Undertaker 14: Unwanted Ally


With Kerbera gone, the Undertaker stared for a while at the pile of corpses and all the mess caused by the unknown intruder. Suddenly his knees felt flabby and the burden of a long overdue fatigue settled on his shoulders. He recognized he couldn’t think clearly anymore. Yet he still had responsibilities to fulfill and the idea of resting faded into uncertainty. Slowly he returned to his shack.

The little girl was awake and crying. He tried to calm her but with no result. At certain moments he thought he would fall into delirium and only the cry of the baby pulled him out of the oblivion.

The gravedigger decided to accomplish one more journey. He put the girl into her basket and again walked out into the night.

Finally he waddled amidst the shady neighborhood and once more found himself knocking at the door of Madame’s establishment.

“Something told me, you’d be back soon,” the aging courtesan greeted him with a receptive smirk. “You looked terrible. And still do.”

“I need… a bath…,” the Undertaker muttered and handed over the basket with his weeping child. “I’ll pay…”

“Of course,” the Madame nodded. “You should rest. I’ll take care of her.”

The gravedigger spread out in a large tub of hot water where usually two girls with a patron would be luxuriating. Inhaling the steam he closed his eyes and wished to pass out and fall into slumber and sleep until the end of the world, but knew this was impossible. Suddenly he started to feel guilty. Since accepting the child as his own he had spent with it less time than anybody else. And during this short time he had mostly dragged it through the nocturnal city. Despite his fatigue he desired to hold his daughter in his arms, watch her sleep and feel her presence. And with this desire doubts came sneaking into his mind. Doubts whether it was right to leave the child with the Madame and her girls or whether it was right to rely on Kerbera and try to win her over as a mother. He asked himself on whom he could really rely as a friend. The succuba was loyal but too unpredictable. Madame’s favor depended on the weight of a purse. The only true friend he could count on in every situation was the Director. However Monsieur Creosote was hardly able to provide milk for a human baby since he and his associates drank blood.

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And yet there was another issue bothering his tired mind. The skincoats. This whole mess with excavated bodies meant that the killed unit was not supposed to be buried in his graveyard. Someone from within the organization wanted them hidden. And Claudia? She was definitely involved so she could extract those amulets… And he had became part of a plot he knew nothing about. It was quite possible that he was being watched and followed as well…

And yet there was another issue bothering his tired mind. The skincoats.

The door to the bathroom flew open and about ten heavily armed men stormed inside. All skincoats. They immediately aimed their rifles at the Undertaker. The gravedigger offered no resistance. It was too obvious they wanted to talk. At first.

“Look at him. The man with the shovel naked and defenseless.”

An officer stepped forward. The Undertaker recognized the agent who had brought the corpses, paid him and asked for an unmarked mass grave.

“Naked yes. Defenseless not.” The tall man replied with feigned disinterest.

“I really try to imagine your defense against a salvo of bullets,” the leader grinned, confidently enjoying his seemingly upper hand.

“What do you want?” the gravedigger grumbled, ennuied. “To join the bath?”

“Remember Claudia?” the commanding officer stepped slowly towards the tub.

“No.”

“The widow you used to bone every night nearly a year ago.”

The Undertaker remained silent. He was preparing moves to neutralize the aiming skincoats. Although his instincts told him this would not be necessary.

“And for nailing her you extracted amulets from every corpse,” the leader continued. “Am I right?”

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Again, the Undertaker didn’t bother to answer.

“Where are those amulets?”

“You tell me,” the gravedigger made a grimace.

“I can turn your cemetery upside down,” the man growled.

“No, you cannot,” the Undertaker replied without even looking at him. “You’d draw the attention of those whom you turned against.”

The officer held his breath. Slightly dazed he started to walk across the room. With a hand gesture he ordered his men to lower their guns. After further moments of awkward silence he commanded the skincoats to leave the bathroom.

“They are brave and dedicated men,” he remarked. “But they don’t understand certain issues…”

The ringleader took a seat on one of the stools and turned his look away to grant the Undertaker some privacy.

“You need to understand,” he continued, “we have a common enemy.”

“We have nothing in common,” the gravedigger noted annoyed.

“We have nothing in common,” the gravedigger noted annoyed.

“We do indeed,” the skincoat answered persuasively. “Half of our brothers carry a small wooden statue with them. Rustically shaped, black painted, with a white dot as a face. It symbolizes the enemy they are preparing for and becoming ever familiar with. Its name is the Undertaker from Mokvas.”

The ringleader cleared his throat and took a deep breath.

“You are a target, who will be dealt with. Not because you once polished Ludo’s face with your shovel. But because you’re an obstacle to the absolute power of certain individuals with certain views. And there are many other obstacles and great purges awaiting. For example your unliving friends in their quarters beneath the city. Like the Director and his companions.”

“Why are you telling me this?” the gravedigger yawned.

“Because there are far more dangerous usurpers than Trevor Ociph, who is absent and unsuccessfully campaigning against the Northern Realm for more than a year. And they have no scrupels at all. With those amulets they joined an unholy alliance and right now they are creating brand new weapons in the Metallurg factory. Weapons of mass extinction against which everything else is helpless and ineffective and which will soon sweep across the continents, ending civilization as we know it.”

“And why are you concerned? You should be happy,” the Undertaker stated in a scoffing tone.

“This is not the revolution I hoped for,” the man answered darkly.

“Neither is. Revolutions are from idiots for idiots.”

“You should know,” the skincoat grinned, “you have lived long enough.”

“Are we finished?” the gravedigger sighed.

The officer raised himself and approached the door. Then he partially turned to the man in the tub.

“For the sake of Claudia and her daughter we need to find those amulets and destroy them. You need me. And we’ll meet again.”

“I hope not,” the Undertaker ground his teeth and closed his eyes once the man had left.

A whole minute of appreciated silence and solitude passed when the door flew open again. This time the Madame stood between the casings and measured the man in the tub with an enraged look. Slowly but firmly, she began to speak:

“The skincoats never entered my establishment and never harassed us. Until now. You brought them upon me. So leave. Immediately.”

The Undertaker rubbed his face with his palms. But the woman remained persistent. She hurled his rags towards him.

“Dress, take your child and leave. Now! And never come back.”


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