This time I help myself to a cigarette, after lighting it I take a drag and hold my breath. I took that moment and delved into myself, extending the moment to give myself some extra time to think. We have come to it, do I jump on board the crazy express? Shall I follow this priest down his rabbit hole and kill this immortal man who seems to have a grudge against everyone and everything?
Killing someone wasn’t a problem for me, I’ve done that more than a few times now. The real question was did I want to get involved? The reality was that if I wanted to see the outside of the cell then I would have to play along. They would watch me closely, but in the outside world, things happen. An opportunity would arise.
I hold the smoke in my lungs for so long, I get a mild head rush when I breathe out again. I say “So you want me to kill this Lazarus for you.”
He nods, lighting another cigarette for himself.
“A man your people have been hunting for two thousand years. You’ve told me that they managed to capture him once, but couldn’t kill him. The best they could do was brick him in a wall and all that did was piss him off even more. So my question to you is, how can I kill him? Can he even be harmed?”
I might start keeping count of those little smiles of his. I have to admit, they’re more than a little creepy.
“Lazarus is immortal, or at least very long-lived, but he’s not invulnerable. He will heal any damage he suffers remarkably quickly. Mundane weapons will hurt him, but not kill him.”
“Would a nuke kill him?”
That stumps him a little. “Are you serious?” He asks me incredulously.
“Of course I am. At Hiroshima and Nagasaki there were just shadows left for some of the victims, they were vaporised by the blast. I think it would be pretty difficult to heal from that.”
That wipes that annoying smile from his face..
“I have no idea whether it work or not and it is not an option. To kill him you need to make him mortal. To make him mortal you will need to find and destroy the miracle inside him.”
I should have expected something like that, that’s why they need me. “How do I do that?”
“The miracle is part of him, you need to get into his mind and find the miracle and destroy it completely.”
“Do you know this for sure? Or are you just guessing?”
“We are certain, we have dealt with similar cases in this way.”
“So why haven’t you done the same with Lazarus?”
“His mind is phenomenal. The power of it and its complexity is beyond what even our best people have ever gone against. Over the years he has turned his mind into a fortress, he’d have to be dead for his defences to be weak enough for one of us to get in.”
That gives me an idea, but I’ll keep it myself for now.
“There is another complication.” He continues. “The miracle is a divine thing. It can only be destroyed by a hand that has known evil.”
Two strikes for me.
“Ok, so you really need me to do this for you. And I’m willing to admit that it might be fun, but what do I get out of it?”
He’s been expecting this question.
“By helping us you’ll get the chance to see the world outside of these walls again. You’ll be supervised every step of the way of course, we’re not stupid. And of course, by helping us you’re also helping your immortal soul.”
I can’t believe he’s really going to try that line with me. I shake my head in wonder. “Friar, you are really going to have to do better than that. Seeing the outside world is a good start. But trying to feed me the forgiveness line just doesn’t cut it. I don’t believe in your God or his Heaven, so his forgiveness has no meaning for me.”
“I’m not even sure I even believe what you want me to do for you,”
There’s that fucking smile again and then it hits me. It was a test. With that realisation I gave him a little smile as well. Well played sir.
“Good. If you’d suddenly converted I would have been more than a little suspicious. One day I hope you’ll see the light, but for now we have more important things. You’ll be doing a good thing. You’ll be saving the world and thus saving yourself.”
“Saving myself for what? To sit in this cell for the rest of my natural born? Do you know why I was in prison in the first place?”
“I do, you hurt a lot of people.”
“No, that’s why others wanted me in prison. I went there to die.”
If he smiles again I may have to cut his lips off.
“You didn’t go there to die. You went there to make a statement. If you wanted to die you would have let the police shoot you at the scene. Bang, all over. You wanted people to know you, to fear you. You wanted recognition.”
“I am not going to promise you things that I can’t deliver to get you to do this for us. I also know that I can’t appeal to your better nature. Not that you don’t have one, there is one buried under all that guilt, you just don’t realise that.”
I say nothing, there seems no point and let him continue.
“What I can promise you is that you’ll never get this chance again. Whether you like it or not you are here to stay. You have an opportunity here to spend a little time in the outside world again. You also have the chance to do something no-one else in the world can do. It’s true that the world won’t know what you did. But you will know, I will know, we will know. You’ll become part of the secret history of the world.”
A little flattery goes a long way, but I can’t make this easy for him. I’m going to do this, but I can’t make it look too easy. The only power I have here is this choice and he’s worried that I can say no. That’s his fear right now, that I don’t care enough about anything to do this.
“I’ll think about it” I tell him.
He nods, stands up and tells me “You have tonight, in the morning you have to make the choice.” Hammond appears beside me and guides me back to my cell. As I leave I turn to the Friar and say to him. “Hey, if I say no, you can always try nuking him.”
I sleep well that night.