Devil’s Gold

Aurum. Gold.

This is the draft from an extract from the book Devil’s Gold. Release date, undetermined.

Chapter IV

Strange Company

The St Thomas had three different areas. Each one of them had limited access to travellers or crew. There were huge container areas where they kept all sort of goods and provisions to supply with meals all the Pacific and Asian areas. Although, there were cargo holds which had a more mysterious load.

    Only a limited number of trustworthy men had access to those places where nothing good happened or where things kept. It was not those zones of the ship carried illegal substances, weapons or other mundane chores of any sort. Not even it could be said the boat trafficked with people or slaves. No. The business at the St Thomas was something more mystic and shady. No one could say the issues were of a character more merciful or ascetic either. They were… Of a strange oddity…

    An unnatural fog flooded those cargo holds a cold atmosphere which covered everything with crackling shudders. The ambient was not cold but to be there could cause the bravest men to shake of fright just like a chicken.

    The content of the boxes: unknown. The crew with access to the area: limited. The only person who knew what those crates had: a perfect gentleman with an immaculate white suit.

    Not so many knew something about him. Only the devoted and close enough to the white man could have access to the other limited area, on the bridge deck. Which, a difference of the rest of the ship, it had a vain, comfortable and luxurious look. The virtuous men and the enigmatic man in the suit had reserved this exclusive area only for them. The access allowed only a few selected candidates to Aurora, or other levels, to join them but not anyone else.

    The suit was made with cold wood of first quality, lightly close-fitting to the waist with a jacket with six buttons. On the lapel, a white handkerchief was folded perfectly on the traditional gents ways. The shoes and belt were of black leather which it did not lack on price or quality. The peculiar outfit was complemented by a shirt with a narrow neck with an original patterned tie following the usual monochromatic tones. The look fitted with a Panama hat with black strip and a Devil’s walking stick with a silver handle which represented an eagle.

    The man talked with a mixed accent difficult to identify. Despite the fact that he apparently knew different languages, it gave the sensation he could not leave his Argentinian accent aside. Anyone hearing him could say he was from Argentina, but it could not be a total positive affirmation. The only thing which was clear: he looked like the Germans in appearance and manners more than Latin people. Until the point, some of his behaviours seemed quite old-fashioned or exaggerated for the times. They were more like the Austrian styles taught at the beginning of the XX century. Some quite outdated for the times, but which insisted on so much discipline and the lack of to show personal feelings than to leave the individual express freely or to share any emotion.

    He used to carry an intricate in detail luxurious small box with engravings representing Icarus legend which had incrustations of black and white ivory. The box contained some of the most expensive German snuff. And instead of spectacles, he used from time to time a monocle on his right eye for to read certain documents of vital importance, and not the most daily paperwork.

    All in him was a huge mystery, even from where he came from or how he moved seemed from other times. And the fact that his aptitude and attitude were impossible to classify only made people around him insecure and intimidated. So, like it is a normal circumstance on the human being to put tags, make lists and to organise everything. Anything which could escape to the norm or the habitual becomes a possible psychological threat. It tells the mind to be on guard and alert. Adolfo Faussman, the gentleman in white, knew about it and he knew how to use it to his advantage very well.

    He loved to have people around him alert and awake. Like he used to say: “The world needs to awake of the eternal dream of idiocy to become aware of the secret marvels which lay for the ones conscious of their real fate.” It was not that he passed the day giving orders or shouting. However, he had other more cold blood calmed methods to get the same effect on the comrades who worked for him and the company.

    Maybe, for this reason, his company Moko, used to be the one hired for special deliveries or transporting services which offered a full road of privileges to Mr Faussman. But which also gave him the opportunity to manage other more personal business for his interests or the affairs of his order. An older organisation than the century in which he lived and which was nameless for to preserve it from the danger of the ones who were not aware of the things surrounding them.

    Not so many knew about the works of this organisation; what they did or which was their finality. Still, it looked like if it was older than the stones. It was everywhere unseen just like air. It inundated everything like the sea. And it was even more destructive than fire. Those were the powers and tentacles which this selected membership awarded to some exceptional individuals in the world whom could prove their eagerness and virtuosity.

    After months performing an extended travel and several stops on its way. The ship continued crossing the Suez Canal. It was at that moment when Adolfo decided it was the proper time to engage his first travellers on the mission which all of them did not have an idea they were going to start.

    First, he invited the only woman on board to the selected bridge area, like the proper coaching will say anyone to do. She was a fiery young girl with mixed blood. A half native of Philippines, half Spaniard she had this strange Asian beauty with the temper of the bravest Spanish warriors.

    Adolfo had informed himself well about her. In the two months since the journey started, she had attempted every single day to escape, to defend herself or to attack her warden: a poor sailor who did not have an idea of what was going on or why those people were travelling in certain conditions on the ship. He would not be any problem. If he made any question out of order, he would have an unfortunate accident on board, and he would fall on the side of the ship getting lost at sea. If there was anything which the white dressed man knew was how to resolve the future problems or how to correct the unfortunate bad decisions made by others. In resume, how to plan anyone’s death to let the people look at it as a mere accident.

    The girl was incredibly intelligent and bold, that was evident. She would not suppose any problem for to control her in Adolfo’s way of to see the things. Even less the two other men who the Wyrd had chosen. The key was on the book Treasure’s Island and although he was not full enlighten by the secret meanings of the universe. Adolfo was sure all of them had a significant role to play in a series of circumstances which would develop soon.

    One of the men was an extraordinary rarity. His name was Hector Vicario, and he was a retired priest. Not by age, if not because he had decided to leave his ecclesiastic career to see if he could have the normal life always wished but he could never have. Apparently, the Wyrd was more capricious than it seemed. It did not let anyone enjoy what they wanted, just what they needed, and it “freed” them arrived the right time. And with freedom, it did not mean an option to choose, if not an alternative path to which they had been walking all their lives. Even if they had been walking in circles and not with a purpose, when the Wyrd decided it was the right time to step forward, the ones chosen had to accept it. There were not options to say: “No, I won’t.”

    About the other man, he was more a boy than a man. Scared, nervous, insecure, lost and afraid. Still, he was not worried about his life or fate if not by why would be thinking or feeling his family about him or this strange incident. Most of the times, he could be heard talking to himself things like: “I’m sure they believe I’m dead.” It was strange. Very odd indeed.

    Ruefully, not everybody knew why some forces worked in certain ways. Not even why the most obedient sheep of a peaceful flock had been called to this task. Gio’s actions would determine a fate which was his role in the prearranged future acts.