You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly, Part 18

Posted: 30 January 2013 in fiction, writing, You'll Never Believe A Man Can Fly
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Chapter Nine (continued…)

In the North London Hospital, the siege was about to start.

The time from the first murder until the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth murders (which had conveniently but tragically occurred within seconds of each other) had only been a few hours. Though when all things were considered, it’s unlikely that things would have turned out any differently in the short term even if the creature had been discovered after the first killing.

The thing that had been Samuel Withers didn’t have much else to do, after all, and the little conscious thought it did have at that time didn’t really have an appreciation for anything other than assuaging a feeling of need, of desire, of hunger. What time it had had to occupy itself that day had been taken up with murder, destruction and other assorted mayhem. However, the changes that had taken place within, for want of a better word, its brain were continuing and the destruction was taking on a more creative edge.

It hadn’t taken that long for the hospital staff to start wondering where their colleagues were, those who had been sent to the basement for one reason or another. The first theory had been that the poorly paid employees who hadn’t returned had just had enough of working for the national health service and had, as one porter put it, “just buggered off”. And were that to have been the case, there’s not a lot of people working in the hospital who would have blamed them.

Telephone calls to the vanished staff got no response, though, although one mobile telephone rang for some minutes before a recorded voice came on the line to apologise and inform the caller that the telephone was not in signal range. A more accurate recording would have stated “We’re sorry, but this telephone is no longer working because it’s been stepped on by a mutated creature that’s horribly maimed then killed the registered owner of the handset”.

One enterprising doctor had suggested almost off-handedly that there must be a poker game taking place. A few others, who were no mean hands at the game in their own right, and had their own (strictly against the rules) floating game running in the wards at night, thought they’d get in on the act. Five of them went down in their next break, hoping that they’d find something that the hospital administrators didn’t know anything about. They got their wish, but not in a way that could have been predicted.

The other staff only became aware that things were seriously amiss when one of those doctors (by now lacking his mean hand, as well as several other body parts) staggered up from the basement screaming about “a monster” before crashing to the floor unconscious, a thick trail of blood in his wake.

Police Constable Marcus Gold came running at the screams and arrived at the accident and emergency ward to find a scene of chaos. He saw the blood on the floor and half a dozen medical personnel surrounding someone on a trolley. He grabbed a doctor to find out what was going on and was a bit upset when the doctor told him, in no uncertain language, to seek sex and travel, (but in not so many words). Gold was about to react with some well-chosen words about courtesy and politeness to police officers when he followed the doctor and saw what was left of the person who had been doing the screaming.

He staggered out of the treatment room and leaned back against the wall, trying to keep down his lunch. Before he could say or do anything else, he felt a hand on his neck. “Stick your head down and breathe deeply,” came a familiar voice. He followed the instructions and when he felt a tad better, he stood up. Next to him was Howard Baker, an old school friend, and a charge nurse at the hospital. Baker slipped Gold a couple of pills and a glass of water. “Take them,” he ordered, “it’ll help with the nausea.”

Gold swallowed them gratefully.

“What the hell…?” he got out.

“I don’t know,” his friend replied. “Half a dozen staff have gone down to the basement for supplies and stuff. None of them came back this morning and then,” he gestured towards his colleague, currently being worked on by half a dozen different staff, “this happened.”

Gold grabbed at his radio and started talking to his station, calling for back-up. As he was waiting, he asked Baker whether or not there was any connection between the doctors.

“Other than that they were all doctors? No – oh, they played poker, but then so do most of us on occasion. No, some from every department. He’s from paediatrics.”

“OK, I want to talk to his boss – can you arrange that?”

“Sure – I’ll call him,” said the charge nurse and went to do just that. As he left, Gold confirmed with the station that they had an incident, that it probably involved an armed suspect and received, in turn, confirmation that backup was on the way.

It would have been most sensible for Gold to have waited both for the backup and the doctor, since in short order, he’d need both of them, the latter more urgently than the former, but what ran through his mind was that he was overdue for promotion and sorting this out would surely get it for him. His wife was constantly going on about it and it’d be nice not to have to worry about that any more.

It was true. In about half an hour, Gold would never have to worry about promotion again, unless, of course, he wanted the harp and wings and special halo that went along with it.

– o –

Across London, in (and just outside) the offices of Doncaster and Monkton, the four men stood there looking at each other for a few minutes.

Patt stuttered out something that sounded to Williams like “impossible”; unlikely it was that, Williams considered, given that what he was witnessing was obviously possible, indeed actually happening. He had to cut Patt some slack though, as he was finding it hard to believe it himself.

He mentally ticked off the possibilities. Hologram? Not likely, since he had a client in that field and he knew precisely how advanced the technology was. No matter how advanced, it couldn’t be that. Projection? Similarly impossible. Williams held on to the window frame, getting his head around the idea that Ian Davies – Ian Davies for Pete’s sake! – was hovering, without visible support, outside the window. I always knew you’d go far, he thought, but at this moment, I wish you had gone even further… far, far away.

Patt also held on to the window frame, but in his case it was to prevent him falling down, since he felt like his legs had turned to water. It was Monkton, surprisingly, who opened the window first. Williams just continued staring at Davies, and Patt was wishing his legs were firmer, if only so that he could discover how fast he could run, and how far away he could get by running.

But Monkton, who already thought he had an inkling as to what Davies wanted, opened the window and called out to him. “Ian, my dear chap. How are you?”

There was a moment of silence before Davies’ face, previously looking like a doctor about to tell a patient that he had six weeks to live, relaxed and a second after that, there was a brief chuckle. “How am I? How am I? Fine. Peachy keen. Never been better. And yourself?”

There was something faintly ludicrous, Monkton thought, about the situation.

“Cold, to be honest,” Monkton answered truthfully, “Would you care to step inside?” He stepped back from the window and motioned for his fellow directors to do the same. Williams did so immediately and moved to the other side of the room. Patt just shook his head and continued holding to the frame for dear life. Oh dear, thought Monkton, it’s almost comical. Patt stood there grasping the window frame as if scared he’d fall down, while Davies, who he would have thought would have understandably been grateful for something to prevent him plummeting to the ground looked coldly confident.

Davies appeared to consider Monkton’s invitation for a minute and then, without apparent effort, he moved smoothly towards the window. A moment later, he stepped through the frame and stared at his employers. He would have had to be blind, deaf and stupid not to notice that the uneasy feeling coming from the men. And he didn’t miss how all three of them made sure there was something between him and them even if it was, in the case of Monkton, a folder.

He looked around the room, as if seeing it for the first time. He noticed the table and the damage that he’d done to it and shook his head, slowly. The three directors looked at each other, wondering whether or not Davies had expressed mild regret for the table or whether he’d just decided to kill them all. Davies hadn’t taken his eyes off the table.

He walked to the table and put his hand directly over the damaged section, level with the surrounding wood. Closing his eyes, he pictured the table complete.

The lump of wood that was embedded three inches into the carpet, and which had resisted the best efforts of Doncaster and Monkton’s staff to remove it, smoothly rose as if pulled by a string and slotted into its previous home. There was a noise that sounded like a hundred bees buzzing and when he removed his hand, the table was once again whole. Davies opened his eyes, and they found Monkton.

“Sorry about that, Peter,” he said, and everyone in the room noticed the use of Monkton’s first name.

“Not a problem, Ian,” Monkton replied. “I appreciate the repair work, genuinely.” He motioned to a chair. “Please sit down. Can I get you a drink? You’re a coffee drinker, I recall, yes?”

Davies nodded slowly, carefully, saying “white please, two sugars,” and watched Monkton as he moved to the portable coffee machine in the back of the room. There was a small smile on his face as he wondered when the last time Monkton had made coffee for someone else in the office had been.

He wasn’t sure what he was doing there, if he was honest with himself. After he’d left Jordan, he’d flown to the Queen Elizabeth Bridge and had sat on the top of one of the towers, wondering what the hell he was going to do. He’d spent the next two hours either rescuing depressed people who were considering jumping or saving people who had climbed up, convinced that he needed their help, but who had then themselves fallen. For an hour or so, he’d not had a problem. But then the girl had asked why he’d not chosen a better name than The Pubic Defender and he’d flown off.

It had been the same for the rest of the day; for every person he’d saved and who’d thanked him (including victims of two road traffic accidents, four muggings and six people trapped in a lift) there had been two that had, frankly, mocked him. Two made a gag about how they were surprised the mask covered all his hair, since they found it got everywhere, one woman had asked whether or not he was sex crazy (and had seemed disappointed when he said no), and six separate people had wanted to know whether he got taller when he was excited.

Monkton brought him the coffee and placed it before him. “Thanks,” Davies said, realising that he meant it. He did want a hot drink, and couldn’t remember the last time he’d had one. He thought it might have been in the hospital, or maybe the hotel room. Again, he shook his head. He couldn’t recall. He sipped the coffee and made a sour face as he realised that Monkton had forgotten the sugar. Without conscious effort, Davies looked over at the tray by the coffee machine and two lumps of brown sugar rose into the air, quickly crossed the room and deposited themselves in his cup. The directors looked at each other worriedly and then at Davies warily.

Monkton wasn’t sure what to say, and then plumped for “I suppose that the explanation for yesterday’s incident has now presented itself, yes?”

Davies finished his coffee and said slowly “yes, I guess you could say that.” He put the coffee cup down and then shrugged. Across the room, another coffee was poured out and the filled cup floated across the room to him, sugar and milk being added on the way. Patt watched the milk stream from the jug into the cup and surprised himself by not gaping.

Williams coughed and then asked “What on earth has happened to you, Ian?”

The phraseology of the question caught Davies’ attention. “I wish I knew. I do know what I can do scares me shitless.”

“Scares you?” Patt asked, having regained some composure. Davies considered the comment, and nodded slowly. “Yes, I see what you mean.”

“Now, if I can ask one more question?” Monkton interjected

“Certainly,” Davies replied, wondering what it could be.

“Ian, given the publicity you seem to have attracted in your, let us say, ‘public identity’…” There were audible gasps from Patt and Williams, as the two of them made the same connection that Monkton had made the moment he’d seen Davies, “I’d say you need a top class PR agency. Interested in hiring us?”

Davies looked at Monkton and started laughing.

– o –

© Lee Barnett, 2013

To read part 19 of You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly, click here.


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