November 2, 2008

In the Hands of Others (16 of 20)

Thread: Alpha and Omega

An open hand descended through the chattering, snapping darkness.

Mr. Alpha reached forward, grabbed it and the crowd dissolved. Mr. Omega lifted him up and the street was just the street again. The tourists that had appeared from nowhere disappeared just as quickly, back whence they came.

‘What’s fucking wrong with you boy?’

‘I… I must’ve just tripped up.’

‘Can’t do knots, can’t do your shoe laces, hey boy? Come on. She went into Trinity College.’

There was no more caution in their approach; they sprinted down the last leg of Grafton Street and the crowds gave way this time. Mr. Alpha felt unsteady, unable to put his feet exactly they should go.

They blazed into the grounds of Trinity College, onto the grand open space of Parliament Square in which the Campanile stood. The tall bell tower, with drizzled white surfaces and four stumpy legs, seemed to watch them from above, an overwrought cross extruding from a scaly scalp.

A wedding entourage was milling around on the right, the bride a white puffy cloud and the groom a grey matchstick figure perfect for the top of some cake. Well-dressed guests surrounded them, taking pictures. Mr. Alpha thought he heard the sound of cameras clicking.

Mr. Omega seemed to know exactly where he was going, but Mr. Alpha couldn’t see the dark silhouette of Morgana. ‘Where is she? I don’t see her.’

‘There, right ahead, going into that building!’ Up ahead was a building that didn’t match the encroaching architecture, looking like the concrete skeleton of some beast. A black figure approached the main entrance then slipped inside. Few students were congregating around the building.

Mr. Omega was panting. He was too old for this. Mr. Alpha picked up the pace, getting ahead of his senior; not to prove a point, but to make sure they wouldn’t lose her. He was trying to avoid thinking of their pursuit as futile. He knew she was too far away; they’d never catch her now. Then another emotion sprang up: the fear of the strange crowd. They had to approach her together. He couldn’t do this alone.

‘Come on, Mr. Omega. Come on!’ He slacked off a little, to make sure Mr. Omega was with him.

They reached the concrete husk the figure had entered. The building, although still under construction, looked complete at this point – although hideously ugly, concrete masts and half-baked abstract designs jutting out at wrong angles. Signs were plastered all over a door before them: “UNDER CONSTRUCTION – KEEP OUT”, “HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS”. Not a second was spent considering the health and safety issues. They threw open the doors and plunged in.

Inside, an empty reception kiosk to the left was missing paperwork and a receptionist; a chair wrapped in plastic, fresh and unused, awaited a grand unveiling. A phone in the kiosk was ringing with a repetitive scrum of high-pitched beeps. A bench against the right wall was missing visitors. A noticeboard was missing notices, but it bore some pins. Corridors moved off to the left and right.

Mr. Alpha thought they would have to split up – they would still be close enough together not to break the pairship rules and face excision – but he didn’t welcome the prospect.

Mr. Omega shouted, ‘Come here, you bitch!’ and scarpered down the right-hand corridor.

Mr. Alpha followed and was amazed at what he saw. The old man was racing down the half-finished corridor, dissolving into scaffolding and construction materials at the far end, towards Morgana who stood calmly outside one door, smiling at them.

She looked how she did before. The black top and leggings made her look like she wore a catsuit, lithe and ready for action. Her face drenched with contempt yet there was still a place there for some mirth. Something around her neck; a pendant of some kind that looked like a hand. She seemed indistinct somehow, as if he couldn’t focus on her properly.

Mr. Omega had his weapon out and was preparing to fire.

Abruptly she dived through the door and slammed it behind her. The entire corridor reverberated with the sound as if something throbbed deep beneath the ground, stirring from slumber. It gave Mr. Alpha pause.

Mr. Omega fell against the door but it wouldn’t open. ‘Help, twat!’

Mr. Alpha got his own weapon out and ran towards the door.

‘After three,’ said Mr. Omega. Mr. Alpha tensed up his shoulder. ‘One, two, three!’

They threw themselves at the door and broke it off its hinges, only just able to stop themselves careering into the room.

Inside was a dingy office with an overhead window, a desk upon which a middle-aged woman sat facing them, and two men flanking her. None of them were Morgana.

The woman was trim with untidy brown hair and leered at them behind a pair of thin-framed glasses. She wore a pair of jeans and a blank cyan T-shirt. The two men beside her were wearing similar casual clothes. One was a bald black guy in hooded navy jacket, young enough to look like a troublemaker on one of the East End estates; but he was well-groomed and clean. The other wore a denim jacket, over a weathered T-shirt bearing the words Hell’s Angels; older but more unkempt. Long scraggy blonde hair spread out over his shoulders. A scar was posted over his right eye.

Mr. Omega raised his weapon at the woman. ‘Alright, where the fuck is she?’

Mr. Alpha raised his weapon too, pointing it at the hoodie. He noticed there were no other exits from the office and the office too small to hide in. A bad feeling swelled in his stomach. Something was wrong. Again.

The woman cocked her head to one side and took her glasses off. She rubbed her eyes. She spoke calmly with a thick southern Irish lilt. ‘There is no one here. We are not here. I’d leave while you still can on those bony legs of yours.’

The two men either side of her didn’t move at all. They stood there, unmoving, as if waiting for instructions.

Mr. Omega took a step forward and placed his black gun a few inches from the woman’s head. ‘You don’t know who we are. You will tell us where the woman is. You will do this otherwise I will pull this trigger. Belief is rock.’

Mr. Alpha was tense. Wrong. This felt like… he struggled to articulate it. He could still hear the phone down the corridor, ringing like an alarm bell, trying to tell him something. Morgana had baited them here. It felt like a trap.

‘Mr. Omega,’ he said.

‘I’m going to count to three,’ said the old man ignoring him. ‘And then I’m going to be very tired and bored with this. I get trigger-happy when I get tired and bored. One.’

‘Mr. Omega, hang on.’

‘Two.’ The phone continued to ring.

‘Mr. Omega, don’t you think-‘

‘Three. I am so fucking bored.’

The woman jerked her head up, still not wearing her glasses, staring directly into Mr. Omega’s eyes and screeched in anger: ‘Angel is dark!’

Something deep in his mind burst like an artery, splashing bloody memories across the ordered structure of the present, demolishing his resolve. The brutality of it. He hadn’t been prepared for this. Not this!

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 2009

2 Responses to “In the Hands of Others (16 of 20)”

  1. Jen wrote on 5-Nov-2008 @ 1110:

    Great build-up!! Talk about ratching up the tension a notch or ten!!




  2. Jen wrote on 5-Nov-2008 @ 1110:

    Great build-up!! Talk about ratching up the tension a notch or ten!!




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