You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly, Part 23

Posted: 6 February 2013 in fiction, writing, You'll Never Believe A Man Can Fly
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Chapter Twelve

There hadn’t been a television spectacle like it in years. All the main channels switched to covering it live, and remarkably, there were later fewer than ten thousand complaints, even though the three main soap operas had each been interrupted.

The number of vehicles (news vans, police, ambulances, fire engines and just the curious) seemed to grow with exponential rapidity. However, it couldn’t be denied by anyone that the initial ten minutes of the confrontation was… well, “boring” was probably the best description.

The creature, once it had seen Davies, let out a huge roar, that was totally out of keeping with its previous almost gentle and quiet noises. Davies braced himself and then prepared for battle, thinking as he did so, that he was almost certainly about to get smashed to very small pieces. It hurt to look at the thing in front of him for too long; his eyes kept wanting to look away. But he forced himself to keep his attention on it.

Davies stared at the creature, and he guessed, the creature stared back at him. But other than that, there was no movement from it. Davies took a step to the right and as far as any reaction went, he might as well have stayed still.

He looked away at the gathered throng and saw what looked like a senior police officer. Well, he rationalised, there were lots of police officers, including armed ones, deferring to him. Davies called to the officer. “Are you in charge?” he asked, turning back to face the creature.

“Yes,” replied Commander Bridger. “I’m Commander Bridger. And who the hell are you?”

With gallows humour, Davies asked, “Don’t you read The Guardian?” It was a moot question. During the day, he’d learned that all the main news media had picked up on the story.

“With all due respect, sir,” Bridger replied, “you’re not the fellow who…?” His voice tailed off, as he realised that he couldn’tjust couldn’t… say that out loud.

Davies let out a sigh and said, “Yeah, that’s me.”

Bridger considered Davies for a moment and then told him to remove himself from the crime scene immediately, as almost every other police officer would have done.

But ‘almost every’ isn’t ‘every’, and just as Bridger was contemplating how to get a man who’d just flown out of the sky to follow his instructions, the matter was taken out of his hands as the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service arrived and took control. He had been briefed on the way and, although he’d never have admitted it, he was disappointed that he hadn’t seen the man flying. But that was for another time. This was an urgent situation that required calm and careful handling.

He shouted to Davies. “Mr Davies?”

Davies’ head whipped around in surprise. Despite not currently wearing a mask, it hadn’t occurred to him that he would be recognised, especially since Bridger hadn’t called him by name. But then Bridger hadn’t just come from a top secret briefing a hundred feet below Downing Street. “Yes…” he replied slowly, still keeping his eyes on the creature who was moving its upper body, while its feet remained in place.

“I’m Commissioner…” the police officer stared to say and then paused. In spite of the ribbing he’d taken over the years, he’d never expected to ever come across a situation when his name would be oddly appropriate, rather than a source of gentle mockery. If anything, the mickey-taking he’d endured since acceding to his current position was part of the reason he was sympathetic to Davies’ situation. But he was the Commissioner of the Met, and he had his duty.

Davies looked puzzled at the pause, and he turned his head fully towards the police cars. The Commissioner scowled and then said it. “Mr Davies, I’m Commissioner Bill Gordon, and…”

Here it comes, he thought resignedly.

Davies couldn’t quite believe it. “You’re Commissioner Gordon?” he asked, struggling to keep a straight face. This was one for the record books, he thought. My life has been nuts for the past twenty four hours because of the credibility I’ve lost through a laughable name, and this bloke… He shook his head at the ways that the fates messed with human lives. “You’re Commissioner Gordon?” he asked again, this time managing, just, to keep anything other than polite questioning from his tone.

Gordon heard the effort, and appreciated it. “Yes,” he called, “and what I’d suggest is…”

“Sorry for interrupting,” Davies interrupted with, “but would this be more sensible if we talked with me over there?”

“Well, yes, it would,” said Gordon, astonished.

“OK,” said Davies and went to hover over to him. He didn’t get far. About three feet in fact. The moment he activated his powers, the creature came to life and its arm extended towards Davies, some fifteen feet away. From the end of the arm, fleshy material extruded at astonishing speed and wrapped itself around Davies’ leg. The base of the tentacle withdrew and the tentacle itself became a tight cable that began to be pulled back into the arm. The creature raised its arm and then lowered it at great velocity.

The thing wrapped around his leg had taken Davies by complete surprise and while he was still wondering what the hell was going on, the whiplash affect, which had travelled down the taut tentacle, caught up to him and he was jerked up into the air before being smashed into the ground, his head making an audible crack! as it impacted.

The shock evinced on the faces of those watching was nothing compared to the shock felt by Davies. The back of his head was suddenly wet and his head pulsed with pain. Then it seemed to diminish, reducing from sharp pain to dull ache, as his body started to heal.

The creature raised and lowered its arm again, but this time Davies saw it coming. He braced himself on the ground and willed the effect to stop.

It didn’t change a thing as he was lifted into the air and then deposited on the ground in a heap; he felt a rib go and then yelled in sudden pain as he felt it mend. Again, the dull ache quickly replaced the sharp stab of agony

Davies looked around him and saw a police officer standing next to a long metal pole, about ten feet in height, at the top of which was a sign showing directions to various departments. He reached his hand out towards it and the sign neatly detached itself from the pole, falling to the ground. The pole lifted out of the concrete and shot up into the air in a perfect parabolic arc that ended at the outstretched hand of Ian Davies. It happened so quickly that to onlookers it appeared as it Davies had suddenly conjured it out of thin air. It snapped into his hand and as it did so, he whirled around, the pole slicing viciously through the air… and then through the limb that was holding his leg. There was a spatter of thick liquid onto the ground which bubbled for a moment before becoming still.

Ominously, there was no sound from the creature… for about ten seconds and then with a bellow, it charged at Davies. Again, he was shocked as the reports and conversations he’d heard since he arrived gave the maximum suggested speed of the thing somewhat comparable to a that of a very determined slug. It just went to show that past experience was no guarantee of future performance, he guessed, at that moment just grateful to have his leg free.

He hefted the pole as if it was a spear and went to throw it, but the monster was on him before he had a chance to use it and then he was under the creature and feeling severe pain as twenty tentacles erupted from the creature’s hide, attaching themselves to Davies.

And Gordon shuddered, along with the rest of his officers, as he heard Davies scream.

This time without any exceptions, no one saw Docherty arrive.

– o –

The members of Blue Committee were still watching the screen and as Davies cried out in pain, Clooney saw the Prime Minister frown and whisper something to Bowman. Bowman nodded and turned down the volume of the television slightly.

The Prime Minister stood up. “OK, despite us knowing that what we’re seeing is completely impossible, we have two possible scenarios to deal with. Either this Davies man defeats the creature or he’s unable to. If it’s the latter, we need proposals to kill it. On the other hand, if Davies does manage to triumph, we need proposals to deal with him.”

There was a moment of perfect silence before he continued, “ Well, under no circumstances am I letting him walk around able to do what he can. What if he decided that he didn’t agree with our policies…?”

The Leader of the Opposition couldn’t resist the temptation, although to be fair, he didn’t really try all that hard. He whispered to his neighbour, “We can only hope”. Unfortunately his voice carried further than he would have wished and the Prime Minister’s voice was like acid as he continued “…and decided to kill anyone who disagreed with him?” That silenced the Leader of the Opposition, as the PM had intended.

“I believe we have an Uncontrollable Event,” the Prime Minister said, rather more formally, and Clooney noticed the immediate change in the room. “Is there anyone here who disagrees?”

Clooney looked around the room and saw that everyone else was looking at the Prime Minister, expectantly, as if their very silence signified something. The PM looked at each face in the room, reacting with surprise when he noticed that Clooney was still there. He paused for a moment and then moved past her to Docherty’s seat. It was then that she realised, for the first time, that he’d gone; she couldn’t recall when he’d left. The Prime Minister noticed Docherty’s absence, but since he suspected the reason why, he moved on to Docherty’s Head of Section, and then past him continuing around the table.

When the Prime Minister had gone around the table, he explicitly and separately asked Lady Constance, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the CIA representative and Docherty’s Head of Section whether they agreed. They all spoke, confirming their assent, the military man grudgingly.

The Prime Minister sat down, leaned forward and placed his hands palms down on the table. He looked at Docherty’s Head of Section one more time. His tone was sonorous. “As with previous occasions, I leave this to your department. I believe,” a glance at the seat where Docherty had recently sat, “that you have matters in hand. Arrange an unfiling,” he said, and then he turned his back to them, the television once again taking his attention, as Bowman increased the volume.

The Head of Section took Clooney’s hand and motioned with his head. They left the room and returned to the ante-room where Clooney had waited earlier. The Head of Section took a small phone from his pocket and punched in a number. He heard it ring once before it was answered.

“You know who this is?” he asked.

“I know who this is,” came Docherty’s voice in his ear.

“You have authorisation for an unfiling.”

“Who?” came the quite reasonable response.

“Whichever of them survives their battle,” Docherty’s boss told him.

There was a long pause. “Repeat and confirm,” Docherty asked. It was the usual next phrase in the sequence. Any such order had to be given twice to ensure that the correct order had been given. And more importantly, that the right person was identified.

“I repeat and confirm: if that thing beats Davies, blow it out of existence. Whatever it takes. Whoever else has to die to accomplish it. Destroy it.”

“Acknowledged. And if Davies wins?”

“Kill him.”

– o –

© Lee Barnett, 2013

To read part 24 of You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly, click here.


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