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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 nine…

Today’s prompt for SoCS, supplied as usual by Linda G Hill, allows us to continue this story by following this rather unique instruction;

” “book title.” Take the title of the book you’re currently reading or the one sitting closest to you when you’re ready to write your SoCS post and base your post on the title only. I’m not asking for a book review or a synopsis, just whatever the title itself brings to mind. “

{Nearest book: The Dark Tower by Stephen King.}

Hmm, interesting…

The Accumulator, part thirty nine.

Scene: Outside the derelict factory.

The shot opens with Patrick coming out of the door, slamming it behind him before walking quickly along the front of the building.

A bright moon casts sharply edged, impenetrable shadows and gives the looming outline of the industrial hulk a stark, forbidding appearance. We can see Patrick until he turns the corner, heading for where the van is parked, then he is swallowed by the blackness.

Cut to: the van.

After a few seconds, we hear the crunch of footsteps on gravel and see Patrick emerging from the gloom; glancing cautiously around him, he opens the sliding door and reaches inside. He comes out holding a petrol can and a handful of rags, slides the door closed and walks around to the opposite side.

We see him unscrew the petrol cap and begin feeding one length of rag into the tank, pulling it out and inspecting it with a nod of satisfaction, then repeating the process with the rest. He pulls out the last one and leaves the bundle hanging down the side of the van, the dripping petrol already forming a puddle on the crumbling tarmac.

As Patrick bends to pick up the petrol can, there is a loud crash from somewhere above him. He takes a step away from the van and looks up in time to see a shimmering shaft of energy burst through the factory roof and a rain of debris clatters down the corrugated panels, narrowly missing him as it falls to the ground.

He drops the can and starts to run back the way he came and we watch him vanish into the shadows, hearing his receding footsteps as our POV slowly descends to ground level and the overturned petrol can, it’s escaping contents forming a widening pool in the moonlight.

Scene: Inside the factory.

We see one of the three fallen figures by the pillar start to rise and the camera moves in and follows Carlisle as he shakily regains his feet and staggers toward the slumped forms of Adam and Cathy. He is trying to lift Cathy’s body off Adam without looking at the gaping hole in her back, when the door opens and Patrick comes running across the echoing space towards them.

“What the hell happened..?”

Patrick stops and looks down at the bodies in horror.

“Are they…dead? I mean, are they both dead?”

There was no mistaking that hole for a flesh wound.

“That is what I am attempting to find out, if I could get a little help here..?”

Patrick helps Carlisle roll Cathy’s corpse off Adam and leans down to check for a pulse on his throat, just as Adam groans and his eyes flicker open.

“Hold on, don’t move.”

Patrick gets up and looks over at Cathy, her eyes staring sightlessly up through the hole in the roof. He goes over to her and bends down, gripping her wrist for a moment with his eyes closed, then grabs her under the arms and gently drags her back until her head is no longer in the circle of light.

Returning to Adam with a bleak expression, he kneels down next to him and places his hand on his forehead. Adam’s body jerks briefly, his eyes snap open and he gasps convulsively.

Patrick looks up at Carlisle, who nods and bends to help him lift Adam onto his feet. The camera follows close behind them as they move quickly, supporting the stumbling Adam between them until they reach the car, lower him into the back and jump into front seats.

Carlisle guns the sputtering engine and drives over to a rusty steel roller door in the corner of the building. He jumps out and fumbles with a padlock at the base of the door, heaves it up with a screeching rattle and hurries back to the car, then drives around and pulls up next to the van.

“Gotta light?”

Patrick leans forward and rummages in the glove compartment, pulling out a cheap plastic lighter, which he hands to Carlisle.

“Be my guest.”

Carlisle steps out of the car next to the petrol can. He picks up the can and shakes it, then walks slowly away from the van, trailing a steady stream of petrol behind him until the can is empty. Walking back to the car, he drives forward and leans out of the open door with the lighter, striking it half a dozen times before a low, rippling blue wave of flame flowed swiftly away from them.

Carlisle slammed the door and floored the accelerator, sending the small car bouncing forward across the uneven concrete to the gate as Patrick turned in his seat and saw the river of fire reach the van. There was a moment when he thought nothing was going to happen, then the black outline of the van, briefly visible against the flickering light, was blown apart in a short but violent explosion and engulfed in a roaring ball of flame.

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

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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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 six…

Here we are again, another Sunday, another SoCS post, finding out what happens next in this story, using the prompt left for us by Linda G Hill;

” “rain/rein/reign.” Use one, use them all, use them any way you’d like. “

Ok then, let’s see what we can do…

The Accumulator, part thirty six.

Scene: A motorway services restaurant at night. It is an hour ago.

Patrick, Adam, Cathy and Carlisle are sitting at the only occupied table and a single bored teenager stares fixedly at his phone behind the counter. Nondescript muzak plays quietly from hidden speakers, unsuccessfully competing with the sound of rain being driven against the windows by heavily gusting wind that has sprung up outside.

Our POV drifts across the room, arriving just as Cathy gets up from the table.

“I’m going to find the little girls’ room, I want to freshen up.”

“I’ll come with you, I need to stretch my legs anyway.”

Carlisle drains his coffee and stands up, pushing in his chair and gesturing for Cathy to go ahead of him as she walks round the table.

“Nice to see you still have some social graces left.”

Carlisle smiles tightly, nods to Patrick and Adam, then follows Cathy out of the restaurant and into the main concourse, where she heads for the far end of the building, next to the expanse of plate glass windows and automatic doors which lead out into the car park.

He slows his pace, allowing her to reach the door marked Ladies and go inside, before he ducks behind a vending machine next to the door of the gents’ toilet and waits.

He doesn’t have to wait long before the door reopens and Cathy comes out. She looks around, then takes two quick steps and opens the other door, reaching into her pocket as she slips inside.

After a few seconds, Carlisle moves from his hiding place, checks that he isn’t being watched and follows her.

*****

Scene: The restaurant table. Patrick is trying to placate an irate Adam.

“Calm down, for goodness sake. It’s not like he can go anywhere, is it?”

“No, but you’re putting too much bloody faith in him, letting him wander off like that, you should keep him on a tighter rein.”

“He’ll be fine and anyway, he can keep an eye on Cathy for us.”

“Hmm, seems to me that she should be the one keeping an eye on him, but you obviously know best.”

“Look, they weren’t coming to save Carlisle when they stormed the house, you know that, right?”

Patrick looks for some recognition from Adam, but he stares back at him blankly. He sighs and goes on.

“They were there to mop up his mess and to tidy up any inconvenient loose ends, like us and him. He’s just as deep in the shit as the rest of us, so it isn’t in his interest to drop us in it any further, he’ll only get pulled down with us.”

Adam didn’t look convinced, but he shrugged and changed the subject nonetheless.

“So where do we go from here, we can’t just keep running indefinitely?”

“I’ve been thinking about that and I think our only chance is to go public with what The Department has been doing; the experiments, the murders, the abductions, it all has to come out in the open, so we are no longer a threat to them.”

“Hahaha, don’t be so bloody naïve, you don’t really think we’ll be allowed to get within a hundred yards of a journalist or a tv studio, do you?”

“We won’t have to, not if we can get them to come to us.”

“And just how do you propose to do that, ring the CrimeStoppers hotline?”

Patrick was about to reply when he was stopped by the sound of Carlisle’s voice from behind him.

“Not such a bad idea, how about a missing persons report?”

They turned to see Carlisle, holding Cathy tightly by one arm, a livid red mark on her face and a look of fury in her eyes.

“Gentlemen, I think we may have a problem. On the bright side, I think we may also have a solution.”

*****

The scene flashes back to a close-up of Cathy in the toilet, a flash of movement is just visible behind her and we see her spin round…

Too late.

She turns to find the tip of Carlisle’s razor sharp hunting knife about half an inch from her left eye and freezes in shock.

“Looking for me?”

Carlisle, receiving no answer, laughs and continues in a cheerful voice

“Hahaha, the look on your face is priceless, you should see yourself. Didn’t know I’d recognised you, did you? Or had you just worked it out? Doesn’t matter now, anyway, I’ve got you bang to rights, as they say.”

Still she says nothing, just stares at him, hardly breathing, waiting.

He leans forward and carefully takes the gun from her hand. Then, and only then, he lowers the knife and is about to say something else but doesn’t get the chance, because that’s when she makes a desperate lunge for his throat with her bare hands.

It’s a token effort and she knows it, she’s off balance and he has all the advantages, but she’s so angry at herself for getting played like that, she can’t stop herself from trying.

Carlisle looks surprised for a split second, then decades of survival kicks in and he takes one quick step back and swings the hand holding her gun in a sharp arc, all in one smooth movement. The butt of the pistol connects solidly with the side of her face and Cathy goes down hard on the tiled floor.

Don’t do that again.”

“Fuck you, Carlisle”

“Ah, the old Department spirit finally surfaces, I didn’t think it’d be long before we saw your true colours. So, how were you going to explain my unfortunate demise to your boyfriend and his fellow medical oddity, was I going to assault you?”

“Something like that, yes.”

“Well, instead, why don’t you and I go and see what lover boy thinks about you betraying him all these years. And then, I think I’ve got a use for you.”

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

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 three…

Today’s SoCS post comes to you from the blazing sunshine of our back garden, where I sit listening to the crows scrawking as I prepare to continue this story with the help of Linda G Hill‘s prompt;

” “inter-” Use the prefix “inter-” any way you’d like. “

Alrighty, then…

The Accumulator, part thirty three.

Scene: The director really thinks he’s being clever with the FX now, giving us all the action in one go by using a three way split-screen (you know the sort of thing; gimmicks made “popular” by the likes of cliché-packed international mega-hit 24 and so-so, preachy British spy nonsense, Spooks) so we now see;

Screen One: Adam stands just inside the kitchen, Carlisle’s pistol pointing across the room at the door to the garage, his other hand extended, fingers almost touching the door.

Screen Two: Carlisle’s POV down the darkened hallway. An explosion of light and noise; the assault squad smashing down the front door. A figure advances, weapon pointing straight at the camera.

Screen Three: We watch from the POV of one of the two men stationed in the garage, by the door to the kitchen. We see him count down on his fingers; 3.2.1., then drop his fist in the signal to go and the other man nods and kicks open the door, charging through it as we follow close behind.

Then things happen very fast.

Screen One: From Adam’s POV we see the door to the garage fly open and a masked man in black fatigues bursts into the room, a machine pistol already swinging round to take aim at us.

Too slow.

Adam’s first shot hits him on the bridge of the nose, snapping his head back and spraying blood onto the ceiling. He staggers backwards into the man behind, who is hit in the thigh by the second shot; his gun clattering onto the tiles, he screams and collapses against the door to the garage, slamming it shut as he slides to the floor.

Adam drops the gun and spreads his fingers, arm held stiffly at shoulder height, like a magician adding the final flourish to a particularly impressive illusion; as we see a rippling pulse in the air, seemingly sucked from the falling man’s body into Adam’s open hand and up his arm.

He turns to the hallway door behind him and makes a rapid sweeping gesture in the air, as if pushing something hard to the left, then stands with his hand on the door handle, waiting.

Screen Two: The man with the gun trained on us slows his pace as he approaches, trying to make out details in the gloom. Then, as he reaches the foot of the stairs, a tightly rolled rug is dropped from the landing above, catching him on the shoulder and making him spin round in surprise; just as Carlisle, still strapped to his stool, is sent flying along the slippery floorboards like a human hockey puck, slamming into the man who trips over the rolled up rug and crashes to the floor with Carlisle falling heavily on top of him

Screen Three: We see from a rear view, the first man going through the garage door, as our host follows him into the kitchen; the sudden spray of blood and the impact of lead man’s body as he is thrown into us, the shocked scream as the shot focuses downward, at the bloody wound in our leg, looking up and catching a glimpse of that strange, wavering pulse in the air, seeing the grinning young man turn away, then the picture blurs and fades to black.

The remaining screen is now split two ways and now we see

Screen One: Changing to third person POV, we see Adam go tense at the noises outside and he yanks open the door to the hallway, stepping through then ducking back in immediately as a hail of gunfire smacks into the wall next to his head.

He drops to his knees and leans round the door, snapping off two shots in quick succession before flattening himself against the kitchen wall and listening.

The sound of the squad leader, still struggling to extricate himself from beneath Carlisle and his accompanying stool, is all that can be heard from outside the door and the camera floats past Adam and gives us a view down the hallway, at which point the images of screens one and two converge and screen two expands to fill our vision.

Scene: The camera drifts towards the writhing pile of bodies and tubular chrome furniture, coming to rest above them just as the man underneath manages to roll Carlisle off him and raise his gun.

Which is when the second rolled up rug hits him square in the face, breaking his nose and banging his skull on the floor with a horrible cracking noise.

After a few seconds of silence, Patrick and Cathy peer around the banister, then cautiously descend the stairs to survey the carnage below.

As Patrick kicks the fallen man’s gun away from his slack fingers and Cathy attempts to untangle the furiously thrashing Carlisle, the camera swings round and heads back to the kitchen, where we find Adam stripping off the dead man’s clothes. Patrick enters the room, while from the hallway we hear Carlisle swearing profusely; Cathy has obviously removed the tape from his mouth.

It has been a little over a minute since the assault began.

Patrick goes straight to the unconscious second man and starts to pull off his black jacket, when there is a deafening burst of automatic gunfire from the hall.

He turns to see Adam, gun in hand, running for the door, but he is only halfway across the room before Cathy appears in the doorway, a machine pistol hanging limply from one hand, her face a deathly white.

When she speaks, her voice shakes, as though she is barely holding herself together. 

“Th-there were two m-more of them. They must’ve come in th-through the li-living r-room window. I only p-pulled the trigger o-once…”

Patrick hurries over to her and takes the gun from her unresisting fingers and the camera drifts past them to look back down the blood-spattered hallway, as the screen fades to black.

*****

Scene: Outside, the police watch “special forces” go into the house, remaining where they are, even when gun shots can be heard from inside. When the second, sustained burst of gunfire is heard, one or two of the armed officers look at each other uncomfortably, but orders were orders so they hold their positions and wait.

Ten minutes later – Some impatient muttering amongst the police is silenced by a shout from an officer with the best view of the front door and a moment later the assault squad emerge from the house, masks still in place.

Two of the men are clearly injured and are each being supported by a pair of their comrades, who quickly assist them (somewhat roughly, witnesses said later) into the back of the black van. Two of the men then climb into the front seats and the van backs slowly out of the driveway and turns to face up the street, where it sits with the engine idling until someone gets the message.

The officer in charge takes one look at the intense stare of the masked man behind the wheel of the van and gets the message straight away. He quickly orders one of the cars blocking the road to be moved, allowing the assault squad to drive off without any further inconvenience. 

He watches the van stop at the end of the street, where it turns left and vanishes from sight, then the bewildered officer heaves a sigh of relief and turns back to his men.

“Ok you lot, you know what to do; make the scene secure and then we just wait for the anti-terror boys to arrive…”

They will be waiting for a long time.

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

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 thirty two…

Bank holiday Monday is the new Sunday, as far as my SoCS posts are concerned, anyway, so let’s see what Linda G Hill left as a prompt for us on Friday, with which to continue this strange tale;

” “yard.” Use it any way you’d like. You can even add letters to it to make a whole new word! “

That shouldn’t present too much of a problem…

The Accumulator, part thirty two.

Scene: Patrick and Cathy’s living room. Patrick is sitting in an armchair by the fireplace while Carlisle is lying face down on the sofa facing him, with his arms tied behind his back and his ankles tied together, a length of parcel tape stuck firmly over his mouth. Adam watches Carlisle from his position at the window overlooking the small back yard and Patrick smokes silently, staring into the fire.

From our vantage point at the end of the room, we can also see across the hallway and into the kitchen, where Cathy keeps watch on the street outside, perched on a stool by the window.

It is half an hour ago.

As the camera drifts towards the centre of the room, Patrick checks the clock on the mantlepiece and stands up, flicking his cigarette into the hearth in a shower of sparks. He walks over and rips the tape off Carlisle’s mouth in one swift movement, ignoring the grunt of pain and bending down so that his face is level with the incapacitated hit man.

“We had better be getting ready, if you think they’re coming at ten, that is. You wouldn’t be lying about that, would you?”

Carlisle glares at him for a second, working his jaw to try and ease the stiffness in the raw skin around his mouth.

“That’s the usual procedure after this long without contact. If they haven’t come by now, it means they’ve got someone keeping an eye on the place and know I’m still in here. Looks like they don’t trust me as much they said.”

“Well you better hope they still have your health and safety as their priority, because otherwise you might be in for a very abrupt retirement.”

“I’ve no interest in making life difficult for you, it’s not like I’m going anywhere, is it?”

“Oh no, perish the thought, you were just going to brutally murder us all for money, not do anything that would make life difficult for us, that’s a relief.”

The scathing tone in Cathy’s voice as she enters the room gets a chuckle from Adam, but elicits no further response from Carlisle, who merely shrugs and stares blankly back at her.

“There’s a black van a little way up the road, it hasn’t moved for hours and I just saw someone in the driver’s seat who wasn’t there earlier. I can’t see who it is, but they’re just sitting there, I don’t like it.”

Patrick looks at Carlisle and sees something in his face that tells him all he needs to know.

“Ok, that’s them. You all know what to do.”

Leaving Carlisle on the sofa, Patrick walks into the kitchen and peers through the blinds at the van, parked about thirty meters away on the other side of the road from the house. The driver’s window is open but the angle of sunlight on the windscreen makes it impossible to see who is at the wheel. 

He turns to see Adam placing a stool outside the kitchen, facing down the length of the hallway, as Cathy comes out of the living room, closing the door behind her. The camera follows Cathy as she walks down the hall, closing doors to the dining room and cloakroom, then drawing the curtains across the window next to the front door. She stops on the way back, picking up two thick rugs which cover the shiny laminate flooring, leaving them rolled up at the foot of the stairs. 

After Cathy rejoins the others, Patrick pulls the kitchen door closed so they are plunged into near-darkness and Adam nods with satisfaction.

“That should do it; coming in from the bright sunshine they’ll be practically blind for a few seconds, that’s all I need.”

“I hope so, otherwise we’re screwed.”

“Oh ye of little faith, Patrick, I’m hurt at your lack of confidence in me.”

“Just stick to the plan and we might get out of this alive. Cathy, time to get you upstairs.”

Taking one of the heavy rugs each, Patrick and Cathy head up the stairs, as we follow Adam into the living room; where we see that Carlisle has managed to roll off the sofa, only to get himself wedged underneath the glass coffee table, and he still lies there like some sort of bizarre and furious museum exhibit.

“Hahaha, is that your best attempt at an escape, you’ve really made a pig’s ear out of that, haven’t you?”

Adam stops, raises his arm and, much to Carlisle’s surprise, the steel and glass table lifts smoothly into the air and hangs there, swaying gently, a foot from the ceiling. Adam reaches down and hauls the Department man from beneath the hovering table by his bound ankles, then glances up and makes a small gesture with his hand. The table sinks slowly down, hitting the floor with nothing more than a soft thud and a rattle of an ashtray on the glass top.

Adam bows with a dramatic flourish and grins at the scowling assassin.

“You’re welcome. Now, it’s time for your big moment. Patrick are you ready?”

“I’m here, let’s do this…Shit!

This last exclamation is a reaction to the sudden noise of approaching sirens in the street outside, followed by the sound of screeching brakes and car doors slamming.

Moving quickly now, Patrick and Adam grab Carlisle, carry him out of the living room and place him on the stool facing the front door. They sit him with his arms tied behind the stool’s low back and Adam shoves a broom handle between the two, meaning he can’t lift his arms free, even if he stands up. 

Then Patrick heads for the stairs, vanishing around the corner on the first landing as Adam ducks into the kitchen and closes the door, leaving Carlisle alone once more, in the dark.

Which is when the front door crashes open and all hell breaks loose.

***********

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

#SoCS

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