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Götterdämmerung (part 4)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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Miss Brown glared with teary eyes at the slimy bile sloshing across the bottom of the plastic bucket. Not for the first time she cursed LifeNet, its creators, their parents and anyone else who had anything to do with the fact that she was violently ill whenever she emerged from cloning. But at least she was safe. Well, safe-ish.

She had hoped for Mr Yellow but it had been Lucile Slater, Aunt Lucy, the unpleasant old whoremonger, madam and, oh yes, mass poisoner, who had responded to her request for assistance. So, ‘safe-ish’ was the best she could hope for at this point. But at least she could be sick in comfort, despite the pervading smells of stale alcohol, stale tobacco and stale sex that was to be expected when being housed in a brothel.

The said old whoremonger was currently sitting at an overcrowded desk in the back room of ‘Diamond Lil’s’, the mainstay of Lucy’s business in New Flagstaff. Ostensibly a bar and strip club, Diamond Lil’s also conducted business in the dozen or so upstairs bedrooms. Or, for those customers so inclined, in the spacious and soundproofed dungeon-like cellars below. Like all places of business, Diamond Lil’s had overheads. In this case the largest overhead being the considerable remunerations made to City Hall to keep the establishment’s clientele safe. No policeman or Union guard ever stepped foot in Diamond Lil’s on business… unless it was house business of course.

Lucy wasn’t sure if the sudden arrival of Miss Brown was a blessing or a curse. She had worked with the woman before, when Brown had been building some doohickey or other up at the Spider Hill radio station. Well, that had eventually all gone south but Lucy had had plenty of opportunity to see just how Brown worked up close. Dang, she was smart as a whip for sure, and not just book smart. Miss Brown had a plan, she always had a plan but she was also mean as a Mama wasp. Lucy’s compatriots on the Spider Hill thing had called Brown a borderline psychopath but Lucy was pretty dang sure Brown has crossed that particular border a long time ago and was now deep into crazyland.

And now she was here, upchucking her guts in the Diamond Lil’s honeymoon suit after escaping from some damn hole it seems Joe Spivey had put her in two years ago. Why he hadn’t just killed her… Walked her out into the wilderness beyond the range of LifeNet and just blown her head off. But he hadn’t. So maybe she should? She’d have a talk with Brown, see if she ‘had a plan’. If the bitch did then maybe she’d put off that little walk for now.

As it turned out, Miss Brown did have a plan. Such a plan that if Lucy played her part in it then she could finally expand her business into Hope Springs and all the new meat that regularly arrived there from the south. Both women smiled as they shook hands.


Hyle sat up with the assistance of Taioko. Bob watched. Both men looked worried. The Lightbearer folded his arms.

“We have found the vehicle used by Seeker Troy, Sister Sun Feng and Acolyte Benedict.”

Hyle again felt her world start to shift. The Lightbearer’s face was far from smiling.

“Tuki?”

“There had been a firefight. Sister Sun Feng and Acolyte Benedict were killed at the scene. At least one of the assailants, we think there were four of them, was injured by Sister Sun Feng’s sword before she was shot down…”

Hyle jumped to her feet and would have advanced on the Lightbearer if Taioko had not held her back.

“What about my daughter?!”

‘Bob’ remained unruffled.

“There was no sign of Seeker Troy. The tracks at the scene suggest she was forcibly removed and put into a vehicle which drove off in the direction of New Flagstaff.”

Hyle sank back onto the mattress. Taioko sat down beside her, holding her hand. Bob turned and opened the door. Before stepping through into the corridor Bob looked back.

“We are extending every effort to locate Seeker Troy. I understand that as the Esteemed Mother of Seeker Troy and mayor of Hope Springs you have your own resources. Please keep us informed if you make any progress in locating our Seeker.”

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Hyle Troy's picture

 

Your Seeker?” Hyle growled at the closed door. “My fucking daughter!”

Tiaoko put his hand on Hyle’s shoulder.

And he’s only calling me ‘Esteemed Mother’ to my face. Cursed Mother is how they really say.”

Tai could feel Hyle shaking under his hand but the shaking had changed from shock to something else, something more forceful. He found a few words to try and placate Hyle.

Bob San ah say he putting all he effort to find Tukiko Koishii.”

Hyle stood up.

Sure, a whole bunch of monks cruising around Flagstaff. That will be inconspicuous. Whoever has Tuki will be keeping her well hid, they’ll see this lot coming, ten kilometre out.”

Tai shifted his weight on the couch watching Hyle with patient Japanese detachment as she paced across the floor a few times, deep in thought. She leaned over the crib and kissed her Grandson. Tai didn’t hear exactly what she said but what he saw looked like a promise.

Hyle turned and faced Tai. Tai recognised the look, it was pure determination. He had only seen it a time or two before but when it did appear, things happened.

You must stay here with Ichiro. And keep an eye on that Bob one. These people give me the willies.” Hyle instructed Tai as she pulled on her jacket. “Tell Archbishop Bob or whatever he is...” Hyle paused. “Tell him I’m going to find MY Daughter!”

A second later Tai watched the door slam and listened to Hyle’s heels clicking their way up the corridor. He rolled his eyes, then had to smile.

 

As Hyle drove towards New Flagstaff, she made a few calls. To Nurse Maisie at the clinic. To Theis, But only to tell him he had the helm of The Waffelhus. She tried Reavy again. Again no reply. And finally she tried Joe, but again, no reply. Joe had obviously gone to ground.

Hyle also considered Miss Brown, clearly the source of the danger. She had met her a few times before and knew she was formidable. And very bright. But how, within a few hours of being locked away could she have gathered the resources to force a gun battle in broad daylight and kidnap Tuki?

Every time she thought of Tuki, Hyle felt her guts twist with worry, almost forcing her to puke, Hyle fought against the nausea. Whatever happened, Hyle knew had to be as strong and forthright as Brown if there was to be a good outcome. Hyle thought back to her search for Sorja. How she had had to fight the darkness of her self doubt and loathing inside her head which almost let her give up. She could not let that happen. She had succeeded then, she would succeed now.

Beside the fact, that was five years ago and a lot of water had passed the bridge since. Hyle had changed a lot since then.

 

Hyle decided Joe had to be her first port of call, to compare notes on Brown. Did he know Tuki was missing? Maybe a good place to start would be Rodney at the NF auctioneer.

 

She parked her car along a side street out of sight. Unfortunately Hyle’s bright pink motor was too well known around The Plaza, and given the circumstance it would be better to be a little more inconspicuous.

Rodney turned out to be useless. He had not seen Joe around, heard nothing out of the ordinary save word of a gun battle earlier, south of town, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. Hyle elected not to expand on that. She gave Rodney a note which he must give to Joe should he turn up and bade him good day.

 

She saw the thug leaning on her car about ten meters after she walked around the corner. He stood up. She slowed.

She heard gravel scrunch several paces behind her. She walked carefully towards her car and the grinning thug.

Damn! Hyle thought. Her gun was in the boot of the car.

Hyle smiled at the thug as the distance slowly closed, she listened carefully, judging the distance of the steps behind her. The first thug drew his blade, it was long, but very dull, uncared for. Hyle tugged the zip of her jacket open.

Naturally, the thug’s gaze dropped to her chest. He who hesitates, they say.

A shiny polished leather boot connected perfectly with his balls, the thug dropped like the sack of shit he was.

Hyle heard the footsteps behind break into a run, she spun, levelling a flat hand, which caught the other thug just under his larynx. He went down gurgling like a drain.

 

As Hyle sped away to safety, she made a mental note to thank Reavy for her patience while she taught Hyle a few self defence tricks.

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers



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