands were folded in front of him, and he looked uncomfortable in his suit and tie. To Lucy Speckle, it was clear he didn’t want to be on stage.

  “Who is that?” Lucy asked, her voice snapping out across the room’s silence—her normal stutter missing.

  “Lucy, please stay calm,” someone nonessential said from her side. For the most part, all the people working here were nonessential. They didn’t serve God, but the government, an evil thing that Lucy had no time for. She knew God would get her out of this wretched place sooner or later; He had put her here for a reason, and if she didn’t understand it yet, she trusted Him implicitly.

  But now, staring at the television screen, perhaps she’d found the reason. The man standing on stage, to the left. How long had the preacher spoken about this moment? For how many years had her and Daddy (and Momma, though to a far lesser degree) prayed for worthiness, to be shown exactly what Lucy now saw?

  “Who is that?” She stood, ignoring the orderly next to her, and walked to the television, placing her hand directly on the man. “Who is he?” She looked around the room, but she saw only blank faces. “What is his name?”

  Lucy was growing angry at these people, the fact that no one would answer her.

  “His name is Christian Windsor,” another orderly said. Three more nonessentials had come into the room, ready to calm Lucy Speckle if she couldn’t do it herself. “He’s an FBI agent.”

  There, that was all she needed. Lucy stepped a few feet back from the television and stared at Christian Windsor. Even the name seemed … Godly.

  Her right eyebrow twitched upward, and her head jerked down slightly before regaining its usual place. Lucy didn’t notice.

  She stared at the screen for a long time, until the ceremony ended and the next show started. Only then did she break her concentration.

  Lucy walked to a corner in the large room and found a chair away from everyone else. She sat and thought about the man on TV.

  The next few weeks were turbulent ones for Lucy. She often found herself angry at those around her, which meant she ended up in one of those jackets that wouldn’t let her move. They called it a straightjacket. She called it ‘fucking bullshit’ (one of the few times Lucy Speckle used such language) and then she spat at the orderlies who put it on her. God didn’t like curse words, but Daddy had used them when he was mad — though he always repented.

  They were nonessentials, but she still couldn’t help the anger she felt toward them. She shouldn’t be in here, not with all the rest of these crazies. She didn’t know how long she had been here; she hadn’t been good at keeping up with time since Daddy died, but now that she had seen Christian Windsor, she knew she’d been here too long.

  No one ever visited her and that was more than fine. She didn’t want to talk with anyone. Not her family — though they all pretty much disowned Daddy decades ago. Lucy never really had any friends. She didn’t need any besides God, and He was always with her.

  Those weeks were awful, especially when locked away inside the straightjacket, because she felt God trying to speak, but she couldn’t hear Him well inside this place. It was like the walls were built with a material that kept God out. Lucy knew that couldn’t possibly be true, that the God of Abraham did whatever He wanted, when He wanted.

  Perhaps the walls simply interfered with her ability to hear Him. That made more sense.

  Either way, the result was the same. Lucy knew that the person she had seen on the television screen — Christian Windsor — was the one her and Daddy (actually, the whole church) had been searching for, but she wanted more confirmation.

  Finally, Lucy quit fighting the orderlies and doctors that came around. Just as she had realized years ago how nonessential the kids mocking her at school were, she understood that fighting these nonessentials was keeping God at bay. So, she lay down on her bed and quit caring about this ephemeral world, which was only a test from God, and one she had to rise above.

  She urinated and defecated on herself during this time. Her eyes never left the ceiling. She didn’t move at all when the orderlies came to change her clothes, her arms and legs pliable as they undressed and redressed her. Only a few more hours would pass before more bodily functions occurred, and the orderlies had to do it all again. She didn’t care; truthfully, she didn’t even notice. Lucy had gone to God. For once, she was able to do it without the instruments Daddy had given her.

  God was talking to her.

  And in the end, it was glorious, because Lucy finally understood Daddy hadn’t been lying all those years. They had been chosen, even if Daddy wasn’t here to see it. The nonessential fell away for good, leaving only room for the essential.

  And that was Christian Windsor. He was what God wanted for Lucy Speckle, what this whole hellish world had been about: to prepare her for him — God’s sword.

  Chapter 2

  Two Years Later

  “I’m hungry,” Christian said.

  “When are you not?” Tommy Phillips, one of Christian’s partners at the FBI, asked.

  “You’re disgusting,” Luke Titan, the third in the trio, said.

  The three of them stared at a body, but Christian was used to such comments from the other two. He couldn’t help it when he got hungry; plus, it was lunch time.

  “We shouldn’t be here anyway. These guys are just lazy.” Christian saw Tommy shaking his head, and q
uickly realized the snafu. Christian was talking about the police officers who had called them down here, and they happened to still be in the room.

  Christian looked up from the body. “I’m sorry. I have a problem.”

  The three cops in front of him only stared, not kindly. None said a word.

  Christian looked back down at the body, determined to try and keep his mouth shut for the rest of this endeavor.

  “I’m sorry about Agent Windsor. He’s … Well, he operates a bit differently. But, while I don’t agree with his sentiment, I don’t think this is something our group would take over.”

  Of course it isn’t, Christian thought. The body in front of them was clearly killed by gang members. They had cut the tongue out, so the police immediately wanted to classify it as a pathological crime, which could possibly fall under the FBI’s purview. Most of the time, cops simply didn’t want to deal with the paperwork, so they tried to shove things off on Christian’s group.

  “Thanks for your time,” Tommy said. “If you need anything from us, please don’t hesitate to call.”

  After the perfunctory handshakes (which Christian was blessedly left out of, he hated trying to keep up with society’s etiquette) the three of them left the room and walked upstairs, exiting the morgue.

  “Well, that was nice of you, Christian,” Luke said, smiling. “You just keep making friends.”

  “If you two would have simply taken me to lunch, I wouldn’t have said anything else.”

  “I’m not doing subs,” Tommy said. “It’ll be the fourth time this week. Luke, what do you want?”

  “I’m indifferent.”

  “Damn it,” Tommy said. He looked at Christian. “No subs. Pick something else.”

  “Chinese?”

  “Fine.”

  The three of them got into their car and pulled out of the parking lot. They didn’t spend many days like this, heading to police stations or morgues where the crimes shown had nothing to do with their division, but they did it more than any of them wanted to. Two years had passed since The Surgeon made national news. Christian always thought of him as Bradley Brown, and even though Luke ended up saving Tommy and Christian by putting a bullet through Bradley’s face — Christian felt a sense of sorrow for the man. He was dead and his eyeless mother in a state run home now, but Christian had seen what happened to turn a young kid into such a horrible monster.

  Tommy and Luke could discount Bradley’s early life, before he began his murder spree, but Christian couldn’t.

  The cases they worked now were mostly dead ends, one time murders. They hadn’t found any cults, any serial killers, or any truly crazy people in the past two years. There were a few up north, and a few out west, but the southeast region had been relatively quiet.

  “Are either of you getting bored?”

  He saw Luke’s small grin. He automatically knew what Christian was asking about; their connection had grown stronger over the past two years. It was their intelligence — both of them having minds which maneuvered at ferocious speeds that most others couldn’t even imagine. The thoughts Christian had about Luke two years ago never crossed his mind anymore — that Luke might have been a murderer. It was the only time in Christian’s twenty-eight years that his mind had missed something: Bradley Brown’s obsession with Luke, which drove Christian’s brain to make connections that didn’t actually exist.

  “Bored of what?” Tommy asked.

  “Of the job.”

  “Ready to transfer out?” Tommy said.

  The thought had never occurred to Christian. He couldn’t imagine life without the two people in the front seats, no more than he could imagine life without his mother or his psychiatrist. These two were his family, his friends, and Christian couldn’t fathom replacing them.

  “No. Why would I do that?”

  “You know that at some point we will all leave this division, right?” Luke said. “It’s amazing that the three of us are still here after two years.”

  “The Director is actually pressuring Luke right now to take another position.”

  “Waverly?” Christian asked.

  “Yes, sir. He wants Luke to take over the west coast, dealing with violent crimes that cross state lines. Primarily gang related offenses.”

  Christian was stunned. Somehow, despite all his intelligence, he hadn’t considered that they might go their separate ways. “Are you going to take it?”

  “No, I don’t think so.”

  “Luke is an idiot, if you haven’t noticed,” Tommy said. “However, he may be the only person in the FBI who can pass up an opportunity like that and not have to worry. They’ll always be trying to move him up the ranks, which gives him leeway to accept what he wants.”

  “So when something better comes for you, you’ll jump ship?” Christian said.

  “Jump ship?” Tommy said. “You know we get a pension? And it’s based on how high our salary is when we retire. I want some pretty big paychecks when I retire. You should too.”

  Christian fell silent.

  He originally thought he would stay with the FBI for ten years or so and then use his dual doctorates for other endeavors. He hadn’t considered that plan in years, though. Somehow, in his mind, he figured the three of them would ride this thing out until … until what? Until they died or retired?

  “Hey,” Tommy said. “No one’s leaving to go anywhere yet. And, when we do, it’s not like we can’t still see each other. Don’t worry about it. Nothing’s happened, and nothing’s going to happen for the foreseeable future.”

  Telling Christian not to worry about something was like telling an alcoholic to put down his drink, though—and everyone in the car knew it.

  Luke watched Christian poke a fork into his fried rice. He refused to eat with chopsticks, saying they were the largest form of idiocy he could imagine.

  “If an alien species comes down and finds us using two sticks to eat our food, they’ll kill us on general principle.”

  Luke hated the food in these places — in all the places that Tommy and Christian chose to eat. He came and he ate, though, because Luke was concerned only with the long term. He had always thought that way, but now it was more important than ever. He knew why Christian wasn’t eating, because the boy was upset about the possibility of the band breaking up. His normally prodigious appetite was stunted while he dwelled on it.

  Luke wasn’t going to let the band go anywhere, though, even if he couldn’t tell Christian that. Luke turned down the position he was offered for that exact reason. It wasn’t the first offer Waverly had presented to him, and it wouldn’t be the last. Luke Titan was widely viewed as the most talented FBI agent in the entire organization. Tommy was right; if anyone else had turned down such an offer, their career would be dead in the water. More offers would come for Luke … although, he didn’t care in the slightest.

  This team, this band, was what mattered to him.

  But for very different reasons than it did Christian.

  Two years had passed for Luke without sufficient opportunity to continue his plans. The crimes they investigated simply weren’t big enough, on a scale which would create the confusion and chaos he desired. Bradley Brown had almost been large enough, but in the end, Luke relented and killed the psychopath, saving the very people he had set up in the first place. He received his medal and the gratitude of the entire FBI, despite the fact that Christian Windsor and Tommy Phillips were tied up in Bradley Brown’s house because of Luke Titan.

  “You’re really worrying about what I said in the car, aren’t you?” Tommy asked.

  “Yes,” Christian said.

  “Why, man? I just told you no one is going anywhere.”

  “But you will, eventually.”

  “But when? We don’t know, so why sit here and worry about it?” Tommy said.

  Christian didn’t respond. Luke took a bite of his food, not looking at the boy. He still thought of him like that—as a boy, although he felt a certain fondness fo
r him. Perhaps Christian and Tommy were right; maybe Luke had been waiting too long. His chaos could start at any time. Was he enjoying this? Their company? In some way, perhaps yes, but that didn’t mean one could deny their purpose.

  Yes, maybe it was time to begin.

  “How are you feeling today?” Luke asked.

  Veronica Lopez thought it odd how easily she switched from calling him Dr. Titan to Luke over the past two years. Odd, because this began as strictly professional, but now she considered him a friend. Maybe it shouldn’t seem odd, isn’t that what always happened when you were around someone long enough? She’d seen Luke every month over the past two years, her therapy beginning with Bradley Brown, but expanding much further.

  “I’m doing okay, I guess. Stress from work.”

  “What kind of stress?”

  They sat in Luke’s spacious living room. He on a large, leather chair, and she on the couch catty-corner to it. The man knew how to decorate, that was obvious. The couch felt like clouds beneath her and it never ceased to amaze. She wanted to ask him how much it cost, but never did.

  “I don’t know what I’m going to write next,” she said, answering his question.

  “Well, we could always arrange to have another killer trap you.” Luke gave a slight smirk.

  “Hard pass.” She was okay with his jokes, now that she understood his personality. Luke saw everything in a different light. Some people wore dark sunglasses and others wore rose colored ones, with most switching between the two depending on the situation. Luke saw the world with a perfect, bright clarity — the sun’s light illuminating everything. It gave him an ability to dismiss emotions, Veronica supposed, to a large degree. It also made him effective at therapy. “You still haven’t picked up any other patients?”

 
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