Saturday, 19 October 2013

SILHOUETTES - Thirty-third instalment

SILHOUETTES - Thirty-third instalment - Chapter fifty-six and fifty-seven, fifty-eight and fifty-nine. For more information on this novel, click Here.

FIFTY-SIX

The study group had been a waste of time, thought Debbie. A debate about twentieth century socialism, being relevant in the twenty-first century, turned into an argument about the ever expanding divide between rich and poor in the UK today. It wasn't that it was an uninteresting argument. Just that it wouldn't help at all in the talk she had to prepare on socialism for her next tutorial. Her tutor specifically stated the students should stick with the principles of the roots of the issue, and overlay them with a template for the present, and not try to explain the need, or the lack of need for socialism, but decide how it should be modernised to be relevant in this new age. She was probably more annoyed with herself, for the reason she wasn't even sure what was being asked of her, rather than the fact half the group attending were members of the Students Socialist Party, so very little was heard of the views from anyone else.

She entered the internet cafe, paid for half an hour and ordered a coffee. She carried it over to a computer at the back of the room away from everyone else.


Although Dave had intimated that no one could any longer hack into Jo's blogs from this particular IP address, she thought she had one up on him. He had taken a note of the IP address to block, but perhaps was unaware that one could cover their tracks by using a proxy server to access a website. In other words, the website would see an entirely different URL from a different IP address, one that wasn't blocked, and if traced backwards, that particular URL could be anywhere in the world.

She logged in to her proxy service, the one set up by James Earl-Barr for her today, when she had informed him how the hacking had been discovered. She hadn't wanted to hack Jo's blogs at all. Jo was a real friend, but as she was committed to hacking into and subverting or deleting, or placing porn ads, on a lengthy list of others, then Cousin James advised her to do so to Jo as well. It may look odd if her particular blogs were the only ones not under such attacks.

Once the proxy had launched, she typed in the website address James had given her and downloaded the executable file called Stealth-It, then she typed in the address of one of Jo's blogs, then scrolled to the bottom of the page to the 'log in' link for the admin page.

The page came up and asked for a user name and password. She double-clicked the Stealth-It file and it began its operation which was to find a way past the name and password fields and therefore by-pass the need for a legitimate name and password to log in. After three minutes of nothing happening she was beginning to think the computer had froze. Then the words, 'Entry Achieved' appeared, along with a request to save the data file details. She noticed the fields for a user name and password were filled in with asterisks. She pressed return, and she had now hacked back into Jo's website with admin privileges. But then it went all wrong.

It was hard to take in what happened next. A picture of her, obviously taken from the webcam on the computer, was kicked across the screen by a large cartoon leg, her head tumbled into a mock up of a football match goal net, a large flaming text message then scrolled across the screen stating 'Own Goal'. Then the computer shut itself down and restarted. When it had rebooted it was as if nothing had happened. She didn't dare try to hack back in again. She deleted the Stealth-It file from the desktop and left the cafe. She wasn't sure what exactly had happened but had an idea Dave was behind it. Did this mean she had been discovered? If so, would he tell Jo? She hardly dared to hope not, and as she approached Lomond Lane and the flat, she was dreading finding out.


FIFTY-SEVEN

Tennyson was at his heels, urging him on, all he could do was run from the voice, and as he reached the last back green in the street, he put a hand against a garden shed and stopped a minute to catch his breath.

Behind him, two or three gardens back, he heard a cry as someone fell over trying to negotiate a fence. He was being hunted down, like the kraken, and he heard the voice of Tennyson.

'Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
 Then once by man and angels to be seen,
 In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.'

And he knew he was doomed if he didn't get a move on. He ran to the end of the building, he had an idea he was just around the corner from the address the alien had left for him. He reached the street and looked up and down, a pedestrian path along a swath of back gardens cut the street in half, and seeing no sign of a police vehicle, he crossed the road and ran for the path, reached it unobserved, and looked back. He saw no one, he turned and ran on down the path. He knew where he was now. This would come out on Lomond Lane, the address in his pocket.

At the end of the path, he stopped once more, glanced carefully out, and each way, before forcing himself into view. It was a quiet Lane, just off the campus and behind the main streets, all residential, and as he checked his position with a door number across the way to decide whether he should aim left or right, he saw the blonde coming towards him.

FIFTY-EIGHT

Hartless saw the scuttling shape, rather than recognized the person, as they scurried across the last of the back greens around the last tenement in the street. He was unfit, breathing erratically, exhausted after god knew how many hours on duty, and he was alone, defenceless, chasing after a madman.

He forced himself forward. When he got to the tenement, he used caution at every new corner he had to turn. A fucking axe could be waiting to decapitate him with a swing. When he got to the street he was at a loss. Parker hadn't that much of a lead on him that he could have travelled the length of the street in any direction and be out of sight by now. Then he noticed the cut in up the street and across the road, and he made for it. As he crossed the road, he hoped to hear an approaching panda, but he heard nothing, and he cursed starting out on this mad solitary chase without so much gumption as to lift a fucking handset from the car. His mobile phone was well flat since his charger was at home.

As he entered along the path he wondered what they would say at his funeral when the axeman had finished chopping him to bits.

FIFTY-NINE

For some reason they had come in to the kitchen. Was this a training tip for young PC's handing out bad news? Get them in the kitchen, keep them busy boiling water and looking for biscuits. It was him though that was making tea, he found some camomile t-bags and put on the kettle.

The young female PC looked just out of high school. From the window he had seen the car that had dropped her off leave. Why the fuck did they delegate bad news to someone like her? In fact, they were both in tears now, Jo and the police constable, holding reassuring hands across the kitchen table. The two laptops had been pushed to the edge of the table, The Matrix screen savers running on both.

His chip tingled again, and he touched a finger to his head. Another hacking attempt on Jo's blog materialised in front of his eyes as the shadowtype darkened the environment of the kitchen. He triggered off the script he had set up, typing by way of flipping thoughts at the neon keyboard below the screen, the words 'Own Goal'. He had written the script at college years ago for a prank, but it was still handy, for the shock value if nothing else. That should teach her, he thought.

He brought up the crime scene photos of Ben Frisk and was scrolling through them as behind him at the table, the police woman was lying through her teeth to Jo, stating his death was sudden and painless.

The chopped liver effect of his face after a machete attack said otherwise, but he knew the truth was kept back for a reason, and if it eased the pain for Jo, even slightly, well, where was the harm?

He put the chip on standby and poured the tea, and put two cups on the table. The plate of seed bars, the nearest thing he could find to biscuits, he also put on the table, and earned him a pathetic look from Jo. He shrugged an apology.

Next instalment coming soon... 
To read this novel from the start go here

Copyright © Stevie Mach 2013 All rights reserved

Saturday, 5 October 2013

SILHOUETTES - Thirty-second instalment

SILHOUETTES - Thirty-second instalment - Chapter fifty-four and fifty-five. For more information on this novel, click Here.

FIFTY-FOUR

The call came through when they were actually on their way to Sycamore Lane. On discovery of the dead Ben Frisk at Dave Stuart's recent place of employment, they had sent an officer to bring Dave Stuart in for protection until they had found this nutter, and on being told he wasn't at home, Hartless had instructed the plod sergeant to stay there till he did come home, hoping the officer wouldn't take this as a sign to cordon off the whole street. He was now wishing perhaps that is what he had done. The call was from control about a crime in progress, a series of 999 calls from Sycamore Lane about an injured policeman and a man running amok with a meat cleaver.

'Get every available car here now...' Oswalk was crying down the mike.

Hartless rolled down the window and put the magnetic blue on the roof and set it and the sirens off. He mounted the pavement overtaking a van, nearly mowing down an elderly pedestrian in passing.

'Within five minutes,' Oswalk ranted, 'I want men covering every junction in a half mile radius of Sycamore Lane.' Oswalk was screaming into the radio now. 'Don't tell me there's no fucking manpower. Get the fucking manpower,' she cried, and turned to Hartless.

'Chief Inspector Lang's at a fucking dinner party, not to be disturbed,' she groaned. Lang was needed to authorise more staff being pulled in at short notice.

'Get the fucking staff in,' she cried again at the controller, 'I'll take responsibility. I also want cars going up and down every street in a half mile radius, I want armed officers, I want teams of SO19 ready to mow this fucker down.'

Hartless turned into Sycamore Lane. They were first on the scene. A crowd had gathered in the middle of the road adjacent to the police car. Three more people were over the prone body of a uniformed policeman at the side of the car. As they drew up behind it, the crowd recognized they were police and surged towards them.

Within a minute, three other cars and an ambulance had arrived. The three hovering over the body of the policeman were a doctor who lived in the neighbourhood, and two others that were giving assistance.
'He ran that way,' an old woman was standing at the entrance to the tenement, 'out the back across the green.'

'How long?'

'There the now, a minute,' cried the woman.

Hartless didn't think, he followed the outstretched arm, ran through the close, and out the back into the yard. It was a drying green, no exits he could see, he ran to the boundary wall, shoulder height, saw a recent trail of trampled weeds on the other side leading away. He leapt over. He was in an adjacent green, no sign of the bastard. He kept going till at the next boundary, this time a wire fence. He stopped a second to catch his breath, and heard what sounded like a clatter of metal bins from somewhere up ahead. He leapt that fence and ran on.

Oswalk watched Hartless run off, silly bastard, she thought, how the fuck would he restrain a fucking axeman? She turned to look at the drama surrounding the police sergeant. It was probably in vain though, the doctor knew it, she could see it in his eyes, and the ambulance crew thought it, when they slid the figure into the back and took off for the hospital, sirens and lights blazing. They had pressure dressed the neck wounds to try and halt the bleeding, but so much blood had already been lost, it would be a miracle if the policeman wasn't DOA.

Oswalk was on the phone, the cordons had been set up, they had drafted in police from other areas till more of their own staff came in on their day off, or came on duty early, to boost the numbers. On every single street in a half mile radius there would be police on the lookout. There was no escape this time. It was impossible. Then the two constables she had sent to follow Hartless returned.

'No sign of him,' one of them stated.

FIFTY-FIVE

The chip tingled, insistently. He tried to ignore it as he scoffed the last slice of the pizza. When Jo lifted his plate and cutlery to take to the sink, he rubbed a finger along his temple, instantly the room turned to shadowtype, a screen before him, laden with information appeared. He quickly read, scrolling as he did, the information that the Agency had picked up, put in the database, and when analysed and found relevant, was sent back down the airwaves to inform him. It wasn't good news at all.

'You're miles away,' said Jo again.

Dave realised she was speaking, reverted out of shadowtype, the screen disappeared and Jo was waving a hand before him.

'Daydreamer,' she said.

Accused of daydreaming when he had just been informed that a madman was running around Glasgow looking for him, to hack him to pieces with an axe, due to the fact he was thought to be an alien. He had just skip read a file on the Strathclyde Police database compiled by a DS Hartless. Dave almost laughed. He remembered now why the face of the mugger on the CCTV and the subsequent update regarding being under surveillance, had always niggled at him. The party he had attended after a concert featuring several up and coming Glasgow stand-up comedians, around four weeks ago now. The humour had infected him. He had been quite drunk, and this idiot had been pestering him. About what, he couldn't remember, until now. The person was even more inebriated than he was, and unwisely in hindsight, having realised the naivety of the individual, he had led on the pest that he was an alien on a secret mission, sending back details on how mankind would mount a defence against an invasion from outer space. He remembered being surprised that it wasn't taken as a joke, he was laughing himself at coming up with the theory. Everyone else in the vicinity at the gathering seemed to take it as a joke. Then he remembered he had introduced the humourous topic because the individual kept prattling on about their secret employment with the government. At the time, being drunk, he had wondered suspiciously, if this was a hint of a possible knowledge of his own connection to the Agency, and an attempt to pry into his own covert work.

The next day he dismissed it entirely, there was no way anyone in Scotland could know about his connection with the Agency. He had thought no more about it.

He had to decide what to do now though. Thoughts of a romantic adventure with Jo would have to be delayed. He couldn't put her at risk. Strathclyde Police were looking for him, to take him into protective custody, and a madman was looking for him, to dice him to death with an axe.

The police report downloaded to his chip stated his bedsit had been broken into by the man Simon Parker, wanted in connection with the murders of Suzi Tonner, Shamus Parker, Benjamin Frisk, and the violent assault of a police sergeant. Ben Frisk, thought Dave, Debbie's Ben. He lived here.

A knock at the door had him practically peeling himself off the ceiling.

'What's wrong?' asked Jo, staring at him. 'You've turned white.'

She moved to answer the door.

'Wait,' he cried. 'Hold on a minute,' he said quietly, he had alarmed her.

Another knock, this time more insistent. The light was on, whoever was there knew someone was at home.

'Wait,' he urged. He went over to the window and peered out towards the door, a woman in a police constable's uniform was standing, looking impatient. It wasn't the madman.

Jo was fed up with him by this time and was already on her way to the door. He heard her answer it and she returned a moment later with the police woman.

Jo's now going to find out one of her house mates is dead, he thought.

Next instalment coming soon... 
To read this novel from the start go here

Copyright © Stevie Mach 2013 All rights reserved