You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly, Part 13

Posted: 23 January 2013 in fiction, writing, You'll Never Believe A Man Can Fly
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Chapter Seven

Scott Jordan yawned, apologised and stood up, in that order.

It wasn’t that he was bored, far from it. The day had been one of the most extraordinary he’d ever known, and, although he didn’t know it, it was far from over. Neither was it that Davies was a difficult interviewee. Far from it, in a rather touching show of naiveté, he’d been open and honest with Jordan. And, Jordan reckoned, if he’d been working for a tabloid, he’d have had enough material for a week’s worth of feature material.

They’d covered the basics in the first couple of hours: early life, an only child, parents (both deceased), his employment history. Jordan was now waiting for various calls back to confirm bits of the story, including a call from The Guardian’s crime correspondent, who was phoning through full details of the explosion near the National Provident bank. An interesting bit had come from a correspondent on the science desk, who’d said that he’d heard a whisper of a link between the explosion, a medical research company called Dance-Oliver and the bank job, something about a missing container of chemicals. It didn’t take a genius to put two and two together and make four, especially when Davies was more than happy to demonstrate the apparent effects of these chemicals.

Without realising it, his asking for demonstration after demonstration of Davies’ new abilities had provided useful training for Davies, although as Jordan had pointed out after the second hour, there seemed to be a direct link between Davies’ lack of effort in applying those abilities and the effectiveness of them.

At the moment, Davies appeared to be laying on a large sofa, his head leaning against one arm of the couch as he held a hand in front of him; “appeared” being the operative word. The television was on in the background, switched to a news channel, but was silent. It was a perfectly normal scene, Jordan thought, apart from the small fact that if you looked at him side on, you realised that Davies wasn’t actually laying on the sofa, but laying on a layer of air, about an inch above the sofa. And, about six inches above his palm, were three marbles floating in perfect peace.

Jordan made a scribble in the notepad and then said “OK, next.” He had a theory that he wanted to test out, something that had occurred to him when two things had come together in his brain: primarily what Davies had said about the first time he had tried to get the mouse to come to him, but also, when it became apparent that Davies hadn’t realised that he was floating above the sofa.

Jordan had just asked “comfortable?” and Davies had replied, “yes, this couch is great – I can see why the Ritz has its reputation.”

Davies turned his head at Jordan’s “OK, next.”

“Yes?” he queried. He didn’t feel tired at all; if anything he felt slightly euphoric. The more he used his abilities, the better he felt.

Jordan decided to nail him flat out. “Ian, you do realise that you’re floating on air, don’t you? That you’re not actually touching the surface of the sofa?”

Immediately, two things happened: Davies’ body dropped the inch or so to the sofa and there was the sound of surprise from Davies. Interestingly, Jordan realised, the marbles had stayed where they were, hovering above Davies’ palm. “Ian,” said Jordan, “you know those marbles – why not try to get them moving in circles above your palm? But,” he cautioned, “actually try to picture them individually. Don’t just picture them moving, try to move them with your mind.

Davies shot him a sceptical look and his face took on a look of concentration. The effect on the marbles was dramatic and instant. They dropped to the ground. Davies’s eyes went wide and then he consciously relaxed and, his fingers still together, beckoned to them. They dutifully calmly and smoothly rose from the ground and commenced orbits around his hand. Davies looked at Jordan but before he could say anything, Jordan jumped in. He’d already persuaded Davies to sign over permission for his medical examination at the hospital to be passed to Jordan for publication.

“You’re thinking too much about it, Ian. It looks like your new abilities are as natural a part of your system. As you said earlier, you don’t think about walking, you just walk. If you think too much about it, it wouldn’t work.”

Davies’ previous sceptical look returned.

Jordan developed his theme. “Look, first you move one foot forward, then you put your weight on it, then you shift your body over the foot and push it past it, and then just before your centre of gravity topples you over, you shift the other foot forward and begin the whole process again. I’d say it’s the same thing here. If you think too much about it, the theory gets in the way of the practical application.”

He’d stood during this and demonstrated. Unfortunately, the effect was neatly and utterly destroyed by a rumble from his stomach. “Oops”, he said, and was grateful to see a grin appearing on Davies’ face.

“Come on,” said Davies. “You’re paying for the room, I’ll treat you to dinner.”

“What, here?” asked Jordan, thinking of fillet mignon.

“Don’t be daft,” said Davies, who had a pizza and a coke more in mind, “let me shower and get changed.” Despite Jordan’s concerns, they’d stopped off at his home to pick up a couple of days’ worth of clothes and twenty minutes later, he was showered, shaved and dressed all in black (what he called, to Jordan’s amusement, “the Gaiman look”) in a t-shirt, slacks and black lightweight jacket.

Jordan looked at him, and dressed like that, there was definitely something different about Davies. He couldn’t place it then, but when it struck him later, it hit hard. To cover his surprise, he joked to Davies that the only black objects he had on him were the black handkerchief in his jacket pocket and his black socks. Wisely, he only showed Davies the former, before tucking it back in.

They moved towards the door, and Jordan noticed with unspoken disquiet how the lights, and then the television, were switched off, both without being touched by Davies. The feeling intensified as they left the room and the door shut behind them as if pushed by an invisible hand.

– o –

The fading light from the windows in her office had finally reached the level where Doctor Rosemary Clooney had to turn on the main lights. It bothered her to move away from her desk, since the results from the experiments she was reading about had been so fascinating that she’d been sitting there unmoving for some hours.

She found, however, that she’d stiffened up and when she turned the lights on there was a distinct crick in her neck. She was rapidly becoming convinced of the truth of the old Chinese proverb about the dangers of living in ‘interesting times’. There was, she knew, no earthly reason why she’d reached the conclusion she’d slowly come to, but there was no getting away from it: come to it she had.

Despite the firm rules against such things, she’d asked her secretary to go out earlier and buy a large bottle of vodka and one of tonic. She’d poured herself a generous measure of both and now sat back in her chair, nursing the drink, eyes closed.

“Now there’s a sight for sore eyes,” came a male voice from a few feet in front of her.

Her eyes snapped open to see Jez Docherty standing there. “Any chance of one for me?” he asked.

“Help yourself,” she said, gesturing towards the filing cabinet in the corner. “Bottom drawer. Careful, it catches on the way out. There are some glasses in there as well.”

Docherty opened the cabinet and found the indicated items. He poured a drink, then replaced the bottles in the drawer. He stepped over to her and sat on the chair in front of the desk.

“You look like hell,” he said, sympathetically.

“Gee, thanks,” she replied, taking the sympathy in her stride, considering it, and then writing it off.

“Doctor Clooney…” he started.

She interrupted him. “Oh, for Pete’s sake, I thought we’d taken care of that last night. It’s Rosemary, ok?” She didn’t fully realise how much more harshly it had come out than she’d intended until she looked at his face, which had taken on that same look from the previous evening, where she could actually see his eyes seeming to flatten. “Sorry,” she added, “that came out a lot harder than I meant it to.”

There it was, she thought, as she watched his face relax imperceptibly.

“I’ve been trying you at home all day,” he said.

“I haven’t been there,” she said, which intrigued him. He obviously thought she’d only recently come into the lab. “I’ve been here since about an hour after you called.”

“You might have let me know,” Docherty said, and she nodded, only half listening to him as she asked, suddenly, “anything new you can tell me about this thing? Because if not, I’ve got some news for you.”

“You first,” Docherty said, interested in anything she had to say.

“We’ve got to find him,” said Clooney, the tiredness showing in her words.

“We’ve found him,” Docherty replied, and was about to tell her all about Ian Davies.

“Excellent!” Clooney cried. “That’s fantastic – ok, now you need to utterly destroy him. I mean it, Docherty… Jez – you’ve got to find some way of breaking down the tissues to nothingness. I’ve got some ideas on that, but I’m not kidding. You need to completely and totally eradicate it.”

Docherty thought that was a tad excessive as a first option. Now, it might be necessary if the idea of Typhoid Davies was a real concern, but surely there were other options to investigate first. And he said as much.

“Davies? Who the hell is Davies?” asked Clooney, completely confused.

“Davies is the eye-witness,” said Docherty, equally perplexed. “Who are you talking about?”

“Withers,” she replied, shocking Docherty into silence for a moment, but only for a moment.

Withers?” he asked. “Withers? What’s so bad about Withers? He’s dead. Ok, he’s missing, but he’s most assuredly dead.”

Clooney looked into Docherty’s eyes, worried. “I don’t think he is dead is the thing. No, wait, let me rephrase that. He might very well be dead. I just don’t think that he knows that.”

– o –

© Lee Barnett, 2013

To read part 14 of You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly, click here.

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