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Stream of Consciousness Sunday(s): The Accumulator, part forty one…

Ok, here we go, it’s time for a double dose of SoCS, after I missed the last installment of this story.

I’m using two of Linda G Hill‘s prompts, one from Friday and one from last week, so I shall attempt to include both of these suggestions in today’s episode;

” “high/low.” Use one, use both, bonus points for starting and finishing with one or both…

…and;

“guess.” Use it any way you’d like. “

Right, here goes…

The Accumulator, part forty one.

Scene: High above the pub, looking down the steep sided river valley (the director has added the classic “binoculars” effect to the opening shot, to show this is a first person POV); from our elevated vantage point we have a clear view of the small stone bridge and the road crossing it.

A car turns out of the car park and our view of it tightens, blurs for a moment as the watcher zooms in, then jumps back into focus and follows the high end saloon as it pulls away, then accelerates down the road, keeping pace until it vanishes from sight under the trees that line the river.

As the green of the beech canopy fills the screen, the shot cuts to Carlisle, who is standing next to the battered getaway car with Adam. Patrick leans out of the driver’s widow as Carlisle lowers the binoculars and looks expectantly at him.

“Well, has he gone?”

“Yes, he’s gone scurrying back to his nice safe little office in the city, I guess the country air was too rich for him.”

“And..?”

Carlisle lifts the binoculars once again and we see him scan the scene below for a moment.

“Dorn is still there, but we should get down there now, in case we miss him leaving, we don’t want to lose him now.”

Patrick starts the engine, the other two men climb in and the scene ends as the car drives off into the distance.

***

Flashback sequence: We now see a brief montage; Carlisle talking to an unidentified man in a dimly lit room full of electronic equipment, handing over cash and shaking hands; Adam giving an envelope to the bike courier; DCI Paddick in his office, typing an email which says “We have to meet”; Paddick leaving his office and driving out of the city; Carlisle, Patrick and Adam tailing him in the nondescript hatchback; Carlisle sitting in the back of the car, wearing headphones, listening intently; and a close up of the envelope on Dorn’s table, in which the ends of tiny wires can be seen protruding from the torn edge.

***

Scene: A table on the pub terrace.

The man DCI Paddick knows as “Dorn” has just finished a call and he slips the phone into his pocket as he looks around for a waiter. Seeing no staff in attendance, Dorn takes out his wallet and lays a couple of notes on his plate next to the cigar butts, weighing them down with his cup.

He stands up and strolls away from the terrace, then stops and returns to his table to pick up the empty envelope. We follow him as he takes the long route through the garden by the river, round the outside of the building and into the car park. Always cautious, he looks around him as he walks, automatically checking other vehicles for suspicious activity before climbing into the back of a black Jaguar. His driver waits for the door to close, pulls smoothly out away and heads for the exit.

Dorn’s car turns left along a road that follows the river, down a tunnel of tall beech trees which filter sunlight into constantly changing, dappled patterns in the shady woodlands on either side.

A few seconds later, we see a rather tatty, dented hatchback come over the bridge and pass the pub, heading after the Jaguar at a discreet distance.

Scene: Inside the hatchback.

Patrick is driving, Adam is in the passenger seat and Carlisle is in the back, looking down at something in his hand.

Dorn’s car, following a bend in the road up ahead, goes out of sight for a moment and Adam looks sharply across at Patrick.

“Don’t get too far behind, we’ll lose him.”

“It’s ok, our wannabe James Bond back there can track him with his fancy gadgets, can’t you, agent Carlisle?”

“You can take the piss if you like, but if it wasn’t for…wait..shit!”

“What’s the problem?”

“I…the signal…there’s something wrong with…”

“What?”

Adam looks back at Carlisle, who stares at him with a grim expression just as the car reaches the apex of the curve, revealing a stretch of empty road and a crossroads ahead of them.

Patrick slows as they approach the junction and turns to Carlisle, who holds up a black box with a stubby aerial on top, the small screen showing only four words;

SIGNAL LOST: BATTERY LOW

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

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

#SoCS

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Stream of Consciousness Tuesday: The Accumulator, part forty…

Well fancy that; I’ve got a couple of days off work and SoCS is a couple of days late, what a surprise. Another burst of activity in the garden at the weekend meant that I didn’t have time for any writing, but I thought I should continue this story with help from Linda G Hill and her prompt from Friday;

“ “limb.” Use it any way you’d like “

Right then, let’s go…

The Accumulator, part forty.

Scene: The beer garden of a busy riverside pub. It is two days later.

Several families are enjoying a meal on the scattered tables and picnic benches, children and a few dogs play in the shallow river, while the sounds of lively conversation and laughter drift across the garden in the summer sunshine.

On the pub’s terrace, where customers can enjoy the view in a more peaceful setting, tables with parasols are far enough apart to allow diners some privacy and the conversation here is more muted; a group of businessmen on a working lunch break, a group of elderly ladies with a cream tea and a few couples relaxing with drinks.

And in the corner, one man sits alone; the remains of a salad and an empty coffee cup on the table in front of him, he is maybe fifty, grey haired, smoking a small cigar and gazing at the picturesque view like any other tourist, occasionally glancing at cars coming over the small stone bridge which crosses the river just upstream from the pub.

As the camera glides closer to his table, the man leans forward, grinds out the cigar on his plate and rises from his seat, obviously about to leave. Then something catches his attention and he looks up, suddenly alert.

The camera follows the direction of his gaze and the shot tightens on a car, panning left to follow the dark saloon with tinted windows, as it crosses the bridge and turns into the car park on the other side of the building, at which point it disappears from sight.

The shot continues a slow pan around the terrace until it stops at the sliding glass doors, wide open in the heat, through which we see a tall young man in a dark suit walking quickly through bar towards us. He steps out into bright sunshine and shades his eyes from the glare with one hand as he scans the tables, a relieved look of recognition on his face as he heads our way.

The camera now completes its smooth circuit of the terrace and returns to face the grey haired man, who has turned to welcome the late arrival with an impatient frown, pointedly tapping the crystal of his expensive watch as the man approaches, hand outstretched, smiling nervously.

“I’m most terribly sorry, Mr Dorn, I got held up behind some sort of…agricultural vehicle, I think it was, couldn’t get past it for several miles, I’m sure the driver was intentionally…”

The man’s voice trails off when he sees Dorn’s expression, looks down at his unshaken hand and lowers it self-consciously, then moves to the chair opposite as the older man sits down, takes out another cigar and lights it, puffing a cloud of smoke straight across the table into his face.

When the smoke clears, the young man waving a hand in front of him with a look of distaste, Dorn is smiling at him, albeit without humour.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say you don’t get out in the country very often, Chief Inspector Paddick. More of a city boy, are you?”

“It’s not exactly my patch, you’re right there, sir.”

“But nevertheless, you’ve gone to the trouble of driving here to seek me out in my rural hideaway, delaying my attendance at a pheasant shoot I might add, due to your tardiness, so I take it you bring me news of some considerable import.”

Dorn gestures encouragingly with his cigar at the other man, sitting back and fixing him with an appraising look as he clears his throat and begins to speak.

“We have been monitoring any unusual communication traffic in the areas you specified and last night we got lucky. Some civilian called in a report of a burning vehicle out at the old cotton mill and when a fire crew went out there, they found the black van, completely burnt out. Looks like it was torched, no trace of your man or either of the target subjects, but get this; the body of the woman, that missing nurse, was discovered by a couple of my lot when they checked inside the building.”

“The woman, she’s dead?”

“Yes, it made the men who found her pretty sick, by all accounts, quite a mess apparently.”

“And no sign of where the other three might have gone?”

“No sir, not at the scene, but there was one more thing…”

“Well, spit it out, man!”

“This was delivered to Scotland Yard yesterday evening by bike courier, no return address.”

The Detective Chief Inspector, who had been secretly reporting to The Department for the last five years, reaches into his jacket and passes an anonymous brown envelope to Dorn, who takes it from him with a questioning frown as he sees it remains unopened.

“It’s addressed to you, sir, we didn’t want to open it before you read it.”

“Very good, you did the right thing, well done.”

Dorn starts to tear open the envelope, then pauses.

“Tell you what, you probably want a bite of lunch after your long drive, why don’t you go and order a snack from the bar and I’ll join you for a drink in a minute or two. Charge it to my table, I have an account here.”

Paddick looks slightly uncertain for a moment, then he nods and gets up, walking back into the pub before Dorn tears the end off the envelope and tips out the single sheet of paper.

Only six words are printed on the page, obviously torn from a notebook, with ragged perforations along the top edge;

“We’re going to make you famous”

After staring at the paper for thirty seconds or so, Dorn places it on the plate next to the cigar butt and picks up his lighter. With a click, the flame touches one corner of the paper and Dorn watches until it shrivels into ash, then he takes out his phone and dials a number from memory.

His face now a blank mask, he waits for an answer.

“It’s me…The woman is dead…Yes, that’s what I thought, but now we have a bigger problem…We need to meet.”

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

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

#SoCS

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Stream of Consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part thirty eight…

Good morning/afternoon/evening wherever you are and welcome to today’s installment of SoCS, in association with Linda G Hill, who provides the inspiration to continue this story by leaving us the following prompt;

” “ick.” Find a word with “ick” in it or use it as a word itself. “

Okey dokey, let’s go…

The Accumulator, part thirty eight.

Scene: Inside the deserted factory.

The opening shot is of a door, just visible in the gloom. After a few seconds we hear the scrape of a key in the lock, the door opens and a powerful flashlight shines directly at the us, (artful lens flares glint dramatically) then the beam slowly sweeps left and right and the camera pans round to follow Carlisle as he crosses the empty expanse of concrete. He is followed by Adam, holding onto Cathy’s arm, her hands handcuffed behind her, while Patrick enters last, pulling the door closed behind him.

“I use this place for stashing motors before a job sometimes, there’s a roller door round the back big enough to get a fair sized van in here.”

Carlisle speaks over his shoulder as he leads the way to a small hatchback parked in the far corner, the scratched and dented vehicle as anonymous as any other cheap car in the harsh glare of the flashlight. Halfway across the floor, he stops next to one of the steel pillars supporting the roof.

“Ok, this’ll do, tie her to this. She can scream and shout as much as she likes in here, nobody’s going to hear her.”

“And you think you can just call The Department and tell them where I am and they’ll just come running, is that it?”

Even in the darkness, Cathy’s sneer is obvious.

“You must think you’re dealing with a bunch of amateurs like you, if you think they’re going to fall for that. They’ll more than likely blow the whole place up, just to be safe, then come in and poke around in the rubble to see if they got you.”

Patrick can’t bring himself to look at her and he speaks while staring at the floor

“You don’t place much faith in their loyalty to you, then, maybe they realise what a deceitful bitch you are?”

“Oh, darling Patrick, do grow up. You got taken for a ride, get over it, you’re not exactly a saint, yourself.”

“Ok, that’s enough, you don’t get a vote so shut your mouth. Adam, tie her to that bloody post and let’s get the fuck out of here.”

Carlisle turns to Patrick and places a hand on his shoulder, making him look up, shaking his head and sighing heavily.

“Right, we need the van torched, but not until we leave, can you go and set that up? We’ll meet you there with the car in a few minutes.”

Patrick glances once, briefly, at Cathy, opens his mouth as if to say something, then turns abruptly and walks back to the door, slamming it loudly behind him.

Carlisle turns to her with a grin.

“What, no moving goodbye? Although I suppose you never were one for all that icky romantic stuff, were you? Must have been hard, pretending to have emotions for all those years, hahaha. No, I mean, poor bloke and all that, you have to feel sorry for him, but he’s best rid of you, so he’ll get over it.”

“And now what, you kill me, now that you’ve spared his feelings?”

“What possible good would that do? We want you to be able to lead them to us, don’t we?”

“I won’t do anything to help you, you fucking…dinosaur!

“Oh, I’m hurt, I would have thought “role model” or “inspiration” would be more apposite, but never mind, I’ll get over it, too.”

Carlisle takes the handcuff keys from his pocket.

“Put her against the pillar we’ll cuff her hands behind it, not even she’s going to get out of that.”

He grabs Cathy’s arm and roughly turns her around so he can unlock the cuffs, making her grimace in pain.

“Hey! Be careful, you nearly dislocated my wrist.”

“Oh we don’t want that, you might be able to wriggle out of them, we’ll have to make sure we do them up tight.”

“Fuck you, Carlisle.”

Still holding her cuffed hands behind her and speaking straight into her ear, he says;

“Don’t worry, you won’t be here long, the police will be bored at this time of night and an exploding vehicle is bound to get someone’s attention pretty quickly.”

“What do you mean, the police?”

For the first time, Cathy sounded less sure of herself.

“Oh, didn’t I mention that? Yeah, we’re going to call in an anonymous tip that there’s been a violent confrontation down here and sounds of a woman screaming, it might even include a description of the van, just to be sure they get the message.”

Adam interrupts, impatiently glancing at the glowing dial of his watch.

“What do you mean by get the message, what message?”

“She knows what I mean,…don’t you?”

He looks at Cathy, who glares back at him but says nothing.

“The Department will be monitoring police communications closely, it’s how they obtain much of their grass roots intelligence. Saves them a fortune, apparently. They will try to get a team here as fast as possible, I doubt they’ll suspect a trap if they think the tip is called in by a member of the public, but even if the coppers get here first, The Department can still get to her inside.”

“How does that help us?”

“Because the coppers already want her for assisting in the escape of you and Patrick, plus whatever other “terrorism” charges they’ve cooked up in the meantime, so she’s going to need to cut a deal with them; meaning she’ll have to lead them to us or spend a few extra years in jail. But, if The Department get hold of her, who think she might have gone rogue anyway, they won’t trust her if she says she doesn’t know where we are and they’ll employ some ingenious interrogation techniques, just to make sure she’s not lying.”

Adam nodded approvingly.

“Sounds like you have this all planned out.”

Carlisle looks down to unlock the cuffs as he speaks, fumbling to keep hold of the flashlight.

“Always think two steps ahead, that’s the secret…”

The second her hands are free, Cathy throws her head back violently, catching Carlisle full in the face as he looks up and he staggers back, blood streaming from a broken nose. Shadows loom wildly as the flashlight hits the floor and Carlisle falls to his knees, swaying and shaking his head like a punch-drunk boxer.

Then, before Adam can react, she charges at him; with the one free bracelet of the handcuffs wrapped around her hand like a knuckle-duster, she swings and lands a heavy punch, splitting his lip and smashing his front teeth.

Adam stumbles back under the force of the blow, but as he falls, manages to grab her wrist with one flailing hand and Cathy crashes down on top of him, his head striking the concrete with a hollow thud.

Blackness threatens to engulf him and a painful ringing in his ears intensifies as he feels his consciousness fading, so Adam summons the last of his strength and places his hand on Cathy’s chest as she struggles to stand up.

Now the director gives us a shot of Cathy from Adam’s POV, silhouetted against the light from the fallen flashlight, looking straight down into his face. She looks down at his hand, then back up, her eyes widening as she realises, too late, what he is doing.

Then the shot changes, so we see them from the side, as Adam unleashes a pulse of lethal energy into Cathy as she leans over him.

We see a brief, blinding light glowing between the two interlocked figures, then a shimmering, translucent beam bursts from Cathy’s back and a split second later a jagged hole is blown in the roof and a shaft of moonlight stabs down through the darkness, picking out the gory tableau below.

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

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

#SoCS

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On the air…

Last weekend I took a very pleasant drive across Exmoor, to Wiveliscombe, home of 10Radio and Suzie Grogan’s Talking Books show, to talk about, you guessed it, my book The Wrong Stuff.

Suzie was good enough to provide me with a recording of the show (which I shared with Lionel Ward) and you can listen to it with the embedded player below.

I’m on first, for about twenty minutes, so just click play and let me tell you about writing The Wrong Stuff.

Here are the obligatory Amazon links, for THE UK and for EVERYWHERE ELSE, so if you like what you heard, go and get yourself a copy on Kindle or in paperback.

 

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Stream of Consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part thirty seven…

Welcome back to this story, continued in the usual SoCS way by using the prompt that Dan Antion (sitting in for Linda G Hill this week) left us for inspiration;

” “ooooh, aaaah,”. Use it as a phrase, or break it apart. And since I love bonus points, bonus points if you somehow manage to start and end with all or part. “

Thanks, Dan, that’s very helpful…

The Accumulator, part thirty seven.

Scene: Interior of the black van. 

Patrick is driving, with Adam beside him in the front, while Carlisle is seated behind Patrick, gun trained on Cathy, who is handcuffed to the bench opposite.

“Aaahh, isn’t this nice; quite the reversal of fortune, wouldn’t you say? The tables seem to have turned somewhat, since our last little road trip.”

Carlisle grins at Cathy with no humour at all and is rewarded with a look that should have melted him on the spot, but she doesn’t say a word.

Patrick looks at Carlisle in the rear view mirror and tries to keep the anger from his voice when he speaks.

“So, tell me again why you’re so convinced she’s a Department agent.”

Carlisle doesn’t get a chance to reply, Cathy leans forward and shouts over the sound of the engine.

“Don’t listen to him, he’s just trying to…”

“I told you once, shut your mouth.”

Carlisle reaches over in a matter of fact way and slaps Cathy once across the face, not hard, but hard enough to silence her

“Ok, there’s no need for that.”

“Oh, I think there’s every need for it, but you’re the boss. For now, anyway.”

Adam casually leans back and waves his hand at Carlisle, who is instantly slammed back against the side of the van with a loud bang, held there for a few seconds and then released. He slumps forward, breathing heavily, then looks up at Adam with an evil expression as he pushes himself up into a sitting position and grabs the gun from the seat next to him.

Adam looks unconcerned but irritated and turns back to watch the moonlit road rolling past outside as he says;

“Just tell the story and let’s do without all the strongarm stuff, shall we?”

Carlisle rubs the back of his own head where it had made contact with the van and scowls at the back of Adam’s, but says no more about it and returns to covering Cathy with the gun as he speaks.

“I don’t know why it never occurred to me when I first saw the file, maybe because she was blond back then, but once I saw her in the black-ops gear, it clicked. Funny the things that trigger your memory, isn’t it? 

Anyway, I first bumped into ‘Cathy’ here – she called herself something else back then, I forget what – about fifteen years ago, on a job for your friend, Felix Braithwaite.
You’ve looked after yourself, I’ll give you that,” he winks at Cathy, “I bet she’s older than you think she is, but then I expect that was the idea; the innocent little nurse, helping you escape the clutches of the evil doctor. And you certainly fell for it, didn’t you?”

“But…why? I don’t understand, why on Earth would The Department want me to escape in the first place?”

“So they could field test you, of course.”

“What do you mean, “field test”?”

“Well, they obviously needed to find out what you were capable of, out in the real world.
I mean, I’m no expert, I didn’t even know what they were doing with you or their other guinea pigs, but that’s their standard procedure; when they think an asset is ready to go live, they’ll send them on a field trip, out into the community, so to speak. They would usually monitor progress very closely, but you rather put the cat among the pigeons when you took out Endicott and his goons, ooohhh, they didn’t like that at all, so that’s where your little friend came in.”

Carlisle looks at Cathy with something like professional respect.

“I’ve got to say, I’m impressed with your ability to improvise, but you should have got him under control before he got out of the country. That’s what sealed your fate, they thought you’d gone native on them and you were on the shit-list from then onwards, I’m afraid. Still, you had a good run, up until now.”

“I don’t answer to you, I don’t care who you think you are, you’re just as fucked as the rest of us.”

“That’s an opinion, certainly, but I don’t think it’s set in stone just yet.”

Then Adam interrupts from the passenger seat.

“Is this the place?”

Carlisle peers between the seats and sees they are approaching a slip road that leads off the motorway, the familiar shape of derelict buildings ahead of them, silhouetted against the skyline.

“That’s it, turn off here and take the second road on the left, it’s about a mile and a half.”

The last few minutes of the drive are made in silence, the van finally bumping over the rough surface of an unmade road and turning in through the sagging, rusted gates of a deserted factory. 

Patrick pulls up in the shadows at the side of the building and switches off the engine.

“Ok, what now?”

Carlisle stands up and slides open the side door of the van.

“Now, we go inside.”

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

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 thirty five…

Hello there and welcome to the return of SoCS, after a three week hiatus, even if today’s post is a little short, continuing this story with assistance from Linda G Hill and her prompt for the week;

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

Right, where had we got to? Oh yes, I remember…

The Accumulator, part thirty five.

Scene: A derelict factory building, its brutal industrial outline silhouetted against the glowing orange lights of a distant town, while a full moon hangs directly above in the clear night sky.
It is the present.

The rusting chain link fence sags drunkenly, a broken gate hanging open, from which a redundant NO ADMITTANCE sign dangles, creaking as it sways in a slight, muggy breeze.

The wide opening shot now begins to tighten, gradually zooming in to a small window on the front of the building, which we glide through without incident and find ourselves in a large empty warehouse.
The perimeter of the cavernous interior is almost invisible in the gloom, indistinct walls rising into the shadows to meet the corrugated steel roof overhead.

The director treats us to a long slow pan around the silent space, coming smoothly to a halt as a diagonal shaft of moonlight comes into view, shining in through a broken roof panel.

Picked out by this solitary beam, as though by spotlight on an empty stage, a body is sprawled in a pool of blood, one leg twisted awkwardly beneath them, arms thrown out to either side as though welcoming Death, for there is no mistaking the stillness of the body for anything else.

From this angle it is impossible to tell who the figure is, the head and shoulders are shrouded in darkness, outside the jagged splash of moonlight, all we can see is that they are dressed in dark military style fatigues, but the gaping hole where their chest used to be is visible even from here.

After a few seconds, the screen fades to black.

*****

Scene: Inside the black van.
It is two hours ago.

Patrick is driving, travelling on a mostly deserted motorway, the strobing of streetlights flashing across his face, the strain of the day now starting to show in the dark rings around his eyes and the clenched muscles of his jaw.

Next to him, Cathy dozes in her seat while in the back, Carlisle watches her with a curious look on his face, as though trying to recall something just out of his reach. After a moment, the look turns to one of grim satisfaction and he sits back with a thoughtful expression as the van speeds on through the night.

***********

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

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Stream of consciousness Sunday: The Accumulator, part thirty four…

The weather has allowed me to write alfresco again this week, so today’s SoCS post comes to you from the garden, serenaded by screaming children and lawnmowers, where we continue this story with a little help from Linda G Hill and her prompt;

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

Seems straightforward enough…

The Accumulator, part thirty four.

Scene: Inside the black van.
Patrick is driving, Carlisle and Adam are in the back.
Adam sits behind Patrick with his gun trained on Carlisle, who is handcuffed to a leg of the long bench seat which runs down the opposite side of the van.

We get a long, slow pan of the van’s interior, and as the shot returns to Patrick’s profile, he turns, grins at the camera and stretches his hand out to us. A hand reaches from just out of shot to take his, which is when we realise we are seeing this from Cathy’s POV.

Then we get a title screen:

“We did it, we pulled it off!”

Patrick’s eyes shine with excitement and he is clearly elated as he laughs and turns his attention back to the road ahead and the director cuts to the view out of the passenger window, Cathy’s reflection overlaying the passing shops and houses…

…as a new voiceover fades in, only this time it’s Cathy’s voice we hear;

We did it, alright, but if he knew who “we” were, I doubt he’d be so thrilled.

It always amazes me that, no matter how many times we escape the clutches of The Department by the skin of our teeth, it never occurs to him to wonder how exactly they found us in the first place. I mean, ok; most people do assume a sinister global counter-intelligence organisation is somehow omniscient and all-seeing, but as long as you’re careful it isn’t hard to disappear, if you really want to.

He’d never think to suspect someone who was essentially his hostage, an unwilling accomplice to his escape from Braithwaite and his twisted little science project.
Someone who went through all the shit with him, who put up with all the danger and violence, someone who struggled with learning a new language every time they had to flee another home, someone who had never handled a gun until all this madness began, let alone killed people with one.

As far as he knew, anyway.

We never thought he would prove so adaptable, that was the problem. He learnt to harness and control his power far sooner than we originally anticipated, but we decided to run with it, to see how far he could get without raising suspicion.

At first we tried to have a team on him at all times, just in case he did something too public to be ignored, but we underestimated him from the start and the stunt at the quarry put him a few steps ahead of us for a while. It was touch and go for a while there, until we managed to reestablish contact, I don’t mind telling you.

But by then it would have made it too obvious, tracing him to Europe so quickly, and the decision was made to leave him in place while he wasn’t a threat and take him out after he’d become complacent.

Which would have been fine, (he’s a nice enough guy to shack up with, after all, and it’s not like living the simple life in the french countryside for a few years was a hardship) except then they screwed up the hit at the harbour and he got all bloody gung-ho about going back home to exact his awful revenge.
I really thought we’d have to take him out then, before he did some serious damage to the programme but, amazingly, it actually worked rather well in our favour.

Ok, the business at the hospital did cause a bit of a stir in the media for five minutes, but the pros far outweighed the cons when all the wrinkles were finally ironed out of that one; Braithwaite dead, Patrick arrested and under suspicion, Subject:Beta a publicly wanted man, (I can’t get used to calling him “Adam”, he’s a failed experiment, that’s all) all of which make for perfectly legitimate reasons for either of them to suffer unfortunate accidents, should the need arise.

And, frankly, we’re beyond that point now.
Subject:Beta is displaying much greater aptitude than Patrick did at this point, or has even exhibited thus far, for that matter. More worryingly, he seems to have evolved an almost unlimited potential for Accumulation and is fast-developing abilities that even we didn’t foresee, leading me to conclude that termination with extreme prejudice was the only viable option.

Carlisle has always done sterling work for us in the past and I’m disappointed, to say the very least, at his performance on this job. He will certainly be facing disciplinary sanctions, if the recommendations I make in my next report are acted on.

But that’s by the way, first of all we have to work out how to get this situation back under our control, then we can decide how best to dispose of Patrick and Carlisle, once we know there’s a way to contain Subject:Beta safely, preferably alive.

But we have Felix’s notes, all his records and equipment; even now The Department’s top medical teams are studying his work and researching new candidates for treatment, so it won’t be long before we can duplicate the good doctor’s work ourselves.

Then all three of them will all be expendable.

Our view out of the window changes, the shot narrowing until the wing mirror fills the screen.

We see Cathy’s reflection as she gazes at the passing scenery, then, as if she knows we’re watching her, she looks down, straight at us.

And she smiles, as the screen…

Cuts to black

*****

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 thirty one…

On my 54th consecutive day of blogging, another SoCS post uses Linda G Hill‘s prompt of the week to continue this story, so let’s see what she’s given us to play with today;

” “spell.” Use the word “spell” any way you’d like. Bonus points if you use it in the first sentence. “

First sentence, eh? Ok then…

The Accumulator, part thirty one.

Scene: Interior of a windowless black van, which, due to the unusually hot spell of weather, is already an unbearable ninety degrees by ten o’clock in the morning. 

The six man assault squad, dressed in black fatigues and rolled up ski masks, have been sitting in the sweltering heat for over an hour, following a report from the overnight surveillance shift that Carlisle hasn’t been seen since entering the target residence, nearly eight hours earlier. They are getting restless and beginning to grumble irritably, tired of waiting for the order to go in.

Carlisle had always refused to wear the combined bugging and tracking devices The Department issued to its field agents; he claimed it made him feel uncomfortable, mostly because the targets often started begging for mercy and he didn’t like the idea of the monitors eavesdropping on that, it seemed…undignified.

So, because Carlisle’s spotless record and impeccable loyalty allowed him a certain amount of flexibility, the powers that be granted him this small idiosyncracy; the compromise being that a covert surveillance team was despatched to all of his jobs. Without his knowledge, of course.

They were told never to interfere, (The Department needed to retain its facade of plausible deniability, after all) but were to report back on any deviation from his established routine, just in case damage limitation was required. Up until now there had never been a problem, but Carlisle was well known for his quick turnaround on this type of critical operation, so the assumption was that he’d been compromised and the big guns had been called in.

The man closest to the sliding side door of the van, designated “Alpha One”, wipes the sweat from his eyes and looks at his watch, raising a hand to silence his muttering colleagues as he pulls a mobile phone from his pocket and punches a speed dial button.

“Hello, this is Alpha One, the area is clear. I repeat; the area is clear, you are green to proceed.”

The squad leader ends the call and nods to his men, watching as they pull down their masks and perform a final equipment check, then he climbs over into the driver’s seat and opens the window, letting in a mercifully cool breeze in the process, and listens for sirens; his cue to begin the attack.

*****

Now our POV drifts over Alpha One’s head and out through the window, (the director has just got himself a new drone camera) where it speeds down the street; past Patrick and Cathy’s innocuous suburban house and dozens of others exactly like it, until it reaches the main road, where it glides smoothly to a stop and rotates, to show us a line of four police cars, parked just around the corner.

Policemen with their sleeves rolled up and collars undone lean against the cars, chatting quietly and smoking in the heat, then a phone rings and a few seconds later the order comes;

“Ok you lot, let’s make this look convincing. Remember, we’re only here as window dressing for the spooks, so I don’t want you putting yourselves in harm’s way, but any nosey neighbours are supposed to think tomorrow’s Daily Mail is right when it comes out with some bollocks about an “Islamic Terrorist cell in shootout with Home Counties police”, you get my drift?”

There is a chorus of replies, on a variation of “Yes, sarge”, as cigarettes are flicked into gutters, doors slam and engines roar into life.

The cars pull away from the kerb, turn the corner, and accelerate rapidly; sirens blaring, lights flashing, followed by the drone camera, filming from overhead, before screeching impressively to a halt, sideways, blocking the street with two positioned on either side of Patrick’s house, just as the anonymous black van swings into his driveway.

This is the moment the assault squad have been waiting for and, as the police officers set about conspicuously “securing the area” for the benefit of any curious members of the public, the door of the van slides open and the six heavily armed men pile out.

The camera zooms down to get us right in amongst the action.

Two of the team disappear around the rear of the house and another two make for the back wall of the garage and station themselves by the connecting door that opens into the kitchen, while Alpha One takes up position at the front door with Alpha Two, who carries a compact steel battering ram.

Raising three fingers to his second in command, Alpha One nods and silently counts down;

Three. Two. One.

He drops his clenched fist in a chopping motion and Alpha Two swings the ram, splintering the wooden frame and smashing open the door in a single impact.

Without hesitation, the squad leader charges headlong into the darkened hallway and the camera follows him, as the screen..

fades to black.

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

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 thirty…

Welcome to a bank holiday edition of SoCS, brought to you by Linda G Hill and a prompt that inspires the continuation of this story;

” “moo” or a word that rhymes with it. Bonus points if you actually use the word “moo” in your post. “

Oh, really? Good grief…

The Accumulator, part thirty.

Scene: Adam and Patrick are standing in the kitchen, with Cathy sitting at the counter, all of them watching Carlisle with interest, as he gives every sign of fighting a battle with himself.

“Interesting, isn’t it?”

Adam grins at the sweating Department operative, who is gripping his right arm (the one pointing a gun at his own leg) with his left hand, trying with no success whatsoever to move it away from his kneecap.

“You’d think they would have warned you what you were up against before they sent you after me. Or maybe they don’t realise what sort of monster they’ve created, is that it, do you think?”

He gives Carlisle an expectant look, waiting for response, but all he gets in return is a glare, part angry defiance, part confusion.

“There really is nothing you can do, you know, I can keep you like that until your muscles are screaming in agony. Although I’m going to get bored a lot quicker than that, so you better start talking soon or I’ll just apply a little more pressure to your finger, and…”

Patrick sees Carlisle’s eyes suddenly widen and he can see the tendons on the back of his right hand begin to tighten.

“Wait!”

“Aha, he speaks! See, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Now, why were you sent here, what did they tell you? Think carefully before you answer, I don’t know how sensitive that trigger is, but I expect you know how many lies to risk before you loose your leg.”

Carlisle looks at Adam, then at Patrick, who stares implacably back at him in silence. He licks his lips nervously.

“All I was told was that you and the girl were to be taken out.”

He nods at Patrick and shoots an apologetic glance at Cathy, as if to say “It’s just business, nothing personal”, then looks back at Adam.

“Nobody told me you were going to be here, I’m guessing they would have sent reinforcements otherwise.”

“What did they tell you about me and Cathy, why do they want us dead?”

Patrick takes a step closer to Carlisle, fists bunched and eyes blazing with fury.

“I was told you murdered a doctor called Felix Braithwaite and the girl worked with you to get inside the hospital. They’ve already put out police reports on you both tonight, probably to help explain the bodies they’re expecting to find in the morning.”

“But they said nothing about me, you’re sure about that, you don’t want to play for the first knee?”

“I don’t even know who you are, or what you’re doing here, you weren’t part of the job at all, as far as I know.”

“Hmm, that doesn’t seem very likely; seems to me you’re a specialist and they wouldn’t have sent you in unprepared.”

“I told you, I was only contracted to do the other two. Make it look like a falling out between conspirators, they said. No need to be too tidy about it either, that’s what they told me; “Make the girl as messy as you can, so it looks like he did it” were their exact words, whatever that to meant. I assumed you were some sort of psycho, going on what I’d heard about how Braithwaite died, so they obviously wanted me to cut her up a bit.”

“Oh, charming!”

Carlisle shrugs indifferently and meets Cathy’s furious gaze.

“I’m not an animal, you’d have been dead first, if that makes you feel any better.”

“Strangely, no, it doesn’t. Adam, couldn’t you get him to shoot off a toe or something?”

“Hahaha, I don’t see why not.”

Adam looks at Carlisle and raises an amused eyebrow.

“What d’you reckon, wanna play for a toe.”

To Carlisle’s surprise and despite his obvious resistance, the pistol abruptly jerks away from his leg and his legs buckle, forcing him to one knee. He watches helplessly and lets out a grunt of pain as the hand holding the gun jabs the muzzle violently into the toe of his boot.

Cathy laughs nastily and claps her hands in appreciation.

“Ha! This is better than watching one of those hypnotists who can make you munch on an onion or moo like a cow.”

“Now, I’ll ask you again; What did they tell you about Subject:Beta?”

Carlisle looks blank, frowning in what seemed to be genuine puzzlement. He purses his lips and shakes his head at Adam.

“Nope, you’ve got me there…”

His wrist twists sharply, grinding the gun barrel into the top of his foot.

“Ow! Fuck. Wait, wait…isn’t that some hush-hush secret agent crap? Above my pay grade, I don’t ask for details, I just come in and do the job, I’m supposed to be retired, for fuck’s sake. This was going to be a quick in and out and home for breakfast type of job, I’m not being paid enough for this X-Files bullshit.”

“You know what, I think I believe you. But I’ll have the gun now, if you don’t mind. We don’t want you to do yourself an injury, do we?”

Patrick can see Carlisle relax as the gun lifts away from his foot, but he still watches with fascinated suspicion as his arm stretches up towards Adam. The tightly clenched fingers open of their own accord, releasing their grip on the butt of the pistol as Adam takes hold of the barrel.

“Thank you, now we can all converse like reasonable people, far more civilised.”

“Wait.”

Adam turns as Cathy stands up, walks over to the still-kneeling Carlisle and looks down at him with disdain.
Then she slaps him across the face.
Twice, forehand and backhand.
Hard.

“Ok, now we can converse like civilised people.”

*****

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 nine…

Right, I don’t have much time, so let’s jump straight into today’s SoCS post, continuing this story by using Linda G Hill‘s prompt;

” “give/given/giving.” Begin your post with one of those words. Bonus points if you end your post with one as well. “

Ooh, bonus points, I like a challenge…

The Accumulator, part twenty nine.

Scene: Giving us a bird’s eye view of the darkened street, our POV glides silently along above the rooftops until it comes to a smooth halt, so we appear to be hovering unsupported, directly above one particular house. Then the camera goes into freefall and we find ourselves plunging downwards, spinning sickeningly.

Straight into the black hole of the chimney.

A rotating rectangle of light grows rapidly larger as we drop through the darkness, our descent slowing at the last moment, allowing the FX boys a smooth transition from CGI to live action as the camera emerges from the fireplace in Patrick and Cathy’s living room and drifts across to the open door, towards the sound of voices in the next room.

As we enter the kitchen, Patrick and Adam are arguing loudly, with Cathy’s voice raised above theirs in an attempt to enforce some order on the situation.

“Oh really, and who put you in charge all of sudden?”

“Look, all I’m saying is we should go over there and grab him, drag him in here and see what he knows…”

“Oh yes, brilliant idea, give him time to call for help as you go charging across the street at him. You’d have the whole bloody Department down on us in two minutes flat!”

“Come on guys, let’s calm down a bit, shall we?”

“We could creep up on him from behind, go over the back fence in the garden and come at him from the other end of the street…”

“You know there’s a bloody railway embankment on the other side of that fence, I take it? You hop over that, you’ll drop twenty feet straight down onto the tracks, that’s if you miss the power lines of course. Idiot.”

“Well you come up with a better plan then, if you’re so fucking clever!”

“Umm, Patrick, I think you’d better see this.”

Cathy has moved to the window and is peering through the blinds at something outside. She turns and looks at them with a worried expression, so Patrick joins her takes a look for himself.

“Oh, that’s not good.”

“What? What is it?”

Adam is heading for the window to see what all the fuss is about when he stops in his tracks and they all tense. The muffled, yet still very definite sound of breaking glass comes from somewhere down the hall.

Patrick motions for Cathy to stay where she is and beckons to Adam as he creeps towards the doorway.  The two uneasy allies take up position on either side of the open doorway and Cathy quickly runs to sit at the kitchen counter with her back to them, picking up a magazine which she begins to casually leaf through. They only have to wait a few seconds before stealthy footsteps approach, stopping abruptly on the threshold, presumably as the intruder spots Cathy. 

The first thing that comes into Patrick’s field of vision is a gun, swiftly followed by the hand that holds it and the rest of the assassin’s arm. Patrick sees the forefinger take up the trigger tension and he is about to make a grab for the arm, but never gets the chance.

There is a startled grunt from the doorway and the hand holding the gun starts to droop toward the floor. Patrick steps away from the wall and looks over at Adam, who is smiling in satisfaction; watching Carlisle’s shocked gaze as it follows his arm to the end of its ponderous arc, with the barrel pointing at his own kneecap. The strain shows on the gunman’s face as he fights to resist the unseen force, sweat standing out on his forehead, eyes darting this way and that, looking for escape.

Adam moves to stand in front of him and offers his hand in greeting.

“Oh I’m sorry, you seem to have your hands full. Hello there, I’m Adam, nice of you to drop in. Now, shall we have a game of truth or dare?”

Cathy grins at the bewildered Carlisle.

“Oh what fun. But I warn you, you better tell the truth, because I have a feeling you won’t like the dares you’ll be given.”

*****

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

#SoCS

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