Fragments

Time is living.
Time is senitinent.
Time can be harnassed.
Daniel Wiltshire is a spy in MI6, and when a dormant terrorist group comes back into the limelight, Dan witnesses his family being torn apart by forces unknown.
Sometimes to see the future, you have to look to the past.

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2. Secrets.

Present:

Daniel sat behind his large mahogany desk, idly fiddling with the black fountain pen that his dad had left him, the gentle ticking of his wall clock breaking what would have been a deathly silence. His gaze lingered on the forms in front of him, the police statement that he should have already filled in but couldn’t find the guts to complete. It was too real. His wife was gone and Daniel couldn’t face the idea that he would never see her smile again, the little wink that she often gave him from across the office. No. That was gone. With a sad sigh, Daniel put his pen against the paper and started writing; no details were left out, he couldn’t bear to possibly have something missing from his recount, nothing about her demise could be forgotten.

‘Dawling to see you, Mr. Wiltshire,’ came a voice over the intercom that linked to his office. Daniel looked up and with a small smile put his pen away and looked up, tucking his papers into the files under his desk.

‘Send him in,’ he said, pressing the button to open the door. That was one of his favourite things about being an agent; he got a private office to keep private information exactly that: private. The door pushed open and in walked a man of about thirty with a lazy grin and a bottle of whiskey, his hair still damp from the rain that had been spattering down all day. Pushing his hair off his forehead, Dan stood up and held his hand out to shake his guest’s.

‘Daniel, long time no see,’ Dawling said with a lilting Irish accent.

‘Yes, well not all of us travel around the world checking out possible sites for safe houses,’ Daniel remarked dryly before grabbing two glasses from the cabinet and putting them down on the table with a clink.

‘Well, some of them aren’t so safe as you know-‘ Dawling mumbled guiltily, a sad look on his face, ‘Listen, I’m really sorry about-‘

‘Don’t! Please, it wasn’t your fault-‘ Daniel said quietly after taking a sip of his drink, he should have known that this was on his friend’s agenda the moment he walked in with a bottle of whiskey.

‘I WAS IN CHARGE OF THE HOUSE!’ Dawling roared through the tears that were threatening to fall, ‘It was my fault. I am the man who creates and secures the safe houses like you were in, the place where no one but me, you, Kez and a handful of other people should have known about. We knew that they were after you, we knew that and I tried to hide you from them! A high-profile terrorist group captures a member of MI6 and two days later, you get targeted, coincidence? I think not! I knew all that and I couldn’t protect you and your family. Can’t you see? It was all my fault!’ Daniel stared blankly at his companion before turning away and looking out of the window and over the bustling scene that was London. Dawling was right; Daniels knew that, it was him who should have protected them.

‘Aster Dawling, how could you have possibly known that there was a mole- a traitor in MI6? That we had a spy in our midst?’ Dawling opened his mouth to speak but Daniel cut him off, ‘We have known each other for eight years and in all of those years you have only failed me once.’

‘But that failure cost you your family!’ Dawling cried before slamming his hand over his mouth in shock at what he had just blurted out. Daniel turned back and sharply glared at him but didn’t shout or argue, instead he simply raised an eyebrow and in a calm, if not cold voice said.

‘And you think I don’t know that?’ Dawling visibly cowered and shrunk back into his jacket, scared to see if he would be facing Dan’s wrath, ‘You think that I am unaware that Keziah is dead and my best friend and son are missing?’ he drawled with a slight sneer.

‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have-‘ Dawling stuttered but fell silent at Daniel’s look of disappointment, in himself or in what had come to pass, Dawling couldn’t tell.

Daniel blinked twice to clear both his eyes and thoughts and sat back down on his leather chair, his glass sat forgotten. With a sudden feeling of overwhelming emotion, he stared at his dry hands and, after inspecting them properly, closed them tightly.

‘The realisation that I can no longer count the people I’ve lost on two hands is quite- all consuming, you see; the realisation that I can no longer count the number of people who I could and should have saved on two hands. It does that to you: slowly pulls you in,’ Daniel dragged his eyes off his hands and on to his friend.

‘Dan, you have to understand that you could have done nothing to stop this! We need to concentrate on finding this dratted mole and-‘

‘Eliminating him.’ Daniel finished darkly before promptly taking a sip of his drink; Dawling just gave him a concerned glance, grasping his drink a little bit tighter.

‘Yes, but you need to wait. Bide your time, let them make a mistake.’ Dawling said sharply, his eyes tracking everything that Daniel did. He worried for Daniel, he really did; it wasn’t everyday a man lost his family to an unknown intruder in their safe house. If only he hadn’t have gone to Moscow, he would’ve been okay. Dratted terrorists!

‘Dan, have you heard anything about Ben?’ Dawling asked slowly, gaging his question on Daniel’s facial expression; seeing him calm, he finished the question.

‘No, I saw him on the floor in his- blood, but no one’s told me anything to say otherwise, they just say ‘No Field Operative Wilthsire, we have found Field Operative Molyneux alive in his office and is requesting to see you.’ No instead I get, ‘Field Operative Molyneux is currently absent with location unknown.’ You would have thought someone would have the guts to say it to my face! You know what? I think that I may be going mad, but I most definitely saw him and held him and I know he was there.

‘And guess what: Admiral Wilson gave me his ‘condolences’ yesterday and asked whether I knew anything. As if I would know anything?! He’s the one who’s supposed to tell me the stuff I should know, not the other way around!’ Daniel said dryly with more than a hint of distaste; him and Wilson had been at each other ever since Dan got put into Alpha Squad and left Wilson in Beta with the newbies.

 The whole of MI6 Operative team was split into 5 factions: Alpha Squad and Beta Squad – they were the people who actually went out and completed missions (however Beta Squad rarely saw any action after ’04 when almost half the Squad was captured and tortured for information, mainly because they just weren’t up to Alpha’s standard), Strategic and Control Squad –which dealt with information and how to get a man in and out of an enemy zone alive, Technology and Devices and, finally, High Control. High Control consisted of what Daniel called ‘The Big Cheeses’; they spent most their time looking over information and making the big decisions like whether an operative should abort his mission and retreat or plough on. Daniel was offered a job there after he single-handedly destroyed a terrorist plot in Afghanistan after his partner was Killed In Action, he declined, however, on the basis that he preferred to be out there in the field rather than having a ‘stuffy’ desk job (it was rumoured, though, that it was so he could stay with Ben in their pair and not hurt his feelings). The chief of MI6, referred to as F, often was seen in Dan’s office talking and delivering papers to him with stamps of ‘CONDFIDENTIAL’ on the front; Ben said that it was also because F was desperate to have Dan in High Control, though Dan would never admit it.

‘Maybe you should let Ben come to you?’ at Dan’s skeptical look he added, ‘I mean, he is your best friend and it’s not like he wouldn’t-‘

‘Yeah, I guess… And it’s not like I could go out and find him anyway-‘ Dan mused before shaking his head, ‘But he’s my best friend and I need to-‘

‘Why can’t you find him?’ Dawling cut him off with a sharp look.

‘I’ve been put on probation. F says that ‘I need time to recuperate after my experience’’ Dan mocked with a small sigh.

‘Dan, your family is gone, there’s a reason that you’re on probation. Besides, remember what happened last time you had a traumatic experience after someone died?’

‘Yes: I got shot. How on earth could I forget?’ Dan drawled, although his words were sneers, his eyes held the fact that he understood; without fully realising what he was doing, he rubbed the dip between his ribs and arm with a small wince. That shot had hurt a lot! It had taken a scrap of leather, tweezers and a bottle of vodka to get the shots out successfully and even then he needed MI6’s medics.

‘Anyway, nice talking to you old thing, I best be off!’ Dawling said brightly before spinning around to hide the look of anxiety that had grown on his face, he snatched a glacier mint from Dan’s not-so-secret collection and exited the room.

‘Dawling, you old toe rag.’ Dan muttered to no one in particular, a smile gracing his face as he scooped up his files and commenced filling in the necessary forms.

 

27th July, 1993:

It was ten years to the day since Benjamin was adopted; they still lived in the same house on the coast as they did all those years ago although quite a few changes had been made to the gardens and rooms inside. Ben had lost all his baby fat and was a thin as a twig, though not unhealthily so; his blonde hair swept around his thin face as he stared across the moors and on to the sea a mile or so away from him. His eyes drifted across the land as he considered the years that had passed since the day he had been ‘rescued’; the single oak tree in the centre of the moor now housed a tyre swing that swayed from side to side in the coastal wind, occasionally knocking into the trunk causing a thud to be made that echoed around the area. Ben had spent many a happy hour sitting on that swing with his pencil, sketch pad and tool box drawing and designing whatever came into his mind, whether that be devices, tree houses or impossible things like hover boards or giant swings from the middle of the sky hung from helicopters. So far, the only inventions of his that had been of any use were an apple corer made from tin and dynamo powered torch made from metal scraps. But now, as the sea mist set in, he couldn’t help but feel something was about to happen; whether that be for better or for worse.

Brushing his hair out of his face and burying his hands deeper into his pockets, Ben trudged over to one of his numerous dens that he had made over the lonely years at the House by the Sea- it wasn’t that he didn’t like living there, it was just that young company was few and far between and, as much as he hated to say it, spoilt cousins weren’t exactly stimulating company. With a small smile, Ben pulled a rusty key out of his pocket and after stroking it slightly, jogged the last few metres to a staircase leading into, what looked like, long grass, but really it housed the greatest find of Ben’s life: a cellar.

Pushing the key into the lock, Ben hummed a happy song to himself before pushing open the creaky door into his little piece of paradise; what was behind the door looked like nothing, it was dark, dingy and smelled damp but Ben loved it. Lighting the dented hurricane lamp that he had scavenged from the garage, he set about building his latest idea: a radio. He had seen a picture in some of his father’s work books which described building phones, radios and, what Ben could only guess was, a bomb, not that Ben could actually envisage his father creating, no matter using, a bomb. Ben tinkered at his prototype radio until darkness fell and only his little lamp gave him a light to work by, moths gathered around the light as Ben worked on into the night, only stopping to take the occasional toilet break in the long grass outside. It may have seemed strange to any other child of Ben’s age that their parents let them roam the moors and not have to be back home until the early hours of the morning, but it wasn’t like Ben’s parents really noticed; his dad was often in London at work, so he wasn’t there and his mum, well, his mum was out that night anyway, so her habits weren’t really of consequence that night anyway.

Ben stifled a large yawn as he fitted the final pieces of his radio into place, with tremendous pride and satisfaction, he connected the battery to the circuit creating an ambient sound of white noise. With great care, Ben turned the tuning nob to one of the frequencies his dad had labeled ‘work’. The white noise grew from noise into formed words until it was so clear, it felt to Ben that he actually had some company that cold night.

‘-Moscow. Operative Hillsborough has been hit, Hillsborough out of action. I repeat, Hillsborough out of action! Field Operative Molyneux to cover. REPEAT Field Operative Molyneux to cover.’ Ben’s breath caught in his throat as he heard his dad’s name mentioned, his dad was in London doing stock exchanges, he wasn’t in Moscow! ‘Moscow station captured, area secure. Opertaive Molyneux, take prisoners, do you understand?

-Understood.

-Clear. Mission complete. Five out of six Operatives active, recover Hillsborough when able.’ Ben let out a silent cry of terror as he realized what ‘active’ meant; that man, Hillsborough, was dead! That man had died and his dad could have been killed too! And that was very clearly his dad’s voice. Taking quick breaths, Ben fell on to his chair and buried his head in his hands. This cannot be happening! My dad is in London! Ben cried to himself repeatedly. When then tears of confusion and worry subsided, Ben grabbed the hurricane lamp, turned off the radio and locked up the room, leaving him in the wind and mist with only the hissing of the lamp, the sound of the sea crashing against the rocks and his feet squelching on the moor mud for company.

Ben raced back to the house, tears clouding his already mist-warped vision; with a loud shuddering breath, Ben unlocked the door to the house and threw himself in, slamming himself against the door for support as he tried to collect his emotions.

‘Ben, your dad isn’t an ‘operative’, your dad is a banker in London-‘Ben said to himself over and over as he wandered aimlessly through the silent house, his eyes kept on being drawn towards photos of holidays long gone: the Isle of Skye, at the top of Snowdon in Wales after climbing it with his dad, him learning to sail in Salcombe in Devon; the days when he was sure about his dad, no matter how far-fetched his stories of what he did at work were.

‘Who are you dad?’ he whispered into the darkness with only the howling of the wind for an answer.

+*+*+*+*+*+*

Ben walked along a darkened corridor, his eyes desperatetly trying to pick out some form of life from the all-encompassing black. A soft glow of light at the end of the corridor caught Ben’s attention, setting off at a light jog, Ben heard voices from behind the door, harsh, violent voices.

‘Tell me where it is or else-‘

‘I never will, you’ll never get it out of me!’ Ben heard his dad grunt before a loud scream echoed down the corridor. Sprinting, Ben ran to the door and burst into the room where his dad was tied to a chair, his face was beaten up so badly that Ben could barely recognise it and blood dripped down his shirt.

‘DAD! LEAVE MY DAD ALONE!’ Ben screamed as he ran at his father’s abductors but they didn’t react; they just stood there laughing as his dad screamed in pain.

‘Please, leave him alone!’ Ben shouted again and pounded one man with a grisly beard and a long trench coat’s arm. This time, the man turned around and grabbed Ben by the wrist, causing him to gasp in pain.

‘I will get you next and you, next to your father, will die.’ The man snarled, spit flying violently  from his mouth.

Ben woke up screaming in his bed. The dream was too real, too possible for Ben’s rational side to tell his emotions that it was a dream. He closed his eyes to think things over and get back to sleep, to work out what was fact and what was fiction, but as soon as his head fell back against the sweat-dampened pillow beneath him, the door burst open to reveal a very worried mother behind the door.

‘Bennie, what’s the matter?’ she said kindly, rushing across the room to hold him in her arms.

‘It’s nothing. Just- just a dream-‘ Hettie stared at Ben as if he would falter and change his story if she stared hard enough; stroking him on the face, she released him and smiled.

‘If you want to tell me about it-‘ she left the offer hanging, but Ben knew what she meant- not that she could ever know what he’d heard, no one could but him.

‘Ben, I know you’ve spent a lot of time on your own recently, but you can tell me anything,’ Hettie said softly before clicking the door shut,

But that wasn’t true.

Some things had to be kept secret.

 

A/N: Whoever reads this, please can you give me a bit of feedback on whether the chapters should be shorter or longer please? I don't mind, this story could write itself forever, but I want to know if I'm putting enough stuff in my chapters.. Thanks for reading, please comment and btw, do you think I should put this forward for the Movellist competition?

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