You’ll Never Believe A Man Can Fly, Part 26

Posted: 11 February 2013 in fiction, writing, You'll Never Believe A Man Can Fly
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Chapter Thirteen (continued…)

In COBRA, the members of the UK Blue Committee watched Davies defeat the creature and then waited for the unfiling to occur. It had already been agreed what the press statement would say: “The man known as The Public Defender died today as he had lived, defending those less fortunate than himself. Unfortunately, due to wounds created by his brave battle…” It would have been a fine eulogy and, the Prime Minister thought, would have guaranteed the next election for him and his party.

A pity then that the best laid plans of mice, men and Prime Ministers so often go astray. When the PM saw Davies rip the door from the van, he sank back into his chair in disbelief. He shivered. He’d heard of this reaction, but had always thought that it was an exaggeration, created by those who just couldn’t deal logically and rationally with real life. But his logic and reason didn’t assist in the slightest as he felt his blood run cold. What the hell were they going to do now?

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Docherty’s Head of Section grab for one of the telephones on the table and start punching numbers. The members of the Committee heard the ringing tone once, then again and a third time before a click. Then a voice came on the line.

“Hello?”

The Head of Section heard the voice of his top agent and said merely “put him on.” He looked at the Prime Minister with an expectant expression and gestured for him to speak, pleading with his eyes.

There was a pause as a new voice was heard through the loudspeaker.

“Yes?”

The Prime Minister carefully cleared his throat and asked if he was speaking to Ian Davies…

– o –

Davies hadn’t known what to expect when he tore open the door to the van, but he wasn’t overly surprised to see a rifle on a tripod and a dark-haired man leaning into the rifle butt. The man stood up and smiled at Davies.

And then he extended his hand towards him. “Mr Davies? I’m Jez Docherty. Pleased to meet you. Nice work out there.”

Davies looked at him like Docherty had grown a second head. “I beg your pardon?” he said, astonished at the other man’s poise.

Docherty may have appeared calm and collected, but inside he was shitting himself. This has to be played just right, he thought, or I’m a dead man. “That was amazing,” he said, “I’ve never seen anyone move so fast.”

“Yeah, well,” Davies replied, looking at Docherty’s face, maintaining eye contact. “Having someone shoot at you will do that, you know.”

“Yes, I’m sorry about that,” Davies replied. “Bad call on my part.”

Bad call?” Davies shouted. Then he seemed to suck in his fury and he looked at the rifle. It reacted as if it had had a 100 ton weight dropped on it, and collapsed to the ground flattening itself to a depth of about a millimetre. The tripod underwent a similar implosion. Davies looked at Docherty, who wondered if he was about to be subjected to the same fate. Instead Davies just asked him what other weaponry he had in the van.

Davies stayed silent. There was nothing to be gained by telling him and everything to lose.

“Never mind,” Davies said and swept his look around the van. As his eyes moved over each cupboard and holder, the same flattening occurred, and less than a minute later, Davies turned to go.

Docherty moved towards him. “Mind if I ask you a question?”

Davies stopped and looked back at him, his eyes contemptuous. “Yes,” he said. “Yes, I do.”

“That’s ok,” Docherty said, “I’ll ask it anyway. Why?”

“Why?” repeated Davies. “Why what?”

“Why did you come to the hospital tonight? Why stop that mugging two days ago, and the bank robbers yesterday?” Docherty stopped, realising with some surprise that he’d stepped over the line from an attempt to maintain control of a dangerous and potentially lethal situation into genuine enquiry.

“Well, because people were in danger.”

“That’s not it,” said Docherty. “That can’t be it. That explains why you’re here now. And why you did something. But why come at all?”

Davies thought about it, and felt his anger drifting away. “Because someone has to,” he said.

There was a sharp buzzing noise and Docherty pulled out his phone. “Hello?” he said, grateful that he’d done so smoothly without making a fuss.

He listened for a moment and then handed the phone to Davies. “It’s for you.”

Davies took the phone, curious to find out who was calling him. “Yes?” he said into the receiver.

He heard the familiar voice of the Prime Minister and almost dropped the phone.

“Yes, I’m Ian Davies,” he said.

– o –

Rosemary Clooney was sitting in the Downing Street refectory, drinking her third cup of atrocious coffee when Bowman came to get her. She’d hoped to have left by now, but when she had attempted to go, she’d been politely but firmly told that her presence might be required later and until that time, she was ‘invited’ to remain in the building.

Unlike most people, she didn’t mind waiting. She’d once spent seventy-two hours with her team watching a petri dish to see when a reaction would occur. What was bothering her was two-fold. She’d realised after the brief telephone conversation exactly what Docherty’s specific role in these circumstances was and this troubled her greatly. Although she supposed she was vaguely patriotic, she drew the line at killing, even if it was for the purposes of national security. The second thing that concerned her was Davies himself. She had no idea whether or not he could beat the creature, but she guessed that if he didn’t triumph, then there was very little that could restrain that thing she’d seen. And if Davies did beat that monster, there’d be nothing on the planet that could secure him if he turned out to be as soulless as the thing that had once been Withers.

Her mouth opened of its own accord, and she yawned. Damn, she was tired, she thought. And she leaned forward to the table, resting her head on her crossed arms.

After what seemed like a few seconds, she felt a hand on her shoulder.

“Doctor Clooney?” asked Bowman. He repeated the question as she raised her head, shaking it gently and rubbing her eyes. “I’m sorry to wake you, but if you could come with me again.”

She stood up slowly, and caught sight of the clock. She’d been asleep for three hours. She ran her fingers through her hair and looked down at herself, still dressed in the outfit she’d chosen to go out on what she’d thought might turn out to be a date with Docherty.

Docherty!

“Sir Anthony?” she ventured, as they left the restaurant and started down a flight of steps.

“Yes?” he replied, leading her back towards COBRA.

“Do you know what happened to Jez Docherty?”

“He’s right behind you,” said a voice she recognised and she turned to see Docherty standing there, accompanied by a man that looked vaguely familiar. She surprised both herself and Docherty then as with a rush of emotion, she hugged Docherty tightly. To Docherty’s greater surprise, he hugged back.

Bowman smiled to himself. What’s the harm? he thought, giving them a few seconds and looking away. But then, after those few seconds, he coughed diplomatically. By then, Docherty and Clooney were looking at each other, their eyes locked.

It was Docherty who broke away from the hug, and he just looked at her and said “Later, ok?” She nodded, wondering where the tears in her eyes had come from. She wiped them and as she did so, the other shoe dropped.

She spun and looked at Davies, staring openly at him. He looked smaller in real life, was her immediate reaction, more compact. Then he moved slightly and she wondered how she could have thought that as he seemed to grow an inch or two while she watched. She shook her head, then looked again.

The way she studied him made Davies feel astonishingly uncomfortable, as if he was on a slide under a microscope.

“Shall we?” asked Bowman and they walked through the doors into the large COBRA room.

– o –

As they entered, everyone automatically stood.

There was no formal reason for doing so. Unlike the American system, the British are more restrained. If the Prime Minister stands, it’s not assumed that everyone else has to. They save that for royalty.

But in this case?

As Davies stepped over the threshold into the room, he saw everyone immediately stop doing whatever duties they had been previously performing. And they all stood. Davies uttered a brief prayer that they weren’t about to start applauding. He really didn’t think he could handle that.

Surprisingly, given the build up, the meeting shouldn’t really have lasted that long.

It doesn’t take long to be invited to be the United Kingdom’s secret weapon, and (with a nod to the American guests), even “on occasion, help “out our cousins across the pond.” It takes a still shorter period to reply “get stuffed”, even to a Prime Minister.

The politician sat down in his chair, not in the least surprised at the response. “Mr Davies,” he said, “Let me ask a question.”

“Why?” asked Davies pre-empting the question.

“Why what?” enquired the Prime Minister, thoroughly confused. “Why am I asking? Because I want to know what you’ll say.”

“Oh,” said Davies colouring lightly. “Please go on.”

“Let me put it plainly,” the PM said, glancing at his opposite number, The Leader of the Opposition, and warning him with his eyes not to say one damn word. “You believe that these abilities you possess carry with them obligations, yes?”

“To a certain extent, yes,” said Davies.

If the Prime Minister noted the qualifier, he gave no indication of it, but merely politely asked, “obligations to do what precisely?”

“Honestly?”

“I’d prefer it that way,” said the Prime Minister, keeping his voice calm with effort.

“I don’t know,” said Davies, “I’m still trying to work that one out.”

“To rescue cats?” the PM enquired.

Davies smiled. “No, not really.”

“To overthrow the government then?” There was an immediate tightening of jaws and buttocks in the room.

“Of course not,” Davies shot back.

“Somewhere in-between?” asked the PM, smiling gently.

Davies smiled back. “Yes, pretty much, I guess. Somewhere in-between. Yeah, that works.”

“Good, we’re getting somewhere,” said the Prime Minister, rubbing his hands. Davies looked at him, puzzled, but said nothing.

Without looking away from Davies, the Prime Minister said, “Mr Docherty?”

“Yes, sir?” replied Docherty.

“Please give Mr Davies here every assistance he needs tonight. I’d like to see you both in Ten Downing Street tomorrow afternoon at two o’clock please. The Cabinet Room, I think. You as well, Doctor Clooney. Don’t be late.” And the Prime Minister turned on his heels and walked out of the room.

Davies looked at Docherty in confusion. “What just happened here?” he asked.

Docherty had a slight inkling what was to happen tomorrow, but caught the eye of his boss who shook his head very slightly.

“Let’s talk about that tomorrow, Davies. In the meantime, let’s get you home, ok?”

They left the room, together with Clooney. As they left, Clooney could hear the silence that had permeated the room start to dissipate, with the most common words said including “Bloody” and “Hell”.

Davies stopped for a moment and looked at Docherty. “Have I just been drafted?”

Docherty smiled and wondered what he could say to Davies. He settled for “Yes. No. I don’t know. Take your pick.”

– o –

The offices of Doncaster and Monkton officially opened the doors to the public at nine o’clock in the morning, although many of the consultants didn’t turn up until later.

Monkton and Williams had been in the office since just after four o’clock that morning, Williams commenting that while he’d occasionally left the office at that time, he couldn’t recall actually arriving there before dawn. At five, they’d been joined by Patt who’d been up since three, having been awoken by Williams with a brief “Get in to the office as soon as you can. We’ve got work to do.”

The three had worked together for two hours and by seven they had what they considered, and called, a ‘working strategy’. After the events they’d watched on television only a few hours earlier, they knew that they were unlikely to be contacted by Davies until later that day, if at all, but they didn’t want to be caught by surprise. When they’d finally sat back, knowing they had somewhat more than a germ of an idea, Williams had then taken the opportunity to leave the office and drive to his apartment for a shower, a shave and a fresh set of clothes, promising to be back in a couple of hours.

It was turning out to be a week for surprises, his usually unfailing sense of events around him letting him down. As he walked down the corridor to his front door, pulling out his spare keys, he would have bet the company’s next annual turnover that wherever Davies was at the moment, the apartment would be empty.

Which explained the look of pure stupefaction on his face when he opened the door to his flat and found a gun pointed at his face.

– o –

© Lee Barnett, 2013

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