Tuesday, 23 October 2012

SILHOUETTES - Ninth instalment

White Rabbit with cigarSILHOUETTES - Ninth instalment - Chapters nineteen and twenty. For more information on this novel, click Here. Next instalment coming next week.


Debbie's description of the mugger niggled like an itch in the back of Dave's mind. There was something so familiar to it, though it was a rough spoken sketch that could be any of a million people scattered around the country. Something about the eyes - pointed, the nose - slightly hooked, the head - completely bald, yet how could eyes be pointed, though he knew pointed eyes were a trait that seemed familiar to him at the moment. Had he noticed anyone around with pointy eyes? He laughed aloud, and both Debbie and Jo stared at him, concerned.

'The pointed eyes,' he stated as explanation, 'hard to visualise.'

'Er,' mumbled Debbie, 'that's how they seemed to me.'

'And me,' said Jo. 'Definitely pointed eyes.'

'Ok,' said Dave, 'we all agree, pointy eyes,' he made a mental note to consult the agency manual for a fuller description of the facial feature of pointed eyes.

After another round of drinks the alcohol from earlier in the day, and the alcohol of the moment was beginning to catch up with Dave and he felt decided drunk, the girls also seemed well on the way to inebriation. He knew Jo was blatantly flirting with him and he could hardly avoid peering down her cleavage the way she leant over the table as she spoke. It was a wonderful cleavage.


Although he was Scottish by birth, born in the town of Wishaw, his parents had moved to Smithfield, Virginia, in the United States when he was ten years old. His father had been left a large house and some land by some obscure uncle his parents never knew existed until his death. His father had sold some of the land, and converted the house to five apartments. The family, his father, mother, sister and he, resided in one, and lived off the rent from the others. The US was a big adventure for a ten year old boy, his father took him and his sister regularly up to the naval docks at Norfolk, to see up close the military might of the USA. The base was always bristling with a wide range of naval hardware, from small frigates to medium class destroyers to up-to-the-minute submarines and the latest aircraft carriers. He was determined to join the navy when he was old enough. In reality though, it wasn't to be. At the age of eighteen he had applied to enlist in the US Navy, and had been provisionally accepted, though on a subsequent interview he was offered another position with Navy Intelligence, due to his high scores in the admission examinations and presumably also in the unique way he answered each question in the psychometric test paper with a drawing of a white rabbit smoking a cigar. To the examination board this showed initiative and a concentrated mind unlikely to sway due to peer pressure or be bent to the persuasions of financial gain. To him, a white rabbit was the only thing he could draw well, and psychometric tests did his head in.

Navy Intelligence turned out to be a long boring waste of time. He rarely got near a ship, never mind actually get to serve some time in one, the uniform was crap, he spent most of his time clandestinely reading legitimate emails from Navy colleagues throughout the world, looking for obscure patterns of words, that may or may not, be a hidden code to instruct a sleeper Agent to attack the USA. He read a great deal of cyber-sexual correspondence, discovered reams worth of secret affairs, both heterosexual and homosexual in nature, discovered a child porn ring organised and run by a high serving Admiral (the Admiral retired due to ill health shortly after he reported this). He never discovered any threats to the US either at home or abroad. After six months of this he was desperate to move on to something else and when he saw the internal memo for a 'special project' involving travel he fired off a note acknowledging interest.

Three months later he had still heard nothing, he was reporting for work daily to his small cubbyhole, reading eight hours of emails, then home again. The US Navy had been the biggest mistake of his life, he was thinking. Then one day driving home he noticed he was being followed. That red car was there yesterday. It was here today. Two suited men in front, stared ahead like the Hollywood typecast G-men, with shades, though without the obligatory fedora hats.

Because he belonged to Naval Intelligence, he carried a sidearm, a burdensome colt automatic which apart from a quick clean once a week, and the compulsory half-hour monthly visit to the base firing range, had never been removed from its holster. There was something he remembered about a new threat level, what was it? Should he be alarmed?

He continued driving home as usual, debating in mind what would be the best option, the best plan of action? While he did so, he removed the pistol from its holster, checked the mechanism was free and there was a full magazine loaded. His car was an old Buick Lucerne V6 sedan and he had promised himself a decent upgrade shortly, it guzzled fuel like a thirsty desert camel and in it's present condition he knew it was worth little as a trade, so he had no hesitation when the sharp right turn came up and he flung the car around the corner hardly slowing a beat, the tyres screamed and he thought he was going to flip it on its side, but it held, scrapping a 'No Through Road' sign over as the rear end swayed and righted itself back on to the tarmac. He was now on a single lane farm track, dust spiraled from the front drive wheels as he sped along, caking the windscreen in grime, but he noticed in the rear view mirror, the red sedan, a new model Chevrolet Malibu, which had passed the turn off, reversing back, and then turning in to follow.

He cocked the colt as he drove along, took it off safety, and placed it under his thigh, the muzzle pointing out at the door away from him. He then pressed a three number digit on his cell phone and left it ringing out on the passenger seat.

This road led down to a small lake, he knew this as he had brought a few girls down here in the summer, it was a regular lover's lane, much to the chagrin of the farmer who owned the land. As long as he didn't come face to face with a tractor coming the other way he could follow the road to the end, around another mile, when hopefully reinforcements would be about to arrive, the response time on the three digit emergency code he had entered in his cell was supposed to be under ten minutes, though he had never used it before and wondered if the ten minutes was a figment of someone's imagination, or if it was actually a likelihood of being a reality? He was beginning to wonder if he should perhaps have chosen a more conventional method of dealing with the following car, like sensibly driving to the nearest police station, report the car, registration, and the description of the occupants to the police and then his own superiors. Despite their familiarity to G-men, they could quite possibly be terrorists, and he had never fired his gun in anger.

The red car was actually gaining on him, despite the reckless pace of his haste along the rutted and pot-holed surface. There was a sharp bend to the left just up ahead, when the road descended to the lakeside. He scanned the skies as best he could through the dust covered windows hoping to see an approaching helicopter, but nothing flew near except some songbirds disturbed by the rattling noise of the automobile with the screaming V6 rumbling along. The trailing car was little more than two-hundred meters behind now and he decided enough was enough. He took the bend at speed, slammed the brakes on just around the corner, out of sight for a moment, flung open the door and ran across the front of the car into the undergrowth. He went in about ten metres and ducked down behind a large gorse bush, gun in hand, just as the red sedan careered around the bend, too late saw the obstruction, and ran smack into the back of his Buick. The frantic braking of the driver just before impact had lessened the collision, but almost in slow motion, he saw the heads of both occupants, mouths agape in surprise, thrown forward, then thrust back again as airbags burst with explosive intensity. Dave reached for his cell phone, cursed as he realised it was still in the passenger seat of his car, then cautiously crept towards the wrecked Chevy. The two occupants seemed dazed, the passenger dead-like still, the driver waving an arm to clear airbag dust from his face. Even though they looked like no threat to him now, he kept his firearm by his side as he eased over and clicked open the driver's door, the driver looked up at him sheepishly, gave a lop-sided grin and went to place a hand under his jacket. Dave punched him full on the face then raised the pistol.

'ID,' moaned the driver, blood was streaming from his nose which was puffing up nicely now, thought Dave, feeling the pain in the joints of his hand after the punch.

He kept the gun pointing at the drivers head and with his other hand patted down each side of his jacket, unclipped the seatbelt, instructed him to lean forward, patted down his back, and found the gun strapped to his waist under the jacket. He removed a small snub-nosed pistol, placed it in his own jacket pocket and instructed the driver to get out of the car.

'ID' the driver repeated, seeming to become more aware of what was happening around him. 'Benny,' he said, indicating his companion.

'I'll get to him,' said Dave, 'hands against the car, legs spread, you know the routine.' Dave was only a twenty year old lad, but he felt like a middle aged cop.

The driver complied, fuzziness came and went, he had a feeling to resist or fight would be useless and physically impossible at this moment in time. He also thought his nose was broken.

Dave searched him more thoroughly, removed a wallet, and a pair of handcuffs the driver also had on the back of his belt. He grabbed the driver by the back of his jacket and led him to a small but sturdily built tree, ordered his hands to be put around the trunk, then cuffed them together. He then went back to the car to see to the passenger. A large black helicopter suddenly swung across the sky and hovered above the two cars, there was no sound, no down-draught, no indication of its arrival. It was just there. He stared up aghast, frozen, watching several figures in black drop down trailing ropes to the ground. Before he could decide if this was a new threat or not, he felt a jag of pain on his arm, and he felt he was too heavy to stand. He sat down, then sitting became so very tiring, his arms fell to his side, he released the gun to someone near, and he slid back to sleep, he was so tired, he had to sleep. He whispered to his mother, 'five more minutes,' as the figure in black removed a dart from his arm, hefted him up and over a shoulder, and he was rising through the air.

It wasn't his mother that roused him. It was a doctor leaning over him, shining a bright light into his eye.

'Relax,' coaxed the doctor in a gentle voice, as he tried to force himself up. 'You're all right, nothing wrong at all.'

'Where am I?' asked Dave, jigsaw bits of jumbled memory were trying to click into the relevant slots in his brain, but it was all fuzzy.

The doctor walked over to a wall phone and pressed a number, spoke briefly, then returned.

'Someone's coming along to explain everything,' he said. 'I've ordered you some strong coffee, that will help bring you fully round. Don't take any food for a few hours yet, you'll only throw it back up.'

With that the doctor left him alone.

It was a standard looking hospital room, smelt of disinfectant and lemon, quite sparse, his was the only bed, and apart from a small table next to him, a sink and faucet along one side, and a wall mounted TV screen opposite the bed, had no other features. A door led outside to the corridor he could partially see through a wall length window curtained by slatted vertical blinds. Another door looked like it may lead off to a toilet or shower room, or both.

A nurse swung open the door from the corridor and pushed in a tray. She was young dark and beautiful, and smiling broadly, her name tag said Mava.

'Just what the doctor ordered,' she said in a bright voice and poured some coffee from a large flask into a cup and handed it to him.

He drank it down, strong and black, there was no sugar or milk on the tray. She seemed to know he drank it this way.

She took the cup from him and filled it again. He was already feeling a bit brighter, more awake. He was fitting the jigsaw pieces into place and could remember most everything up until the helicopter appeared. She refilled the cup once more and placed it on the table next to the bed and turned her trolley to go.

Around ten minutes later, when the man in the black suit entered the room, he knew his life had changed.

Next instalment coming soon...

Copyright © Stevie Mach 2012 All rights reserved

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