"Let's try this way," Sophie said, pointing to the twisted right tunnel. Langdon sighed. He was going to suggest going the other way, but when it came to life-and-death decisions, he wasn't taking any chances. He grabbed Sophie's hand and together, they ran into the pathway…
Vittoria, Bryan, and Greg jumped at the voice, and they didn't seem to know where it came from. Laughing aroused, cold, dark, laughter which reverberated off the stone walls of the basilica. Whoever, it was, he seemed to be everywhere.
"Come to rescue, have we?" a different voice this time, a much higher, shriller tone. "You fools!" More laughter.
"ENOUGH!" another yelled. "It's time."
A sound came from the middle of the church. It sounded like a strike of a match. All of a sudden, a fire seemed to explode up. Vittoria shrieked, and Bryan held Greg and her back. The paintings on the walls seemed to glimmer back; some of the faces looked demonic. Greg gasped in horror as the fire jumped higher and higher, feeding off the oxygen and the wood from the pews.
In the glimmering light, Bryan saw about ten people. A man, who Bryan guessed was Ben Hanson, the man who Alex had said was behind this whole ordeal. The man's eyes radiated power.
"You escaped." A growl emerged from his throat. His hands were clenched into fists. "I don't know how, but then again, I don't care! Guards, seize them."
Quicker than lightning, Vittoria, Bryan and Greg were enclosed in a circle. Bryan was held at gunpoint, Vittoria was pressed against another man's chest, and a knife was held to Greg's neck.
"Please," Bryan rasped. "Let my son go. Let him live!"
Ben Hanson scoffed. "Oh, sure, just let him go. After he's seen everyone and everything? Never."
The fire sparked behind them, building and gaining heat. Vittoria winced as some embers blew close to her. Ben noticed and smirked.
"What do you think the fire's for, Ms. Vetra?" he growled at her and stepped dangerously close to her. She never answered, but she glowered at him. "You'll find out soon," he spoke in a chilling voice.
Sophie and Robert dashed through the seemingly-endless tunnels through the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. Sophie sensed they were almost there…
The large doors blew open, the harsh winds of the D.C night swirling around Bryan and his family. The person who was standing in the doorway was…a woman.
She had dark blond hair, styled into a sleek, high ponytail. Skinny jeans seemed to fit perfectly on her legs, and she made a simple white shirt and blazer look stylish.
Her high heels clicked across the stone floor as she strutted over to everyone. Greg noticed that everyone was bowing, murmuring, saying how glad they were to see her. Everyone except Ben, that is.
His eyes instantly connected with her bluish-gray ones. "Regina," he spoke to her as if a lover. "Ben," she replied, in a tone similar to his. "Is everything prepared?" she said as she gazed at everyone.
Her eyes narrowed when she saw Greg, Vittoria, and Bryan. "What are they doing here? Shouldn't they be dead?"
Ben looked flustered, and sent a glare to them. "Yes but…Alexandria…"
She held up a manicured hand to stop him. "Say no more. Although it is not ideal, I think it could work to have them watch. Crush their spirits, you know?"
"What?" Bryan asked. "What do you mean?
But they ignored him and the others inquisitions. "Get her ready!" Regina snapped, waving her hands at a few vacant Illuminati members, who scrambled around.
The fire rose higher and higher, and as Vittoria looked over at her husband and Greg, she saw fear flash across their faces. All of a sudden, they heard a scream…
Sophie and Robert both heard the scream before it echoed down the tunnels. It shook them to the core, because they had only heard that shriek once before. Sophie closed her eyes, trying to stop any memories from only a couple months ago…
…Robert finding Alexandria, and when she tried to get away so she wouldn't hurt us…
…the bomb exploding, her screams of pain and fear as she was thrown across the room…
Robert grabbed her arm, which jolted her back to the present. "Here!" he shouted, pointing to a metal door and throwing the latch over. The scream was heard again, more agonizing and heart-breaking then before.
Greg looked around uneasily, unsure where the voice of terror was coming from. He looked at his dad. And then at Vittoria. They were staring at the same place…the ceiling.
Greg glanced up, and immediately wished he hadn't. He looked in horror as he saw Alexandria pushed off a balcony! "Alexandria!" he shouted, straining against the man who had a tight grip on him.
But instead of plummeting to the floor as expected, Alexandria only made one-thirds of the drop. Suspended by metal chains, she hung by her wrists, her limp body dangling dangerously close to the flames. Vittoria looked horrified, tears running down her face. Bryan seemed to be gagging, the sight to much for him to take.
"Behold," Regina spoke mockingly. "A descendent of Jesus Christ!"
As if on cue, a door located in one of the small chapels seemed to burst open…
Robert staggered back at the too-familiar fumes of smoke. "What is going on…?" he wondered out loud, and then he saw the fire. "NO!" he roared. Sophie, wide eyed, broke into a run, and almost collapsed at the sight of her daughter awaiting her death. "Oh mon Dieu! Alexandria!" her voice rang out into the basilica.
They ran forward, not stopping for one second. Regina looked a little stunned, then remained her composure.
"Ah, Cousin Sophie, remember me?"
Alexandria felt tears of fear cascade down her face. Traumatized by what was below her, she forced herself to look up.
"Alexandria!" she heard her name being called. Sophie pushed through the crowd and stared up at her daughter. The man across the balcony pulled on her chains, threatning to pull her arm out of her socket.
"You call this woman your mother?" the woman with blond hair and a snotty attitude asked shrilly. "You don't know one thing about her. Or you."
"She's part of the Bloodline, that I've suspected you've known…but so are you Alex."
Over the crackling of the fire, Alex wondered if she had heard her correctly.
"Part of the Bloodline.. that explains a lot doesn't it? But to me, to all the Illuminati, you're nothing but a mistake…"
Alex whipped her head to face the woman, and even from where they were standing, everyone could see anger flash in her brown eyes.
"Your 'mom' isn't real. Who would want you? Why? Hell, I know I never did." Regina spoke. "I'm your real mom," her lip curled in disgust. "Unfortunately, I can never seem to erase a mistake."
"I hate you! Je vous déteste! You ruined my life! I couldn't trust anyone for ages! I never knew what love was like! Or what parents are supposed to be!" Alex kicked and thrashed around, trying desperately to escape. No more tears ran, she was angry then she had ever been.
"LOVE? There is no such thing as love; love is a myth. And let me tell you something, Alexandria, just because you are part of the Bloodline doesn't make you any more a mistake."
Regina turned to her fellow Illuminati members, as well as Robert and Sophie, who were by know held with guns to their heads,
"Pregnant, are we Sophie?" Regina teased. "I would try to change that as soon as I can, if I were you. You wouldn't want a child like Alexandria."
"You don't know Alex," Robert spat back.
In the meantime, Alex was trying to avoid the lapping flames emerging very close to her. All of a sudden, the sharp pain returned to her stomach. She gasped and pulled her knees up to her stomach. It was blurring her vision and making her nauseous. Alex coughed and tried to slow down her breathing, but the pain overtook her, more and more.
The heat of the flames created tiny beads of sweat on her forehead, but yet, she shook with fear and anger. Why had she dragged Vittoria, Greg, and Bryan into this? Was all of this her fault?
Regina rolled her eyes. "It's better if I don't. She's a failure, a mistake, a burden. I mean, how could adopt that little chienne?"
Sophie's green eyes looked furious, dangerously flickering. "How could you? Just leave the family so many years ago. You had an obligation!"
"You are so naïve!" Regina shot back. "Do you think I want all the responsibility that comes with the Bloodline? What do I want anything to do with the Priory? Or you? Or my family? Who cared about me? NO ONE. How stupid are you to even believe in this crap?"
"Marcelo!" she snapped at the man who held onto Alexandria's chains. "Do it now!"
"Wait!" Alexandria pleaded. She ignored the lapping flames which were creeping closer and closer to the flesh.
"How dare to talk to my parents like that! They saved me! To even think that you have the RIGHT to insult them in mind-boggling. And you say there's no such thing as love! You," her voice cracked, full of despair and emotion. "Were a heartless woman who never deserved to be a mother. I-I may have been a mistake," her voice shook. "And I may be adopted, but no one should be treated like you did me. Admit it, you wanted to kill me as soon as you found out! No such thing as love! This comes from the woman who does not even know the meaning! I know the kindest, most caring, most beautiful on the inside and out people that only seem to be visible in fairytales!"
Alex turned now to Bryan, Vittoria and Greg, who were standing horrified at the scene unfolding before them. "I'm so sorry I got you into this. Please know I am eternally sorry and," a sob seemed to emerge from her throat. "I'll miss you."
She turned back to Robert and Sophie. "Thank you, for-for everything. I love-" she was cut off by her own scream, the chains letting go, her body dropping free and plummeting to the fire. Her scream was silenced immediately, and the fire's flames grew higher.
"My mistake," Regina spoke in a haunting voice.