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Stream of consciousness (not)Sunday (2): The Accumulator, part ten…

15 Nov

Ok, so having two days off in a row just means more procrastination and an extra-late episode of SoC-not really-S, but I’m here now so it’s time to continue this story, with help from Linda G Hill, once again using her prompt;

” “mem.” Choose a word or words with the letters “mem” in that order and run with it. “

Right, where were we..? Oh yes, I remember…

The Accumulator, part ten.

Scene: A quiet country road, lined with beech hedges and dappled with broken shade from a natural tunnel of overhanging trees. Green fields flank the road on either side and cattle can be seen roaming the distant hills. Patrick and his former nurse are hurrying along the road, occasionally glancing behind them to check they aren’t being followed. It is eleven years ago.

“Can we slow down a bit now?”  

The young woman, who Patrick has been privately referring to as ‘Philippa’, since his incarceration by The Department more than a year ago, stops for a moment and leans on a gate post. She bends down and takes off one of her perilously high heeled shoes, shakes out a stone and slips it back on, then looks up to see Patrick striding ahead.

“Will you please wait!” 

“You think we should give them a chance to catch up, is that it?” 

Patrick snorts derisively, looks back over his shoulder but doesn’t stop to wait for her.

“Ok, look,” she says, almost stumbling in her haste to catch up, “I get it, you think I’m a pain in the arse, but I didn’t have to cooperate, you know. I could have just screamed bloody murder and brought all the guards running, then where would you be, huh? Dead, probably.”

He finally stops, turning to face her in the road as she totters to a halt, glaring defiantly, in front of him.

“You’re right.”  says Patrick, “Well, maybe half right. I reckon I’d probably be strapped to a bed, awaiting my next jolt of disciplinary electro therapy. I think they’d rather have me alive.” 

He grins nastily, “And you’d be straight back on the roster of experimental test subjects.”

“Well, yes, I…” she looks away from him, across the rolling countryside, red spots burning on her cheeks and tears welling up in her eyes, “I know, I didn’t…” 

She takes a deep, shuddering breath and tries again. 

“I was only there to do blood tests and hand out pills, I didn’t know what was going on there. We were all told it was some sort of private clinic for rich people, to get newly developed treatments that weren’t available to the public. That’s why we weren’t supposed to talk to the clients, because it was all so hush-hush, we even had to sign non-disclosure agreements when we started work there.”

“Wait, who are “we”?” asks Patrick, suddenly intent on what she is saying, “And what do you mean by, “clients”, you mean there were more patients like me in there?”

“All the nursing staff were hired at once, through an agency,” she replies, “we were all newly qualified, apparently it was part of a government initiative to get trainee nurses into full time employment. And yes, there had been several other residential patients before you, although you were the only one there recently, that I knew of, anyway. Oh, and my name is Cathy, not Philippa, I don’t know where you got that from.”

Patrick looks at her, smiles and holds out his hand.

“Nice to meet you, Cathy, what d’you say we start again with a clean slate?”

Cathy looks warily at his outstretched hand, as if it might explode, then looks embarrassed and Patrick laughs dryly.

“Ha! It’s ok, I’m not going to zap you, I’ve got my sinister new powers under control and besides, we may need them before too long and I don’t want to waste them on you, doing the old electric handshake trick, now do I?”

Cathy grins uncertainly and, tentatively at first, shakes his hand, gripping it more firmly when she is sure her hair isn’t going to stand on end.

Patrick looks down at her, frowning and rubbing the stubble on his chin thoughtfully.

“You all lived on site at the facility didn’t you, the nursing staff, I mean?” 

Cathy nods slowly, watching his face for a sign of where this is going.

“Well, it sounds to me as if they wanted staff with as little clinical experience as possible, to minimise a paper trail back to the outside world. Using an agency, probably a front for The Department anyway, would remove one more degree of separation from official records, making it all the simpler to cover up, should one or two of you mysteriously disappear, in execution of your nursing duties, so to speak.

Cathy shivered involuntarily and took one final look behind them, before squaring her shoulders and setting off after Patrick.

As they continue walking, albeit slightly more slowly to accommodate Cathy and her impractical footwear, we hear Patrick’s voiceover:

“I guess I shouldn’t have been so hard on her, I had trust issues back then. But as it turned out, it was Cathy who came up with a plan to get us some transport…”

Meanwhile, the scene changes; afternoon sunshine cross-fades into evening twilight and the country lane broadens into a two lane highway, still winding though open countryside, dotted with an occasional small village and the many scattered farms, barns and outbuildings that typify the rural English landscape.

We see that Patrick and Cathy have arrived at a road junction, lit by four streetlights at the centre of a small roundabout. They slow their pace as they reach the outer edge of the circle of bright light; the thought of stepping from the comparative invisibility of dusk, into that glare, just heightens the feeling of being fugitives.

There is no way to bypass the oasis of unwanted illumination, so after carefully observing the silent road for a moment, and as quickly as sore feet in high heels will allow, they make their way across the brightly-lit circle, toward the darkness on the far side.

Patrick The Narrator once more speaks up, taking us through the action as it unfolds:

“We were halfway across and I thought our luck was going to hold, then I heard the sound of a car engine, approaching from one of the side roads. I could already see lights, shining round the last corner that hid us from view and we were going to be lit up like the proverbial rabbits in the headlights.

Then Cathy dropped to the ground, right in the middle of the road.

“Quick!” she said, “Hide!”

I had no bloody idea what was going on.

“What?! What are you doing down there?”

“Trust me,” she said, “just get out of sight, you’ll know what to do.”

I dived into the tangle of long grass and brambles at the side of the road, just as the car pulled up to the junction, it’s headlights now shining directly onto Cathy’s motionless body. Nothing happened for a few seconds, then I heard someone opening a car door.

I peered through the undergrowth and saw a man of about thirty, wearing work overalls, climb out of the car, leave the engine running and slowly walk up to Cathy. He kept looking around him, then he knelt down and gently shook her by the arm.

“Miss? Miss, are you ok?”

I knew this was my chance, while his attention was focused on her, so I extricated myself as quietly as I could from my hiding place and crept up behind the unlucky good Samaritan.

I was reaching for his shoulder, when I noticed he still had his hand on Cathy’s arm. Remembering the effect it’d had on Endicott’s orderly when I’d used Cathy as a human lightning conductor, and conceding that I didn’t actually want to knock her into genuine unconsciousness, I loudly cleared my throat.

He jumped up like I’d already zapped him and span round to face me.

“Jesus Christ, you nearly gave me a fucking heart attack.” 

He stared aggressively at me, then started to turn, gesturing down at Cathy. 

“What are you doing, creeping around out here in the dark anyway? Is she with you?”

As he turned, he nearly tripped over Cathy’s legs and he stumbled, throwing his arms out to steady himself. 

It was almost too easy; I shot out my hand as if to steady him and he reflexively grabbed for it. One small jolt of energy later and he was in a gently twitching heap on the tarmac.”


Cathy lifts her head and looks round at her erstwhile rescuer, face down on the dotted white line in the centre of the road.

“It worked then?” she says, smugly. 

“He even left the engine running for us, how considerate of him.” 

“Yeah, alright, there’s no need to be quite so pleased with yourself,” replies Patrick, “I don’t actually enjoy doing that, you know.”

“Of course, I’m sorry.” Cathy looks contrite for a moment, then grins and says, “Still, it was a bloody good idea, wasn’t it?”

Patrick sighs.

“Yes, it was a wonderful idea. Now, shall we go?”

After dragging the unconscious driver to the safety of the roundabout, Patrick heads for the idling car and climbs in. He checks the fuel gauge as he waits for Cathy to adjust her seatbelt, seeing with relief that it shows just over half full.

“Right, let’s get this show on the road.” he says, grinning at his somewhat nervous-looking passenger. 

Patrick swings the steering wheel to the left and pulls out onto the main road.

“Next stop, Freedom Central.”

Which is when the rear windscreen shatters into a thousand shimmering pieces and what can only be a bullet embeds itself in the dashboard.

“Duck!” 

Patrick stamps on the accelerator and the car, some sort of pumped up boy racer hatchback, leaps forward into the darkness with a screech of burning rubber.

“Fuck!”

Cathy is clearly not impressed.

“I thought you said they’d want to take you alive?”

“Somebody obviously didn’t get that memo.”

**********

To be continued (using next week’s prompt {which can now be found HERE})…

#SoCS

Pingback (eventually) to Linda G Hill.




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5 responses to “Stream of consciousness (not)Sunday (2): The Accumulator, part ten…

  1. willowdot21

    November 15, 2016 at 20:05

    Love this!

     
    • dalecooper57

      November 15, 2016 at 20:06

      Ooh, goodie! Thanks, I like it, too.

       
      • willowdot21

        November 15, 2016 at 20:46

        all is well them!

         
  2. John W. Howell

    November 15, 2016 at 21:47

    I had to laugh at the thought of the hatchback leaping out of control. Good one, Dale.

     

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