Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2320842-The-Braddick-Chronicles
by Dorell
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2320842
Braddick battles the Obsidian Order to avenge his wife and stop a catastrophic ritual.
CHAPTER 1: The Braddick Chronicles: Whispers and Shadows —Echoes of the line

As daylight dwindled, darkness descended upon New York City, and the usual din faded into stillness. The city's citizens anticipated what would come next amid recent unrest abroad. The once-luminous city now lay in silence. Dense fog shrouded the city, causing the lamps outside to flicker weakly and cast dull pools of light. The once-proud, towering architecture now stood solemn, as if witnessing an invisible danger.

The city's buildings cast intriguing shapes against the starless night, infusing it with mystery and depth. There was an unusual calm in place of the city's typical bustle. As Braddick drove leisurely past the towering structures, thoughts of the city's visible and hidden electrical wires danced in his head.

These wires made him think of ley lines, believed to be ancient paths of spiritual energy intersecting at the world's pivotal points. Once a skeptic, past events had changed his views. Braddick pondered the possibility of truth in this theory as he drove past the deserted shops and bars. The city's secret nooks and crannies were brimming with untold stories and enigmas, some of which might have touched him in ways he had not yet realized.

He was already on edge, and the strange calm in the usually busy metropolis made him even more so. As he pondered the increased crime, he wandered to a recent evening praying at a rundown church. The congregation's voices had risen in a quiet but powerful prayer for their city's safety and peace, but Braddick had come more out of curiosity than faith.

They recited the old hymn, "Lead us, O thou great Jehovah, through this desolate land. We are weak, but thou art mighty; hold us with thy powerful hand." Their genuine plea had surprised him, bringing a deep serenity that starkly contrasted with the chaos in his mind.

Resuming his focus on the here and now, his phone abruptly started beeping. Carl Jones, a fellow detective from his precinct, was on the other end. Braddick put the phone on speaker and pressed the call button; he then spoke first.

"Carl, have you heard the news from Rome?" Braddick asked, his voice tense. "This will send shockwaves far beyond Italy."

Detective Carl Jones's voice cracked over the speakerphone. "Do you think the assassination is tied to our case?"

Braddick sighed, gripping the wheel tighter. "I can't prove it yet, but my gut says yes. The Order always has a plan, and this feels like a piece of it." The calming effect of the church's prayer lingered in his thoughts, starkly contrasting the turmoil in his mind.

"I don't have the evidence yet, but something tells me it's true. The Order always has a plan, which could be part of it," Braddick said.

The calming effect of the church's prayer lingered in his thoughts. Maybe the old church's faith in prayer had some truth; he might have to depend on it if the depths of the shadows they were chasing were more than he had imagined.

The level of urgency in Braddick's voice was apparent to Jones. "This is like the calm before the storm, so stay alert, Braddick," he said. Jones was correct, and Braddick was aware of it. You could say this was the tranquility just before the tempest hit. Braddick was well aware of the Order's ability to achieve anything because of their history of brutality and cunning.

As he sped through the city's shadowy streets, Braddick couldn't help but ponder the future. Would they have enough time to foil The Order's plans? The killing of the first African Pope in history, a man whose visionary peace efforts were cruelly cut short in Rome, seemed to whisper of the turmoil that had rattled the world far beyond its bounds, as the city's restless spirit seemed to echo the whispers.

Pope Peter II was an extraordinary man who became famous for his steadfast support of international reconciliation and peace initiatives. He was noted for his progressive beliefs and deep-rooted faith. Born in Kenya, when global tensions were rising along geopolitical faultlines, Francis became the first African pope to hold the office.

During his papacy, Pope Peter II pursued several daring and often divisive measures to bring peace to warring nations and foster mutual understanding among believers. He was vested in fostering international unity in areas where violence and war were prevalent.

Tragically, the pontificate of Pope Peter II was severed too soon. An assassin crept into the Saint Peter's Square congregation during a public mass. He got close to the Pope while posing as a Swiss Guard and achieved his goal of silencing a powerful voice. The assassin took his own life before he could be interrogated. Pope Peter II was shot and died while preaching a sermon on world solidarity and unity. It was quickly understood that a radical gang opposed to his progressive views had carried out the targeted assassination, which shocked the world.

The pope's death has created a vacuum worldwide and in the Vatican. In what is known as APE (acute political emergency) cases, Braddick was tasked with investigating the disappearances of multiple prominent figures. Several prominent New Yorkers have been missing for months with no signs of their whereabouts. Braddick found a connection between the disappearances and the Obsidian Order during his initial investigation. After the assassination of the pope, Braddick became even more certain that the Order was plotting an epic event.

Braddick mentally reviewed all the case details as he walked through the empty streets. He remembered earlier that week's briefing, when experts linked the upheaval after the pope died to increased inexplicable occurrences in big cities. He couldn't help but feel that these events were more than coincidences, and New York was no different, all because of the symbols connected to a long-ago prophecy that had been debated in confidential Vatican archives.

The radio blared passages from the Pope's farewell address, a call for global solidarity, as Braddick wound through the empty streets. The Obsidian Order was a secret group he had been battling for a long time. The abduction of prominent New York political figures likely contributed to its return to activity.

Their beginnings were as enigmatic and elusive as the dark corners they used in their operations; they were buried in historical haze. When the Order was founded in the turbulent early 18th century, it was a secret club of powerful people who wanted to use espionage and occultism to influence European politics. They had become ingrained in international politics and criminal networks, their influence having grown beyond the ancient continent.

Their emblem, a global map with an obsidian knife over it, stood for their brutal tactics and immense power. Legends claim they were involved in historical turbulence, from plotting the deposal of monarchs to sparking uprisings in distant colonies. But their secretive nature and the terror they inspired in anyone who tried to challenge them were their real strengths.

As a matter of personal vendetta, the Obsidian Order was more than a matter of professional interest to Braddick. Early in his career, as a naïve detective pushed into a battle he hardly understood, he began to confront them. Their mysterious armor had been pulled back layer by layer in every battle and operation against them, exposing a heart as black and impenetrable as the stone from which they were named.

With their unexpected comeback connected to inexplicable factors, Braddick realized the stakes were at an all-time high. Their actions were more sinister and may have been linked to the mysterious phenomena that had recently emerged in the city, blurring the boundaries between fact and fiction.

Braddick didn't realize the night the Order abducted Mara to stop her investigation would be the saddest night of his life—the night he first encountered the Order's enigmatic trail as a young detective. It was successful. He ignored the growing body count at the hands of the Order for a long time before he finally had to do something about it. Since that fateful night, he had been attempting to solve the puzzle, gathering each hint without exception.

As he sped through the empty streets, Braddick's mind raced. Assassinating the pope, a symbol of calm in an otherwise chaotic world, sent a message more than a tragedy. A shiver raced down Braddick's spine as he approached the Dockside Avenue warehouse, and it wasn't just the fall weather. His hand lingered on the ignition key as he hesitated, his mind suddenly consumed by recollections of Mara. Now that he had subdued the shadows he had been seeking, Mara could be heard laughing and smiling, which brought light into their home, even in the darkest places. Their reasons were murky, but the Obsidian Order had made it personal when they abducted her from him on a night similar to this. With each haunting sound of the city's long-lost landmarks, he was brought back to the chilling memory of her last moments—her abduction from their house, a victim of a war she had never volunteered to fight.

More than a crushing loss, her passing kindled a fire within him that drove him further into the darkness, where he hoped to exact revenge or at least seek justice. The boundary between the two became increasingly porous as the nights went by. As Braddick neared the Dockside Avenue warehouse, the location of his most recent inquiry, he detected a chilly sensation not caused by the fall weather. In his briefings, Braddick had seen insignia on artifacts in the Vatican's hidden archives. Still, when he exited his car, he noticed an unusual symbol spray-painted on the warehouse door—a cross encircled in ancient script. The sight surprised him.

Looking over the warehouse's image brought back memories of his previous confrontation with the Order—a night that ended with casualties, one of whom had been too close to his own life.

"Everything in this city seems to whisper tonight," Braddick muttered. Detective Myles emerged from the darkness. "You hear the city's whispers, too, huh? I thought I was the only one."

"It seems louder after dusk," Braddick said, turning to face the sound with a subtle smile. "Myles, how are you doing?"

Detective Myles nervously peered into the shadows. "This place is too silent. As far as the Bryant matter is concerned, has the captain informed you?"

"Just bits and pieces," Braddick said slowly, his pupils narrowing as he thought. "It appears to be more than just a typical gang conflict, though."

With his words barely audible, Detective Myles drew forward. "Yeah, there have been suspicions that it could be linked to that Order group you've mentioned for years. In your opinion, is there any validity to it?"

"If the Order is involved, it's not only rumors we need to worry about," Braddick said with a serious look and a forceful tone.

Detective Myles chuckled and replied, "Braddick, they're making us into the Ghostbusters."

Detective Myles lit a cigarette, gave Braddick a knowing gesture, and faded into the darkness. Braddick returned to the warehouse, chuckling at Detective Myles's comment.

The warehouse absorbed light on the inside, but its corners were cloaked in nearly sentient darkness. The air was cold and damp, reeking of long-ago neglect. As Braddick's flashlight beam sliced through the darkness, it cast dancing figures that dodged the light before vanishing.

Every little whisper brought back the memory of his Mara's death—lost in this conflict. A ghostly scream echoed through this neglected and historically significant site, echoing the evil energy no doubt unleashed by the assassination of the pope.

"Police!" he yelled as his voice echoed off the icy concrete. His flashlight fell on a young man crouched among some crates; his clothes were worn and inadequate, and his wide, darting eyes betrayed an innate terror resulting from days of hiding and the constant presence of invisible dangers. As Braddick drew near, the boy drew back, as if the darkness could engulf him and protect him from the world. "I didn't intend to..." he stammered, his voice trembling as he retreated from the symbols.

"Talk! What are these symbols?" Braddick adamantly insisted, drawing forward with an intimidating aura. Through stammered words, the man replied, "Protection, they're for my protection."

Braddick's heart was pounding in his ears when the young man mumbled, "The shadows, they're alive." "Every choice has its shadow, son. You'd best understand that now." Braddick murmured back, his expression distant as he recalled a profoundly personal memory.

The man’s brow furrowed. "Everything changed when the pope died. Now, instead of hiding, they’re seeking."

The implications of the words trickled through Braddick's mind. "Who's seeking? Is it the order? Are they back?" Like the first light of dawn breaking through the fog, he had to make sense of the link between the unexplained powers at work and the violent political unrest that had taken the life of the Pope. This was about more than just New York City; it was a struggle against evil.

As Braddick guided the young man out of the warehouse, offering him protection in return for information, he was fully aware that his path ahead would lead him into shadowy and mysterious realms where the boundary between the spiritual and the material blurred.

Even as he descended into the depths of night, Braddick was prepared to face whatever lay ahead, thanks to his faith. The city behind him appeared to be holding its breath as he sped away, the first signs of morning.

The young man, named Michael, had given Braddick a lot of information, and as he drove through the awake streets, his thoughts raced through all of it. Michael, an anthropology student at the city university, had uncovered a conspiracy that ran from academic circles into the shadows of international politics. He had been marked for danger after discovering ancient symbols connected to Vodun practices and secretive Vatican rituals, and he had been forced to hide.

Braddick pondered Michael's words as he drew near the university. The symbols were more than just markers; they served as an invocation and a call to action for forces that had been dormant but were now stirring due to the upheaval that followed the Pope's assassination. The old library tower, a gothic structure that seemed to guard the campus like an ancient guardian, drew Braddick's attention as he pulled into the university parking lot. He had arranged to meet Professor Linda Hayes, a specialist in religious symbology and Michael's mentor; if anyone could explain the links between the symbols and the supernatural events, it would be her.

Professor Hayes waited in her office, surrounded by books and relics about a life devoted to discovering hidden truths, in an otherwise peaceful library at this early hour. The only sounds were Braddick's footfalls on the hardwood floors. She greeted him with gratitude, saying, "Detective Braddick, thank you for coming." Her eyes, though tired, were piercing blue. "I've heard about Michael's situation and involvement with your investigations." "These aren't ordinary conditions, Professor," Braddick said formally as he took her cup of tea. "All around the city, Michael's discovered symbols—the ones connected to the assassination of the Pope—are popping up. Plus, paranormal activity, menacing shadows, and a chilly wind that won't go away no matter how much sunshine there is."

"The symbols are ancient, part of a ritualistic language that communicates across countries and religions," Professor Hayes said, her interest blossoming. "They had good intentions of protecting but can bring terrible evil when misused."

As they conversed, Braddick sensed the gravity of the impending challenge. Professor Hayes cautioned him, "You're not just fighting human foes. You're up against something that transcends time and space." The meeting continued for another hour, during which she presented her research, ancient texts describing when the world had faced similar darkness, and the rituals used to either restore balance or destroy it. "The road you're on is paved with danger, so be careful."

With his head full of information and a sense of foreboding, Braddick departed from the university as the city came to life. His mission was crystal clear: he had to locate the center of the rituals. With the help of Michael and Professor Hayes, he had confirmed that this was the old cathedral in the city's center, a location said to have been constructed over old ley lines.

As Braddick made his way toward the cathedral, the peacefulness of the early morning started to fade, giving way to a darker reality. As he approached, the city appeared to transform; the sun's upward arc lengthened the shadows, casting a hopeful light that matched his mounting anxiety. With every block that went by, the burden of his responsibility became more apparent—the battle had begun, and he knew all too well that he was the city's final line of defense against the overwhelming tide of the night that threatened to consume everything in its wake.

"Gonzalez, it's me," Braddick said. “Making my way downtown.”

“I got your message,” Gonzalez replied.

"I've got details of a meet-up," Braddick said. "This may be our opportunity to discover the truth."

Gonzalez warned Braddick to exercise caution. "We have rules, and the Order doesn't follow them."

"I don't either, not anymore," Braddick said. "Are you on your way?"

"I wouldn't miss it," Gonzalez replied.

Braddick kept driving, but Gonzalez's conversation increasingly stirred his thoughts. Ahead stood the cathedral, its ancient stones betraying centuries of secrets and silent prayers. As Braddick pulled into the parking lot and stepped out, a sense of calm washed over him as if the place's air was getting ready for the showdown. Soon after, Gonzalez showed up, and the two entered through the enormous oak doors.

They passed the nave and down the ancient stone steps into the crypt, where the real fight between light and darkness occurred. It was as if he were stepping back in time as he descended farther and more beneath the surface of the common world.
© Copyright 2024 Dorell (dogreen at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2320842-The-Braddick-Chronicles