On The Move
I’m not sure what the red light means, but now I’ve spotted it in the darkness, I’m finding it really hard to keep my eyes off it. With the lights on, knowing it’s there, I can see just beneath the skin on Kate’s neck. Interestingly, the two guards also have the same thing. I need to get to a mirror quickly. Do I have one of these things fitted? Is it part of whatever is going on in the bunker? Unusually for me, I decide to keep my mouth shut about it. Kate seems unaware of its presence, and like so many other things in this unfamiliar environment, it may just be something that all the staff have. I resolve to keep my eyes open to see if everybody here has one fitted.
I’m ready to excuse myself and head for the bathroom facilities along the main corridor so that I can check out my own neck. But Kate has other things in mind. She’s explained what is going on here, but I’ve still been discovered in a Red Zone. Okay, I had clearance, but she’d explicitly asked me not to enter these areas.
‘Dan, I need to make a very special request of you, is that okay?’ she asks.
Interesting way of phrasing the question. Is ‘No’ really an option here?
‘Yes, of course,’ I reply. What a sucker.
‘Although you have Red Zone authorization at the moment, I need to ask you to stay out of those areas for your own safety.’
I don’t like the sound of those words: ‘At the moment’. She sees this as an anomaly, a temporary thing.
‘We’re only a few hours away from receiving a full briefing, and what’s going on beyond the bunker lies entirely in our hands. I’m sure an intelligent lad like you understands how important this is and that it’s really crucial that we don’t interfere with any mission critical issues before then.’
The ‘intelligent lad’ works just as well as the ‘Good question’ technique. I really must try to be less easily flattered.
‘So what I’d appreciate is if you could restrict your access to Green Zone areas only until we receive the briefing? Is that a reasonable thing to ask, Dan?’ she finishes.
Of course it’s a reasonable thing to ask. But remember Kate, I’m a sixteen-year-old boy. I know what ‘reasonable’ is. I understand what ‘reasonable’ is. But I don’t always like being ‘reasonable’. However, I’m not going to pick any fights right now. I agree to restrict my movements to the Green Zones and keep out of the Red Zones until we get the full briefing. I reassure Kate that I don’t want to put the lives of my family at risk. I tell her how important it is to me that we find my mum safe and make sure that she’s properly looked after. And I hope she doesn’t spot me using her own techniques on her. I’m a quick learner.
‘I think that’s a really great plan, Kate,’ I smile.
How could she have been so stupid as to go back for the tech? If she’d followed her instincts, they would have just had the time to get inside those doors before they closed. As it was, the darkness was swiftly closing in. Beyond the cottage it was beginning to look dark outside, even though it was mid-afternoon. Inside the cottage, even the lights were struggling; this was like no other darkness she’d ever seen before. She felt fine and her young companion seemed fine. She knew that she needed to seek shelter and the bunker seemed the best place to do it.
There didn’t appear to be an immediate risk to them. What would she have told the kids to do? Wait by the entrance. It’s the safest option. If anybody comes out of there, that’s where they’ll exit. If anybody goes in there, that’s where they’ll enter. In a situation where the choices were very limited, the best thing to do seemed to wait by the entrance. Unknown to her, Dan had made exactly the same decision on the other side of the doors.
So they waited, sitting down in fearful silence outside the huge red blast doors as they became surrounded by the darkness. It neither harmed them nor stopped them breathing, but its impenetrable blackness was completely debilitating. Any movement or conversation was completely out of the question.
She imagined that this must be similar to blindness, only her mind allowed her to picture the doors in front of them, the corridor behind them and her son only metres away, but all alone.
He’d seen his chance when he was able to reconnect with the mother at the training centre. Driving her to the hospital and checking her in, it seemed as if she’d recovered okay after the accident. He didn’t really converse with her, just did his job, but on the surface she looked to be fine.
It had been what the police called a ‘cold case’ since that horrible day when the car had hit the child. When he’d hit the child. He hadn’t meant to, but he’d been the one in the car at the time. That sickening sound would live with him forever. Out of the blue, the mother of the dead child had ended up as a passenger in his car.
What were the chances of that? Very high as it turned out. He knew that in this line of work, things had a funny way of connecting. Often, completely unrelated people and events would come together.
It wasn’t the actual car. But the same make. More gadgets, more tech, more devices than three years ago. But still the same car, same design, same black colour. Obviously the original had been destroyed. DNA – a great thing or a dangerous thing. All depends who you work for of course. He’d had time to plant a tracking device on her before he left her in the hospital. One that couldn’t be traced by anybody else.
You didn’t work in this line of business for so long without learning a few tricks. He’d actually bought it from a high street electrical store. Hilarious! They had all this kit, but never thought anybody capable of buying a few bits of electrical circuit from a local store. International espionage foiled by a tech junk. Sure, he’d had to adapt it a bit. But you could fool the organization using bits of kit that anybody can buy for less than a tenner. He knew that if she had surfaced again, then the story was just about to become clearer.
Yes, you had to be very patient in this business. Random threads could appear from every direction and seem to have nothing at all in common. But he knew that the threads in this particular story were just being drawn together. He was sure that he’d discover the reason for the accident and how it all tied in together.
The tracker would help him to figure out why she had appeared back on the radar after three years away from it completely.
But when he realized where the tracker was taking him – following in his car a mile behind – he knew that this wasn’t just going to be the conclusion of any old story.
This was where all the threads from his work were going to lead. This was the end game.