Tempting Fate

(synopsis in progress)

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1. Frost

Five men sit solemnly at a table, all part of a very important and dangerous meeting, all waiting for someone to speak. The first man, Mr. Alexander Blythe is holding the meeting; he is the kind of man, who rarely smiles although when he does… it appears more of a smirk than a friendly expression, stretching the pale skin on his face in a way that makes him look at least five years older than his age of thirty eight. The second and third men, both wearing black leather jackets and khaki trousers have not been introduced yet, so are referred to as khaki one and khaki two since they both look very similar. The fourth man, is a shaggy American, untidy light brown hair and unshaven; sometimes, (although not on this particular occasion) seen wearing a bandana. He is the only one not in appropriate dress for the meeting but Mr Blythe doesn’t seem to notice (or care) because he is too busy studying the fifth man.

The fifth man is in his mid to late thirties, wearing a once white shirt and dark corduroy trousers, the shirt that is now stained with blood from the previous skirmish he got himself into. His gun, a Walther PPK lies on the table in front of him…however; he cannot reach it because his hands are tied behind his back. “What kind of host ties his guest to a chair?” he asks, allowing himself to laugh a little.

“I like your observation Mr. Frost but I am afraid I’m no ordinary host”

 

Jack Frost ignores the reply and instead focuses his attention on the American, who at that moment, decides to speak up… changing the subject entirely. Blythe also turns his attention away from Frost to listen to the American’s request. “…I believe you said something about my payment… Mr. Blythe…” he glances at the two khakis suspiciously then continues, “I let you in on some valuable information, it’s been two weeks since and you haven’t yet paid the price…”

“ahh yes-“ Blythe answers vaguely… for a brief second, annoyance flickers across his face but he brushes it away before returning to his answer, “it seems that it slipped my mind, you see, as you know I am a very busy man and… I’ve run into a few distractions lately…” he sends an annoyed glare down the table at Frost, the prisoner returns the gesture by flashing a sarcastic smile, causing Blythe further Irritation.

“You know my rule Blythe.” The American’s voice hardens, “I find things out. I find out dangerous information that can cause a lot of trouble if mistreated… That doesn’t bother me, what you want to do with that information is up to you but of course, if you make a deal with me there is always a price and I expect that price to be paid on my demand. A man of your standard should know that Mr. Blythe.”

“Layzell Cooper, has no-one ever told you how impatient you are?” there’s a long silence, Layzell (the American) begins to look uncomfortable, the handover had been simple… he had got hold of some codes (goodness knows how!) allowing anyone in possession of them to set off a very nasty explosive. The bomb was released a year back, a new development for the Ministry of Defence… the start of a new fashion one could say, this bomb was specifically designed to be almost unnoticeable even if hidden in the most obvious of places, meaning that whoever intended to set it off could pass through any form of security without getting caught (it was also non-magnetic) - or better still the bomb could be contained in something the size of a large marble and placed under a table or a chair… no-one would notice until it's too late.

 

Being quite important in a long line of terrorist attacks and with a reputation to uphold, Blythe had wanted to get hold of this weapon immediately… Layzell got hold of the codes before the bomb even came out, he created them! For Blythe, all it takes is a bit of research and a man who always gets what he wants to seek out a few numbers. The first thing that often comes into Layzell’s mind when someone asks him for something is money, so when he was offered £50,000 for these numbers, he couldn’t say no!

 

Layzell sighs… he should’ve known there would be trouble, thinking about it, there’s no way Mr. Blythe is going to pay him the full amount any time soon, not now he’s got the explosive.

“I’m sorry, what are we talking about?” Frost asks innocently, breaking the silence. He knows exactly what the two men are talking about; he was sent here to find out more about the bomb, the codes, and Mr. Blythe. The mission didn’t quite go to plan, Blythe suspected him from the start and had him stripped of his weapons and tied to a chair… not amused!

“Nothing of your concern Mr. Frost” Blythe replies coldly.

“You already know I was sent by MI6… of course it is of my concern…”

“Precisely why you are tied to a chair…”

“You know Mr. Blythe, I’m surprised you haven’t explained how you’re going to kill me yet. Isn’t that what most villains enjoy doing?” Keeping Blythe talking seems to have proved an advantage for Jack. He smiles at his answer but also in triumph as suddenly he catches hold of the end of the rope that binds his wrists… “You seem impatient Mr. Frost, much like our American friend… I can kill you now if you want? But then if I do that now, I won’t have anything to look forward to later.” Blythe smiles, steepling his fingers in a way that looks almost childish yet menacing nonetheless.

“No Thank you. I don’t want to deprive you of your entertainment”

 

Layzell finds Frost’s manner amusing…his cocky attitude seems to be getting the better of Mr. Blythe. It is obvious the older man is trying to hide his anger, why doesn’t he just kill Frost now? Save himself some sanity. ‘Why am I so concerned about this?’ Layzell also wonders, ‘the spy isn’t even relevant in this conversation! This is about my money; I’ve let the stupid fool go off subject!’

“We seem to be forgetting the whole topic of this damned conversation.” He remarks, pointedly fixing his gaze on Blythe. He takes up a piece of paper and a pen, “if you won’t pay me the full amount, make me an offer and I’ll write it down…” Layzell rolls the pen between his fingers, waiting for an answer. Blythe just smirks. All of a sudden the pen slips from his fingers, rolls off the table with a clatter and drops to the floor where it lands (after rolling a little further) under Layzell’s chair. There’s silence as he bends to pick up the mischievous article of stationary, not even Frost has anything to say for himself. He is now too busy fighting his own little battle against the ropes that bind him behind the chair. He is nearly free.

 

Layzell leans over the side of the chair to search for the missing pen. Instead, his fingers touch something cool and round. He pauses, then forgets about the pen and picks up the round object; it's a marble, a large black marble. He sits back up at the table but holds the marble in his open palm out of sight.

“I’m sorry, is there a problem?” Blythe raises an eyebrow in amusement.

“I- (pause) I dropped my pen…”

“How very inconvenient.” Layzell looks at the marble in his palm, everyone in the room is now staring at him intently but he doesn’t care, something about the glass sphere is unusual. For a start it’s black, opaque and heavier than it should be... Realisation begins to unfold as Layzell realizes what it really is. He lifts the marble to eye level so everyone can see, Blythe knows what it is, and khaki one and Khaki two probably know but appear unfazed. Frost also knows, he has managed to free himself of the rope but keeps his hands positioned behind the chair so as to avoid notice. He stares hungrily at the gun in front of him, how he longs to use it! There is little time left but he must wait.

 

Blythe’s smile spreads to a (rare) large grin, “There are thirty seconds left before you die” he addresses the whole company but keeps his gaze fixed on Layzell. Unblinking. Layzell takes a deep breath, 29…28…27… the seconds are ticking by so innocently, 26…25…24…

 

“It’s a clever little device isn’t it? Disguised as a marble so it can go un-noticed, such a small bomb that will cause such a big explosion…”

 

After this, everything seems to happen in slow motion. 20…19…18… Frost jumps up from his chair, surprising everybody and snatching his gun off the table then pointing it first at Blythe then at Layzell then back to Blythe. Khaki one and khaki two also jump up, advancing toward Frost… He shoots first One and then Two point blank in the head one after the other without even pausing to think, both men crumple to the ground in messy heap, blood beginning to make it's stain on the white carpet. Frost stands there, trembling in anticipation for the next move. 16…15…14… Layzell just stays where he is, as does Mr. Blythe, both men trying to stare the other out.

 

“It seems that I’ve paid you both a fair price… Your patience has paid off Mr. Cooper, I’m giving you the bomb instead of the money! And you Mr. Frost? I don’t really owe you anything but since I’m such a generous man I will grant you your death, everyone should know that if  you work with the secret service you’re bound to die early so I’ll speed up the process by killing you now…”

 

Frost fixes his gun on Mr. Blythe, “Put the silly weapon down… it's childish” Mr. Blythe leans back in his chair and puts his feet up on the table. Frost continues to point the gun but doesn’t shoot. 10…9…8… thinking on the spot is something Layzell isn’t used to but he has to think quickly now because he is the one holding the bomb and there’s all but a few seconds left before it explodes, 5…4…3… in that moment Layzell jumps to his feet, Frost jumps back as the American launches himself across the table at Blythe- throwing the ‘marble’ across the room in the process. The small black sphere packed with explosives hits Blythe full on in the face and at the same time the bomb decides to blow. Time itself seems to come to a standstill as the marble shatters into millions of tiny fragments and the explosion seems to rattle the whole room.  Mr. Alexander Blythe is thrown across the room, his body smashing through the glass window behind, his head literally blown off in graphic detail. The blast sends Layzell flying in the opposite direction where he hits the wall with great force and a crunch of bones, probably breaking both his legs although not quite killing him. Frost manages to avoid most of the zigzagging fragments of glass, wood, and bits of Mr. Blythe by ducking under the table and rolling out the other side until he's facing the door at the end of the room. There he crouches, head covered with his hands. More bruised and bloodied than before.

 

It has only been five minutes before Frost opens his eyes again, but it feels more like fifteen. Blood trickles from a gash close to his right eye and there’s a ringing in his ears. All around there seems to be fire, smoke obscures his vision so that he can only just make out the black outline of Layzell in the far corner.  He drags himself to his feet, bending down to retrieve his gun that must’ve got tossed across the floor as he rolled, He quickly shoves it back into its holster and stands up, wiping the blood off his forehead with the back of his hand. Layzell stirs, Frost hears him groan as he tries to get up. Frost moves over to him and kneels down, “who do you work for?” he demands, gently but firmly so as not to startle the man.

“Nobody, I work for myself.” It’s strange but Frost believes him.

                                                       

******

Suddenly heavy footsteps and gunshots can be heard from the corridor outside the room, Frost backs away from Layzell and the door (that is now being rattled violently and shouting can be heard from behind) until he is in front of the broken glass that Mr. Blythe fell through, he notices the bus stop outside the entrance, what a shock the people must have got when a headless man fell from the building above (although there is no sign of Blythe’s body anywhere). A typical red London bus is parked under the window now, waiting until enough passengers have got on. The door bursts open and at least eight men clad in black file through, heavy duty machine guns slung over their shoulders. There is no explanation as to why these men are here but they mean serious business, Layzell attempts to stand but collapses again after a loud groan- The men have obviously noticed Frost but have no interest in him, their only target is the American. Each man positions himself to form a circle around Layzell, the American doesn’t make any attempt to escape.

Not a word is said as the men move in around him, two either side grabbing him by the arms and jerking him violently to his feet at gun-point. Layzell actually cries out this time in agony for his legs, he is allowed to slump back to the ground again. Frost has his hand firmly on his gun, ready to pull it out its holster any minute.

“Now move!” the lead man orders, pointing his weapon at Layzell.

“Can’t you see?” the American nearly chokes, gesturing at his legs that are both twisted at awkward angles beneath him, “I can’t! Kill me now.”

“To kill you now would be against orders. Now stand up or I’ll drag you out myself”

Layzell lowers his eyes to the ground and sighs, to try and get up again would cause enough agony for him to pass out and in a situation like this fainting is the worst thing one can do. ‘Just stay strong’ he mutters to himself, ‘don’t be a coward.’

“You’ll have to drag me then.”

With that, the two men either side of Layzell hoist him up by the arms and proceed to drag him out the door, his broken legs leaving a bloody trail. He moans in protest but the pain is too hard to bear and his head lolls to the side, unconsciousness relieves the burden.

The remaining men glance at Frost, a wave of uncertainty sweeps across the room… now Layzell is gone no-one knows quite what to do… The spy wasn’t supposed to be here, orders only specified the American.

“What about the other one?” one of the remaining men shouts down the corridor, referring to Frost.

“Take him down.” Is the distant but audible reply…

There are five men remaining and each starts to make a move toward Frost, he looks from side to side searching for a possible escape- one man is no match for him but five heavily armed assassins from goodness knows what kind of organisation? Five to one? He is in trouble. He decides against pulling out the Walther, it would only cause one of the men to shoot him on the spot if he came across as too much of a threat. He glances at the broken window behind…There must be another way…

Jack Frost thanks his quick thinking as he comes up with an idea! If he can keep the men coming towards him a little longer…. He’ll be backed up against the window ledge. A few more steps…1…2…3… he can feel the broken shards of glass digging into the soles of his shoes. The five men stop and lift their weapons, Jack laughs at them.

“Do you want me dead or alive? I can make it easy for you… I’ll jump…” he threatens, allowing himself a glance over the edge of the building, judging the distance. Before anyone can so much as pull a trigger he jumps.

 

*****

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