Off we go again, for another (very late) paddle in the shallows of SoCS, fishing for the next installment of this story, using Linda G Hill‘s prompt as bait;
” “well.” Use it any way you like. “
Is that all? Ok then…
The Accumulator, part forty six.
Scene: Interior of The Department hit squad’s car. Patrick is driving, with Carlisle beside him and Adam in the back seat with the bound and gagged squad leader.
It is just after dawn, there is a light mist in the air and our view into the car is from a rear-facing camera mounted on the bonnet.
As Patrick drives slowly along a wooded track, we watch him through moving reflections of lush green foliage, trailing tendrils of ivy and a canopy of tall trees, all of which are stretched by the curve of the windscreen as they arc overhead.
Then the camera begins to rotate, moving smoothly through a hundred and eighty degrees until it faces forward, just as the track opens out to reveal a circular clearing in the trees and the car slows to a stop, engine idling.
Directly ahead of us is a narrow wooden stile, partially hidden by the overgrown beech hedge into which it is built and the silvery timbers of the fence and its rough steps seem to be the only other exit from the clearing.
The engine dies and we hear car doors opening and closing, the silence of the morning only broken by a few early birds and the sound of wind in the trees.
Patrick and Carlisle appear on either side of the screen as they walk round in front of the car; they move cautiously towards the stile, each of them training a salvaged Department pistol on the dark gap in the hedge as they advance.
They take up position on each side of the opening and Patrick looks back towards us and nods, obviously to Adam, as we cut to…
A wider angle shot, taking in the whole scene, including the car; we see Adam, pushing the barely-conscious Department man ahead of him, holding on to his shoulder to prevent him from falling as he staggers across the uneven grass of the clearing.
They reach the hedge and Adam looks at Patrick, keeping the former squad leader between him and any unseen threat in the darkened woods beyond, then pushes his prisoner forward.
The man grunts through his gag, tries to twist his head round to look at Adam and receives a swift crack on the head with a gun for his trouble.
“I said climb, shithead.”
“Right, do as you’re fucking told then.”
The man puts his right foot on the first of the two wooden steps on this side of the stile and Adam supports his weight as he climbs up, swinging his left leg over to straddle the fence.
“Ok, look at me.”
The man turns a baleful glare on Adam.
“Oh, you can look as pissed off as you like, but I just want you to know that I’ll shoot you if you even look like you’re going to make a run for it. Believe me?”
After a short hesitation the man nods and Adam continues.
“You are going to climb over and walk two paces forward, then you’re going to lie face down on the ground and stay the fuck there until one of us tells you different. Ok?”
Another sullen nod and the man awkwardly climbs down into the dark, drops onto the woodland floor with a rustle and snap of breaking twigs and waits in silence to see what comes next.
Carlisle looks at the other two with a grin.
“He didn’t get blown to pieces, that’s something, I suppose. Unless they have the place staked out, of course, in which case we’re screwed anyway.”
“Only one way to find out…”
Patrick takes a step back and levels his gun at the gap above the fence.
Carlisle shrugs and disappears into the dark. Adam goes over next, Patrick takes a final look at the car which blocks the mouth of the narrow track, digs the keys out of his pocket and throws them as far as he can into the trees, then he too vanishes and before long, silence returns to the woods.
Scene: A derelict farmhouse, roof mostly missing, windows smashed, evidence of old fire damage on one end. Outbuildings scattered around an overgrown yard in a similar state of disrepair; an old well, winch and bucket still intact, stone wall crumbling, stands alone in a corner. The rising sun is just beginning to burn off the early morning mist.
A slow pan of the perimeter reveals a broken gate and collapsed fencing, doing little to deter trespassers, should anyone think it worth the trouble, but it seems nobody has been here for years.
Movement on the left draws our attention to four figures emerging from the treeline by the farm gate, one of them being pushed ahead of the other three, hands tied behind him, a gag over his mouth.
We now cut to a close tracking shot of the four men, as they arrive at the dilapidated gate and drag it, screeching, out of the way, making their way carefully across the yard, scanning the surrounding buildings for danger.
“Wait a minute.”
Patrick stops and turns to the Department man, staring at him for a moment before reaching up and loosening the gag. The man stares back at him, maintaining eye contact as he spits on the ground at Patrick’s feet.
“Right, you’re on. Where to now?”
The man jerks his head towards the well.
“Over there, there’s a hatch.”
“Don’t go giving too much away, will you.”
Standing behind him, Adam gives him another friendly tap on the head with his pistol.
“Ow! Fuck you! Ok, ok! Jesus, alright…There’s a hatch at the bottom of the well, ok? There’s a ladder down the side, but you need a code.”
Patrick looks over at the well.
“And you have the code, correct?”
Adam leans forward and speaks quietly, his lips an inch from the man’s ear.
“Answer the man. Ooh, and here’s a little clue; the answer is ‘Yes, sir, Patrick”, in case you were thinking of being a hero.”
“I have it.”
“Oh you little rebel. But that’ll do, I’ll let you off with that.”
“You believe him?”
Adam looks at Patrick, then at Carlisle.
“You know anything about this?”
Carlisle shakes his head.
“Nope. Mind you, I’ve been out of the loop a long time and they never tell plebs like me stuff we don’t need to know. Sounds like their style, though, they love all that Man From U.N.C.L.E. bullshit.”
“No problem, we have a volunteer here, don’t we, Mr Black Ops?”
Adam leads the Department man over to the well, pulls out a knife and prepares to cut his hands free.
“Hang on, how do we know he’s not going to just go down there and hit the alarm?”
Adam gives their unwilling accomplice an appraising look. Then he looks around the weed-choked yard until he sees something in the long grass and walks over to pick it up. He stands up holding a rusted milk churn, which he places on a low wall about twenty feet away. When he comes back to the well, he smiles and nods to the rusty metal cylinder.
“Since you were already in dreamland when your buddy got splattered, back at the house, I think you’ll benefit from a demo, watch this…”
Adam stretches out one hand and, with the merest flick of his fingers and a tinkling, tearing noise, the churn is transformed into a cloud of metallic splinters and vanished.
Straight away, Adam can see the message has got through; the man has gone a deathly shade of white and he appears to have trouble catching his breath.
“Yes, your colleague was liquefied, so unless you’d like to see what it’s like to go through the blender, I suggest you don’t try anything. I’ll be right up here, looking down on you to make sure you behave, so you’d better be very careful not to make me suspicious, I have a bit of a hair trigger.”
“Alright, stop showing off, are we ready to do this?”
“Just say the word, boss.”
Patrick gives him a look that says “Fuck you”, beckons Carlisle over to join them and they all watch the man The Department sent to kill them climb over the low wall and descend into the gloom.
To be continued using (next week’s prompt)…
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