In The Night
Chapter 5 - Voices in the Head
Carl scurried around his lab hurriedly, shoving various items into leather bags. He had to do this quickly and make off with his inventions and books – he seriously doubted anyone in the Order would be smart enough to translate his scrawl or make any sense of the strange contraptions lying about.
Plus, Carl had a suspicion that Van Helsing didn't exactly want to retire from monster hunting. He tried to imagine the man sitting in a café in France, simply admiring the view. The mental image turned into a quick but bloody battle.
Van Helsing himself appeared at the doorway. "I think we've overstayed our welcome."
"I just couldn't leave all this here!" Carl protested. "It's most of my life's work, tending to my inventions. And besides, you're going to still need my scientific help."
"Am I?" Van Helsing asked deliberately.
Carl stopped packing and spun to face him. "Just because we're free of all this doesn't mean we can't keep up the good work. But, instead of killing our…prey…we could recruit them!"
Van Helsing shrugged nonchalantly. "Alright, then. I was hedging on you to come up with a plan, anyway."
"Hold this!" Carl threw a heavy bag at the hunter and watched with satisfaction as Van Helsing let out an oof. "Hedging on me to come up with a plan? Is that the only reason you asked me to come along?"
"Well, I like you quite a lot, but not in that way."
"That way, hm?"
"I figured I'd need a partner," Van Helsing ploughed on. "And all of a sudden, you're swinging swords like you've done it for years."
"Centuries!" Carl corrected.
A moment later, he declared himself done. Carl began lugging bags to the door after throwing a few more at his friend. It was tedious work and none of them spoke while they did it. They came across few monks and holy men who gave them scathing glances but did not stop them in their actions.
"I always thought he was hostile one!" Carl gasped between breaths. "Always looked at me funny."
Van Helsing recalled calmly, "You did electrocute him."
The hunter sounded merely bored. Carl was in stitches and immediately cursed Van Helsing for being fit. The string of obscenities only strove to amuse the man even more. The sight of one the passages that led to the outside quietened the matter.
"Wait, stop," Van Helsing commanded.
Carl dropped his bags with pleasure, but snapped, "The Cardinal will be already running from his room."
"It'd take him half a year," Van Helsing dismissed. "Are you going to wear that?"
The hunter gestured at the religious wear. Carl was rather fond of his friar robes. He thought they made him look somewhat intelligent. He paused in his indecision.
I'm a man of God, Carl debated rapidly with the other half of himself.
And you still are, Faramir told him. But you are not suited to walk the path of a friar.
Dammit, I know that! Carl thought furiously.
"I'll change later," he said out loud. "Cardinal Jinette is still in possession of two legs and a mouth. We must hasten."
"I could sleep for a million years!" declared Carl, staring up at the ceiling of the room they'd coined for at an inn.
Van Helsing was checking over his weapons carefully by the sounds of the clicks coming from the window side of the room. The hunter seemed unaware that Carl had spoken at all.
Oh, you've got to hand it to him, Carl sighed mentally. He's good at what he does.
He waited. He was not disappointed.
So what's it to be, friar? Whether you like it or not, you're me.
Leave me alone, Carl rolled over and clamped his hands over his ears.
You have a different path, Faramir insisted. You're a hunter. We always were.
"AH!" Carl yelled out loud and toppled off onto the hard wooden floors. "STAY OUT OF MY HEAD!"
Van Helsing looked at him in surprise and ran to his assistance. He asked in concern, "Are you alright?"
Carl ignored him and went straight for Van Helsing's single bag, pulling a shirt and a pair of trousers out. He was dismayed to find the little collection of clothes that his companion did have was mostly black and worn.
"Don't peek!" Carl demanded and went about pulling his robe off.
A few minutes later, he bullied Van Helsing into a pair of boots, trying hard not to look at his former garments that were thrown into a desolate pile. Carl tightened the last string on the boots.
"What was all that about?" Van Helsing wanted to know, eyes narrowed with unease. "I believed it would be harder than this to convince you to discard that robe."
Carl strode up to him and jabbed a finger at his own temple. "You do not have voices in your head from the man you were centuries ago! You do not have him hounding you to pick up a sword and hunt!"
Carl was frazzled in the worst degree. He shot a glare at his companion which dared the other to argue. Van Helsing said with a smirk, "Hearing voices is the first sign of insanity."
"I know that, dammit!" Carl cursed and liked doing so.
Van Helsing knew at once he was on safe territory again. He rubbed his hands together. "Have you formulated a plan for whatever we're going to be doing for the rest of our partnership?"
"Now that you mention it…"
Carl mused to himself for a moment, paced the room for a few more moments and sat down in the middle of the squalid room. He crossed his legs.
"Right," he said. "I believe you want to remain in the business of ridding the world of evil. To do so, I'll need a lab meaning we need some sort of headquarters. For that, we need some quid." Carl paused and savoured the word again. "Quid. We should take up bounties – only evil and such of course!"
It was just as well he added that, for Van Helsing's eyes had glowed gold. Carl gave him a dirty look and continued, "We need new names. You can think yours up, I've settled on Faramir for myself."
"I'm not a mercenary," Van Helsing grumbled.
"For the time being," Carl reminded him, then took a breath. "Also – would you mind teaching me how to fire a pistol?"