Thursday, November 8, 2012

Caverna de las Brujas Part 4

The building before Henry was impressive for being in the center of London.  Comprised of tan brickwork, it stood three stories high with tall windows gazing out into the street.  Three chimneys rose above the roof, with a steady stream of smoke rising high into the London sky.  The land before the place was impressive tile work with each tile bearing names of what were presumably patrons.

Henry stepped up to the heavy oaken door at the front of the place and opened it.  Stepping into the darkly-lit room he was immediately greeted by a young man dressed impeccably well, a fashion that was hard to find in many places in London here at the end of the war.  Henry walked up to the man and said awkwardly, "Hello, I'm, uh, Henry Arthur."

The man offered a smile "Good day to you, Mr. Arthur.  I do not believe I have seen you here before, how may I assist you?"

Henry took a breath to steady himself.  He felt quite out of place when dealing with any of the upper crust, but this seemed to be the place to go to move on with his life rather than head back up north to his family and the farm.  "Uh yes.  This is the Century club, right?"

"Indeed it is, sir.  And I am the manager of the place, Charles Dietrich the Third.  Is there something we can do for you?"

"Yes, uh," Henry paused for a moment. The man's name being enough to throw him off even further. "Sergeant Blackbird, uh, Wil Blackbird recommended my coming here?"  He hated how his voice rose at the end of the sentence as if it was a question rather than a statement.

The man's demeanor changed immediately.  He lost the polite smile and looked genuinely pleased to see Henry for a moment, "Ah, Well, welcome than sir, Welcome."  The pleasure went away quickly though as it was replaced with a somber look, "It is a shame of what happened and all."

Henry was taken aback by the rapid changing of emotions, "What happened?  I hadn't seen him since the night he visited me in the hospital tent."

"Direct hit by an artillery shell.  His luck had finally turned.  We lost so much of our old guard during this conflict."  Henry processed the information and furrowed his brow but as he was about to speak Charles continued, "But that is why we need new patrons like you.  Please come with me sir."

Charles began speaking while he slowly walked towards an archway that led into another room.  "The century club is a rather old one.  The clubs that have popped up in the past hundred years are more imitators than anything else.  We provide a place for members to socialize of course, but we do focus quite a bit on philanthropy.  Scholarships and grants are given out.  You may have noticed we do enjoy new sciences as this building is completely wired for electricity and the telephone."

As they talked they entered another room, all wood paneled and adorned with a company of mahogany leather chairs.  A couple of those chairs were filled by young men reading quietly.  Charles and Henry walked past them to a set of large teak doors engraved with astrological symbols.  Charles opened them and the pair walked in.

This room was much smaller.  A large dark desk, gleaming from polish, dominated the room.  Atop it was a large ledger and lamp.  Charles crossed to the other side of the desk and began writing down Henry's name.

Henry's brow furrowed as he asked, "What are you doing? I mean, obvious what you are doing.  But putting me in the rolls just like that? I'm not one that has any information on this science-stuff and have little money on me."

Charles looked up and nodded, "Oh yes sir, just like that.  Blackbird's word is good enough for me.  It is considered a sponsorship, a postpartum sponsorship actually."  He continued to write down the information.

Henry's brows rose as Charles began to put in his birth date without prompting. "Uh, How do you know my--"

"Your birth date?  Well it is January 1st, 1901 correct?  Our one real requirement for membership is a birth date that has some significant numerological meaning, and to be born as a Centurion, that is born on the first date of a new century, is the most significant."

Henry's eyes flew open as he felt something sharp slice into his abdomen  The cave was dark but not completely black.  There seemed to be a soft blue glow emanating from behind him.  He seemed to be held upright and bound with rope or a leather of some type.

And most importantly, what was in front of him wasn't a someone that had sliced open his flesh but a something that had sliced open his flesh.  Dark green and scaly with inhuman eyes.  To Henry's mind flew open the immediate idea of:  Reptile Man.

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