The In-between – Part 25 of 31

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 ‘Frilly frocks’.

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.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part15 Part16 Part 17 Part18 Part 19 Part 20 Part 21  Part 22  Part 23 Part 24

“Keep an eye on her Armitage” Plumduff said as O’Rourke laid Eldin on the bed.  “She’s going to be a little feisty when she wakes up I expect.  Elizabeth, give the boy a hand will you.”

“Sure thing” she replied.  “You off somewhere Margaret?”

Plumduff turned to reveal blood soaking through her cardigan.  “No, just need to patch this up.”

“Here Maggie” O’Rourke called as he rummaged through a small cabinet hanging over a sink at the far end of the room. “Looks like there’s some bandages in here.”  While O’Rourke helped bandage Plumduff up McCann bound Eldin’s hands and feet.

“Is that really necessary?” I asked.  She seemed pretty harmless.  “I would have thought she’d be grateful to us when she comes around.”

“Just a precaution Armitage” McCann insisted.  “Better safe than sorry.”

I looked down at the girl on the bed.  She was wearing a long grey cloak over a long flowing white dress with frills around the bottom.  Jet black hair fell about her shoulders and I would have said she was human were it not for what seemed to be gills in her neck and the scaled pattern that ran from her chest up towards her ears.   McCann saw me staring.

“Balerian” she said. “You don’t see many of them on land so trust me, there must be good reason for it.”

“No harm done?” McCann asked sitting on the edge of the bed.

I shook my head and grinned.  “No, I was too busy hiding.  I did see her again though.”

“The girl?”

“Yeah, seems to be happening more and more.”

McCann patted the bed next to her.  “You know Armitage, you’re lucky to be here – we all are.  Most of our kind are gone when they’re gone.  You should try enjoy yourself and let go of the past.”

“Enjoy.  Right” I said sitting down.  ” I don’t even know who she is Elizabeth.”

McCann didn’t respond because Eldin started to stir, opened her eyes and began screaming at us at the top of her voice.

“Woah steady on” McCann said putting a hand over her mouth.  Eldin struggled and thrashed around on the bed as she did so. “Hold her legs down.”  Eldin’s eyes were wide and she was surprisingly strong for her size. “Calm yourself girl, we’re the good guys okay, you’re safe now.”

Her eyes darted around the room as she breathed heavily, her gills opening and closing in time with her rising chest..

“Everything okay over there McCann?” shouted Plumduff.  Eldin seemed to recognise the voice and strained to try and see the source of it.

“Hello Eldin.” Plumduff walked across, her arm now in a sling folded across her chest.   “You can untie her Elizabeth, we’re old acquaintances.”

Eldin remained fixed on Plumduff as McCann pulled out a short bladed knife from inside her boot and cut the ties around her hands and feet.  She looked at me for a moment and then at O’Rourke and  eventually back to Plumduff.

“Where did they go?” She asked, her voice soft, warm and almost lyrical.  “Where’s Thrumhall?”

“Gone my dear” O’Rourke said striding over and straightening himself.  “Fought them off almost single headedly don’t you know.  James O’Rourke at your service.”  He gave a clumsy half bow.

Calm yourself cardinal” Plumduff said as McCann smiled knowingly.  “So Eldin” Plumduff continued.  “I think we have a lot to talk about don’t you.”

Eldin sat up and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. She winced and touched her face where a large bruise was already forming.  “What have you got yourself mixed up with Margaret?  Those are some pretty nasty sorts and they are most interested in you and your officers.”

“Don’t let me stop you” Plumduff said.  “Carry on.”

“You know who he is right?  Thrumhall.  You know what he has and what he plans to do with it?  I assume that’s why you’re after him.”  McCann shot a glance at Plumduff that told Eldin that the most esteemed Office of Entropy knew a lot less than she did and started to laugh.  “Oh my god Maggie you have no idea do you.”

Plumduff didn’t find it funny in the slightest.  Eldin hopped down from the bed and walked over to the machines sat on the table.  “That’s what they were after”.  She pointed at the screen and the colour drained from Plumduff’s face.

“I’d suggest you work out a way of finding them before they find you Maggie, all of you.”

Plumduff turned sharply on her feels and waved a hand towards McCann.  “You need to get the rest of the Gadzooks and bring them back here as quickly as possible.  And make sure they’re armed okay.   Don’t tarry girl, chop chop.”

McCann didn’t stay to ask why and with a nod of the head ran from the room, her footsteps echoing down the hall until the outside door slammed closed behind her and she was gone.

“Anything else you can tell us” she asked turning back to Eldin.

“You going to pay me for this?” Eldin said folding her arms defiantly.  “Information doesn’t come cheap you know.”

“When it’s all over you can name your price, but now I need you to tell me what I need to know.”

Eldin considered her position and decided that perhaps she had more to gain from being owed by Plumduff than she did by Thrumhall.   “All I can tell you is that that to trigger that device he needs the shadows, and he needs them at their most powerful.”

At this point I had a moment of clarity of the sort that had avoided me since I had arrived at the In Between and for once I was ahead of Plumduff.

“That’s why he brought us back here” I said.  “And why he always has them with him.”

“Got yourself a bright one there Maggie” Eldin said.  “Cute too, for one of your kind.”

I felt myself blushing as she turned back to Plumduff smiling.  “So what’s your plan then?  I don’t reckon you have long Maggie.”

Plumduff straightened herself as best as she could with her good arm.  “Armitage, be a dear and fetch me my bag would you.  I have an idea.”


Part 26