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Halloween Fantasy (part 64)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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Once again, Bodil’s ears were knocking on the brain-room door, trying to alert her to… something. Her brain opened the door a crack.

The noise was a slow steady ‘thrum… thrum’ and her half-awake brain reported back that another alien spacecraft was outside her window. This possibility created enough adrenalin for her senses to perk up and come back with a fuller, more accurate report.

Having her nose squashed up against her shoulder, the lack of a soft fluffy duvet and the lingering odour of other people’s bodies confirmed that she wasn’t in her room at Schloss Egg. The noise, though, refused to be identified for several seconds before the tinny background music coming from a set of ill-fitting headphones, when tied with rapidly returning memories, produced the accurate image of a janitor with a buffer applying a freshly polished surface to the corridor outside.

Because Bodil’s brain was now up and brushing its teeth, Bodil decided it was time she was up too. ‘Up’ meant clambering out of the ranger camp bed without collapsing it or having it end up on top of you. ‘Up’ also meant her muscles protesting about what she had put them through yesterday, and protesting loudly. Even so, ‘up’ was eventually achieved and, muscles still not very happy, Bodil parted the curtain of hair from in front of her eyes, grabbed a towel and limped off to revive the human being she was before yesterday happened.

As soon as the vertibird had landed back at the Wembley base Gregor was whisked off to the medical facility. Much to Ellie’s sharply worded annoyance, she was not allowed to accompany him. She, Bodil and Weis were led away into the administration centre for debriefing, where they were separated. Bodil found out that the Secure Storage area of the admin section quite adequately worked for people as well as things.

Bodil was given a meal and then left for over an hour before being taken to another room where her debriefing would take place. Sat across the table from Sergeant Glasser, who was flanked by two non-uniformed men. One of whom introduced himself as a lawyer and the other as some sort of engineer, or technician or at least that’s what the title he used suggested to Bodil.

The sergeant was just about to begin when the door opened and a smartly dressed woman came in carrying a chair, which she plonked next to Bodil and sat down. As she introduced herself, another lawyer whose name Bodil would never remember but acting on behalf of the Troy family, the woman lifted from her expensive looking file case a sturdy recording device which she set up in the middle of the table. Then she sat back with a smile and the debriefing began.

For two and a half hours Bodil was made to go over, and go over again, the events from the moment their party had descended the first ladder. They, ‘Bodil’s’ lawyer included, concentrated on the finding of the jury-rigged nuclear plant and the gruesome death of Timothy Hobbes. When it was finally over Bodil was given a copy of the recording and advised to report to the medical facility for a check-up.

She didn’t. Instead Bodil went straight to the bar, hoping to find Ellie or Weis there. Bodil was disappointed that they weren’t, but only for a moment. Victor was there and listened patiently as Bodil went through the whole thing again, but this time including the feelings she had kept hidden during the debriefing. He was still there when the bar closed and the empty glasses covered a fair proportion of the table top. Sadly as far as Bodil was concerned, we wasn’t there when she lay down on her lonely camp bed… not that it would have taken the weight of them both.

Now wide awake and showered Bodil took time to match the dozen or so bruises on her body to the aches and pains that the hot water had failed to alleviate. There were bites, too. Just a couple, on her legs, but an uncomfortable reminder of their battle with the ticks… and poor Hobbes. Bodil thought about Hobbes while she dressed the superficial scratches and unconsciously over applied antiseptic cream to the tick bites.

Death was such a rare event. Hobbes’ passing would affect not only the whole London dig but archaeologists everywhere. Bodil had been through deaths at a dig before, three times in her career so far. Mr. Hobbes now making it four. For all the perceived sedentary nature of her job, archaeology was actually ranked as the eighth most dangerous profession in the world. It was a subdued professor Hill who made her way through the corridors towards the canteen, where she hoped there would still be some breakfast left.

Her own mood was reflected in the faces and demeanour of the people she met on the way. There was a quietness not present yesterday. A shocked, respectful hush for the passing of the unobtrusive man who had been part of the Wembley community.

Comments

Hyle Troy's picture

(( ears could detect chomp chomp to popcorn... 

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



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