Postmortem

Chapter 6

© 2008 by Aurea Freniere

This page was last modified: 2009/01/04


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Kanon arrived late at the Sanctuary. The moon was already at its highest point and he thanked the Gods for that as without that light the trail to the Trellos mountain was really dark.

The questions Hades had asked still haunted him. He had moved something in him that went beyond the Milo issue.
He thought of Saga and his never ending question revolving around what would happen if he were to die as well.

Kanon had always taken death for granted, seeing it very much as a requirement to do his job. It was a downside to all the abilities he had by holding the Gemini title. He thought that death ended everthing, and that people who were distant from the whole situation would move on as if nothing had changed in their worlds.

He had been wrong. For a Saint, death however futile, changed everything. It had changed Saga. It had changed him and it certainly had changed the way in which he related to Milo, finally understanding, if a little the way he acted and saw the world.

"Saga?" He asked out loud for his brother in the minute he entered the small cottage, finding him in his customary position near the corner.
He was counting again not even looking at him this time.

"It's so shiny..." Saga muttered, unaware it seemed to Kanon's presence.

Kanon didn't mind being ignored this time. He went directly for the floor and sat down cross legged hoping to have a talk with his brother about all what he had seen and learned on his trip.

Shaka was on his mind as well. The ungodly hippie had been right. The Order would become stronger if they acknowledged the truth. Perhaps his trip didn't make him like Milo better, but at least if he returned he would be able let his grudge go, now being able to see past Milo's attack.

"I came back from the Hades, Saga," He began casually, trying to look past his brother to the near wall. That way perhaps he wouldn't feel frustrated by being ignored. But Saga didn't even turn around. He kept focused on whatever it was in front of him.

"There's nothing on it now. Not one, not two, nor three" Saga said focused.

Kanon sighed heavily twisting his mouth.

"Saga please," He pleaded "I want to tell you something."

But Saga kept counting "Not four, not six, nor seven"

This had been the last straw for Kanon.

"All Mighty Athena!" He exclaimed standing up, walking up to Saga "Can't you even pay attention to what I'm saying just for a second?"

He grabbed his brother by the shoulder and spun him around. He was afraid that Saga would start to scream at him but he did nothing. He just stared back with a psychotic look on his face, holding a bundle between his hands.

"It's shiny now" Saga said with a happy, yet creepy tone in his voice, making Kanon feel more and more exasperated.

"What in Athena's name are you fucking talking about??" He yelled, panting now with clenched fists.

Still Saga didn't yell, just lifted the bundle placing it in front of Kanon's eyes.
Kanon gasped.

Saga was holding Milo's left hand.

The missing hand that still had the red nail grown into battle mode and that now for some macabre reason shone as if the body to which it belong was still alive.

"Saga... What did you do?" He asked, while giving a few steps back with his eyes wide open.

"I thought Milo would need this when he got back. I saved it for you and kept it safe from maggots who kept growing again and again no matter what I did."

Kanon place a hand over his mouth as an attempt to avoid yelling to his brother. All this time when he had come and gone from the cottage Saga had been counting maggots.

Putrefied, disgusting, flesh eating maggots.

"Saga..." He began, not sure how to phrase the sentence as to not upset Saga and send him into frenzy for what he had done "Why do you have that?"

It was a stupid question, of course, but a fair one too. He just couldn't bring himself to pin the murder on his brother. Not yet.

Saga wasn't crazy enought to kill off Milo and later on keep his hand as a souvenir.

He just couldn't.

Not Saga. Not him.

No, no, no.

Kanon ran his fingers through his hair, thinking out on all possible explanations, but most importantly focusing on the mad man that was in front of him.

And then he remembered the maid, Adara who had been coming all this time to the cottage to help him take care of his brother and who would surely have notified him, had she found a rotten hand lying around.

Kanon gasped realizing the implications of what was in front of him. He didn't want to think now how in hell Saga had got hold of the severed hand, or the implications of his having the last piece of evidence about Milo's murder. Now there was a more pressing matter that he had to see to.

"Whe..re is Adara, Saga?" He asked hesitating while looking at either direction of the house, almost panicking. Meanwhile Saga returned his attention to the hand wich he wrapped up carefully and place inside one box that was on his corner.

"She's in the back" his brother answered not even looking at him "I already told you yesterday."

Kanon frowned and looked instantly at the pitch black sky oustide the window. Even if the maid stayed around the house to take care of Saga, she wouldn't dare to be here this late. The path to Athens was full of thieves and rapists and everybody knew that. There was no way she could get safely to her house.

So he ran towards the door that lead to the back garden and looked for the girl, but there was nothing there, only an deserted garden that had a few blades of grass growing near the edge of the mountain and a few bushes of roses that had been planted by Aprhodite before Saga had moved in. Past it all that, Kanon could see was the edge of the cliff and beyond it, the lights of the city of Athens glowing in the dark extending towards the Agean sea.

"Where the hell is she?" Kanon asked out loud, desperate already.
He looked behind the bushes and the trees and even went down the cliff to be sure she hadn't fallen and broke her neck accidentaly. But Adara was not there either.

Kanon began to climb back again while he tried his hardest to remain calm. There was a huge chance that Saga was showing another schizoid behaviour of his, where he usually claimed people were around were they were actually not.

However when he set foot on the garden again, he stepped onto something that definitiely hadn't been there the last time he had been here.
There was a small mount of dirt, encircled with white stones and crowned with three roses that were already fading.

Kanon kneeled down instantly, almost in automatic and started digging desperately, not even caring if the dirt was now all over his shirt or face, while praying silently to all the Gods he knew that Adara was safe at home and not buried under this improvised tomb.
He kept digging for a couple of minutes until his hands came across with a bump.
Kanon thought it was a rock but in a closer look it turned out to be something golden. He then brushed off with the tips of his fingers the rest of the dirt unvailing what it appeared to be a wedding band, placed on top of a half rotten hand that belonged to a woman.
The finger nails were still painted and dirty on account of all the mud.

It took Kanon half an hour to undig all the corpse that was buried, but soon enough Adara was again in front of him.

Kanon thought the stench was going to be the most unbearable thing to endure, but he was wrong again. The hardest part was watching the young woman that had been the only one who had been kind enough, to endure the care of a schizophrenic man, now lying half rotten, with maggots coming out from one of her void eye sockets.

And he didn't even now she was married.

Stupid, stupid Kanon.

Kanon closed his eyes not even wanting to think about the things she had left undone. About the family she had left behind -if any- because this only made him feel like going back to the cottage and beat the hell out of Saga for this.

Stupid, stupid Kanon.

He kept repeating this to himself while he left the tears ran freely down his cheeks. Sure, he had known Saga was mentally ill all along, but even so his brother had always shown that there was some sanity inside of him and that he above all liked Adara enough to never raise a hand against her and Kanon had trusted him, blindly.

Stupid, stupid Kanon.

He had sent a poor girl to the slaughter house against his better judgment and he felt very angry for it, now remembering Death Mask's words about the upheaval of the town and their hatred for the Order.
Kanon was sure that Adara was the missing girl.

"She was like that when I found her in my garden," Saga said and Kanon turned around with bloody murder in his eyes, flaring his cosmos as a warning.

"I don't know why anyone would kill her. She was very nice to me," Saga said again, walking towards Kanon who swallowed hard trying his best to contain his urge to beat his brother into a pulp. Talking crazy here was not going to help him to get out of this. Not when he had killed Adara in cold blood.
Now he didn't need any reassurance that he had finished off Milo as well.

Saga was mad. Very mad.

"How could you do this Saga?" Kanon asked, yelling " She was just a poor peasant girl, you..."

"It's funny," Saga said, looking down to his feet, making Kanon to take a deep breath. "That's what Milo said when he came that night."

"What?" Kanon asked completely enraged now for the detachment that his brother was showing to all the murders.

"Milo said the same when he found Adara lying on the ground." Saga pointed at the tomb, making Kanon turn around instictively. "Of course she was still very pretty and not a corpse like now. She wore a purple skirt and a white blouse with her long hair attached to a bun, Kanon. You should have seen her. She looked lovely. I was in love with her, you know?"

Saga walked towards the tomb, passing Kanon who kept staring at him frowning.
He just didn't know what to do with all this. Was Saga excusing himself by saying he couldn't have killed her because he loved her? Or was this a confession to the crimes?

Saga knelt in front of the grave and took Adara's left hand into his and started to weep.

"One, two, three, four..." Saga started counting again. "I heard a loud bang and thought someone was trespassing in my garden, so I came out to see who it was and then I found her, lying in the dirt and she was covered with bruises Kanon, with blood coming out of her head. Poor Adara. I just piled up the earth to cover her so that vultures wouldn't feast on her body."

Kanon stood up and went to the tomb. Unless Adara had been thrown against something she wouldn't have blood coming off her head.
If Saga had killed her, there would have been traces of his powers on a tree or maybe on the house, as his brother could no longer control his strength.
There was the slight possibility that he had banged her head against the rock and killed her....

Kanon held the partially rotten head in his hands looking for a clue. Part of the scalp was already off the body and as Saga had said there was blood plastered against the strands of Adara's beautiful blond hair.
Most of the skull was intact, which indicated that it hadn't been smashed by a warrior. Even less by Saga. Then when he spun the head over he found a tiny little hole above the ear that was black and that matched another one that was in the opposite side of the head.
Next to her there was the casket of bullet. Adara had been shot, so Saga hadn't killed her.

"And then Milo came and said I killed Adara Kanon. And he started yelling at me..."

Kanon didn't need any more explanations. It was all very clear now.

Adara had met Milo somehow, and even though when she was married started to go out with him.
It had been an easy thing to do, as the Trellos mountain was very off limits to everyone at the sanctuary. But Milo as a Saint could climb the mountain and reach the cottage through the back and meet his lover in a secluded place.
Her husband had found out and had planned to get rid of the treacherous Saint, and had found in Saga the ultimate weapon to destroy a warrior without even coming close to him.

"Then he attacked me Kanon and I had to defend myself," Saga kept on while his schizoid expression swiftly changed to a more normal one "He tried to sting me with his mother fucking needle but I stop it midway and snapped his fucking usless hand off. First breaking it and then tearing it off. You should have heard his scream when he saw the blood coming out of his hand in a gush."

Saga laughed, crooking one eyebrow as he used to do when he was fully enjoying things. "He thought I would be usless but I'm Saga. And I once was above all of them. I once was above him. He should have never raised a hand against me."

"Oh Saga..." Kanon whispered, noticing how Saga started loosing lucidness in the middle of his speech. "Even so. You didn't have to kill him Saga. You've been used Saga.... You've only been used"

Kanon got closer to his brother and hugged him. Between his embrace he could feel Saga shivering like a child. He then looked towards Adara's tomb almost seeing Milo going into a frenzy having seen the girl he was involved with, dead.

"I'm sorry Kanon," Saga apologized, kneeling again on the floor "I didn't mean to. But the voices had told me this would happen. Yes, the voices. "

He could almost see the husband lurking on the premises waiting for Saga to do his dirty job. He must have known Saga would flip the moment he was being yelled at. A piece of information that only Adara could provide to an outsider.

Sadly, Saga had done as expected. He had torn off Milo's only way of defence and punched him until he was dead, and then left him at the mercy of a different kind of vulture that later on chopped off his head with the aid of steel chains. If he was right he had come across Adara's husband when he had hired her and he had been an ugly little small man, who with no doubt would have problems carrying a man twice his size. He had probably chained Milo's body onto something and pulled from his legs to detach the head. That would explain the scratches that the body had besides the bruises and then days later he switched the head with the one of a stolen pig.

"Fucker," Kanon said while recalling Death Mask's anecdote about what he had seen in the bar.

The murderer probably had to wait quite a while in the dark until he was very sure Saga had gone to sleep, because the crazy Saint didn't like lurkers in his garden either.
But when he took Milo's body with him he forgot the hand which probably his brother kept after realizing what he had done, in between his delusions.

Saga was right. There was no difference between what had been on his wall to what was outside in the world. Everything was shit.

Everything.

(I'm sorry you of all people had to deal with this)

Kanon wanted to scream, remembering Athena's words. It was as if she knew what he would have to endure in days to come. Maybe that's why she had stopped Death Mask's advances in the research realizing that unveiling the horrible truth about Milo's murder would only endanger yet another saint and bring down the Order again.
Maybe...Kanon could just hope.

"Will you tell Athena, Kanon?" Saga asked between sobs. Kanon looked at him and then looked to the city feeling a pang of anger rushing through this body.

"No Saga. I won't," He answered. "It doesn't matter anyway. Maybe Milo will be back tomorrow. Who knows."

"Maybe..." Saga said and they both stayed in the garden until the sun started to rise on the horizon.

The End


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