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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part twenty three…

A bit of a late start to SoCS today, so it might be a short post, we’ll have to wait and see what Linda G Hill left us in the way of inspiration, so that we can find out what happens next in this continuing story

Ah, it’s another one of her multiple choice prompts;

” “so/sow/sew.” Use one, use ’em all, use ’em any way you’d like. Bonus points if you start and end with any of them. “

Is that all? Well, we’d best get on with it, then…

The Accumulator, part twenty three.

Scene: A private hospital room. Dr Braithwaite and his patient are having a heated argument. It is less than an hour ago.

11.10 – “So what do you expect me to do about it?!”

The young man with the scarred head paces about the room in agitation, shooting angry glances at the doctor, who is watching his patient’s hands as they repeatedly flex and clench into fists. His bare hands.

“All you have to do is tell me exactly what happened when that man came in here, the one posing as Dr Maddox. What did he do, what did he say to you, what did you do to make him collapse like that?”

“I already told the guards, I didn’t do anything!

“He just walked in here and grabbed hold of you and then collapsed, just like that?”

Subject:Beta abruptly stops his restless pacing, coming to a halt in front of the doctor, who takes a stumbling step back and trips over his briefcase, landing heavily on the hard floor with a grunt of pain. 

“See, even you’re afraid of me! What have you done to me, you bastard? Did I do that to him, just because he touched me? Tell me!”

Felix Braithwaite stares up in horror as the monster he has created takes a step closer and reaches for him with one of those deadly, pale-skinned hands, his face a twisted mask of rage.

“No, please, I’ll tell you. What do you want to know? Remember, I saved your life, you’d have been dead long ago if it wasn’t for me.”

“I’ve changed my mind, I’ll find out for myself.”

With that, the young man known only as Subject:Beta leans forward and places his splayed hand on top of Felix’s head.

*****

Scene: Another hospital room, seen from above. The shot tightens on the drawn and lined face of the old man in the bed until we can see only his closed, rapidly twitching eyelids.

Then the eyes snap open.

After a moment the camera pulls back, the shot opening out to show us that Patrick is now smiling.

*****

The director cuts sharply back to the previous scene and we see what happens next in a super slo-mo sequence that he probably had to save most of the effects budget for.

We see a close-up of Subject:Beta’s hand as it makes contact with Dr Braithwaite’s head, then the shot cuts away to a side view of the two men and the SFX boys really go to town.

The doctor’s body is lifted from the floor like a rag doll in a hurricane and flung high into the far corner of the room. But it isn’t so much the impact which is shocking, as the way Felix appears to collapse in on himself before hitting the wall; as if an unseen force is crushing him into a ball as easily as you would crumple a sheet of paper. Only with a lot more mess.

The body is held there for a second, a mangled, dripping horror, then slides down the wall, coming to rest in a bloody heap, one which wouldn’t be recognisably human unless you took the trouble to sew it back together. Only then does Subject:Beta lower his outstretched hand and slump to his knees, as the shot fades to black.

*****

Scene: The overhead view of Patrick’s room.

11.55 – Patrick, eyes now closed peacefully, a faint smile on his lips as he sleeps, is woken by Cathy as she hurries into the room, peers cautiously out into the corridor, where there seems to be a frenzy of activity, then closes the door and turns to Patrick

As she turns, the shot cuts to his POV, so we see the excitement on Cathy’s face as she moves next to the bed and takes his hand in both of hers, the handcuff chain rattling on the metal frame.

“Patrick, it worked! There’s security and police everywhere, they’re saying Dr Braithwaite’s patient killed him and the guards outside his room, then escaped.”

He looked up at her, the relaxed smile she hadn’t seen for so long already making him appear more like his younger self.

“Well what do you know, the good doctor finally learned his most important lesson, the one Endicott learned to his cost; You reap what you sow.”

**********

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

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part twenty two…

Ready for another round of SoCS strangeness?

Ok then, let’s see what Linda G Hill has left for us, so that I can find what happens next in this odd tale;

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

Fair enough…

The Accumulator, part twenty two.

Scene: A taxi. Dr Felix Braithwaite is sitting in the back seat, checking his watch as the car creeps forward in the slow moving traffic. It is just over an hour ago.

10.53 – “Isn’t there a quicker way to get to the hospital than this, I should have been there by now?”

“Guv, if there was a better way to get there, don’t you reckon I’d’ve taken it by now, it’s like this all over, innit? They’re working on the bypass, it’s got the whole city jammed up.”

The doctor sat back in his seat with a sigh, resisted the temptation to look once more at his watch and turned instead to gaze blankly out of the window and wondered who this mysterious stranger was who had visited his patient and then apparently collapsed. There were reports of him having dramatically aged in appearance, of his hair going prematurely grey in the space of a few minutes; but these were not effects that Felix recognised from his limited study of the young man’s recent enhancements, so perhaps his abilities were evolving and gaining power, an unnerving thought, indeed.

Had Subject:Beta attacked him and revealed his powers in public? That would be disastrous, Felix shuddered at the very thought of trying to explain such things to ignorant and suspicious police officers and the hospital authorities. It was imperative that he discovered the imposter’s identity and, if necessary, terminate him at the earliest opportunity. Nothing must endanger the success of the Accumulator programme, not when they were so close to perfecting the process with Subject:Beta.

“Here we go, sir, looks like they cleared a blockage up ahead, we’re on our way.”

He looked round at the driver, who was grinning over his shoulder at the doctor, and saw the car in front draw away from them as the jam eased and traffic began to move more freely. 

“We’ll be there in no time now, you see.”

Felix Braithwaite started to relax, it was all going to be fine, he would soon have everything under control and they could forget any of this ever happened.

*****

Scene: A hospital lobby. Doctors stride purposefully back and forth, whilst a uniformed security guard answers calls at a busy switchboard behind the large check-in desk.

11.19 – A taxi pulls up outside and Dr Braithwaite can be seen through the glass wall of the reception area, paying the driver and hurrying to the revolving door at the entrance.

He approaches the desk and withdraws a pass, which hangs inside his jacket from a lanyard around his neck, tuts impatiently as he waits for the man to finish his phone call, then starts talking before the receiver is back in its cradle.

“I’m Dr Felix Braithwaite, they’re expecting me on the fourth floor.”

The security guard looks at him with a frown and pulls a printed form from a stack in front of him.

“You’ll have to fill out a visitor’s form, sir, I’ve been told not to let anyone up there without authorisation, sorry.”

“That doesn’t apply to me, you stupid man, I’m the one who gave the order to secure that floor in the first place!”

“There’s no need for abuse, sir, I’m only doing my job.” 

The man scowls ever harder and pickes up the phone. Then he takes Dr Braithwaite’s pass and drags it across the desk to study it more closely, causing the doctor to lean sharply forward and lose his balance, grabbing hold of the desk to steady himself as the guard sniggers and punches in a number. There is a pause, during which the two men maintained silent, glaring eye contact from a distance of about six inches, then the call is answered and the doctor is released from his undignified stoop as the other man speaks to his superiors.

“Hello? Yeah, I’ve got some bloke here, says his name is Braithwaite, Felix. Claims he’s a doctor and that you’re expecting him on four, is that right?”

He listens, then nods and pulls a red laminated pass out of his desk drawer and beckons Felix to hand him his pass once more.

The doctor lifts the lanyard over his head and silently hands it to the grinning guard, watches him attach the red laminate to his regular pass and hand it back to him, then picks up his briefcase and marches off in the direction of the elevators without another word.

Riding up to the fourth floor, Felix Braithwaite takes the opportunity to focus his mind and rehearse what he will say to the hospital administrators, should they ask any awkward questions about his unusual patient. He takes half a dozen slow, deep breaths and when the doors opened on an empty corridor a few moments later, he is calm and ready to face anything.

He makes for the double doors to his left, pauses briefly to check his pass is showing, then steps through into the restricted area and sees two more uniformed guards stationed outside Subject:Beta’s room. One of the men stands up as he approaches, stepping in front of the door and folding his arms in a gesture of finality, just in case the visitor is in any doubt as to who was in charge.

Felix stops and brandishes the red laminate he had been given by the man downstairs.

“I don’t have time for any more of your little power games, I’m Dr Felix Braithwaite and I demand to be allowed into that room right now.”

The security guard looks slightly taken aback by his tone, but still takes a minute to examine the doctor’s pass before nodding tersely at him and turning to the door. He reaches for the handle, then pauses and looks back at Felix.

“We couldn’t have known he wasn’t legit, you know. The other guy I mean, he had all the right paperwork and everything, even had a letter of introduction.”

Felix looks disdainfully back at him and thinks about this a moment.

“What did he look like, this imposter?”

“Umm, average-looking I suppose, about forty maybe, dark hair, six foot, 160 pounds. He was with some nurse, she’s been looking after your man in there; Cathy, I think her name is. He was calling himself Maddox.”

“Hmm…do you have security footage of them arriving,” Felix nods to a camera on the wall, trained on the door, “if so I’d like to see it?”

“I’ll check, sir, you go in and I’ll call the control room now.”

He opens the door and moves aside to allow Felix to step past him into the room, which he does, closing the door behind him.

**********

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 twenty one…

Greetings from the wet and windy West Country, from whence I bring you this week’s episode of SoCS, today based (probably very loosely) on Linda G Hill’s insistence that I continue this increasingly elongated story by using this prompt;

” “wood/would.” Use one, use both, use them any way you would like.”

Ok, then…

The Accumulator, part twenty one.

Scene: A hospital corridor, seen from the perspective of someone speeding down it on a gurney. It is two and a half hours ago.

09.30 – From our horizontal POV, the indistinct sound of voices fades in and out and the picture slips in and out of focus, suggesting we are seeing through the eyes of someone who is barely conscious. A hand comes into shot holding a hissing face mask, which is clamped to the unresisting face of our host and our view of the scene darkens around the edges, then fades to black.

*****

Scene: Subject:Beta’s hospital room.

09.45 – The nameless young man is sitting on the bed and one of the security guards is sitting on a chair in front of him, while the second man stands guard next to the door.

“Right, just so we’re clear, before all the bloody doctors turn up and start asking stupid questions; you’re saying that the man who came in with the nurse this morning wasn’t who he says he was and that he attacked you.”

“Yes, he grabbed me and was raving about getting me out of here, he seemed deranged, I told you.”

“And then he just collapsed, just like that?” The man looked at Subject:Beta’s gloved hands nervously, “You didn’t…do anything to him at all?” 

“No, I told you, he grabbed me and then he just fell down and didn’t get back up. I thought he was dead, a heart attack or something, he looked awful.”

“And the nurse, she didn’t do anything, to you I mean?”

For reasons the young man couldn’t explain, he didn’t want to get the nurse, who had told him she was called Cathy, into any trouble, so he shook his head and changed the subject.

“When will Dr Braithwaite be here, I have some questions to ask him?”

“I doubt it will take him long to get here, once he hears about this fucking ball-up.” He looked his client over appraisingly once more and added, “But at least you’re ok, that’s the main thing, am I right?”

The guard raised an enquiring eyebrow at his young charge and Subject:Beta realised he was worried he and his partner would get the blame for the security breach, so he smiled at the man and reassured him.

“The imposter seemed very convincing to me and I’m sure he had all the right documentation…”

“Oh he did; his i.d, a letter from the hospital confirming his appointment, a hospital pass, they all checked out.”

“Well there you go, you can hardly be blamed for being taken in by someone who was so well prepared, after all, he fooled that pretty nurse. I expect Dr Braithwaite and his colleagues will understand completely, once you explain all that to them.”

The security guard looked uncertain about that, but he nodded and rose from the chair, then walked over and spoke in a low voice to his partner for a moment before turning back to face the young man on the bed.

“We’ll be outside if you need anything, I’ll let you know when the doctor arrives, ok?”

“Ok, thank you, I’ll make sure I mention to Dr Braithwaite how helpful you’ve been.”

The guard looked like he might be about to say something, then he opened the door and the two of them left the room.

“Ha!, that was fun,” Subject:Beta threw himself back on the bed and laughed; this was turning into an interesting day, “somebody is going to be in deep shit, hahaha.” 

He held up his right hand and balled the leather clad fingers into a fist, then opened it out flat and, one finger at a time, he slowly began to pull off the glove.

*****

Scene: A hospital room, seen from above. An apparently elderly man lies in the only bed, one arm handcuffed to the rail, eyes closed, chest rising and falling regularly beneath the crisp while sheet.

10.19 – Cathy enters the room and approaches the bed. Now our POV drifts downwards and the shot tightens on the face of the old man, who we now know is Patrick. The camera remains focused on the lined and hollow face as we hear Cathy speak.

“Patrick. Patrick, can you hear me?”

His eyelids flicker and his tongue licks dry lips, then Patrick’s eyes slowly open and he turns his head. He smiles at Cathy and tries to raise his hand, then frowns and lifts his head from the pillow with a grimace, seeing the chain that restrains him.

“Ah, I see that I’m a prisoner.”

“Well, not a prisoner, exactly,” Cathy returns his smile, but her eyes look strained and tired, “they’re waiting for you to wake up, so they can question you about why you were impersonating a doctor.”

“But they don’t know you’re involved, how did you manage that?”

“I have no idea. If I was that poor man, I would have given us both away, but he only told the guards about you grabbing him when they came bursting in and they just yelled at me to get a doctor.”

“So where is he now, Braithwaite’s latest prodigy?”

“Still under guard in his room, last I heard. The good doctor hasn’t arrived yet, apparently he was having to fly in from Europe somewhere and his flight was delayed, he’s expected anytime now.”

Patrick closed his eyes and thought about this for a minute, then he looked at Cathy and shrugged.

“I’m not certain, but I think we may have made more of an impression on Felix’s guinea pig than it seemed. If he had no doubts about the doctor and his motives, he would have given you away, don’t you think?”

“Well, yes, I suppose…” she didn’t sound convinced, “but what exactly are you saying?”

“I’m not sure, it’s just a feeling, but I think we should wait and see what happens when the esteemed Dr Braithwaite arrives and anyway,” he rattled the chain of the handcuffs on the bed rail, “I’m not going anywhere for a while, unless you’ve got a pair of bolt cutters on you.”

“Ok, I’ll go back to work and try to keep an ear out for news and you get some sleep, you’re going to need all your strength when the time comes to get you out of here.”

She reached out and squeezed his hand, then leant over and kissed him on the forehead before turning to leave.

“Cathy.” 

Patrick called out softly as she opened the door and she turned back to see him staring at her intently.

“Don’t trust anyone, we can never know who’s been enlisted by The Department to cover Felix’s little experiment here, so just be careful.”

With that, he closed his eyes once more and lay back on his pillows with what Cathy thought sounded like a contented sigh. She looked at him for a few seconds, still shocked at the change which had come over him in such a short space of time, then stepped out into the corridor and closed the door gently behind her.

**********

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 nineteen…

Another weekend, another trip down Stream of consciousness Saturday Sunday without a paddle, this week using Linda G Hill’s prompt to continue this story by including;

” A word that starts with “P.” Find a word that begins with the letter “p,” and make it the theme of your post. Bonus points for starting and ending your post with a “p” word. ” 

No problem…

The Accumulator, part nineteen.

Scene: Patrick and Cathy’s car. They are sitting in rush hour traffic, travelling to the hospital. It is this morning.

08.07 – Patrick looks at his watch for the third time in ten minutes and groans in frustration, craning his neck to see past the line of cars, as Cathy pats his arm reassuringly.

“We’ve got plenty of time, don’t worry, I don’t start until nine.”

“Yes, but I want to make sure we’re in time for the changing of the guard.”

Patrick drums his fingers on the wheel, leans back in his seat and tries to relax. Then the car in front moves a few more miserable yards and stops, so he releases the handbrake with a sigh of resignation and they roll ever so slightly closer to their destiny, as we hear Patrick’s narration for the final time;

“We were so close to the end now, I could almost taste it, so the traffic really wasn’t helping my nerves, but Cathy didn’t seem the least bit concerned. It was her plan, after all, maybe that was why she was so chilled out about it all.

It was a simple enough idea; obtain a hospital security pass; (the sort of thing we’d been doing for nearly ten years in order to stay one step ahead of The Department, anyway) get me into the building under the guise of a visiting psychologist; (Cathy had earlier intercepted a letter intended for the real “Dr Maddox” and I was keeping his appointment for him) then walk into Subject:Beta’s room in plain sight, so to speak.

What I was going to do when I got in there was still rather vague and dependent on several unknown factors, but of one thing I was certain; for either myself or Dr Felix Braithwaite, this was very much the end of the line.”

Patrick’s voiceover ends as the traffic starts moving again, but our perspective remains fixed, watching the retreating tailgate of the car in front, until Patrick pulls forward and the rear windscreen appears to pass straight through us, then the camera rises slowly and cars pass beneath us, heading into the city to begin another day and the shot fades to…

Scene: A hospital corridor. The camera shows us a straight on view of two uniformed guards, stationed on chairs either side of the door to a private room, one fiddling with his phone and the other dozing, a newspaper on his lap.

Cut to…

08.55  – Double doors at one end of the corridor open and two more of the private security operatives head towards us.

Cut to…

The guard with the phone kicks his sleeping partner’s foot, waking the man with a start, who looks round blearily and quickly tries to shake himself into alertness as he sees their replacements coming towards him.

Cut to…

Patrick and Cathy, both dressed in white hospital coats; Patrick, with the obligatory stethoscope hanging from his pocket, a clipboard in one hand, a bulky file under his arm and an official hospital laminate round his neck, looks every inch the consultant specialist he is impersonating. They are watching “the changing of the guard” as Patrick had called it, from the doors at the opposite end of the corridor.

We watch through a round window in the door as the four men chat for a few seconds; one looks briefly into his client’s room, then the new arrivals bid farewell to their colleagues, who disappear the way the others came, before they take up position outside the door.

“Right, I think that’s our cue, are you ready?”

A whole swarm of butterflies do frantic somersaults in Cathy’s stomach, but she just smiles tightly and nods.

“Yes, let’s go get ’em..”

Patrick grins back, gives her hand a quick squeeze and pushes open the door.

Cut to…

We see Patrick and Cathy come down the corridor and stop as the reach the guards, both of whom stand up as they approach.

“Yes, can I help you?”

“Yes, I’m Dr Maddox, I’ve come to examine the patient. I have all the paperwork here somewhere.” 

Patrick produces the letter of introduction they intercepted, which the guard examines, along with his pass, while Cathy smiles sweetly at his partner until he seems satisfied they are legitimate.

“Wait here.”

The one who checked them over goes into the room, closing the door behind him. Patrick nods at the other guard amicably and receives a blank stare in return, so he turns to Cathy.

“Nurse, has the patient had any further sensory distortion, since Dr Braithwaite removed his dressing yesterday?”

“No, doctor, he seems a lot more comfortable and his headache appears to have receded completely.”

“That’s good, we’ll have to see…”

Patrick stops as the door opens and the guard returns.

“You can go in now.”

“Thank you, most grateful. We will need to take him to the CT imaging department later, could you arrange for a porter, do you think?”

“We aren’t on the hospital staff, sir, you’ll have to make your own arrangements, I’m afraid,” he looks at Patrick disdainfully, “and you won’t be going anywhere without us, that’s for sure.”

“Ok, thank you anyway, we’ll make our own arrangements, as you say.”

With that, Patrick nods his thanks to the stony-faced sentries, Cathy opens the door and they step into the room to discover the final part of the puzzle.

**********

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 eighteen…

Time once again to dive into the murky waters of Stream of consciousness Saturday Sunday, to see what inspiration Linda G Hill has left us, prompting the next installment of Patrick’s strange tale;

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

Ah, a nice easy one, ok…

The Accumulator, part eighteen.

Scene: A hospital. The opening shot is a long slow glide down a bustling corridor; double doors swing open ahead of us as we float past a busy nurses station and hear the sound of talking and laughter; a weary looking intern sits reading a newspaper while sipping coffee from a plastic cup; we drift through a waiting area filled with patients, orderlies and junior doctors, into a quieter section with private rooms, where the white coated staff hurry about their duties with silent dedication.

It is yesterday.

The camera slows its advance and turns to the left, gliding us smoothly to a halt as we draw level with the open doorway of a private room.  

Now the view swings downward, to show us a medical chart on a clipboard, which we realise is held in the hand of the person whose perspective we are sharing. The chart belongs to someone called simply, Subject:Beta.

Having consulted the chart, we are transported into the room by our unseen host and we see the young man who survived the car crash; head still bandaged from his surgery, he is sitting up in bed reading a book, which he closes and places on the bedside table as the visitor enters. We see the hand holding the clipboard reach out, hanging it on the foot of the bed and, as the figure turns to inspect a medical monitor, we catch sight of his face, reflected in the screen of a digital display.

The man is Dr Felix Braithwaite.

The camera zooms in on the reflection of Dr Braithwaite’s face, until the edges of the display screen move out of shot and we see him in close up for a second. Then the shot widens and we see the director has done some fancy editing and we are now seeing the doctor from a new perspective and can watch the scene unfold from our own point of view.

“So, how are you feeling today?”

Felix favours his patient with a benevolent smile and moves closer to the bed. 

“I have a headache, but the dizziness has gone and the strange feeling in my hands hasn’t come back.”

“Well that’s a good sign, the headache is merely a result of the surgery and will soon recede, but I’ll prescribe some painkillers to make you more comfortable. Now, let’s take a look and see how you’re healing, we should be able to have those bandages off today, I think.”

The doctor takes care to check the young man is wearing his gloves, before leaning over and gently starting to unwind the gauzy ribbon from around his shaven head, revealing a neat triangular scar, one corner two inches above each eyebrow, the third in the centre of his skull.

“Hmm, that looks like it’s healing nicely. The scar will fade considerably of course and your hair should completely cover it when it grows back.”

“Thank you, doctor, but what about these?” 

Subject:Beta holds up his leather-clad hands and turns them this way and that, studying them as if for the first time. 

“When can I remove my gloves, my hands feel ok now, do I really still need them?”

“I’m afraid so, yes, the gloves are a precaution, nothing more, but I’d rather you were safe than sorry. It won’t be for much longer, I assure you, so just be patient and you’ll be out of here before you know it.” Felix Braithwaite smiles, but the smile doesn’t touch his eyes, which are cold and hard. “Then our work can really begin in earnest.”

***********

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 seventeen…

Welcome to the first 2017 edition of SoCS, wherein Linda G Hill provides us with the inspiration to continue this story by leaving us this prompt;

” “first/last.” Use one or both words, or find words that mean the same. Bonus points if you start your post with “first/beginning/start” etc. and end with “last/end” “

Well, if you insist…

The Accumulator, part seventeen.

Scene: Starting from high above the Earth, the camera plummets down through ragged tendrils of cloud, breaking out into bright sunshine and continuing down towards an urban sprawl that stands out like a scar against the green patchwork of the countryside. Our rapid descent slows as individual streets become visible and levels out until it feels as if we’re speeding along above a quiet housing estate. It is two weeks ago.

The camera sweeps along the street from our high vantage point, dropping below the level of the rooftops and slowing as it turns to face the neat gardens and gravel drives of a middle class neighborhood; finally coming to a halt opposite a house indistinguishable from the rest and zooming in to a window on the ground floor.

The shot carries us magically through the double glazing without so much as a scratch and we find ourselves in a modern fitted kitchen, where Patrick and Cathy are seated at the breakfast bar, drinking coffee.

The camera floats straight past our heroes, however, heading out of the kitchen and making a slow circuit of the property, showing us a comfortable house that has a lived-in look. As we take a look round, Patrick’s voiceover returns, narrating over images of mundane domesticity.

“So, here we are in our latest home; we’ve become suburbanites as you can tell, in accordance with our policy of “blending in”, but it’s taken us a while to get here.

Since we fled our sanctuary in continental Europe, quite a bit has happened, although I’m not sure you need to know all the ins and outs of how we got here. Suffice to say, I employed a similar method of commandeering the property of nefarious ne’er-do-wells and illicit entrepreneurs as I had on our arrival in France, amassing quite a decent little war chest in just a few months. 

We reintegrated ourselves back into English society without any problems; the polite young career couple in search of rented accommodation is so ubiquitous a demographic these days, I doubt the letting agent even bothered to check our carefully faked references. 

We both got dull, nine to five jobs as soon as we had a postal address to send applications from; opened bank accounts under our newly manufactured identities; spent unremarkable amounts of money on our credit cards at unremarkable high street retailers; made casual acquaintances amongst our unremarkable neighbours and work colleagues and generally disappeared into the background of suburban life for over a year.

All the time we were alert for signs of the enemy’s unseen tentacles, stirring just beneath the surface of everyday life, waiting to emerge from the shadows and snatch us back into the dark underworld we had worked so hard to escape. We installed a powerful computer system in the basement, (ostensibly for use in my job as a graphic designer) which we used to scan the press, tv news and internet for clues to their spreading influence, keeping track of destabilized regions of the world, noting the rise in coups and assassinations and looking for connections between suspicious, mysterious or unsolved murders and sudden new political appointments. It took us nearly nine months of patient digging, but two days ago all our hard work eventually paid off and we started to plan our revenge. 

Cathy had been working at the private hospital our investigations had led us to, using her past experience (and some more “creative” references) to get herself a transfer to their psychiatric ward, where she had been working with an amnesia patient. About a month ago she heard rumours that the young man had been held in isolation since being admitted, having been the only survivor of a car crash. The circumstances of the otherwise fatal accident had drawn the attention of a private firm of “security consultants”, who’s client had requested that a sentry was posted outside his room at all times, only permitting nursing staff to enter whilst chaperoned by one of the armed guards.

Her nameless patient had been in an induced coma for three weeks, recovering from emergency surgery on a serious head injury, before Cathy was even permitted to attend to him without one of the silent watchmen looking over her shoulder; but two days ago, on the first day she was alone with him, something happened that told her our search was over.”

By now, the roaming camera has returned to the kitchen and we see Cathy and Patrick in earnest conversation, a laptop open on the counter in front of them.

“…so I was plugging in his drip, when his eyes snapped open and he looked straight at me! It scared the shit out of me, I tell you, but not as much as it did when I saw his hands.”

Cathy turns to Patrick with a tense look of excitement on her face.
“I hadn’t noticed them before, they were hidden under the sheet, but he shot his arm out, grabbed my wrist and stared right at me, and he was wearing black leather gloves.” 

He stared at her, feeling the blood pounding in his temples, not daring to hope that this was what it seemed.

“Are you sure they weren’t just for protection, maybe he was burned or something?”

But he knew that wasn’t it, he knew they had finally found what they had been looking for all this time. And, if there had been any doubt, Cathy dispelled it with her next words;

“But that’s not all; I read his chart, I saw who his doctor was. Patrick, the surgeon who performed the operation, it was Felix Braithwaite!”

Patrick leant over the remains of breakfast, kissed Cathy on the forehead and smiled with satisfaction.

“At last, I think our mission might be coming to an end.”

**********

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

#SoCS

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

Yeah, yeah, I know. 
Because; Christmas, ok?

Anyway, here we are once again, to see what Linda G Hill has left us to inspire this last week’s SoCS post, in which we continue with this peculiar tale

And the prompt is;

” “cook.” Find a word that means “cook,” (or use “cook” itself) and use it any way you’d like. “

Let’s get going, then…

The Accumulator, part sixteen.

Scene: Interior of Patrick’s wrecked Renault hatchback. The opening shot is a close up of the shattered, opaque widescreen, slowly pulling back and turning 180° to show Patrick and Cathy, dazed but uninjured in the front seats. It is two years ago.

“Bloody hell, Patrick, you could have given me a bit of warning…”

“Never mind that, are you alright?” Without waiting for an answer, Patrick continues, “Quick, we need to move, can you open your door ok?”

Cathy gives him a look that promises further discussion at a later date, but says nothing and instead twists round to try the handle of her door. She has to shove all her weight against it a couple of times, but it finally comes free with a protesting creak and sags open on bent hinges. Patrick has more trouble forcing his door; most of the impact was absorbed by his side of the car and the driver’s side door is badly crumpled. After only a few seconds attempting to escape that way, he gives up and turns to Cathy.

“Right, quickly now, out you get, I’ve got to climb over your side.”

“I’m trying, my belt is stuck.” 

Cathy is tugging ineffectively at her seatbelt, which seems to be wedged into its anchor point, jammed by the sharp force of the crash, when they hear signs of movement from the BMW, then a voice, shockingly close.

“Hey, Carl…Carl?” A pause, followed by heavy breathing, then; “Shit. Stupid, cocky little bastard, seatbelts not good enough for you? Think you’re fucking indestructible don’t you, you youngsters..?” 

The voice trails off and is replaced by more sounds of  creaking metal, presumably Carl’s unseen friend trying to extricate himself from the wrecked vehicle. Patrick, having by now freed her jammed seatbelt, silently motions for Cathy to get out and awkwardly clambers over the seats to follow her.

As he slithers out onto the road and straightens up beside Cathy, Patrick notices her stare is fixed on the BMW and he turns to follow her gaze. The passenger, a man in his late forties dressed in a smart suit, with a smear of blood across his forehead and the beginnings of a nasty black eye, looks straight at them from behind ruined windscreen, just visible through the web of cracks that radiate from the driver’s side, where a blood red circle and a bulge in the shattered glass suggests someone else wasn’t quite so fortunate.

Patrick moves quickly, heading for the BMW driver’s door as the passenger tries once again to free himself, yanking desperately on his door handle until Patrick draws level with the car, then he gives up and makes a break for the rear seats, presumably with the intention of escaping through the back door. But he’s too slow; Patrick leans in through the open window and, pausing only to clasp the wrist of the dead driver, (there isn’t any need to check the state of his health, the crushed skull and glassy staring eyes are sufficient evidence of his demise) he reaches past the body and grabs the fleeing man’s ankle as he contorts himself in a frantic attempt to evade an equally unpleasant fate. 

“Don’t move! I mean it, I’ll send you the same way as your friend here if you keep struggling.”

The terrified man reluctantly ceases to resist, leaving him in the undignified position of being halfway across the back seat of the car with his backside in the air and one leg still stretched into the front, which Patrick is still tightly gripping by the ankle. Patrick carefully unlocks the door with his free hand, then changes his grip so that he can open it fully and push the broken and bloody corpse onto the road whilst continuing to keep hold of the one remaining man from The Department who was actually of some use to them.

“Now, I’d like to think we can be civilised about this and I’m not going to have to kill you,” he smiles as the man looks back at him and nods with a panicked expression, “although I’m perfectly happy to do so if you’re planning on being difficult, it’s already been a bit of a stressful day and I’m about at the end of my tether.”

“Hey, I’m just a foot soldier, I don’t get paid enough to do the selfless acts of sacrifice, I’m not going to give you any trouble, trust me.”

“Trust you? I don’t think so, but I’m sure we can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement,” he grins at the man’s look of relief, “one in which we are allowed to go peacefully on our way and you remain the same shape you are now, with all your bodily fluids on the inside.”

Then Patrick catches a flash of something shiny and metallic, clipped to other man’s belt under his jacket and he turns to Cathy, who has been watching events from a safe distance and points to the opposite side of the car.

“Cathy, go round and open the back door; don’t worry, our friend isn’t going to cause you any trouble.” She hesitates and he jerks his head in that direction, “Go on, I’ve got him, you’ll be fine.”

Cathy cautiously approaches the rear of the BMW, taking a wide berth around the driver’s body and opens the door. She stares in at the man, who looks extremely uncomfortable as he tries to support his upper body on his arms while Patrick holds his leg up in the air, leaving him defenceless. He stares back at her and waits to see what Patrick has in store for him.

He isn’t in suspense for long.

“Right, if you lift up his jacket I think you’ll find a pair of handcuffs on his belt.” 

Patrick looks at her encouragingly until she shrugs and leans into the car, keeping her eyes on the man’s face as she feels for the cuffs. As her fingers find the smooth metal she glances at the strap holding them to his belt just long enough to remove them, then quickly steps back and lets out a breath she hasn’t been aware of holding and looks at Patrick with a shaky grin.

“Easy. Now what?”

“Cuff his hands to the headrest.”

“Right, ok…” 

Cathy leans back into the car and is just reaching for the man’s wrist when she stops and turns at the noise of what sounds like someone slapping the back of the driver’s seat. She stares at the small round hole, six inches from the end of her nose for maybe three seconds, a puzzled frown beginning to form on her face, then the man from The Department breaks his silence.

“Shit, they’ve found us!” Hey, please, you’ve got to…”

The next bullet comes through the rear window, right next to the man’s head. He jerks sharply as the high velocity round removes a large chunk of his skull, spraying Cathy with a fine mist of blood, then goes limp. But, trapped between the two seats as he is, his body has nowhere to go and it hangs there like some sort of gruesome hunting trophy as Cathy screams and Patrick reels from the savage burst of energy that pours into him, from his contact with the dead man’s skin.

Apparently not content with killing their own man once, whoever is shooting at them puts two more bullets into his lifeless body, making Patrick think that these are either different armed lunatics trying to kill them, or very ruthless men who can’t get a good angle to shoot from and are hoping to shoot through him to get to them.

Reluctantly deciding that the second option is the more likely of the two, Patrick grabs Cathy’s arm and drags her down and away from the car, leaning back against the steep bank at side of the road, hopefully out of the line of fire, for now at least.

Cathy is staring blankly at nothing, her face splashed with gore and in her hair there are globs of something probably best not examined too closely. Patrick carefully picks out most of the squishiest bits and turns her unresisting head to face him, so he can wipe as much of her face as possible with his rumpled handkerchief.

“Cathy. Cathy, can you hear me?”

She doesn’t even blink.

Patrick sighs, shakes his head, then takes a step back from her.

“Sorry about this, babe.” 

Then he slaps her. Hard. Him slapping her in the middle of the road seems to have become their thing.

Her reaction isn’t the one he expects; she barely moves, just sways slightly and slowly brings a hand up to touch the red mark on her face. Then her eyes gradually swim back into focus and the slack expression fades, replaced by a worn out but aware look which he is relieved to see, despite the pain he sees in her face.

“Why are they doing this, why can’t they just leave us alone?” 

Her voice is small and tired, but there is a spark of anger there, too and that’s good for him to see, it means that his Cathy is still in there, just temporarily subdued by the sudden horror.

“I don’t know, but we’ll never find out if we stay here. We’re going to have to find more transport and it’s got to be soon, I doubt it’ll take long for them to get another couple of goons here.”

“The club.”

Patrick is about to ask what she means when he remembers the country club. They had passed the entrance to the exclusive private golf club and hotel as they raced down the hill and it couldn’t be more than a hundred and fifty yards back up the road. Cathy had applied for a job there as a cook when they were first trying to establish themselves in the area, but her culinary skills weren’t up to their sous chef’s standards and she didn’t even get a response to her interview, snobby bastards.

“Yeah, good idea, let’s move.”

He looks at her to check she’s really ok, or at least as ok as she could be, after getting plastered with someone else’s brains, then takes her hand in his and keeping below the hedge line for the first few yards, they hurry up the hill in search of a replacement getaway car.

The camera tracks the fugitive pair as they disappear round a bend in the road, then swings back round to focus on the site of the crash.

At this point, the director does one of those fancy multi-layered cross-fade sequences to indicate the passage of time;

Fade; a motorist appears, jumps out of his car and runs towards the BMW, but stops in horror and runs back to his vehicle, punching numbers on his mobile phone…

Fade; the first police car arrives, two officers cautiously approach the wreckage, guns drawn, until they are close enough to see the carnage inside…

Fade; the forensic teams turn up, white-suited and paper-masked and start marking out the crime scene…

Fade; the detectives finally arrive, picking through the detritus of violence and trying to piece together events…

And over the images, we hear Patrick’s measured voiceover;

“We found a nice little Alpha Romeo that some entitled dickhead had left the keys in, on the first try at the golf club, then just drove out past the valet parking guy, he even gave us a cheery wave as we left. After that we took the back roads up into the hills and headed north, stopping overnight at a campsite to rest, before continuing on to the ferry port at Roscoff the following morning; (I had made a point of obtaining ‘genuine’ passports for us both, at considerable cost, to replace the stolen Department credentials, soon after we settled in France and we had become used to carrying them at all times, in case of emergency situations such as this).

The time to hide had ended, it was time to go back into the lions den…”

On screen, the shot slowly widens, camera rising up higher and higher, the busy crime scene falling away below as Concarneau comes into view; the old walled town jutting out into the harbour where the sunshine glitters on the blue water as the scene

Fades to black.

***********

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

#SoCS

Pingback (finally) to Linda G Hill.

 

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