Chapter 2: The Messenger pt 4

Meanwhile, I visited someone who might be able to decipher this special message. Fred Roos was a guy who used to work for the Museum specializing in old languages, Latin, etc. He was also one of the biggest heroin addicts I’ve ever known. When he lost his job with the National Museum, I ran a few cons with him. Usually getting rich people to buy phony scrolls from the Roman times. When he lit up, Fred was the best liar I’d ever known. When he wasn’t lit up, he was the smartest man I’d ever known. So I brought some smack with me. I couldn’t get any on short notice. I showed Fred a baggie of brown sugar, he moved like a cat to snatch it from me and fell on his face to the hardwood floors in his kitchen. He laid there, crying like a newborn babe.

The one-room apartment was a mess. Food on dirty dishes in the sink, papers everywhere on the table, clothes hung in the refrigerator.

“Why?” He bawled. “Why did you come here? You devil, you! Why? Why?” He beat his fists on the floor.

“Shut up!” I kicked him in the legs. He cried harder. “I said shut up! You want somebody to call the cops? They come in here and see smack residue everywhere—”

“What do you want?” His voice was muffled from his face hidden in his arms.

“I want you to read something written in an ancient language. You do this for me, I’ll give you the smack in my coat pocket.”

Fred leaped to his feet like a spry young man. Fred was sixty-one, short bald, and bespectacled. No one would mistake him for an athlete. At that moment, he looked like a Triathlon winner.

“Where is it? This document?” He said quickly, wiping spittle with a handkerchief from his pocket. I showed him my forearm.

He looked at me, stunned. “What have you done to yourself, my boy?”

“I didn’t do this to myself, Fred.” I went into what happened. Strangely, Fred was a believer in all things occult.

He examined my arm. Tracing the letters and symbols burned into my pink flesh. He wrote them down, looked in a couple of books. It took two hours, but old Fred cracked it. He was shaking his head, laughing to himself.

“Spill it, you old geezer, tell me the joke, already!” I croaked, blew smoke in his face.

“Please, Peter,” He coughed, fanned the smoke from his face.  “This language, you say came from a Demon?”

I shrugged. “Yeah, more or less.”

“It’s comprised of several languages. Latin, the main one. German, Spanish. Gaelic. And, I believe,” He looked at what he had written on a cardboard box. “A derivative of Nilo-Saharan — African.”

“Tell me what the fuckin’ thing means, okay.” I had to be rough or he wouldn’t deliver the goods.

“It says: Mother of my child—shall have protection in this lifetime and beyond. And then it’s signed by a name that is unpronounceable in any Earthly language.”

I shook my head, Shrugged. I gave the baggie to Fred. He greedily took it, turned his back on me, and headed for the bedroom. I scampered quickly out the door and down the street before the old fool figured it out I had conned him.

I got as far as Twenty-Second Street when a cop car pulled up beside me. “Hopps wants you down at the St. Barris Church. Get in, Chambers.”

I didn’t argue. I couldn’t wait to see what Hopps had found out.

Next Tuesday: Part 5 of The Messenger

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