Beneath The Planet Of The Apes

Beneath The Planet Of The Apes by Michael Avallone

Book: Beneath The Planet Of The Apes by Michael Avallone Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Avallone
gratified though nothing had changed, nodded eagerly. The chamber didn’t seem so terrifying any more.
    “Yes. Two days ago.”
    The fat man intervened. “What did you see?”
    Brent dodged that, side-stepping the question.
    “You’re talking . . .”
    The elder statesman nodded cheerfully. “Certainly, we can all talk. A rather primitive accomplishment. We use it when we have to. I, Caspay, consider it a vulgar thing.”
    “When we pray,” the fat man interjected again.
    “When we sing to God,” the Negro said fervently.
    Then all of them, all five on the dais, made the hateful Sign of the Bomb. Brent winced, in memory of that sleek monster atop the high altar of the cathedral. St. Patrick’s—my God!
    “Your God—what a joke! You worship something we made two thousand years ago. An atom bomb!”
    The fat man heaved a long and ponderous sigh. The folds of his fat stomach wriggled beneath his red robes.
    “Ah. You’ve seen the Bomb, Mr. Brent.”
    “Above the altar in your cathedral. An obscenity . . .”
    All the inquisitors rose as one in response to his heated indignation. Their faces were ominous. Even Caspay was no longer smiling. Regal Mendez rose like a lean colossus, his eyes flashing.
    “Mr. Brent, you have beheld God’s instrument on Earth!” he intoned majestically. He motioned his fellow inquisitors to be seated. He alone remained standing.
    He looked down at Brent.
    “For it is written that, in the First Year of the Bomb—the blessing of the Holy Fallout descended from above . .
    “What kind of nonsense is that?” Brent interrupted harshly. Mendez ignored him.
    “. . . and my people built a new city in the blackened bowels of the old . . .”
    “Nonsense!” Brent roared, trembling, angry.
    “Blessed be the Bomb Everlasting—” Mendez droned on.
    “Utter nonsense . . .”
    “. . . to whom alone we may reveal our inmost truth, and whom we shall serve all our days in peace.”
    “Until you fire it at the apes,” Brent concluded sarcastically.
    There was fresh silence at that. Mendez then stirred. His deep eyes held strange lights in them.
    “You don’t understand.” With a rustle of his purple robes, he sat down again. “The Bomb is a Holy Weapon of Peace.”
    Brent began to laugh.
    He couldn’t help it.
    Amusement shook him. A terrible humor that put aside all concern for his own safety. The Negro shut his eyes. Quickly. Sadly almost.
    More pain, more mental injections of torture, made Brent a writhing, twisting, burlesque of a human being on the floor of the chamber. Animal sounds tore from his throat. He sounded half bestial.
    The Negro waited a full minute and then reopened his eyes.
    “We’re a patient people, Mr. Brent,” he said softly, his voice nevertheless filling the chamber. “We can repeat this little lesson as often as we want. Because we are determined to know what the apes want. War, or peace.”
    Brent waited for the waves of agony and nausea to recede. He recovered more slowly this time. He propped himself up on his hands and knees, fighting off hysteria. Caspay’s puckish voice came down to him, reprovingly.
    “Try to understand—the only weapons we have are purely illusion.”
    Albina’s soothing contralto filtered down too.
    “You imagined he was hurting you.”
    Brent smiled at her crookedly, shaking his head.
    “Because I imagined I was hurting you,” the Negro explained without malice. “Are you in pain now?”
    “No,” Brent admitted.
    “No imaginary bones broken? Or blood flowing?” The Negro’s voice took on echoes of sadism; he was enjoying his thoughts. “Or eyeballs bursting? Or guts spilling?”
    “No,” Brent said, louder than before.
    “Then I have hurt but not harmed you,” the Negro affirmed.
    Albina smiled triumphantly.
    “Traumatic Hypnosis is a weapon of peace.”
    Caspay’s eyes twinkled mysteriously.
    “Like the Visual Deterrent.”
    Before Brent had time to ask what that was, there was a mammoth whooosh of sound

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