SILHOUETTES - Sixth instalment - Chapters twelve and thirteen. For more information on this novel, click Here. Next instalment coming next week.
It was almost four in the afternoon when Dave left the bar. Ben was still drinking away, and he thought that maybe they had become friends, though he'd always been told to shy away from making such acquaintances. The office block across the road was in shadow, and unlit, and in a cold April late afternoon twilight it looked a ghastly haunted place. No light even from the reception, so either the fat controller had gone, or was saving the company money on the next power bill.
He was happy, and slightly inebriated, and as he walked down the street, he found himself smiling unwittingly at people, some of whom, he believed, found this quite unsettling. He carried on down to the river, turned right, and made for the Arches below the railway bridge where his communication centre was stored. At the first arch, there was a computer store owned by the same person who rented out the Arch he had. He entered and found Bernie restocking some shelves. He arranged to end his lease at the end of the May and have the place empty by then. Bernie was pretty ambivalent about it. Dave supposed these kind of places were easy enough to rent out.
Entering his own Arch, he surveyed his communications centre. It wasn't large, and as it was camouflaged as a standard blue Ford Sierra, it was a common enough sight on the roads, though being quite an old type, if he had been planning to keep it much longer, he would have had to upgrade it to a more recent model.
The windows were all tinted black to hide the interior, and it was when the door was closed and the ignition turned on, that you knew this machine was a technological marvel. He climbed in and did so, the windscreen changed to a display of information and grids, a gentle hum of friendly static and vibration could be felt from within, though he knew on the exterior, the idling revs of a four stroke engine would be apparent. Constant updates of various news items from home scrolled down the left hand side of the screen. The oil wars in the east were still raging, and the new currency of a friendly Asian state was being propped up clandestinely. The Governor of some US state had been caught having orgy parties at his summer home by some beady eyed investigative reporter, though this was vehemently denied, and even if it were the case, the participating females were all of age and consented to anything that may have went on, if in fact it did so, though it did not. A picture of the aging politician with a group of scantily clad females was part of the article. He was dismayed to notice one of the females was Amber Reid, his younger sister. Reid was not her real name, just as Stuart wasn't his. He made a mental note to give her a call soon and try to get her out of the Agency.
He switched from the news to the comms channel, nothing new for him there. The local, state, and world grids showed no anomalies or new persons or groups of interest in the vicinity. He reclined his chair and decided to have a nap until the booze had worn off.
At five-thirty, Simon left for Grimeforth Street to recommence surveillance on Dave Stuart. He took a path that would go by the river and held under his arm another of the large coffee tins filled with the liquefied guts of Suzi. The voice process was ok, but he would like to eventually program his own words for her to respond with, and perhaps with a huskier, French accented, sexier voice. The metal rods and hinges he would make the framework to align with her limbs should arrive in the next day or two. Next month he would have the money to buy the servos and motors to power the frame. When he could purchase the controller for it all, was when he would be happy. That was when Suzi would come alive again.
The trouble at this time of the day was people. Too many people were walking home from work, or the shops, and taking the route alongside the river. He could take a chance and just lob the tin over the railing and let it splash and sink and hope no one would notice, or if they did, consider it nothing but the foolish, though ineptly innocent, folly of some meandering youthful idiot with little in the way of morals regarding the disposing of rubbish. It was either that or carry the damn tin about with him all day. He should have brought his backpack and it would have squeezed in that and be carried with ease, but he never, and looking at his watch, it was too late to go back for it, or take the tin back and leave it for disposal at a later date. But there was nothing to gain by panic.
He stood leaning over the railing at the edge of the walkway looking down at the slow moving water. A barge passed upriver, laden with some type of ore. The river was deep at this point, people had drowned here; drunken pranks ending in tragedy, or children playing dare that turned into death by misadventure, and one or two suicides came to mind. The water was slow, but deep, and the undercurrent was strong and would drag the unwary or unfit away and under in a matter of the blink of an eye whether the sun shone with calm serenity above or not.
A small white poodle began sniffing round about him, attached with a retractable lead to some elderly dog walker. The dog had sensed the contents of the tin and was taking an over keen interest in what it may have considered to be a tasty snack. It was when it jumped up on his trouser leg that he turned and kicked at the beast. The dog yelped in shock, then snarled at him and came at him again, this time with gusto, growling intent. The dog owner tried to reel it in, while also raising a walking stick in a threatening manner.
'Bastard, you bastard,' he cried. 'Kick a defenceless animal, you!'
Simon heard and felt his trouser leg tearing below the knee as the dog had a mouthful of the cheap cotton and refused to let go as he thrashed his leg about. There was a multitude of passers by now stopping to witness the affray.
'Vicious Bastard!' cried the old man, his tartan bonnet falling from his head as he whacked Simon across the shoulder with his stick. Surprise and pain surged through him, the onlookers were gathering, he had to escape, but the dog would not relax its hold. He couldn't walk or run away, he couldn't shake free of the rabid beast, he did the only thing he could think of and held the large coffee tin in both hands and battered it over the head of the dog. The lid flew off as the tin bent on contact with the skull of the dog and a vile smell arose as the contents of the tin splashed out over the back of the animal, the pavement, and the feet of the old man. The dog let go, stunned. Simon threw the bashed tin over the railing into the river and ran.
Next instalment coming soon...
Copyright © Stevie Mach 2012 All rights reserved
Copyright © Stevie Mach 2012 All rights reserved