A Darker Shade Of Pale

Details and a record of the characters exploits, successes and failures within the Parallel Worlds.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:05 pm

April 28th 1966

The final bell rang and Barbara Harrison breathed a sigh of relief as the kids began to pour out of her classroom.
Slowly packing her few things into her handbag, Barbara pulled at her short skirt, straightening it, opened her compact and freshened up her lipstick.
Strangely Barbara felt nervous. This afternoon Principle Chalk had called her outside for a quick chat and had told her that a friend of his wanted to speak with her regarding the incident.
On top of that, those two men from the FBI wanted to interview her at their offices. They seemed very keen to hear what she had to say.

Clapping the compact shut she nearly screamed when she saw a man standing in front of her.
“Where the hell had he come from?” she asked herself, unaware even that the door had opened.
When she realised who it was her breath caught and she involuntarily stepped backwards.
“Err… Mr Mustenen? Erm… What can I do for you?” she said fighting to keep the nervousness out of her voice, unconsciously fiddling with the hem of her tight pull over.
“I want to talk to you about Caleb, and what you think happened to those boys,” Petrick said in a calm voice. He deliberately stepped to the side so that he could lean against one of the student desks to make himself appear less threatening.
Barbara’s brows furrowed and she walked stiffly back to the ‘proper’ side of her desk; this was where she ruled this particular roost from, where she felt most comfortable and most confident.
“I’ve told you, Mr Mustenen, I’ve told you what I saw and what I think,” she said injecting as much authority into her voice as she could.

Petrick sighed quietly, looking to the floor as he pushed a discarded eraser around with the toe of her boot. He had the door open and all she had to do was walk through, but it didn’t seem she wanted to, in fact it seemed more like she was going to slam the door shut.
Finally he looked back up. “But what you are accusing him of… it’s not true,” he lied, calm, quiet, no anger or any other emotion in his voice.

There was a silence.

“You really are going to the authorities with this and possibly ruin Caleb’s life?” Petrick inquired after a while.
Barbara shook her head pitifully. “No, Mr Mustenen, it won’t be like theat. This is the Government of the Unites States of America we are talking about! They’ll take care of Caleb!”
“They’ll lock him up!” Petrick snapped, losing his cool for the first time.
“He’s dangerous!” Barbara fired back, Petrick’s suddenly raised voice putting her on the defensive.
“No, he isn’t. He’s just a kid,” Petrick argued, calm once more.
It didn’t matter to Barbara though, she was nervous. This man was alone with her in her classroom and she wasn’t happy about the situation, she felt very threatened. And when she felt threatened, Barbara Harrison couldn’t help herself.
“Your son put two students in hospital. Two innocent young boys, one of whom may never walk again, both of them terrorised. He’s a freak Mr Mustenen, a dangerous FREAK! Why else would the FBI ask to see me and get a proper statement? The FBI, Mr Mustenen. They’re going to take Caleb and put him somewhere where he can’t hurt people. Some place far away from here!” Her voice was now heavy with malice and vindictiveness.

Petrick’s knuckles were white where he gripped the desk. His whole body was tense, his demeanor suddenly dark and menacing. He knew she could see it too, he saw the fear in her eyes.
A bang from outside the classroom reminded Petrick that this was neither the time nor the place for him to lose control and do something stupid.

He rose up to his full height and straightened his suit jacket, placing his hat upon his head. “I have to collect my son,” he said walking swiftly towards the door.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Aug 17, 2013 4:57 pm

Agents Dennis Rendle and Mike Adlington were sitting in their government-issue Lincoln which Dennis had parked under the shade of a Sycamore tree right opposite the entrance to Leeward Elementary School.
Neither man spoke as they watched the parents and children milling around.
The Animals were singing about a house in New Orleans on the radio and Dennis was gently tapping his fingers on the steering wheel in time with the beat.
The throng of people slowly cleared. The agents were here to take Barnara Harrison for her interview. Pearson wanted to make sure he and Cole got to speak with her, and that she didn’t have the opportunity to change her mind.

Dennis suddenly ha a feeling like he was being watched. Casually he glanced about. There was no chance of him missing the boy.
He was standing with his hands in his pockets, his toes dangling over the kerb, eyes curious and staring directly at him.
Although he’d never met this Caleb Mustenen, and oddly they had not been able to find a picture of him, Rendle knew this was him. He could feel the boy’s subtle probing at the edge of his mind. Dennis immediately threw up his defences. The boy frowned, his head cocked to one side even more curious now.
“Shit!” Rendle whispered barely enough for Adlington to hear him.
“What?” Adlington asked, bored.
“The boy we’re looking for is a telepath.”
“How do you figure that?”
“Cos he’s standing on the sidewalk trying to look into my mind.”
Adlignton leaned forward, looking beyond his colleague. “You sure? The story read like a PK?”
“I’m sure,” Rendle said quietly, not taking his mind off the boy.
Suddenly there was a presence within him. Rendle’s head whipped around so he could face his colleague his expression incredulous. “My god, he’s in! We’re compromised!”
Adlington looked on in disbelief for a moment. He knew that Rendle’s mental defences were not insignificant.
Quickly Adlington came to the same decision that his partner was also coming to. “We have confirmation Den, we should apprehend him now.” He was already climbing out of the car.
Rendle used every bit of his training to keep the boy from finding out anything that could be useful to an enemy, which was what young boy was technically classed as at the moment.

The two men approached the boy who didn’t move or try to run.
Mike Adlington, a father of two young boys of similar age, crouched down onto his haunches several feet away from the dark haired, dark eyed, eight year old.
“Hello,” he said convivially, smiling.
“Hello, Mr Adlington,” the boy replied causing the two men to exchange shocked glances.
Adlington reached inside his jacket and retrieved his identification.
“We’re with the FBI, Caleb, it is Caleb, isn’t it?”
The boy nodded.
“Do you know what that means, Caleb?”
“It means you are a policeman with cross-state, or Federal jurisdiction,” Caleb replied.
Adlington smiled despite himself. “That’s right,” he said. “And we’d like you to come with us please Caleb.”
Caleb looked from Adlington to Rendle and back again.
“I don’t think I should,” the boy said shaking his head. “My dad said that I shouldn’t go with strangers.”
Adlington glanced around. They were getting some curious looks from the gathered parents that still remained.
“Your father is very sensible, but I bet he told you to do what the teachers told you, yes?” Mike asked.
“Well, teachers and policemen are the same in that respect, don’t you think?”
Caleb nodded slowly, obviously mulling the logic over. “I guess so.”
“Good,” said Adlington with a wry smile. “Then you’d better come with us.” He stepped nearer the boy placing his hand on the boy’s back urging him in the direction of the awaiting Lincoln.
A little unsure as to what he should do, Caleb stepped over to the car, pausing as Rendle opened the door.
“It means you’re a liar too,” Caleb said matter-of-factly.
“What’s that?” Adlington asked confused.
“Your badge and FBI stuff means you’re a liar. Neither of you are in the FBI.”
Rendle eyed Adlington. “Just get in the car, kid,” he barked.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:13 pm

Petrick Mustenen strode quickly through the school, knowing that he had left Caleb waiting outside.
His footsteps echoed off the beige painted walls that had artwork created by the pupils pinned to it.
Normally he would have skimmed the paintings, drawings, scribbles and bits of flotsam glued to paper, in case any of them had Caleb’s name on them, but not today. Today his mind was distracted, putting the final touches to plans he had hoped he would not have to make.

Pushing open the doors at the end of the school’s main corridor he scanned the gathered children and parents looking for Caleb.
He wasn’t in his usual spot and there was no sign of Lucy, Maggies mother, which might indicate that Caleb was off talking to them.

A movement across the street momentarily caught his attention. A black Lincoln, not unlike others he had seen today, was pulling away from the kerb. The driver, a man in a dark suit waited for a car to pass before gently easing the big Lincoln out around the car that was parked in front of it.
Petrick’s vision went to the back of the car, the small pale face, unhappy, sitting staring forward. The face of his son.
“Hey!” he yelled breaking into a run. “Hey!”
Parents, children and a few of the teachers who were managing to get away early turned to see who was making the noise. They watched the man running, yelling at a car that was pulling steadily away.
One woman recognised Petrick, and then Caleb in the car. “Oh my god! Is that your boy?” she called but Petrick ignored her.
He ran after the Lincoln, his own car parked just ahead of where it was now. He scrambled in his pocket for the keys as he wrenched the unlocked door open. Finally he found them, slid into the drivers seat and gunned the engine. All the time he had been watching the Lincoln until it had turned left at the end of the street and disappeared from view.
Petrick’s Cadillac roared away from the kerb, tyres squealing. He threw the big old car around the corner like a racing driver and spotted the Lincoln about five hundred yards ahead.
He thought as he drove. Should he follow them and see where they were taking his son? There could be more agents there and he could lose Caleb – so that option was out.
He could shoot the driver? It was an option he had used before. He’d have to wait until they were at a junction and this time there would be a lot of witnesses.
Or he could wait until they were in a quiet part of town and ram them off the road? But what if they didn’t go to a quiet part of town?
Easing off the gas slightly he slotted the Cadillac in between two other cars and followed, hoping an opportunity would present itself.
“Hang on boy,” he muttered rhetorically.
“I will, dad,” Caleb replied in his mind, the shock of it almost making Petrick swerve into the on-coming lane.
“Jesus, Cal!” Petrick swore aloud.
“We’re heading for the interstate, dad. You can stop them at the on-ramp.”
Petrick shook his head in amazement and laughed.
“Don’t worry about me, dad, I’ll be alright.”
Again Petrick shook his head and laughed, not believing his son was serious but somehow trusting that he was. “Alright, boy. You hold on tight.”
Caleb didn’t answer but Petrick knew that he was doing… whatever it was he needed to do.
The Lincoln’s rear lights blinked as it changed lanes heading for the on-ramp and speeding up.
Petrick slewed the Caddy into the lane four or five lengths behind them and floored the pedal. The big engine roared and powered the car forward.
He had to time this just right. There was a car between him and the Lincoln. He eased the car left running either side of the white line as he powered passed the car, clipping mirrors.
That made the car slow down, the driver thinking Petrick would stop to exchange insurance details. .
But he didn’t, instead he surged ahead seemingly looking to pass the next car, the Lincoln, jus as it reached the ramp.
“Crazy asshole!” the driver cursed.
As he came alongside the Lincoln, Petrick yanked hard on the steering wheel slamming his right front quarter into its left front wheel.

Agent Rendle was taken completely unawares as the vehicle collided with him and his natural reaction was to steer away from the other car.
It was the wrong move. His car slammed into the concrete post that formed the start of the low curving wall that bounded the inner radius of the on-ramp.
The Lincoln came to a dead halt, glass and steam erupting from the front.

Petrick’s heart was in his mouth - in essence he had just forced his son into a car wreck.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:19 pm

Adlington glanced over his shoulder at the very serious looking boy sitting on the back seat.
He didn’y look much, not particularly big, a normal looking everyday kid. This young lad wasn’t too dissimilar to his own son a few years back.
Except that his own son couldn’t pull off a level sixteen psychic event.
Having said that, there was nothing here now to indicate that this boy could either.
He turned back to watch the road ahead as Rendle accelerated towards the on-ramp.
“Look at this idiot!” Rendle cursed nodding towards his wing mirror and watching a big Cadillac racing up the outside of traffic.

Then came the bang.
Caleb had been expecting it and was concentrating on the seat-backs in front of him, forcing himself mentally away from them.
The Cadillac crunched into the front wing.
Rendle was totally unprepared and failed to counter the manoeuvre.
The Lincoln hit the end of the concrete wall with such force that all the windows shattered, the hood sprung open all creased and dented, the back of the car lifted off the ground and slammed back down again in a cloud of steam.
The occupants were thrown forwards. Rendle’s face smashed into the steering wheel, his forehead buckling the thin black hoop.
Adlington was half hanging from the car where his passenger side door had flown open. At first the agent had been slammed into the dash, his head hitting the windscreen just as it shattered, some of the jagged glass fragments lacerated his face, then he slumped sideways, his leg ‘popping’ at the knee as he slid to hang halfway out of the car.

Caleb Mustenen was surrounded by twisted metal, broken glass and billowing steam from the radiator.
Horrified by the harsh reality of the two agents’ wounds he felt sick. He shut his eyes forcing the images to the back of his mind.
Opening the rear door of the ruined Lincoln he climbed out just as the Cadillac finished reversing back to the scene.
Caleb noticed his father’s ashen face. “It’s okay dad, I’m fine,” he said matter-of-factly.

Petrick bolted from his car and rushed over to Caleb, wrapping his arms around the boy and holding him tight.
“We have to leave, dad, don’t we?” Caleb asked as he stared blankly at the growing crowd.
There were calls amongst the onlookers for someone to call an ambulance.
Petrick knew his son’s question did not just refer to the scene here. “Yes, son, we do,” he finally replied.
“I’ll miss Maggie,” Caleb said sadly.
“I know son, I’ll miss her too.”

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:17 pm

“Won’t they be angry with you, dad?” Caleb had asked.
Petrick had thought about lying but there was no point, however he decided not to embellish his one word answer. “Yes.”

As he had driven the Cadillac out towards the Everglades he had considered the situation.
Disappearing was something Petrick had done many times before. All he had to do was make sure they, the Feds, didn’t have anything on them.

So what did they have?
Their names? Easy enough to change.
There address? Fire crews should have put out the fire by now, but there was nothing for the investigators to find, there were no photographs of them, and he had removed the ones from the school files already.
All they had was what made cops all over the world cringe… witness descriptions of them.
Petrick had done what he had always done well, blending into the background, not standing out by being the loner that draws attention by his solitude and neither was he extrovert enough to stand out in peoples mind for that very reason.
There were only two people at the school who could give a really accurate description of him, Lucy Shaw and Miss Harrison.
He surprised himself, by choosing to ignore the fact that Lucy could tell them all about him, he decided she wouldn’t say anything, not if he explained to her.
But Barbara Harrison was another story. He’d given her a chance and she’d decided not to take him upon it.

Petrick gripped the steering wheel of the Mustang so hard that his knuckles turned white.
“Dad?” Caleb asked.
“Whose car is this?”
“Why have I not seen it before?”
“I don’t use it much. I keep it in a lock-up uptown normally.”
“But not now.”
“No, boy. Not now.” Petrick answered tiredly. He was contemplating something and took a deep breath, sighing as he finally made his decision.
“Caleb, I used to work for some very bad people, who used to pay me a lot of money to do some very bad things.”
“I know, dad. Sometimes I have dreams at night that aren’t mine. I have dreamed your dreams.”
Petrick swallowed hard.
“It’s ok dad. You don’t do those things any more. I understand.”
Petrick was silent. How did his son get so grown up?
“I’d do them again if it meant looking after you.”
Caleb didn’t reply, just nodded his agreement as though it was obvious.
After a while the boy couldn’t keep the question in. “Do you think you may have to?”
It was Petrick’s turn to be silent as the suburb gave way to open road.
Caleb sat patiently waiting for his answer, watching his father from the corner of his eye. When it did come, it didn’t faze him one bit.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:18 pm

Barbara had waited for half an hour for the two men from the FBI to return and take her to be interviewed.
They hadn’t turned up.
Having made her way towards the staff car park feeling a little dejected, she discovered a police car in the parking lot.
Perhaps the Bureau had sent them for her? But the two officers were speaking to some mums and taking notes.
As she got nearer she overheard one officer reading his notes back to the woman. She heard him describe how a car containing two men had driven off with one of the pupils.
“Oh, how dreadful!” Barbara had exclaimed as the policemen had described the parent running after it in panic.
Then the officer confirmed the names – Petrick and Caleb Mustenen.
Barbara had blanched and she suddenly felt sick. Had the FBI taken Caleb? Without even speaking to Petrick? Did the FBI really kidnap people? Children?
She walk numbly to her car. “What have I done?” she mumbled staring at her dashboard for some time.
Despite her shock at what she had seen Caleb do, despite her fear of the psychic phenomenon that she was convinced was real, the teacher in her couldn’t sit by and see something happen to a young boy, who really was too young to understand what he was doing, not without her feeling some guilt about it.

She hardly noticed the drive home, or undressing and taking a shower.
In a trance she had poured herself a drink, bourbon she noticed as the harsh liquid burned her throat.
All she had ever wanted to be was a teacher and now that gnawing guilt had told her she had failed. Not in her ability to actually teach, no, in that she was confident.
But teachers were supposed to look after their wards, nurture them and help them grow into responsible adults. Well, that was how some of the newer teachers felt, very much against the harsher, stricter old school ways.
Barbara had let her fear of the unknown guide her, had let the prospect of being somebody important – a key witness to both the abilities of Caleb Mustenen and the existence of psychic powers – overrule her instincts which were to guide these children.
She should have kept quiet about what she had seen and helped Caleb to understand that he shouldn’t do that sort of thing.

Sighing heavily she knocked another shot back, shuddering as the burning liquid warmed her insides.

A knock at the door woke her a few hours later. Her eyes heavy with drink induced sleep she pulled her thick bathrobe tight a retied the belt as she shuffled bare footed through the hallway.
As soon as she turned the key it was shoved open, knocking her backwards.
“What?” Barbara yelped as she backed away from the two men who forced their way in.
Both men were tall and filled out their suits so that barara’s first impression was of a couple of Mafia thugs from the old movies.
It was a sobering image.
Barbara’s instinct were to run and this time she didn’t ignore them.
The first door she came to led into the kitchen. Bursting through she spotted the cedar knife block sitting on the worktop. Her hand closed around the handle of the carving knife as the first man came through the doorway behind her.
She turned on him swinging the knife wildly. “Get away!” she almost screamed.
The man stopped, his hands out and up in submission as he watched the blade flash several feet away.
“Calm down, Miss Harrison,” the man said, rolling his r’s.
Barbara frowned at the accent. Was that Russian?
“Put the knife down,” the second man commanded as he stepped from behind his colleague. He too spoke with heavily accented English.
Barbara wanted this last line of defense more than anything, but suddenly she found herself lowering the blade. Even though she didn’t want to she placed the knife on the worktop.
The leading man snarled and her arms were suddenly jerked wide as though some unseen person… people… had grabbed her wrists and forced them into position.
She stood before them, pinned to an invisible crucifix.
“Miss Harrison,” said the front man, “we want you to tell us all you know about the boy.”
Frightened, her mind on the verge of freaking out, Barbara stared at the man blankly and forced the word, “Boy?” her voice a mere squeak.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:18 pm

Petrick Mustenen frowned into the darkness as he watched the small detached house with the well-tended front lawn complete with what he assumed would be a colourfully planted rockery, if it were daytime.
He had arrived about a half hour ago and had sat and watched Miss Harrison’s house, making sure she was alone.
She had been, until about five minutes ago, when a couple of sturdy looking men had arrived.
Petrick had initially thought he’d left it too late, the Feds being here would mean he couldn’t do what he felt needed doing. But there was something in the way the men approached the house. They were being cautious, wary even, and seemed nervous.
The Feds wouldn’t do that. They’d walk up to the door with confidence. The sort of confidence a man backed up by the government of the most powerful nation on the planet would have.
Then, when the door had been answered, the two men had barged in; very unprofessional of Feds coming to interview a witness.
“Stay here!” Petrick said over his shoulder as he climbed out of the car.
Habitually he checked that his pistol was resting in its holster under his left arm.

He crossed the hard asphalt street quickly, leaping the floral border and keeping low, his eyes darting from window to window as he cautiously stalked across the well-kept lawn.
Petrick could hear voices coming from within the house, harsh voices with Russian accents.
Russians? Why would Miss Harrison be speaking with the Commies?
The big window to the right of the door showed the lights were on but the curtains were drawn… drapes, Petrick reminded himself.
He swiftly moved to the corner so he could peer down the side of the house where a glow showed there to be at least one un-draped window. It opened into the kitchen.

At first Petrick couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Barbara Harrison was floating a foot or so above the floor, looking like someone being crucified; upright, arms out wide. She looked terrified.

The two men, the Commies, were talking about the ‘boy’.
Petrick guessed they were talking about Caleb. What surprised him almost as much as seeing what they were doing to her, was her refusal to say anything.

Rubbing wearily at his eyes, Petrick stepped back from the window.
He couldn’t believe the irony here. He had come to kill her and instead was about to risk his own life to save hers.

The front door was open and Petrick slipped inside quickly, unnoticed by the men in the kitchen.
Concentrating on the doorway from which the sounds of voices and sobs carried, he took in little else.
Normally he would have taking in every possible detail, looking for potential threats, but this wasn’t some rival gangs place or a mob-house. This was a quiet suburban house in a quiet part of town owned by a teacher.

Pistol in hand, it led the way as he moved silently to the door and glanced in.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Wed Feb 05, 2014 3:59 pm

The door to the musty office opened, sending a draught of fresh air through the room which whipped at a sheaf of papers on Albert Pearson’s desk and scattered them across the floor.
“Shut that damned door!” Pearson bellowed in frustration.
The two men, Cole and Lovett glanced at one another knowingly.
“Problem, boss?” Cole inquired.
Pearson dropped the recovered papers onto his desk and placed a heavy dictionary on them to hold them down.
He fixed Cole with a quizzical yet slightly blank expression, as though he was internally debating something.
“I think so,” he frowned. “Dennis and Mike are late with our witness.”
Cole automatically glanced at his watch. It was a quarter to five.
The door burst open again, causing Pearson to glare at the papers daring them to scatter again.
Agent Wills swept into the room puffing slightly
The other three agants stared at him expectantly.
“Mike and Den,” Wills said, “they’ve been in an accident.”
Cole, Lovett and Pearson all nodded as they glanced at one another.
“I’ll drive,” Lovett declared snatching the keys from Wills’ hand smirking.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:24 pm

Their Federal ID got them through the cordon without question.
Paramedics and the fire service were there as well as the police, though the only people really doing anything were the guys securing Mike Adlington to a gurney.
Agent Richard Wills made a bee-line for the cops standing near the wrecked vehicle, whilst Augustus Cole headed for the injured agent.
Pearson walked slowly alongside Lovett who was only seeing the scene through half-closed eyes.
Give us five minutes with the scene guys,” Wills prompted, forcing his will outward towards the two investigating officers.
Both men seemed surprised by his sudden appearance alongside them but gave a consenting nod and moved away from the destroyed vehicle.

Cole gave a friendly smile to the two paramedics attending to Adlington. He flashed his FBI credentials and asked how the agent was?
One of the men began to explain in very basic terms until Cole explained that he was a medical doctor with the agency.
Their diagnosis was quite accurate, Cole thought as he exerted his mind and scanned Adlington’s body.
The medics were treating him for a fractured arm, indeed Mike’s ulna was broken; a possible fractured tibia and fibula, though it was actually only dislocated at the knee; multiple and obvious lacerations to his face but they didn’t believe him to have a skull injury, but they were bracing his neck, just in case.
Cole asked where they were taking him and said to a very groggy Adlington that he would transfer him to an agency hospital later.
Mike Adlington, who had once been shot three times in the chest by a lunatic telepath and been on his feet two hours later thanks to Cole’s abilities, knew that meant the back room at the office.
He nodded and seemed to relax.
Plenty of morphine guys, please,” Cole said jovially.
“No problem, doc, we’ll look after him,” one of them responded.

“What happened?” Pearson demanded, standing near to Lovett and fixing him with a steely gaze.
The junior agent moved closer to the wreckage and crouched, his right hand slowly reaching out for the door pillar.
Eyes closed, he was already searching for the answers with his mind’s eye.
Contact was made with the cold steel and a blinding flash seared his vision and Lovett flinched, like he always did, unable to close already shut eyes and further.
Within moments the half-destroyed car was back, he was crouching next to it and Pearson was standing over him, hands in his pockets.
However the image wasn’t clear like normal, it was in black, white and primary colours and it was still. Lovett could see himself in the picture, his current point of view being several feet above his actual position.
He had done this many times. His old mentor had told him to imagine he was watching a movie at the cinema, and he had come in late – at the very end of the show, the now. He said to imagine that he had the controls to the projector and could rewind the film backward to see what had come before.
Lovett had always struggled with that concept and so had preferred to think of it as a comic book, but the principle was the same – he had opened the comic at the last page, the now. All he had to do was flick back through the pages.
He turned through them quickly, stopping after a few moments.
Rendle and Adlington were in the car driving through suburban Miami, there was a young boy on the back seat. The boy was still, his expression serious, yet did not convey any emotion. In fact, Lovett would have said that it looked as though the lad was studying the two men, like he was in a classroom watching the reaction of some chemical compound.
Lovett realised instantly that this was their ‘man’.
He turned more pages, rewinding further. Stopped again.
His guess was good.
The two agents were pictured sitting in their car outside the school. Lovett began reading the comic book…
He saw the boy stood on the kerb, read the speech bubble coming from Rendle saying that the boy was in his head.
He followed the story; their normal journey through busy Miami streets… a quiet journey, then…BAM!
The other car slamming into them.

What he read on that page made him gasp. The boy had made some sort of protective shell about himself and had walked from the wreck unharmed to be united with what was obviously the boy’s father.
Father and son climbed into their car and drove off.
Lovett was angry, not because they had lost the boy, that wouldn’t matter – no, he was angry because the man hadn’t checked on the two injured agents.

Lovett stood as the images faded from his mind, ignoring the bewildered and in some cases disapproving glances from the local police. None of whom, he noticed would make eye contact with him.
Quietly he relayed his visions to Pearson.
Agent Albert Pearson, before being recruited into ‘The Manor’, six years ago, had been in army intelligence. He had worked counter-intelligence after the war. In that role he had developed a devious mind, able to accurately imagine what angles his enemies would take. He was thinking now.
His eyes narrowed and he looked across at Richard Wills.
Despite the thirty yard distance between them Wills nodded his head in agreement with Pearson’s thoughts. The ex-FBI agent (and ironically the only person here who had actually earned the right to carry the Federal badge they had had all flashed) was thinking on very similar lines himself… Where’s Barbara Harrison?

“Cole,” Pearson called as he approached the ambulance, “stick with Rendle and Adlington. I want them back on their feet as soon as you can get them up. The rest of us are going to look for the boy and his father.”
Cole nodded. “Where will you start?”
“The teacher. Our witness hasn’t appeared. Wills and I have a hunch.”
Cole nodded again as the paramedics closed the doors and the vehicle rocked and rolled its way back onto the hard-top.

“I need that woman’s address,” Pearson said as the three agents climbed into their car.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:51 pm

“Tell us where to find ze boy, Miss Harrison. Do not try my patience further.” One of the Russians warned, his tongue rolling over every ‘r’.
Barbara sobbed in fear, great shoulder jerking sobs followed by short spasmodic breaths, suspended a foot above her kitchen floor by forces she could neither see nor comprehend. Despite her fear, her desperation, there was something inside that prevented her from telling them what they wanted to know. It was her natural predisposition to protect children, stemming from her choice of career and her genetic maternal instinct.
The Russian waited patiently for a few moments before lashing out with a backhand across Barbara’s cheek.
Barbara shrieked and sobbed, fear and pain mixing into one.
“Zat iz only a fraction of ze punishment my comrade here can administer, Miss Harrison,” the Russian warned.
Her cheek was on fire, throbbing and stinging at the same time. She looked up at the other man who had remained silent so far, but he had an expression upon his face like a man sizing up prey. There was an intent in his eyes that told her he was looking forward to the prospect of hurting her.

These men were Russians, communists, the bad-guy that they spoke of on the news, the cold-war enemy. She had heard about what the Russians did to their own people and could only imagine what horrors they would be prepared to put her through.
Her resolve was at breaking point. She had never been much good with pain or fear.
Forlornly she returned her gaze to her interrogator and she spotted slow careful movement beyond him.
Her eyes focussed on the gun first and her fear levels increased yet again, but then she made eye contact with its owner.

She did well, Petrick mused, not to reveal him as he rounded the doorway. She had spotted him, realisation had crept into her face but she had locked it away instantly as he had raised his finger to his lips.
“You can go to hell!” Barbara spat defiantly.
“You will be hurt badly,” the Russian threatened.
“It’ll be nothing compared to what I’ll do to you,” Petrick hissed in Russian from behind the two men. “You communist fucks,” he added in Finnish.

Both men turned in surprise and Barbara thumped to the linoleum floor and crumpled, her legs too shaky to offer even a modicum of support.
Immediately she began quietly sobbing again, relief overwhelming all else.

“Do not be stupid, friend,” one of the men, the one who had been speaking to Barbara said in his own language. “You do not know what you are involving yourself in here.”
“Every part of my brain is telling me to shoot you right now. Tell me why I shouldn’t?”
The quieter, meaner looking Russian glanced at the knife which Miss Harrison had so recently been brandishing and which now lay abandoned on the floor in front of the off-white oven. The glance was all he needed.
Something at the back of Petrick’s mind, a voice maybe, or some guiding sense that he had not heard for many years warned him of danger and his muscles tensed, taught and ready.

The knife leapt from the floor like an arrow, the blade glinting in the artificial light.
The glint was enough, Petrick whirled left, ducking as he did so.
Intended for his heart the knife glanced off his shoulder and struck the side of his head before clattering into the wall and onto the floor again.
Petrick doubled back, his pistol leading the way the trigger pulled even before he’d completed his manoeuvre.
The biggest Russian was thumped backwards with the impact.
Petrick’s pistol found its next target, homed in, stopped short, unable to get closer, blocked by some unseen force.
That was when the blast hit him. It felt like a sledgehammer smashing into his skull. The impact lifted him sideways like he was nothing more than a ragdoll and smashed him into the kitchen cupboards.
Petrick collapsed, his head swimming, his vision gone, pain blasting through his head like nothing he had ever felt. He tried to move his hands to push himself off the floor, but he had no idea if his arms were even moving.

“Stupid fucker!” the Russian cursed as he turned away from the quivering form laid out on the cold linoleum, blood seeping from his mouth and ears.
He looked over to his fallen comrade who was clasping a hand to his shoulder and grimacing in pain.

Barbara Harrison stared in horror at Petrick’s battered form, her hope of salvation slipping away.

“Where’d this fucking guy come from?” the injured Russian asked the room openly as he climbed to his feet with his comrades help.
“Who is he?” the man hissed at Barbara.
“Is he dead?” Barbara croaked not taking her eyes off the Finn.
“If he isn’t, he soon will be!” the Russian replied coldly as he picked up the knife and brandished it before the woman’s terrified face. “As you will be if you don’t tell us who he is and where we can find the boy.”

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