Jay stepped into the media department and walked briskly into the broadcast room, with rows of shelves bearing CDs and log files, to see his old pal. Moss Shaul wore a cream and green stripped Salem Riders baseball hat and a sweat-soaked shirt that hugged his corpulent frame. He was pacing the worn grey rug.
“Thank Elion, Jay…” Moss exhaled in relief, grabbing Jay’s shoulders and embracing him “My bowels could have let down here if you hadn’t showed up.”
“You look like you’ve been under the Sahara sun for the last hour.” Jay chuckled.
“It’s Mali’s diner and their cursed beans soup.” Moss replied, scurrying out of the broadcast room. Jay’s vision rested on the black baseball bat leaning on the perforated speaker case. The baseball bat was part of Moss’ collectors’ items.
“What? Your wife doesn’t cook anymore?” Jay asked, but Moss was already out the door and headed for the row of conveniences downstairs.
“Salem Riders batting tonight?” Jay hollered.
“Yeah, baby!” Moss screamed from the stairwell.
Moss hadn’t changed one bit. He still loved Salem Riders, and he still loved beans.
Fifteen minutes later, as Moss finished his business, he heard the PA system crackle and a voice that sounded like Jay’s spoke calmly and boldly:
“Listen up all you hawkers in the house of Elion, you have five minutes to vacate your stalls or face the wrath of Elion’s chosen.” Jay’s voice came again and again, repeating the message over and over like a recorded loop.
Moss couldn’t believe it. Jay was threatening the Pre-Redemption Carnival Fair. As he stood in the stuffy toilet, claws of fear gripped his heart and he felt pangs of betrayal sink into his skin. Why would Jay do this to him? Sanctum announcement was a family heirloom and Jay had just taken away the only thing that kept his head up among Salemites.
He pulled up his trouser quickly without bothering to wipe, hightailed out of the conveniences without flushing, and bounded up the flight of stairs three at a time. He rushed to the media department but found the broadcast room locked securely.
He turned round as a ruckus broke out downstairs. People were screaming and he could make out the sound of shattering glass.
“Oh-no,” was all he could mutter.
Then the recording coming from the PA system changed.
“My Sanctum is for worship, but you have all turned it into a shopping mall and a crime cartel.”
What could he do? The power source for everything was housed underground in The Sanctum power grid on the east wing.
Moss dashed downstairs at a speed that was alarming for a forty-two-year old his size. When he reached the landing, he bumped into Sanctum-Sec guards, who in their rush to ascend the stairs, did not recognize him. The last guard brushed Moss’ arm with the butt of his Beretta submachine. The impact caused Moss to stagger and he slammed his forehead on the metal door pane.
He winced in pain but couldn’t wait to nurse the rising lump. The pain was nothing compared to the disgrace the SRL would subject him to if he didn’t find Jay and stop this insanity.
When Moss arrived at the east wing, his heart skipped two beats at the sight before him.
Jay, eyes blazing like a midday sun, swung a black bat at the mobile stalls on B wing with the strength of ten horses. Moss gasped. The bat was part of his collectors’ items – it cost eight hundred fahrs. What demon had possessed this young man with whom he had shared coffee with, on nights too many to count, at Jake’s Diner? This wasn’t Jay; this was a demon in human flesh.
Moss opened his mouth to scream but a 2 ft. aluminum frame, sailing from a stall that Jay had just shattered with the bat, landed on his flabby chest with a heavy thud and he winded out, falling to the floor.
In the blur that followed, Moss took in the chaos around him. Scared merchants leapt over his thick frame, while others tripped. The more he struggled to get up, the more he fell. So he just stayed down, covering his head. From the corner of his eyes, he saw Sanctum-sec guards sprint toward Jay but the oncoming human traffic defeated their intent. Meanwhile Jay kept swinging as the recording looped.
“My Sanctum is for worship!” Jay yelled “but you have turned it into a shopping mall and a crime cartel!”
Jay had leveled three rows of stalls and was advancing upwards, swinging the bat with crazy swooshes and slamming anything that stood in his way. A whirlwind rose, picking up papers and electronic gadgets, and scattering fahr notes as Jay gutted the bureaux de change.
Sanctum-Sec guards couldn’t fire at him for fear of hurting innocent merchants and buyers gathered in the courtyard. More importantly, some of them were scared because Jay had transformed into an Elion-like being. His muscles bulged, he glided across the concrete floors instead of walked, his skin glowed and his long hair swayed behind him being lifted like the wind. Every strike he delivered created a force field that rocked everything in its path up to twenty meters away. The force field caused more damage than the swinging bat.
Moss shut his eyes as the waves from the force field tossed him toward a pillar. He collided with the struggling frame of a guard running past the pillar. They both crumbled to the floor and lay there, dazed. Moss shut his eyes, praying this nightmare would end.
Sirens wailed in the distance and an Y’Isra News Network chopper hovered above The Sanctum.
[End of Excerpt]