Shadows In Darknes

Shadows In Darkness is the second book in the series with Dynamic Skull.
Bert now has an assistant who isn't quite normal...


14. Visitors

     Bert lay on his hospital bed in a comfortable position.  The TV was on, playing a cartoon that he had no interest in whatsoever.  Synecdoche was out, buying some snacks at the Academy bar.  The bar was in the opposite end of the building, and three floors down from the medical wing.  It was circular and was made out of a deep mahogany, which bore over fifty shades.  The bar man was a short-tempered bloke with long, straight grey hair.  He had a peculiarly round head – to match the bar – with bushy eyebrows furrowed deep into his forehead.  His lips were the size of hot-air balloons, but blood red.  It looked as though he had smothered lipstick all over them.  His name was Rudy Mugged.
     “How can I ‘elp you, den?” He said, a smile playing across his balloon lips.
     “I’d like a Mars Bar, please.” Craig Synecdoche.
     “Mr Synecdoche, a pleasure to mee’ you,” He said. “but shouldn’ you be tendin’ to Mr Mensoray up in da wing?  I ‘erd about ‘im alrigh’.”
     “Oh, could I also have a Dr Pepper… thanks.” He said, completely ignoring him.
     “Course you can.” He said.
     Mugged reached into one of the fridges and felt around for a Dr Pepper.  There wasn’t one in there.
     “I’m very sorry,” he said. “We don’ ‘ave any left.  But we ‘ave Pepsi Max, Die’ Pepsi, all kinda Cokes, two flavours of Tango, and 7up.”
     Synecdoche sighed. “I’ll have a Vanilla Coke.”
     “I’m so sorry.” He said, passing him the can. “I’ll go ou’ and buy some Dr Pepper today, specially for you.”
     “Ugh.” Synecdoche groaned and walked away.
     There was movement near Bert’s hospital bed.  Something had scuttled straight past him.  Injured or not, Bert was a detective, and what do detectives do?  They interrogate.  So that is what he intended to do.
     Bert sat up.  His body was heaving with aches and pains, but he’d endured worse.  He lifted his legs out of the covers and rested them on the cold, slate floor.
 Another movement.
 This time it sounded different.  More clumsy.  It was another person altogether.  There were two visitors now, maybe more.  And Bert was up for a fight.
 He stood, his legs shaky from all that lying down.  A bandage was wrapped around his chest, where Silicome had hit him with an energy streak.  He wore pyjamas which were specially made by Ed Fireblaze, who’d found his long lost girlfriend, Anna Bleeding and got back to tailoring for the S.A.M.
 A third man threw himself at Bert at pinned him to the bed.  Bert squirmed and kicked and struggled, but the assailant wouldn’t let go.
 “Shhh.  Bert, it’s us.” Said the attacker.
     Bert frowned. “Atlas?  Atlas Fearful, is that you?”
     “Indeed, my friend.  Indeed.”
     The clumsy person emerged from the gloom.  He was big and stocky.
     “Waur,” Bert shouted in delight.  The very first visitor showed himself. “and Merlin!” He hugged Merlin strain and smiled at the other two.
     “How come you guys are here?”
     “We want to restart the Manic Gang,” Menacing said. “and we were hoping that you’d join us in our newly found quest.  It’ll be just like the old days, waiting for weeks in grubby old holes that we had dug, for a group of Stynes’ men.  We were signing our death warrants back then.”
     “Ummm.  I’m not sure.  I’ll have to think about that.” Said Bert.  Footsteps echoed off the slate floor just outside the door. “Quick!  Hide behind the empty bed over in the corner.  Now!”
     Craig Synecdoche entered. “I heard a conversation.  Is there anyone else in the room?”
 Bert shook his head and frowned. “No.  I was just talking to the fellow on the bed next to me.  Unfortunately, he dozed off just before I got to the interesting part of my story.”


 Shudder walked through the passages of level 3 and made his way to where all of the cells are.  A dead Ripper lay dead at his as soon as he got to the door marked, DUNGEONS.  This one should have been guarding the outer door, but its head was missing, and fresh blood spilled from the ripped neck.  Its arms were spread wide and legs folded up, twisted to one side.  It looked like a decapitated Jesus on the cross.  Shudder rushed through the doors and ignored all of the dead Rippers, Hollow Men, Red-hoods, and even Torments.  The new Torments.
 The magic-proof doors were open, but from the inside.  He ran towards Silicome’s cell.  The hole wasn’t closed.  Someone had broken in, but got through the doors separating High Security from the normal area from the opposite side, which doesn’t make any sense.
 Shudder put his walky-talky to his lips and shouted. “I want two Hollow Men guarding every exit to the building this instant!” He ran up to the Council Main Room.
 “Someone’s stolen Silicome.” Shudder gasped, out of breath.
Before anyone could move the Global Link* Board flashed into life.  It was Marlena in the video and she had Silicome strapped to a chair with a scarf tied round his mouth.
 “I have Silicome.” She said. “And, in case you haven’t realised, when I was training, I couldn’t decide whether to be an Elemental, or an Adept, so I learnt both forms.”
     She took a knife out of her pocket and pushed the blade into Silicome’s neck.  He spat and gurgled blood, while slowly choking on his saliva.
 “Hey, Olaf.” Marlena said into the camera. “Adepts can teleport, that may solve your problem on why the doors had been opened from the inside.  Is there anything else?  Oh, Veronica Shadows is my sister.” She shrugged and Global Link turned itself off.  The room was deadly silent.

     *= A way of all the sorcerers in the world putting something out to people, a bit like Facebook, but for sorcerers (usually a video) that they think is important, and every other sorcerer around the Globe will be able to see it at the very same time, on any electronic device.


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