It’s finally time to return to this story, using Linda G Hill‘s SoCS prompt for the week and it’s a tough one;
” “which/witch/wich.” Start your post with the word “which” and try to fit the word “witch” in somewhere if you can. Bonus points if you use a word that ends in “wich.” As an added rule this week, you will lose all the points you’ve ever earned if you type “which witch is which” anywhere in your post. “
Yes ma’am, I’ll do my best…
The Accumulator, part forty seven.
“Which part of ‘don’t try anything’ did you not understand?”
Patrick leans over the low stone wall, peering down into the well, while Adam stands with his arms outstretched, like a conjurer about to vanish a glamorous assistant in a puff of smoke, shouting irritably into the darkness.
“I told you, I’ll vaporize you and we’ll take our chances with the hatch, so stop stalling and enter the damn code.”
The voice of the Department man echoes up the shaft, losing none of its sneer in the process.
“I can’t help it if they changed it, can I? Zap me if you like, but there’s nothing I can do without the new code.”
Carlisle, listening to this exchange from his position surveying the yard, speaks without turning round.
“He’s lying, splat him.”
“Right you are…”
Adam pulls up his sleeves and flexes his fingers as a panicky shout comes from the well.
“Wait, wait, what are you doing?”
“My friend here says you’re lying, so you’re dying.”
“Why would I lie, what good would that do me?”
“Maybe you think you can keep us here until backup arrives, I don’t know. But nobody is coming, so open the fucking hatch, I won’t tell you again.”
“They’d trust me not to lead you up here, so it must be a security sweep in case your friend has access, they’ve probably changed all the entry codes.”
Patrick looks at Adam.
“Sounds plausible, they must know Carlisle might have inside info…”
Carlisle laughs and strolls over, speaking into the black hole of the well with a grin and a wink at Adam.
“They’d give a team like yours a one-time code, specific to the mission, only cancelled when it’s complete, correct? Changing it when your team is already in play and without a confirmed termination, that would only happen if the team itself was compromised. I don’t think you had a chance to get word out that you’d walked into a trap, so you’re lying; you have the code.”
There is only a brief hesitation, but it is enough.
“I told you, I…”
“Ok, then. Bye.”
“No, no, no, no, no, stop!”
Adam stretches out his right hand and points into the dark, a hazy white glow already jumping between his fingers as the Department man starts yelling and Carlisle knocks his arm sideways at the last second.
There is a noise like a firecracker going off and a chunk of stone the size of a cricket ball ricochets off the wall an inch from where Patrick is leaning and clatters down the well.
“Ow, ow, fuck! Ok, ok, I’ll tell you. Just stop him, will you!”
Carlisle grins at Adam and winks again.
“Just open the hatch, there’s a good boy, we don’t have all day.”
“I’m doing it, ok? Look I’m doing it now…”
Our view changes and we cut to a shot looking straight down the well. We see a powerful flashlight come on, lighting up the bottom of the shaft. The Department man glances nervously up at us, places the light on the ground and moves to the door of the hatch, entering a code on the panel beside it.
He reaches for a lever on the hatch and pulls, then again, harder. Looking up with a puzzled expression, he opens his mouth to speak when there is a loud CLICK. He smiles with relief and turns to the door, reaching again for the lever…
Then: blinding white light and the hollow, concussive thud of a contained explosion. A cloud of dust billows up towards us and we see Patrick and Adam pull back from the edge, before the cloud explodes from the top of the shaft, enveloping us and and everything else.
We hear Carlisle’s laconic voice;
“I guess they didn’t trust him as much as he thought.”
…as the screen fades to black.
Scene: At the bottom of the well.
Carlisle climbs down the last few rungs of the ladder, set in the stone wall next to the hatch and mostly intact, joining Adam and Patrick in the cramped, scorched and…messy space, in front of the gaping hole where the hatch used to be.
They had waited nearly ten minutes, expecting to be overrun by Department security at any second, but it seemed as though no alarm had been raised by their unfortunate hostage’s unsuccessful attempt to gain entry.
Adam had most succinctly summed up their options.
“The most likely explanation, of course, is that it’s a trap. But since we want to get in there and they clearly want us to go in, why not accept their invitation and see what they have to say?”
“I’m not sure they’re interested in talking, as much as they are in killing us and getting on with taking over the world, or whatever these lunatics are up to, but I see your point. I’m in.”
Carlisle shook his head.
“You’re both fucking mad, but I may as well see it coming, rather than look over my shoulder for the rest of my life. Let’s finish this.”
Which is why they are now creeping down the silent concrete corridor where we last saw Dorn make his hurried exit, heading for the suspiciously unguarded and open door at the end.
When they arrive at the doorway, through which the sound of a crackling fire can be heard, Carlisle motions for Patrick and Adam to wait, shrugs and takes a deep breath. Then he steps through the door and swings his gun round, pointing at someone in the room we cannot see.
Scene: Inside the bunker room.
When Carlisle steps through the door, the first thing he sees is The Woman. Standing in front of a roaring fire in that huge hearth, her back to him, smoking a cigarette in an ivory holder, she watches him with those dark, cold eyes in the mirror above the mantlepiece.
At this moment she reminds him of the Wicked Witch in Sleeping Beauty, (or was that Snow White, he could never remember?) as calculating and deadly as an assassin, with a matter-of-fact indifference to life that is somehow more chilling than any amount of bloody violence.
She smiles and turns towards him, her hands held out to her sides in an open, non-threatening pose he knows to be entirely deceptive.
“Hello Philip, it’s been a long time.”
Carlisle winces and slowly shakes his head, never once moving his gun from where it’s pointed, right between her eyes
“Nobody calls me that anymore, you know that.”
“Oh of course, how silly, please excuse my manners, what was I thinking?”
She waves a hand in the direction of a table on the other side of the room and Carlisle risks a look, seeing a selection of cold food and drinks has been arranged there. The woman smiles and nods at the open door.
“I was expecting you, that can’t really be a surprise, Philip, you don’t usually miss much. Now, you must be hungry, why don’t you ask your friends if they’d like a sandwich?”
To be continued (using next weeks week’s prompt)…
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Thanks, this was a fun one to write