The Final Chapters
- Chapter 21 -
- Chapter 21 -
The water was splashing about as Jesus opened the dingy, rust-covered faucet of the bathtub. He cringed and shut them off when he was surprised by Madonna Riviera.
"Don't you knock?" Jesus asked, shaking the water off of his arms and detouring Madonna out of the bathroom.
"I did, nobody answered. Where's Martin?" Madonna queried, following Jesus into one of the abandonned bedrooms on the second floor. The light that came from outside was muted by the dark, dusty shades that hung in the bedroom windows. Madonna could barely see where Jesus had went. She couldn't see him anywhere.
"Jesus...?" Madonna tip-toed out of the dark room when Jesus shot out of the bedroom behind her and slipped a dirty old pillowcase over her head, blocking out the dim light and the sound around her. Madonna struggled against Jesus' tight hold and she eventually was able to raise her legs and push herself off a wall, falling over Jesus and both tumbled down the creaking staircase.
Jesus rolled over Madonna and reached the bottom of the stairs, unconscious. There was a giant gash across his forehead and blood dripped out of his left ear. The staircase was starting to groan and sway. The seventh step was loose and cracked and when Madonna reached that step it snapped in half and caused a ripple effect with the other planks. The whole staircase gave way and Madonna dissapeared below the rubble.
The house was quiet as dust filled the entire first floor.
There was a slight distortion in his hearing when Jesus awoke. He was greated with a great buzzing in both ears and his vision was slightly blurred. His normally blue eyes were hidden behind a thick layer of bloodshot veins and cracked skin. His kept hair was dishevelled and the blonde streaks were turning brown. When he tried to get up, pain shot through his ribs.
Jesus looked around and noticed the wrecked staircase protruding from the basement, sticking upwards like a wooden iceberg. He couldn't see Madonna anywhere and the last he remembered, she was falling and tumbling right behind him.
"Madonna!" Jesus tried screaming but it came out more like a whisper. He could barely breath, his lungs would hurt his ribs as they expanded to let the air in. What have I done? Jesus thought. As he shifted around, he found the cause of his pain. His ribs weren't cracked, nor broken. One of the steps had snapped away from the rubble and the nails that kept it in place had found temporary shelter in Jesus' torso.
He exhaled and grabbed the plank with both hands. He cringed as he pulled the nails out of his side. Jesus slid himself towards the wreck and started removing the debris that was covering Madonna. Pain and remorse shot through Jesus, knocking him back. The room spun around him, darkening at the edges, blurring between black and purple until Jesus found himself in total darkness and one woman stood in front of him.
"I told you I would visit you once again. And that it would be my last visit. And that I would finally bring you home." Madonna said, towering high above Jesus.
"You're not Madonna! Where is she?" Jesus screamed, getting back up on his two feet. He didn't feel pain in this place.
"I am her and she is I. I see you still haven't understood what is happening. I wasn't expecting this, Jesus. You have to grow. Or all is doomed."
"What are -"
He was cut off. The blackened room twisted into itself, blending back smoothly with the normal décor of Martin's house, minus the twisted staircase. Jesus was still half-sitting against the living room wall when Madonna walked in.
"What's up, Jesus? Where is Martin?"
Jesus couldn't believe his eyes. Madonna was okay; there was no broken staircase behind her. Madonna must have seen the look on his face at the surprise.
"Jesus, what's the matter?" She asked, a smile forming on her lips. She brushed a few strands of rebel hair behind her ears and extended a helping hand to Jesus.
"Come on, get up!" She said, and walked away towards the kitchen.
Martin had made slight progress. There was at least cabinets now lining the wall. The sink was still spraying rusted water but at least they could cook a decent meal. Madonna rested against the countertops and gave Jesus her usual "what's going on" eyebrow raise.
"What?" Jesus said, arrogantly, looking away from Madonna.
"Don't 'what' me! You look like you've just seen a ghost!"
"And you act like you don't know what's going on!"
"I don't, Jesus. Don't forget who you're talking to, young man!" Madonna shot back. Authority, not anger, resonating in her tone. Something almost maternal had externalized itself.
"Who are you? What do you want from us? From me? I know you're not one of us" Jesus answered, letting his anger guide his words, something he regretted the moment he spoke. Madonna was a very powerful Agent. It was unwise of anyone to anger her.
"And what makes you so positive that you're one of them, as you insist on dividing your people, you selfish little brat. How dare you question my loyalty, my affiliation to the Boss and to your uncle? The man who took you in when you had no one else to turn to? You ungrateful little..."
At that moment, Madonna caught herself. She too had let herself get absorbed by her anger. She straightened her purple blazer and simply walked by Jesus and towards the door. Jesus wasn't going to let her walk away from this one.
"I know Anna is your sister. And I think she has been visiting me lately." Jesus said. It had the desired effect. Madonna stopped short of the door and turned around. Her anger had been replaced by confusion.
"How do you know that? What do you mean she has been visiting you? Jesus, she is a dangerous person." Madonna said, walking back towards the galley kitchen.
"Twice now did I get a visit from someone who looks a lot like you but I know it isn't. Everything turns black and then you appear. The first time, you told me I would heal the world, and I healed a man. This time, you told me to change or else everything was doomed. I see stuff too. Bad stuff."
Madonna's eyebrow cocked a bit. She was taking in what Jesus was telling her, confused about certain aspects.
"Sit down, Jesus. It's time I explain to you who I am, where i'm from and why i'm here. First of all, my real name isn't Madonna Riviera. And this place you call Jerusalem... Well, it isn't the only place like it in the Universe. And some people will stop at nothing to destroy every last place like this one."
"What is your real name?" Jesus asked. He couldn't think straight and it was the only thing he thought of at the moment.
"My real name is Maria Simeon and where I came from, there was a boy -"
They were interupted by a knock on the door. Jesus wasn't expecting anyone and Martin had left for his interview and shouldn't be back until later in the day. They walked out of the kitchen and just as Madonna stepped inside the hallway, the front door blew off it's hinges and bounced off the walls until it made contact with Madonna's face, knocking her out.
Jesus knew it was the Sicarii. He grabbed his bag off the counter and ran out the back via the sliding glass doors. How did they locate him?
He had to find Martin.