April 16, 2007

The Crane (14 of 19)

Thread: Alpha and Omega

Ms. Cancer handed the binoculars to Mr. Omega and he took a look for himself. ‘I see them,’ he said. ‘So definitely the same time every day?’

‘Not exactly the same time. They usually get to the bench around 3 o’clock, sometimes earlier. We doubt they’d be late, we think they’re supposed to meet Morgana at 3.15, possibly half past.’

Slumped forward over an ornate desk, Mr. Alpha rapped his fingers on its wooden surface, making a noise like chattering teeth. The room grated on him, being more ostentatious that the usual Clothman suite, but it was a stakeout. Needs must. Peculiar candelabras hung from the walls, scattering light in uncertain paths, casting mysterious shadows in a room that was cleverly sheltered from daylight. Lawn stripes fleshed out the walls.

Staring at random scratches on the desk, Mr. Alpha asked, ‘How long have they been coming here for?’

Ms. Capricorn leaned forward from the divan she sat on, her ghostly face emerging from shadow. Large eyes peered at him across the gloom. ‘We have seen them here every day since we tracked down their hotel. We know that they have stayed at the Seaward for a month.’

‘And they haven’t met Morgana in all that time?’

‘We believe not,’ said Ms. Cancer, a silhouette against the window, turning to face Mr. Alpha. ‘What are your plans?’

There was silence.

Phrases from the letter fragment they’d come across flashed through his mind. The Cloth believes God doesn’t exist and that Man has to fill this vacancy. That’s what they do, they manipulate belief, religion, to push the world towards their goal. But there were things in the letter that only a mature Clothman like Morgana would have been privy to, which were news to him. Right now they’re trying to unify religion by pitting Christianity against Islam. They don’t care who wins, as long as one of them eats and absorbs the other.

They’d only recovered one page; what the fuck did the rest of the letter contain? Had Morgana sent her parents every single Cloth secret she knew? The Eastbourne school hadn’t been happy with the sudden reassignments of practically every Clothman at their disposal, but quarantine was quarantine. It doesn’t get much worse than that. And so fifty Clothmen roamed the streets of Brighton, primed for action, all because of Morgana’s letter. Because of her arrogance.

‘Mr. Omega,’ Mr. Alpha said, tracing out one deep scratch with a finger. ‘We move now, right?’

Mr. Omega was still looking through the binoculars. ‘Yes. Morgana’s not going to show. I think she had problems getting here in time. Now it’s too late. She knows that we’d have the place under heavy surveillance by now. That just leaves us with one thing left to do.’

Mr. Alpha looked at Ms. Capricorn and asked, ‘You’ve got all the CCTV cameras covered? Don’t want to be recorded when we apprehend Mr. and Mrs. Bolt.’

‘We have taken care of the cameras, Mr. Alpha.’

‘You’ll have the area secure, in case Morgana does make an appearence?’ Although it would be a suicidal gamble on her part, she might try to make a scene. Any public participation would make the situation far more complicated to resolve.

‘We have the area secure.’

‘And you’ll be watching for police activity?’

‘We have taken care of police monitoring, Mr. Alpha.’

Ms. Capricorn’s apparent over-confidence irritated him. ‘Is there anything you’ve fucking forgotten?’

Mr. Omega twisted around and said, ‘Calm down.’ He returned to watching the Bolts.

Ms. Capricorn didn’t flinch at the barbed sarcasm. ‘We have forgotten nothing.’

‘Well, then,’ Mr. Alpha responded with a mocking smile, ‘I guess it’s all systems a go-go. No reason to stall any longer, eh, Mr. Omega? Hmm?’

Mr. Omega lowered the binoculars, but said nothing, continuing to stare out of the window towards the featureless grey sky.

‘There are no indications of any substantial leak yet. And Ms. Capricorn and Ms. Cancer, bless their fucking cotton socks, have got things locked up tighter than a nun’s arse. Why the hesitation, mate?’ Mr. Alpha was furious and wanted the old man to feel the same pangs of doubt. Come on, feel it.

More silence.

Mr. Alpha slammed his fist onto the desk. ‘Answer me, you fucker!’

But Mr. Omega did not answer, neither did he turn around.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 2212

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