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Joe Spivey's blog

 
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Getting Ready

A half hour prior to the publicity photo being taken everyone had trooped into the musty smelling Ranger Quartermaster's store.

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The Locket (part ten FINALE)

Inside, Fear bigged it up. Stomping around, pointing out the obvious. Things like, ‘you’re bleeding… a lot!’ and ‘look how weak you are! You can’t even feel your toes!’ oh and the biggest of them all ‘YOU CAN’T SWIM!’ Anger, Resentment, Injustice and even the unnamed one said nothing, they had nothing to offer. This time Finny was alone with her fear.

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The Locket (part nine)

Finny sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the drawers that supported the left hand side of Joe’s desk. She unrolled the lock picks in front of her and picked up the size two single lever barrel blank. Drawer locks like these were easy, you could open them with a hairpin, except Finny had never owned a hairpin. It took her about thirty seconds before she was able to slide the drawer open.

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The Locket (part eight)

So then. Fast and hurty and over quick, or slow and hopefully not so hurty. Fast or slow, fast or slow. Finny decided on slow.

“Owowowowowowowow YEOWWW!”

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The Locket (part seven)

Soon enough tiredness gave way to cold and Finny’s teeth began to chatter. She got to her feet and made her way past the skylights to the front of the building. Looking over the parapet Finny saw she was directly above the concrete cowling of the right air vent. Below that the pavement glistened and for a moment she saw her own body broken and surrounded by a spreading pool of blood. She shook the image away. Oh no, not after climbing that drainpipe. This is the easy bit.

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The Locket (part six)

As Finny ran the short distance down the street to the ammunition factory the first heavy drops of rain began to spatter against the cracked pavement. Soon she was standing, catching her breath, across the road from the familiar entrance. She had surreptitiously examined the big reinforced front door months before. There were three locks. Two of them were big, heavy multi-lever monsters requiring big, heavy multi-lever keys.

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The Locket (part five)

A couple of minutes later Finny was sitting at the kitchen table happily demolishing a sandwich containing more meat that she normally saw in a week and surrounded by bread that was white and soft instead of brown and gritty.

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The Locket (part four)

The front door closed behind Finny and she was suddenly cocooned in nicer smells and more warmth than she was used to. Silja strode silently past her down the carpeted hallway.

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The Locket (part three)

Perched on her ledge Finny watched as late afternoon turned into early evening. Below her the population of the square was beginning to change. Store keepers and vendors were starting to pack away, while still keeping an eye out for late customers. The auctioneer was drumming his fingers on his podium, checking his watch and wondering what was for dinner tonight.

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The Locket (part two)

The rest of the afternoon wore on with an uncomfortable rising tension. When called on to read Finny did so resentfully. Her three companions around the little table slowly sank lower and lower in their seats. Finny’s growing sullen hostility to the lesson was acting like a lightning rod in the stormy sky of Joe’s impatience and they didn’t want to catch any stray bolts. When it was their turns to read, One Tooth, Casper and Worms would falter over their words, waiting for Joe’s patience to finally snap.

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The Locket (part one)

Reading was boring. Writing was boring too, but at least you were doing something. Writing was like drawing, but in a secret code. Reading was just, well, dumb.

Finny was shocked out of her thoughts by a not too gentle smack on the back of the head. Then Joe’s hand appeared, his fingers snapping in front of her nose.

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Trouble and Strife

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Joe stood on the sunny pavement looking annoyed as he took a last long pull on his cigar. He flicked the remainder off into the gutter and reached for the big brass latch to the imposingly solid front door of his ammunition factory. Whichever eagle-eyed urchin was the first out of the factory at the end of the day would have themselves the unexpected reward of a full half of one of Joe's cigars.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 63)

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Slowly, they completed the journey out of the stairwell and onto the concourse. The escalator slope that led up to the entrance excavation was about thirty metres away. They would need to get right up to the base of it to be able to lob their grenades up into the seething mass of adult ticks.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 62)

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Hobbes was backing away, his head slowly moving from side to side as his brain tried to deny what his ears were telling him. He managed two whole steps before making a sandwich of Gregor with Bodil on the other side. Gregor closed his hand around the archaeologist’s right wrist, just in case the he got careless with the pistol he was holding. Hobbes turned his head and looked up into Gregor’s pain filled eyes.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 61)

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The last of the food was finished and the party set off again. Pretty soon more and more foliage started to appear and the humidity started to rise. Ranger Weis stopped everyone to remind them that they were once again entering the preferred climate for the giant London Ticks. Consequently, weapons were rechecked and caution cranked up a notch or two.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 60)

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Bodil soon came to realise that carrying a sizeable lump of metal around soon makes your arm ache. She tried switching it from hand to hand, and that kind of worked for a while. Then she tried sticking it into the waistband of her pants like she had seen it done in movies but that didn’t work out as well as she had thought it would.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 59)

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Bodil, Ellie and Gregor stood and looked at Weis while Hobbes paced up and down looking unhappy.

“No.” Bodil said after a few seconds. “I don’t recall that she did, say, how big they were.”

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Halloween Fantasy (part 58)

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With Ellie’s aid, and flanked by Professor Hill and Mister Hobbes, Gregor walked up and down the corridor a few times until he and Ellie between them decided that he was probably strong enough to attempt the journey back to the surface.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 57)

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Her ears ringing from the gunfire, Bodil ran to help Ellie with Gregor. Together they laid the bodyguard flat and, still working together as Bodil’s paramedic training kicked in, they quickly and carefully began to examine the extent of the damage to Gregor’s chest and abdomen.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 56)

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Gregor turned back, his eyes wide.

“We need to go. Now.”

Ellie grabbed an arm each of Hobbes and Professor Hill and turned them towards the exit.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 55)

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Despite Bodil having seen a pre Fall reactor before, what was visible through the metre thick lead glass window took more than a moment to make sense of. The much smaller reactor at the LifeNet facility in Iceland was mainly a large empty room with a couple of overhead cranes, lots of pipes and gauges and an empty floor area.

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Halloween fantasy (part 54)

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The steps were steep and longer than the ones they had come down to get into the generator hall. They let out into a small unlit corridor with a single doorway off to the left. At the far end of the corridor more steps upwards.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 53)

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With weapons cocked, Gregor and Weis cautiously led everyone back the way they had come and in the direction from where the new light source seemed strongest. They rounded the last corner into the concourse and stopped. With the new, but still dim, lighting they were now able to take in the whole of the concourse. Both men surveyed the space along the barrels of their weapons before Weis finally announced it clear from any threat, or ‘seems safe-ish’ as he put it.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 52)

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While the two of them disappeared into the darkness with only the bobbing beams of their torches showing their position, the remaining trio carried on with the rest of their meal. The comfortable silence was broken by Professor Hill

“Why does Mister Hobbes call you ‘Miss Troy’?”

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Halloween Fantasy (part 51)

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“What? Warm? How?”

“Touch it. It’s warm.”

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Halloween Fantasy (part 50) (OMG 50!)

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The ranger disappeared around the corner and when Ellie and Gregor found him a few seconds later Weis had gone past the foot of some stone steps and on through the passage to the other platform.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 49)

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The decent to the level of the Central Line was uneventful. By the time they reached the concourse at the bottom the dancing torch beams were picking out very little in the way of plant life. Yes, there was some ceiling collapse and there was a fairly large pool of water being fed by sporadic drips from another great crack directly above them, but on the whole the condition of the concourse wasn’t too bad.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 48)

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Archaeologist Hobbes now directed the party through several much more narrow tunnels and then down a flight of stone steps, keeping up a nervous commentary as he did so.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 47)

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When Weis and Gregor started to get so far away that the surrounding darkness threatened to hide them from view, Ellie started to creep forward to keep Gregor within range of her torch. Bodil and Hobbes followed suit but with Hobbes’ torch now turning like a demented lighthouse to make sure nothing was creeping up on them while they tried to make sure nothing crept up Weis and Gregor.

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Halloween Fantasy (part 46)

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Bodil turned to the little ranger.

“Ranger Weis, we were wondering if you had any idea when the entrance hole we came down might have been created. It seems to have been made by an explosion.”

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