Stream of Consciousness Sunday: Neighbourhood Watch.

Well, that didn’t take long, I’ve already had to graffiti Jily‘s new SoCS badge, (the arrival of which I’d somehow managed to miss for several weeks) but that’s not really a surprise, is it?

Anyway, now I’m back to my more regular Sunday slot, it’s time to start the new year with a new story, having finally finished my second improvised serial last week. So let’s see what Linda G Hill has left us in the way of inspiration this week;

” “eco.” Find a word that starts with “eco” or has “eco” in it, and base your post on that word. “

Hmm, fair enough…

Neighbourhood Watch.

Decorations from last night’s Halloween party still hung from the trees next door; grisly-looking skeletons rattling in the cold wind, red eyes flashing malevolently at Jamie and Phil as they hurried up the path to their front porch.

Phil glared at the detritus of beer cans and take-out containers which littered the neighbour’s yard, much of which had already blown onto their lawn. He was simultaneously appalled at such slovenly behaviour and relieved beyond measure that they had been away working and hadn’t been invited to the party, however unlikely that might have been.

Because, let’s face it, the chances of “The Queers” (as Jamie had heard them called, much to his amusement) being included in local social events, cook-outs or holiday celebrations were, thankfully, zero.

But hadn’t that always been the intention, when Jamie and Phil had chosen this conservative suburb of middle class, humourless, right wing, wannabe-white collar rednecks with ideas above their intellect?

A place where they wouldn’t merely blend into the background, but would actually be carefully ignored; after all, who wanted to stick their noses in the business of, well, you know…those people?…just imagining what they got up to was bad enough.

So they were tolerated, (they both had good jobs and money, which they flaunted with a casual vulgarity that at least earned them some sort of grudging respect from the other well-heeled vulgarians in the vicinity) but nobody made any effort to socialise, beyond the occasional mumbled “Morning” in the street or at the store, when it was impossible to avoid them without appearing openly rude or hostile.

Which suited Jamie and Phil just fine, because it meant they’d been able to carry on their lucrative sideline with no interference and minimal risk of discovery. In fact, they probably would have needed a body decomposing in the basement before anyone thought it worth the risk of entering their debauched lair to investigate.

And anyway, they weren’t that careless.

*****

Jamie threw his keys on the kitchen counter and dumped a bag of groceries next to them.

“So, you’re cooking tonight?”

Phil nodded as he started to load food into the refrigerator, then reached into his bag and looked at him with a smile.

“Yeah, I’ll do the linguini if you like, with the clam sauce?”

“Oh, yum! Right, I’ll grab a quick shower, you pour the wine and I’ll be back before you know it.”

Jamie blew him a kiss, shrugged out of his jacket and headed upstairs, leaving Phil to his pasta and clams.

*****

Sometime after midnight, Phil went out to pick up the party garbage from the lawn and saw a grey van he didn’t recognise, parked about thirty yards down the street. Noticing details like make, model and licence plate was second nature, but he didn’t sense any threat from the obviously empty vehicle, so after a final look round he turned off the porch light and returned to the warmth indoors.

Jamie had turned in soon after dinner, so he checked all the windows and doors, stopping in the hall to set the alarm and once again look across the street, to where the van was still parked, before going to bed himself. Nothing had changed and he guessed it belonged to one of the delightful neighbour’s drunken friends, who was probably still sleeping off the effects of the night before.

He found Jamie reading yet another of his apparently endless supply of “political thrillers”, which all seemed to have the same plot; a disgraced agent and/or assassin has to save an unbelieving agency and/or country from The Powers That Be, who want to rule it and/or blow it up, all with only a plucky sidekick for company and a tortured past threatening to catch up with him in the final act.

Phil thought they were all crap, but as Jamie said when he made fun of his literary choices; “We all need a bit of escapism in our lives, it helps me relax, that’s all.”

Which was fair enough, but you’d think he’d pick something a bit more, well, relaxing.

He climbed into bed and smiled as Jamie absently patted his leg with one hand, turning a page with the other, clearly engrossed. Phil leaned over and kissed his cheek, receiving a lop-sided grin in return, Jamie’s eyes never leaving his book.

Yawning, Phil reached for his laptop, which he’d left charging on the nightstand and was about to shut it down for the night, when he saw he had mail. He clicked on the icon and was suddenly less sleepy.

“Hey, looks like we’ve got a job.”

“Really?” Jamie looked at his watch, “It’s gotta be pretty urgent, they don’t usually leave it this late.”

“Well, we’d better see who it is then, hadn’t we?”

Phil opened the attached file with the laptop’s specially installed decoding software and began to read.

*****

It was true, Phil and Jamie’s neighbours weren’t the most enlightened folks, not when it came to, shall we say, diversity. But it wasn’t strictly true to say they were without humour. It was a mean-spirited, malicious kind of humour, to be sure, more like schadenfreude if we’re being honest, although it’s unlikely if any of them would recognise it as such, let alone be able to spell it.

So any chance to have a laugh at The Queers’ expense was too good to pass up, which goes some way to explain why Brad, their neighbour and “private security consultant”, was at that moment hunched over a closed circuit television monitor in his basement man cave next door; surrounded by the other white, middle aged, beer swilling, reverse baseball cap wearing, rabidly homophobic members of what we’ll assume he calls his “crew”, who are becoming increasingly rowdy.

Because Brad has had a brilliant idea for a Halloween prank and he’s called in a few favours from a similarly hilarious work colleague, whose camera feed they are eagerly waiting to watch.

“What’s the deal, Brad, I thought you were gonna show us something cool?”

“Yeah, Brad, what the fuck is the deal? Hahaha.”

Now they all get into the swing of it.

“What’s the fucking deal Brad! What’s the fucking deal Brad! What’s the fucking…”

“Yeah yeah, shut the fuck up, ok, it’ll be worth it, I’m telling ya. Just be fucking patient, alright?”

*****

Jamie looked up from the screen with a surprised expression, sitting on the edge of the bed while Phil read over his shoulder

“Wow, that is short notice. Tomorrow night, that’s cutting it really fine for recon, even if we do have his schedule.”

“I know, but they say all the assets are in place, all we have to do is get there and wait for him. Disposal could be a problem, but if we can make it look like an accident as they suggest, it might not be necessary.”

“A fire, perhaps?”

“Nah, too much attention, too much potential for collateral damage, he lives in an apartment block.”

“Upper floor?”

“Yeah, good idea, I like it. Right, suicide it is, then.”

Which was when they both heard it; a cough.

Coming from under the bed.

Instinct and ten years of surviving in the lethally competitive world of freelance hit men instantly took over.

Phil rolled to the left, Jamie jumped to his feet, laptop crashing to the floor but not before they each grabbed for the guns clipped to the underside of the headboard. Phil dropped to the floor and looked under the bed. He looked shocked and recoiled from whatever he saw there, then yelled;

“Knife!”

It was all Jamie needed, he fired three shots straight through the mattress without waiting for further instructions, only stopping when Phil held up a hand and there was a moment of silence as he reached for something Jamie couldn’t see.

“What the fuck?”

“What? What is it?”

Phil’s hand came up holding something white and floppy, which Jamie realised was some kind of rubber mask.

“Michael Myers, what the..?”

“Huh? What are you talking about?”

“It’s some guy in a Michael Myers mask. You know, the killer from Halloween?”

“I know who he is but, and this is the most important part; what the hell is he doing under our bed?”

Phil shook his head and grabbed hold of the man’s lifeless feet, dragging him out from under the bed, confirming, in case anyone was in any doubt, that he was very dead. Two holes in the chest and one in the face will do that, no question.

But, despite his recent ballistic makeover, he was still recognisable.

“For fuck’s sake, it’s Brad’s basketball buddy from work! What the actual fuck is going on here?”

He was right, Jamie had seen the hopelessly out of shape pair lumbering around under the hoop Brad had over his garage door, high-fiving each other like college jocks whenever one of them scored a lucky jump shot and trying not to look their age.

“He’s got a…what the hell?”

Phil suddenly rolled the body face down and looked up in shock at Jamie, who gave him a pained look.

“Dude, you’re getting blood all over the rug.”

Phil stood up, grabbed Jamie’s arm and put a finger to his lips, pulling him into the hallway outside the bedroom door, where he whispered urgently;

“He’s got a webcam on his chest, clipped to his jacket!”

“You’re kidding! My God, what was he doing here?”

“I don’t know, but that knife isn’t even real, it’s a toy. Jamie, we’ve got to get rid of the body before we…”

He stopped and looked thoughtful.

“Wait, I’ve got an idea, help me take that camera off him and we’ll get him wrapped up…”

*****

“Hey, you guys, shut up will ya! I’m trying to listen, someone’s talking, I think it’s one of those goddamn fags.”

Brad’s crew of upstanding heterosexual comedians turns their attention to the small screen on his work bench, eventually belching and farting their way to some semblance of quiet as their leader strains to hear the muffled sounds coming from the monitor’s tinny speaker.

“I can’t make it out; something about a fire in an apartment?”

“This is bullshit, I thought you said we were gonna prank The Queers, Brad, you told me…”

BANG

BANG

BANG

Brad almost falls off his stool.

“What the fuck was that?”

“Jesus fucking Christ, Brad, did Dougie go in there armed?”

“Don’t be fucking stupid, Jerry, you saw him, he had that dumb mask and a rubber knife. Dougie wouldn’t know one end of a gun from the other.”

“Then how do you explain that?”

A white faced Jerry points a shaking finger at the monitor and the rest of the crew stare at the black screen in shocked silence.

Suddenly there’s a change in the texture of the darkness on the monitor, followed by a flash of bright light. The camera takes a few seconds adjusting to the increased brightness, then the picture comes into focus.

“Is that a ceiling fan?”

“I think so…hey, it’s gone dark again, what’s going on?”

They wait for a full minute before anyone else speaks, then Brad clears his throat uneasily.

“I, um…I guess Dougie must’ve taken off without…I mean, he got out ok, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, must’ve, it was only a couple of queens, after all, what’re they gonna do, rape him? Hahaha.”

There is some half-hearted macho laughter, but something about this doesn’t feel good anymore.

“Well, good party, Brad, really. But I’m going to hit the road…”

“Yeah, me too, can I catch a ride, Jerry?”

“Sounds like it’s time to make tracks, Brad, my dude, laters.”

Minutes later Brad was alone in his man cave, yet he had a strong urge to look over his shoulder all of a sudden. He hurriedly disconnected the monitor cables and packed the equipment away, then turned off the lights and went upstairs to watch Game Of Thrones with his wife.

*****

When he returned to work on Monday and found Dougie absent from the office, Brad was nervous but not overly so.

“He’ll turn up when we’re all shitting ourselves and laugh at us all for worrying, you watch” he told himself and he nearly convinced himself, too.

Until he saw the newspaper headline, that really spoiled his day;

LOCAL MAN SHOT DEAD IN GAY LOVE PACT.
Dougie Randall, 43, was found dead in the apartment of the man police believe was his lover, Paul Hartwell. Both men had gunshot wounds and, although police describe the scene as “unusual”, they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the case…

************

#SoCS

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Stream of Consciousness Saturday: The Accumulator, part forty nine.

Yes, amazing as it may seem, the final SoCS post of 2017 is actually on time, on a Saturday.

Not only that, but my intention is to actually finish this long-running story by using Linda G Hill‘s last prompt of the year, which is;

“resolution.” Use it any way you’d like.

How very apposite. Right, let’s do this…

The Accumulator, part forty nine.

Scene: The bunker room.

The scene opens with a shot of the crackling log fire, as we hear a woman’s voice saying “Let me tell you about my sister and what she stood for, then maybe you’ll understand why I, too, have no choice and that you have to die.”

Then the camera rises until we can see all four occupants of the room, reflected in the mirror above the mantlepiece.

The Woman sits in an armchair in front of the fireplace and Carlisle stands opposite, gun still trained on her, silently looking for the slightest sign of deceit.

Patrick can’t disguise the look of disgust on his face as he watches the woman who has so completely destroyed his life, only Adam seems unconcerned by the whole thing, observing the others with apparent amusement, seemingly unaware of the tension in the room.

The tableau remains frozen for a few seconds, then The Woman laughs and continues in a relaxed voice, as if recounting a piece of particularly juicy gossip to a group of close friends over drinks.

“You see, it was all down to one random chance; that I wasn’t the one lying in some godforsaken warehouse with a hole where my spine should be; that Cathy isn’t the one sitting here now. If The Department had chosen her instead of me, groomed her to fulfill the destiny they choose for me, then perhaps both of us could have lived to see the final resolution of our lifelong project.

But she is dead. And you are all accountable for her death, you have caused the Accumulator programme untold damage, delaying our work for months, maybe years…”

Patrick cuts her off, the fury clear in his voice.

“While you ensnare some other innocent victim into your vile scheme, you mean?”

“Oh, please, don’t give me that holier than thou crap, you’ve done more than your share of killing, so don’t expect sympathy from me.”

“You stole my life, you bitch!”

Patrick goes for The Woman, his hands raised, but Adam steps forward and grabs him, looks him in the eye and shakes his head silently. Patrick turns against his grip, eyes now locked on the Woman’s calmly smiling face, but eventually he relaxes enough that Adam releases him and Patrick has to content himself with glaring at her from a distance as she resumes speaking.

“My sister sacrificed her entire life in the service of our work; before she could talk, The Department was preparing for her to become the perfect agent. Every last detail of her life was mapped out in advance, before she was even chosen, selected at random from a pair of newly-orphaned twin babies, so it could just as easily have been me.

The theory is that psychological programming from infancy is the only way to ensure total and unquestioning loyalty, so The Department decided to conduct an experiment; they took one twin and put her through the most intense and rigorous programme of mental and physical conditioning ever attempted, literally a lifetime of preparation, specifically designed to end in her being embedded with a test subject..”

She pauses and looks directly at Patrick, the same cool smile on her lips.

“…such as yourself and your new friend over there.”

She nods at Adam, who smirks but doesn’t rise to the bait.

Patrick clenches and unclenches his fists and stares silently at her, but he makes no further comment and The Woman continues.

“And the other twin? Well, I was given nothing but the very best of everything; adopted by a wealthy and influential family, the head of which, a government minister, was a long time supporter of the Department; enrolled in the best schools and provided with private tuition to further advance my studies; inducted into the Department’s executive branch at the unheard-of age of 21 and fast-tracked to Director in less than three years.

A test of the Nature vs Nurture theory, I suppose you’d call it. Is it best to involuntarily indoctrinate by force, or to gently guide the subject with stealth and calculated kindness? And which of those techniques are best applied to achieve the most useful results?

It turns out The Department had done their calculations very well indeed, the results couldn’t have been more successful; Cathy’s artificially structured and minutely programmed life was the most efficient way ever conceived to manufacture an undercover operative. Whilst the intellectual freedom and rarified existence I was given, despite the subtle influences brought to bear on my life choices, allowed me to develop the unique abilities required to run such a complex operation as the Accumulator programme.”

Patrick can’t help himself, he has to ask.

“So, what did I do to deserve the attention of your damn Department, what made them pick me?”

The Woman raises an amused eyebrow and shakes her head.

“Oh no, I’m afraid I can’t tell you that it’s classified.”

Adam laughs derisively.

“I thought we were all about to die, haven’t you watched any movies? The evil mastermind always reveals their cunning plan, before dispatching the plucky band of underdogs in an ingenious and grisly fashion.”

This is the moment the director chooses to daringly break the fourth wall and have The Woman deliver her line as an aside, straight into the camera, complete with a knowing wink.

“Ah, yes, but if I recall, those movies usually end with the plucky underdogs escaping at the last minute, with details of the cunning plan. That isn’t going to happen here, so the narrative doesn’t demand I reveal any such thing.”

Then she looks at Patrick and her expression changes, he voice takes on a wheeling, persuasive tone.

“I’ll tell you what, if only for your peace of mind, if you come over here I’ll whisper it to you.”

Carlisle shakes his head.

“You’ll do no such thing, stay right where you are, Patrick.”

“What’s she going to do, bite me? You know she doesn’t have a weapon, what’s the problem?”

“You don’t honestly think she’s going to tell you, do you?”

Patrick looks thoughtfully at The Woman and then at Carlisle.

“I don’t, no. But I’m curious to know what lies she’s going to tell me. I’ve learnt that I can tell a lot by the lies people tell me, over the years.”

Carlisle looks at Patrick, then at Adam, who shrugs a yes, then turns back to The Woman and takes a step closer to her chair, the gun never wavering.

“Ok, but if she tries anything I’m blowing her head off and not asking any questions later, so I wouldn’t get too close.”

“Fair enough, I’ll be careful.”

Patrick crosses the hearth rug and approaches the smiling woman who has been the unseen puppeteer in his life for so long. She sits upright in the straight backed chair, hands gripping the wooden mouldings that decorate its carved arms, as she watches his face with that knowing, almost serene smile.

Carlisle tenses, aware that she isn’t to be trusted, but unable to discern any specific threat. He is so focused on her face, waiting for a telltale sign of what she intends to do, that he almost misses it. She is an expert at misdirection, her eyes locked on Patrick’s face as he comes towards her, but they flick downward for a split second and that’s all the time Carlisle has to work it out.

A small black mark on the floor, barely noticeable if you weren’t looking for it and not in the least bit suspicious, but…she was looking at it, he saw her.

Carlisle looks back at her and just catches the movement of her right hand, twisting something on the arm of the chair as Patrick reaches the marked spot on the floor.

Carlisle doesn’t even bother pulling the trigger; he launches himself at The Woman, knocking Patrick sideways and only feeling the hot explosion of agony in his side as he crashes into her, pushing the chair backwards with his momentum before slumping heavily on top of her and lying still.

Adam sees Carlisle suddenly burst into action at the same moment he notices a brief flash and a shower of sparks from the fire, which seems to come from behind the flames. It’s only when Carlisle collapses and Adam sees the blood spreading from under his body that he makes the connection; she has somehow triggered a hidden weapon in the fireplace and Carlisle has just saved Patrick’s life.

Patrick sees what happens next from where he landed on the floor after Carlisle shouldered him out of the line of fire.

Adam looks at The Woman as she struggles to lift Carlisle’s dead weight from her legs and takes two short steps towards her.

She looks up at him as he reaches past her and grips Carlisle’s wrist, then he smiles at her and places his hand on top of her head, closing his eyes with an expression which Patrick will always remember as one of sublime relief.

The Woman’s face, however, registers a fleeting moment of horror as she realises her fate.

Then she starts to scream.

*****

Later, much later, when he had been able to sit and process what he had witnessed in that underground room, Patrick found the only way to explain what he’d seen was some kind of feedback loop.

That was how he could best describe the sight of Adam, eyes closed, head tilted back, peaceful look on his face, shuddering with the surge of Carlisle’s expended life force. Then he channeled the burst of lethal power into The Woman, down through Carlisle’s jerking corpse and back through his own body, completing some kind of self-sustaining cycle of death.

He staggered to his feet and backed away, watching in blank-eyed terror as the three figures took on a hazy, dirty yellow glow and the sickening smell of burning hair filled the room.

Just before Patrick had to look away from the seering white light for the last time, Adam’s eyes blinked open, two bright spots in a twisted and tortured face. He stared straight at Patrick for a second, then the eyes closed, he lowered his head and Patrick’s world turned into a white explosion of pain.

When he regained consciousness (he had no way of telling how long he’d been out) Patrick found himself alone in a smoke filled room with the only a wide black circle where the armchair had been, the stone of the floor seemed to have actually melted in places.

He eventually located the underground garage and, with no interference whatsoever from Department agents, simply drove away in one of their cars.

And now he was back where he started; a fugitive with nobody he could turn to and a secret so terrible he could never tell another living soul.

One of a kind.

Unique.

Alone.

The man who thought of himself as Patrick looked out of the window at the sparse mountainous landscape and wondered how long he would be safe here. Then he picked up an axe and went out into the bright winter sunshine to chop some wood for the stove.

*****

Under the trees at the edge of the woods, on the far side of the mountain valley, a man dropped a pair of high powered binoculars to his chest and made notes in small book which he stuffed in the pocket of his parka before keying a small radio.

“Control, this is Alpha two reporting: Subject is still performing within expected parameters.”

“Understood, continue observing but take no action. Control out.”

************

THAT’S ALL FOLKS.

#SoCS

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Stream of Consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part forty eight.

Ok, after a somewhat patchy schedule of SoCS posts, I’m back with the next chapter of this story, inspired by Linda G Hill and this week’s prompt;

” “psst, or any other attention-getting noise or word.” Find a word or noise that you’d use to get someone’s attention, and start your post off with it. “

Right you are, then…

The Accumulator, part forty eight.

Scene: The underground bunker.

“Oi, you two! Come on, you might as well join us, apparently we were expected.”

Carlisle lowers his gun as Adam and Patrick appear at the door, glancing suspiciously around them as they take in the unexpected opulence of the room.

When Patrick sees the room’s only other occupant he freezes, his mouth hanging open in shock.

“But…but you’re…I saw…how can you?…”

“Well, this is a twist I didn’t expect, I have to admit.”

Adam looks from The Woman to Patrick and back again, shaking his head in amusement at the shocked expression before turning to Carlisle with a smirk.

“So, Philip, aren’t you going to introduce us to your friend?”

The look Carlisle shoots him converts Adam’s smirk into a grin, before he turns to Cathy’s mysterious twin and bows his head politely.

“Perhaps the lady would be more inclined to make the introductions; after all, we are in her house now, gentlemen.”

“Anything she tells you, will be either a lie or a stall, while she thinks of a way to kill you. Don’t trust a word she says, I warn you.”

“Oh, Phi… I’m sorry, Mr Carlisle, I’m disappointed in you, whatever happened to that wonderful working relationship we built up?”

“Oh, I don’t know, maybe it was finding out you were experimenting on innocent civilians, or possibly it was when I found you’d put me on the termination list, take your pick, ma’am.”

The vitriol in Carlisle’s voice is obvious and, from the dangerous glint in his eye, it is clear just how close he is to losing control.

“I have no interest in your pretend humanity or hypocritical outrage, you’ve no claim to the moral high ground, not after all the things you and I have done in the name of progress.”

Carlisle looks at her for a moment, then the tension seems to drain from him and he sighs wearily.

“I’m not even going to argue, because you’re right, you know it, I know it, we all do. But enough is enough, we all have a limit and I’ve reached mine, I don’t feel the need to explain myself any further than that. You forfeited any loyalty I had to you when you sent a kill team after me, so now, all bets are off.”

Finally regaining his composure a little, Patrick points a shaking finger at the woman, who watches the three of them with cold detachment from in front of the fireplace.

“Who the hell is she?”

She pinches the end of her cigarette from its holder, tosses it into the crackling flames and immediately replaces it from a box on the mantlepiece, as Patrick moves closer to her, staring at her with a mixture of amazement and horror.

“It’s really very simple; you murdered my sister and now you are all going to die, that’s…”

“Wait a minute, we didn’t murder anyone, she betrayed us and we were about to use her as bait, but nobody was supposed to get hurt! She tried to escape, she nearly killed Adam, he had no choice.”

“No choice? No choice! No choice but to burn a hole through her chest? No choice but to rip her spine out? You fucking animals don’t deserve to live, any more than the scum Carlisle has been liquidating for me all these years.”

Patrick stares at her with

“You’re mad. How can you call this…this insanity, progress? It’s an abomination, what you did to me and Adam, it’s obscene, a curse.”

“Oh don’t make me laugh, you didn’t seem to mind when you were murdering your way round Europe with my sister, like some sort of Bonnie and Clyde with superpowers, did you?”

“There’s no comparison between that and what you did to us, I only killed when I was attacked and we only stole from criminals, it was a matter of survival.”

“Ah, so more like Robin Hood, is that it? A romantic notion, I’m sure, but I doubt the police would see it that way.”

“You aren’t going to be calling the police, so that’s hardly relevant.”

“No, I’m not, I’m just reminding you how hopeless your future is, how pointless it would be to think you can live a normal life at all.”

She moves toward Patrick, lighting her cigarette as she speaks, but stops as Carlisle brings his gun up, the barrel only inches from her head.

“You are so jumpy, Philip.”

She smiles at his reaction to the name and indicates a chair by the fire.

“Well if you’re not going to eat, at least we can be comfortable, won’t you sit down?”

“I’ll stand, thanks.”

“Suit yourself, I’ll sit, if that’s ok with you..?”

Carlisle walks over to the chair, feels down each side of the seat cushion and checks the side table until he is satisfied she doesn’t have a weapon hidden there, then motions for her to sit.

She taps her cigarette in a crystal ashtray on the table and looks up at Patrick with a tight, cold smile.

“She took you in completely, didn’t she? You really thought she loved you, you poor fool.”

Patrick holds her gaze and his voice no longer shakes when he speaks.

“Now I know she was your sister and what she stood for, I’m glad to find was lying, I would hate to think I had inspired any affection in the evil bitch.”

She becomes very still and her eyes seemed to bore into his, then she laughs and smokes for a moment, watching him thoughtfully as he glares at her.

“Let me tell you about my sister and what she stood for, then maybe you’ll understand why I, too, have no choice and that you have to die.”

************

To be concluded (using next week’s prompt)…

#SoCS

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Stream of Consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part forty seven.

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)…

#SoCS

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Stream of Consciousness Wednesday: The Accumulator, part forty six.

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.

“Climb.”

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.”

“Mmrghhow!”

“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.

“…After you.”

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?”

A pause.

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.”

Adam laughs.

“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 vanishes.

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 {which can now be found HERE})…

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part forty five.

Right, let’s get back into the swing of things and continue with this story, using Linda G Hill‘s SoCS prompt (provided by Joey from Joeyfully Stated while Linda is away, meeting her adoring fans on a book signing tour) which means that this week, our mission is to include;

” “save/safe” Use one or both. If you start and end with either of them, you’ll get bonus points. “

That doesn’t sound too difficult…

The Accumulator, part forty five.

Scene: Exterior of Carlisle’s safe house at night.

The unremarkable Victorian terraced house is immersed in the shadows, midway between two streetlights in a nondescript suburban residential road, the number, 42 is just visible against the peeling green paint of the front door, as the moon breaks through thickening banks of cloud.

Unlike many of its neighbours, which are warmly lit and occupied, have well-tended gardens and cars parked outside, no lights show in any of the widows of number 42, the tiny yard is untidy and overgrown and to the casual observer the house appears deserted.

However, this hasn’t deterred the four men in a car parked in front of the lockup garages just up the street, who are keeping a very close eye on it, indeed and the camera now focusses on them.

We watch from outside Carlisle’s house as the men climb out of the car, quietly close the doors and walk towards us. Stopping at the low wall and rusted iron gate which separates the house from the pavement, three pull guns from inside their identical black leather jackets and one swings a pump-action shotgun down from a shoulder strap.

The lead man nods to the others and they keep a watchful eye on the street as he steps forward and kneels in front of the door, places his gun on the step and takes a bunch of strange looking keys from a pocket. Selecting one, he quickly goes to work on the lock until there is an almost inaudible click and the door swings open.

*****

Now the director gets all creative again and we cut to…

Scene: A four way split-screen view of;
Carlisle – upstairs in the middle of the empty front bedroom, gun in one hand, phone in the other, eyes fixed on the screen;
Patrick – standing by the door in the kitchen, lit by the glow of a second mobile phone on the table, its screen showing a view of the hallway outside;
Adam – sitting on a wooden chair in the bathroom at the top of the stairs, facing the closed door, arms outstretched in front of him, an expression of concentration on his face.

The fourth view is of the front door from inside the house and, as the door silently swings open, the image expands to fill the lower half of the screen, as Carlisle, Patrick and Adam are shuffled into line at the top.

The leader, One, rises from the ground and, pistol held in front of him in an overly-dramatic, two-handed grip, sidles into the hallway. He sweeps the gun up the darkened staircase, back to the closed kitchen door ahead of him, then he slowly moves down the hall.

Two follows close behind and immediately takes up position by the door to the living room, on the left-hand side of the hallway.

Three creeps slowly up the stairs, shotgun swinging back and forth between the darkness ahead of him and the landing above, where the banister rail is silhouetted against moonlight coming in through a window in the back bedroom, the only room where the door is open (intentional, of course, designed by Carlisle to reduce the night vision of anyone climbing the stairs).

Closing the front door, Four watches Three get to the top of the stairs and flatten himself against the wall next to the bathroom door, then he follows and moves past him, bracing himself against the landing wall opposite the front bedroom.

We see all four men in position, the briefest of pauses, then;

One reaches for the kitchen door. He grips the handle in his left hand, raises his gun hand for a second, signalling Two to be ready, then brings it down sharply as he twists the handle and kicks open the door.

Two does the same at the living room; kicking open the door and moving inside fast, his silenced pistol spits rapid shots into the corners of the room, before he dives sideways, firing a final shot into the wall behind the door as it swings slowly shut.

Waiting at the top of the stairs for this cue, Three takes a step sideways and fires the shotgun at the centre of the bathroom door.

At the same time, Four lifts his right foot and kicks in the bedroom door. A burst of gunfire comes from inside, just as he fires into the darkness, but none of the rounds are aimed at him, so he takes a step into the room and looks down to see a mobile phone…

*****

On the top three screens, we see;

Carlisle – still staring at the phone screen, he watches as Two dives across the living room below him and tracks the movement with the gun in his other hand. As soon as Two stops moving, Carlisle fires half a dozen rounds straight through the floor as he throws the phone into the corner of the room and swings round to face Four, who looks in confusion at the phone’s cracked screen and, too late, sees movement from the corner of his eye. Carlisle puts a bullet between his eyes and he collapses.

We see Patrick, as he desperately grabs for the gun, after the door explodes inward and One follows it, he tries to jam his finger into the trigger guard and the weapon goes off, horribly loud in the enclosed space of the kitchen. He clamps his other hand on the man’s neck, forcing him round so they are face to face.

The gun goes off again, but their flailing sends the shot into the ceiling. Then Patrick hits One with a jolt of power and the man is thrown against the door behind him, falling heavily onto the kitchen counter and sliding to the linoleum floor unconscious.

Finally, Adam; sensing the man’s presence outside the bathroom, his eyes open and his hands snap upward, palms facing forward. A flash of silver ripples hits the door and goes through it in an unstoppable explosion of splintered, burning wood and molten lead from the man’s shotgun blast.

Three practically disintegrates in the lethal storm, (but only from the knees up, his feet and lower legs, boots intact, remain standing outside the door) just a few lumps of bone and shreds of material can be identified, after the cloud of blood clears and the beam of a flashlight cuts through the gloom from below.

Then Patrick’s voice, shaky but in control, for now.

“Jesus fucking Christ. Adam? You ok?”

“I’m ok, yes. Think I might have overcooked that one a bit.”

“A bit? Yeah, I’d say so.”

Carlisle steps out of the bedroom, reloading his pistol and looks at the devastation on the stairs.

“Bloody hell, Adam, you made sure of him, didn’t you? I’m fine, too, thanks for your concern, I’m touched, really I am. Now, did we manage to keep one alive?”

Patrick nods, his face pale and strained.

“Yes, the one in the kitchen is still breathing. I only gave him a small shock, but he’ll be out for a while yet.”

“Right, let’s get the fucker tied up and find their wheels, we can’t question him here after…this…”

Carlisle gestures around him at the gore-splattered walls and points to the pair of disembodied feet on the landing.

“You also better hope that poor sod wasn’t the driver, if the keys were in his pocket, we’re screwed, hahaha”

With that, Carlisle picks his way down the stairs past the worst of the carnage, mutters something about there being some rope under the sink and disappears into the kitchen.

Adam looks at Patrick and shrugs.

“He’s right, we’ve got to move, but I don’t think they had time to call for backup, do you? So for now, at least, I think we’re safe.”

************

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

Pingback to Linda G Hill.

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part forty four.

Welcome to this week’s quick SoCS post, brought to you from the unexpected sunshine of our back garden and by Linda G Hill‘s insistence that we use the following prompt to continue this story;

” “vol.” Find a word with “vol” in it, and use it in your post. “

Fair enough…

The Accumulator, part forty four.

Scene: An unfurnished living room. Bare walls and a worn carpet are visible in the grey light which filters through grimy windows. Our view is from the back of the room, an open door in the front left corner leads into the hall.

The camera moves towards the doorway as we hear approaching footsteps outside and see three silhouettes pass by the window. The footsteps come to a halt and a key rattles in the lock, just as we move out into the hallway and see the front door open.

“Watch the step, I’ll get the lights, hang on…”

“No, leave the lights off.”

“Ok, have it your own way. Kitchen’s out the back, I’ll just go up and turn the heat on, it’s bloody freezing in here.”

Adam and Patrick continue down the hall to the rear of the small terraced house as Carlisle heads upstairs.

We follow them into the kitchen and see Patrick check the back door. Finding it locked, he draws the blind over the only window, turns on the light and lifts a bulging carrier bag onto the table

“Well at least we have electricity.”

Adam turns a tap and, after a few seconds of coughing noises, discoloured water splutters out and eventually runs clear into the sink.

“I’ll put the kettle on. You want coffee?”

“Yeah, may as well, we aren’t going to be getting much sleep.”

Carlisle walks in and puts a hand on a chipped and peeling enamel radiator under the window, nodding in satisfaction as it gurgles loudly.

“Should warm up a bit soon. I haven’t been here for a couple of years, it’s strictly for emergencies, but I keep all the utilities connected and paid up to date, because you never know…”

“No, you don’t, and you’re sure this place is secure?”

“As secure as we need it to be, yes. It might look a bit grotty, but there are webcams in every room and a silent alarm only I have the code for, which can only be deactivated by sending the code by mobile phone. It’s monitored around the clock and I can even turn up the volume on the cameras to check nobody can sneak up on me when I’m here.”

Carlisle grins and holds up his smartphone, which shows a black and white shot of the hall with the front door at the far end. Adam steps out of the the kitchen and looks up, waving his hand back and forth above the doorway as he watches the phone’s screen.

“You’ll see a small hole in the top of the door frame, barely noticeable unless you’re looking for it. Amazing what they can do with fibre optic cables these days, isn’t it?”

“Ok, so we can see them coming, but are we sure they are coming?”

Carlisle turns to Patrick and shrugs.

“Your guess is as good as mine. They disappeared pretty sharpish when they clocked us following them, so that worked out ok, it’s just a question of whether they managed to tail us afterwards. You gave them enough chances to catch up, assuming that actually was them behind us as we got back into town, so I’m hoping they have us under surveillance as we speak.”

Adam shakes his head and laughs.

“I can’t believe you sound so pleased about that, we may as well have sent out invitations, hahaha.”

“We’re never going to find her otherwise, she’s always too well guarded, that’s why I was so surprised when I saw her with you to start with. Scared the crap out of me, I don’t mind telling you, I thought it was some sort of trap they’d set for me, to test my loyalty.”

*****

[And that was the point at which, in a day filled with distractions and interruptions, life took over and I gave up writing, sorry, I shall pick it up from here at a later date]

************

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

#SoCS

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Stream of Consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part forty three.

So, we’re back in fiction mode, after last week’s sojourn into geekdom, and today’s SoCS post continues this story using Linda G Hill‘s prompt;

” “motive.” Use the word “motive,” in any form, in your post. ”

Sounds reasonably simple, let’s go…

The Accumulator, part forty three.

Scene: A hospital maternity department. It is forty two years ago.

A man wearing a black trench coat and black leather gloves, holding a tightly furled umbrella, stands at an observation window and watches as a nurse enters the nursery and approaches a pair of cots which are separated from the others by a curtain.

She checks the charts on the end of each and turns to look at the man outside. He nods and the nurse moves to the left-hand cot, gently picks up the sleeping baby and, gathering the blankets around it, carries it out of the room and hurries after the man as he strides down the corridor and through the double doors.

The camera stays on the doors until they swing shut after the nurse, then slowly pans round to the observation window.

We move closer, until we are at the window, then the shot tightens on the only occupied cot behind the curtain and suddenly, by the magic of editing, we are directly above it, looking down at the baby, whose eyes are now open and staring straight back up at us.

And now we move closer, the shot tightening until the baby’s face, then just the eyes, then one, pale blue eye fills the screen. The director holds on this image for a couple of seconds, then the shot slowly widens, soon revealing that we’ve been tricked by another fancy bit of editing.

The blue eyes are now those of the woman who looks like Cathy and who is looking coldly at Dorn from across the desk.

“Judging from your report, it seems that this collection of thugs and criminals have managed to repeatedly outwit and evade your own department, several police forces here and in Europe, Interpol, Special Branch and the intelligence services, did I leave anyone out?”

“No, sir, I think you have the gist of it.” (he had only made the mistake of calling her ma’am once)

“And you understand my motive for wanting these dangerous terrorists brought to justice?”

“Yes, sir, I do, it was just unfortunate that…”

She doesn’t let him finish, her hand suddenly slams down on the desk, she fixes him with those icy blue eyes and speaks in a low, flat voice

“I want the man who murdered my sister, do you understand me? I don’t want to hear about mistakes or listen to excuses, I want you to find them and bring them to me.”

“Of course, I can only apologise for the delay. As I say, we have them now, they will be picked up this evening, a team has already been despatched.”

“Then I need not detain you any longer, unless there was something else…?”

“No, no, thank you, that’s all.”

Dorn stands up and nods respectfully to the woman, who has looked down at a file on her desk and seems unaware of his continued presence. He retraces his steps across the room to the door, which the guard already has open for him and steps out into the concrete hallway. The heavy steel door clangs shut behind him and he lets out a sigh before glancing at his watch and heading for the door at the far end of the corridor and his waiting driver.

“With any luck, I might even make it in time for the end of the shoot…”

************

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

Pingback to Linda G Hill

Stream of Consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part forty two.

It’s time to dip our toes in the waters of another SoCS post, getting back into the swing of things with this strange and meandering tale, inspired this week by Linda G Hill and her prompt;

” Start with “WHEN.” Write whatever you’d like, but begin your post with the word “when.” “

Hmm, fair enough…

The Accumulator, part forty two.

Scene: Inside Dorn’s car.

“When we get round the next corner, put your foot down, we’re being followed.”

We see Dorn turn from looking out of the rear window and lean forward as he speaks to his driver.

“I don’t know who it is, but they’ve been with us since we left the pub, do you see them?”

The driver replies without even glancing in the mirror.

“A tatty looking heap with three men in it, about fifty yards back? Yes sir, I’ve been keeping an eye on them.”

Dorn sits back with a relaxed smile, congratulating himself on how well trained his personal staff are, feeling the surge of acceleration as the powerful car leaps forward and their followers disappear from view round a sharp bend.

A hundred yards ahead, a junction; the entrances of narrow country lanes barely visible amongst the hedges on each side of the winding road, but Dorn’s car doesn’t reduce speed, in fact his driver pulls out into the right hand lane, as if overtaking an invisible vehicle.

Dorn shows no concern at this unexpected manoeuvre, he simply opens the armrest at his side and presses a single red button underneath, just as the driver swings the wheel hard to the left and yanks on the handbrake.

Suddenly a section of hedge on their left, thirty feet from the crossroads, drops straight down into the ground, timed so that when the skidding car comes level with it and the driver floors the accelerator, they shoot across the road, through the opening and down a ramp, the camouflage springing back into place behind them.

The shot remains fixed on the hedge for a moment, as the foliage sways to a standstill, then we hear the sound of a car approaching and the camera turns to look back up the road.

We see the battered hatchback accelerate as it comes round the bend, Patrick obviously panicking at the sight of empty road in front of him, and we follow the car as it passes us then skids to a halt at the junction up ahead. After a few seconds, the car speeds off in the direction it was heading and we watch as it vanishes around a long curve in the road.

The camera pans back round until it is once more focussed on the dappled shade of the woods opposite us and the gently rippling leaves of the hedge, then the scene slowly fades to black.

*****

Scene: A long subterranean corridor, concrete, starkly illuminated by florescent lights.

A door opens halfway down and Dorn steps through, closing it behind him and walking purposefully towards us. The camera follows him as he passes and we see him heading for the only other door; a heavy steel one in the end wall, with armed guards positioned on either side.

As Dorn reaches the end of the corridor, the shot cuts to a close-up of the door, but it is only when it opens and we see Dorn standing there, that we realise the director has pulled a fancy editing trick on us and we are already in the room on the other side.

The shot now pulls back and we see a black suited guard holding open the door as Dorn steps through, nodding curtly at the man as he steps into the room.

In contrast to the corridor outside, the room is warmly lit, comfortably furnished and has richly coloured wood paneling on the walls, there is even a log fire burning under an imposing stone mantlepiece, with leather club chairs on a richly patterned hearth rug.

Dorn walks past the camera and as he passes, our POV slowly moves round behind him. He heads for a desk at the end of the room, but now the angle of the shot makes it impossible for us to see who sits behind it. When he stops, however, we cut to a front view of Dorn from the other side of the desk.

We see him nod at whoever sits there, before lowering himself into a chair, where he folds his hands in his lap and purses his lips thoughtfully.

“It seems your little team of reprobates has become quite resourceful. They very nearly caught up with us, after the meeting with DCI Paddick this afternoon, I’m glad I had Howells driving me today, it was touch and go there for a minute.”

“Yes, I was surprised you let them get so close, did you not suspect the police report was a set-up? Never mind, at least we have them now, they won’t get far.”

The female voice from behind the desk seems oddly familiar, our memories search for a reference, but the director doesn’t give us the satisfaction, he cuts straight to Dorn’s POV and the Big Reveal.

The last thing we see is a shot of the woman sitting behind the desk and we see that it is…

…Cathy.

Fade to black.

************

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

#SoCS

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