June 10, 2007

The Crane (17 of 19)

Thread: Alpha and Omega

Mr. Bolt took the tablet from Mr. Omega’s gloved hand and placed it on his tongue like the body of Christ. A defeated expression crossed his face as he swallowed and his weary eyes fell away from the Clothmen.

Mr. Bolt shifted backwards and lay down beside his wife. He clasped her hand and whispered something; she whispered something back. Her eyes were closed but a contented smile remained on her face. Mr. Bolt shut his eyes too, wetness glinting beneath the eyelashes.

Mr. Omega dragged up a chair and sat beside Morgana’s parents, watching them.

Through the window, Mr. Alpha saw nothing but a few Clothmen wandering down the windy roadside, eating grease-drenched chips out of a basket of paper, laughing and jostling, playing their roles. Beneath the glossy veneer lay the knowledge of what was really happening. Part of him almost hoped for Morgana to make an entrance and rescue her parents. They didn’t deserve this.

With Morgana pressing in on his thoughts again, he pulled out his handgun for comfort. If she turned up, he’d shoot her down. No games with ropes this time. Shoot her down, good and dead.

‘Put that away,’ Mr. Omega whispered. ‘Show some bloody respect.’

The old man was right. Mr. Alpha slid the gun back into its holster.

He watched Mr. Omega, safe that he could stare at him from the window without raising the old bastard’s hackles. Mr. Omega’s sat motionless, dedicated and dutiful, observing the Bolts. Mr. Alpha wanted to know what was going on inside that brain of his; he let nothing slip. He knew that Mr. Omega had doubts as well, but demonstrated remarkable control over them.

Mr. Alpha approached the bed to peer at the two still forms lying there.

There were a few black marks etched into the wooden footboard that he didn’t remember seeing earlier. The marks moved; it was a shadow, crawling up onto the bottom of the bed. The shadow then drifted across its expanse until it blotted out Morgana’s parents. It was the shadow of a hand.

He turned to see if, somehow, his hand or another’s was obscuring the light from the bulb in the ceiling. Nothing. He looked back at the bed and the shadow was gone. A trick of the light, perhaps. Perhaps.

Mr. Omega reached over to check their pulses and nodded solemnly to himself. ‘They’re gone,’ he said.


‘Yes. Certain.’

Mr. Alpha took up position beside the body of Mr. Bolt while Mr. Omega leant over Mrs. Bolt.

Mr. Omega blessed Morgana’s parents. ‘Belief is rock.’

‘Truth is ghost,’ Mr. Alpha concluded.

Mr. Omega took out a manilla envelope from the depths of his grey jacket. The envelope contained the suicide note and he laid it on the dressing table against the wall.

‘I can’t believe we did this,’ said Mr. Alpha, unable to leave the bedside. He felt worse than he did during the build-up to the quarantine. His stomach was doing somersaults and his thoughts were disjointed, derailed. ‘I can’t believe this.’

Mr. Omega came over to him, without even the slightest hint of reproach and put an arm on his shoulder.

‘Mr. Alpha,’ he said. ‘One for the road, I think.’

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 1913

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