Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Pastel Perspectives’.
The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it. It’s certainly taking me longer than ten minutes but I will keep going with this for as long as I can and see where each days takes this.
For the second time I found myself back in Plumduff’s office wondering whether I might be able to get a new pair of shoes. McCann handed me a drink and Plumduff paced back and force behind her desk.
“He was a good man” she said, “he deserved better than that.”
“You never saw anything at all then?” McCann repeated.
“No, nothing. One minute he was about to ask me for something the next he was gone.” I finished the drink in one and held out the glass for McCann to pour me another which she did. “Has to be Thrumhall though, just has to be.”
Plumduff stopped pacing. “You are likely right but how do we explain this?” She said and pointed to the picture above the fireplace. Where once Crompton had stood so proudly now only the volcano and daffodils remained. “It’s like he never existed. This is something else.”
I took another drink. “I don’t know how they did it but The witches, Gravita and Sadara, they greed that Crompton would be first.”
“First?” said Plumduff.
“With the rest of us to follow yes.” I finished my drink and held it out for McCann to refill again. As if witnessing what happened to Crompton wasn’t enough I probably had a similar fate to look forward to.
“What else did you see” McCann asked filling my glass. “What was the device, what does it do?”
“From what I saw something to do with travelling between different realities within the Fracture. He also insists on having shadows with him at all times, and he insisted we needed to come to Nin, where you found us, but beyond that I don’t know Elizabeth. A lot of it is a blur to be honest.”
McCann and Plumduff exchanged glances and McCann shrugged.
“What was it that Crompton wanted from you?” Plumduff asked.
“I think it might have been my watch, I’m not completely sure though because before he could finish he….”
“Why would he want that?” McCann asked before I finished.
“No idea, wouldn’t have mattered anyway” I answered rubbing my wrist. “One of Thrumhall’s goons took it from me just after the witches left me with them. They took my badge as well. Seems they like shiny things, I was lucky they didn’t take my ring too but managed to keep it hidden from view.”
“They have your watch?” Plumduff said a note of excitement in her voice. “You’re certain of that.”
“Yes, think his name was Daktar. Not the brightest of types, large head, lots of arms, foul temper.”
“What are you thinking Margaret?” McCann asked. Plumduff seemed lost in thought as she began to pace again.
“The dials will tell us where they are, we can use them the same way we used them to find Armitage.” I looked up hearing my name and Plumduff continued. “But I don’t think this is a matter of where they killed Charles.”
McCann looked confused. “What do you men?”
“The picture Elizabeth, That was taken painted after Charles arrived here and he disappeared from it as if he never existed. They didn’t murder Charles somewhere, they killed him somewhen and whenever it was it was before that painting was made. They were never even here when they killed him.”
Plumduff saw the confused look on my face.
“It’s the device Armitage, whatever it is it allows them to be somewhen else, that is why we struggled to find you when you first disappeared. You weren’t here to be found you were somewhen else nd only when you returned to Nin could I track you down.”
“Super” I said noticing my drink was again empty and feeling a little light headed. “Do you have any tea?” I asked.
“No time for tea my boy, get your stuff together” she said reaching into her drawer, pulling out a pair of silver pistols and placing them on the desk in front of her, “and wake O’Rourke up. It’s time for a spot of revenge.”
McCann smiled and quickly exited the room to rouse O’Rourke.
“You okay?” Plumduff asked me placing the pistols in her handbag and walking across to where I sat and taking a seat next to me.
“No me neither” she said putting a hand on my arm. “Been a pretty rough few days hasn’t it?”
I nodded still looking down at my shoes.
“You want to stay here?” she asked.
I very much wanted to say yes but given everything I had been through and all I had seen it seemed wrong to hide away at this point. If Thrumhall was responsible for killing Crompton and they were coming for the rest of us then I wanted to at least go down fighting if this was to be my fate.
“No, I’m coming Margaret” I said looking up. Plumduff smiled and reached into her bag and handed me one of the pistols.
“Ever used one of those before?”
I shook my head. I’d seen enough of weapons when I was alive and got the general idea.
“You’ll work it out” she grinned. “What’s the worse that can happen eh.”
“Pistols, oh goody” boomed O’Rourke as he walked into the room. He had shed his Cardinal robes and was now wearing all black and sporting one of his own on one hip with his sword still hanging on the other. “We’re going in heavy then are we Maggie?”
“Precautions my dear” Plumduff replied. “Don’t want to get caught short a second time.”
“So what’s the plan then?” he asked.
“I need to grab a few things from Crompton’s office” she said and hurried out, returning a few minutes later and heading for the office door that lead out into the courtyard. She shouted back at us the familiar click clack of her heels echoing on the cold stone. “Do keep up people, we have work to do.”
As O’Rourke, McCann and I hurried after and we took the now familiar path and found ourselves on the outskirts of Nin once again. It was late at night, stars burning in the clear sky above and the Neon lighting up the darkness down below.
“So where to then Maggie” O’Rourke asked. “We could maybe grab a drink while we’re here, see how things pan out.”
Plumduff scowled at him. Small she might be but she “was a fearsome woman when the mood took her and she was in no mood for more of O’Rourke’s shenanigans and I was inclined to agree with her.
“We need information and there’s someone that I think can help us out.” She said. “Someone I know down hear the markets, Elden. If you want to know something she’s the person you want to speak to.”
She lead the way as we threaded our way through the busy streets, the hab zones towering high above us and the noises and smells of a busy city all around. Nin had developed as a trading post for so many of the other worlds that spanned the fracture and at every turn there was something more incredible to be seen.
“O’Rourke, keep up” Plumduff barked as he stopped to stare into the shop front of what I assumed was a sex shop of some sort. I couldn’t quite work out what the creatures were or what they were doing to one another but from O’Rourke’s face I could tell it was inappropriate.
“How did he end up here Margaret” I asked. “He seems very.” I paused. “Different.”
Plumduff laughed. “Another of the mysteries of the Fracture my dear” she replied. “O’Rourke, now” she demanded.
O’Rourke grinned and ran to catch us up as we ducked down a dark passage way and up a flight of steel stairs. Plumduff declined to knock on the heavy wooden door before us choosing instead to shoot out the lock and barge inside. There were shouts from inside as she stormed through.
“Heads up people” Plumduff said raising her pistol, “sounds like Elden has company.”
I decided that I would be more use bringing up the rear and allowed McCann and O’Rourke to push past me and watched all three quickly running down the hall away from me. The pistol was heavy in my hand and whilst I wasn’t afraid to use it was more concerned that I might accidentally hit one of the others.
Another door at the end of the hall was kicked open and the three of them burst through into a large open space that I decided must be where Eldin lived. It was sparsely furnished with a bed against one wall and a few pieces of furniture scattered about. A number of what looked to be computers at on a table near a window which overlooked the bust street below.
In the middle of the room, and I assumed this was not a regular feature, were a series of portals hovering just above ground level, a different coloured pastel hue emanating from each Beyond each I could see another word and stood in the middle of them holding the device was Thrumhall.
“Armitage” he roared a beaming smile spread across his face. “Fancy seeing you here.” His heavily armed gang stool to one side pistols raised. “Steady boys” he cautioned. “Let’s not be hasty eh. These are Eldin’s guests.”
A woman lay at his feet who I assumed was Eldin. She was probably not a great deal taller than Plumduff but considerably younger and seemed to be unconscious. Her face was bruised and bloodied.
“How are you Armitage” Thrumhall continued, “No Crompton with you I see. He not feeling well?” HIs posse roared with laughter and Plumduff walked forward a steely look in her eye and her jaw clenched.
“What did you do Thrumhall” Plumduff demanded her pistol raised.
“Put the weapon down woman” he snarled the smile now gone from his face. Two shadows curled themselves around his legs, their eyes burning bright as they stared towards us. “You’re outgunned and outmanned and if you know what’s good for you you’ll leave the way you came in and be grateful you get to live another day.”
“For now” one of the henchmen said laughing. I recognised him as the one that had taken my watch and badge.
“Maggie may I?” O’Rourke asked walking up beside her. He leaned down and whispered something into her ear.”
“You again” Thrumhall howled training his pistol on O’Rourke.
“Indeed” he replied and without warning threw himself forward through the air towards Thrumhall and squeezed off three rounds from his pistol. At that point all hell broke loose and once gain I found myself scrambling for cover as pistol shots rang out across the room.
Plumduff’s agility belied her age and she and McCann managed to throw themselves behind the bed as shots ripped into the walls around them while I somehow found myself stumbling through the doors and back in the passage that lead to Eldin’s room. More shots rang out and I could hear O’Rourke shouting loudly.
“Come on then” he screamed as he skidded across the floor, the first of his shots nicking Thrumhall’s shoulder and the other ricocheting around the room.
“Scram, now” shouted Thrumhall dropping his pistol and shoving the device into his tunic. He turned and dived through one of the portals as O’Rourke came to a halt just in front of Eldin. I peered around the door and could see the others followed suit and piling through the glimmering holes and then, in the blink of an eye as the shadows leapt through, they disappeared.
For a moment there was silence, eventually broken by O’Rourke’s booming voice.
“Bloody chicken’s the lot of them” he complained. “Every time they turn tail before we can get properly acquainted.” there was a real disappointment in his voice.
“Armitage, you still alive and kicking” shouted McCann as she and Plumduff emerged from behind the bed.
“Yes thanks” I replied walking back into the room to where the three of them now stood over Eldin. “She okay?
McCann kneeled down over and checked her pulse. “She’s fine, she’ll come around I’m sure.”
“Good” said Plumduff walking over to the computers where a picture of her filled half the screen. “Because when she does she is going to start by explaining whey she has all this information on me.”
Part 25 coming soon