Good things never last for long, and Caleb was smart enough to get out once he was ahead. Cavalierly tearing out the pertinent pages from the Cabal's hard worked directory, he stuffed them into his breast pocket and headed for the stairs, completely forgetting about Johnny. He did not forget about the hell hound however, navigating himself around it just as he had done previously. Johnny, aware that he was being abandoned, attempted to do the same. Good things definitely do not last for long. While on the final step of the landing something in the floor gave slightly, letting out a prolonged and noticeable creak. The hell hound opened its eyes slightly, just in time to see the figure of Caleb disappearing around the corner.
The huge dog vaulted to its feet, tearing off after him. Johnny watched the proceedings in dumb startled horror from his position on the landing. Just as soon as the dog had vanished through the open doorway Caleb chose to reappear, rushing back into the room headed for the stairs again, the trim of his trench coat on fire, booting desks and papers around in his wake. He launched himself towards Johnny, callously shoving him out of the way as he hurried his way up the staircase. After having his face smashed into the wall, Johnny quickly righted himself in time to see the canine swiftly approaching him with hell fire in its eyes, the smell of brimstone permeating the air as it went. Johnny did not have either the time or the lucidity to react.
An arm reached out and grabbed him by the shoulders, pulling Johnny backward up the stairs. He became aware of something rushing in front of him, shielding him from the burst of flames that came shooting out of the dog's mouth. Then he was running. The arm still held firm, yanking him forwards. His legs tried piteously to bring this rush of movement back under his own control, flailing and striking the ground impotently as they went. The smell of burning leather danced in his nostrils as the sound of padded feet could be heard from behind him. Johnny dazedly observed as he was taken down several flights of stairs and back to the library entrance. The large doors flew open and several robbed figures appeared. Bullets flew over Johnny's head.
He was roughly turned around and retreated back to the rotunda. When he got there he was hurled over the reception desk just in time to avoid the sound of something large whooshing in the air above his head. Given no time to rest, the arm returned and hauled him up, forcing him back to his feet. Then he was running again. They ran into the other room and straight for the door with a crescent moon emblazoned on either side. The arm dropped him and quickly popped the key into the keyhole. The doors then opened, moonlight clearly visible on the other side. The arm took him again and with one final effort threw him out into the night, right before rushing out and locking the door behind him. Then Johnny saw Caleb jump into the decorative pool that was in front of them, his backside a brilliant blaze.
After a few moments he resurfaced and removed what was left of his trench coat. His shirt was charred but did not look burnt. The coat, however, was gone. Caleb dug through what was left of it. The pages that he had put into his breast pockets were gone, but that was not what really concerned him at the moment. He extracted a black and charred photograph. All that was left of what it used to portray was the faintest of faint outlines. "Ophelia..." he said under his breath, right before uttering a loud guttural "NOOOO!" He grabbed his shotgun, and then he grabbed Johnny, forcing him against the side of the building. He brought the gun to his temples and cocked it. He paused. He brought the gun down again. He let Johnny go.
"Go home kid" he ordered dismissively. "Go home and leave me alone." Johnny merely gawped at him; it had all happened so fast. Caleb stashed what was left of the photograph into his pant pocket and headed off down the path that led away from the library. Johnny watched him depart helplessly. From somewhere behind the door a loud thumping could be heard as the cultists tried their best to batter the door down. He reluctantly realized that he could not stay here. He looked around for an alternate exit from the one that Caleb had took; there was no safety for him there. He headed over to the large hedgerow that bordered the path and with some effort jumped and climbed over it. From somewhere behind him the door finally gave. Johnny ran. There was nothing else he could do.
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Some might recall that I had previously made mention as part of the Blood Wiki's sixth anniversary that I had plans to once again invest some of my time in an area of Blood fandom that I had formerly been quite involved in. To that end I present Scroll, a story I originally began in the summer of 2008 as a kind of retelling of the story behind Cryptic Passage in an attempt to bring it further in line with the main Blood canon. Designed to be published in multiple parts, I shall endeavour to release a new instalment of Scroll every Sunday from March 9th on until the story is complete.