A Bridge Too Far?
Duncan felt the pace of his heart and checked his watch. Not good news, his heart rate was even faster than last Sunday. He sat on the remains of the veranda of his parents’ house. It was early in the morning on Wednesday at about six o'clock. He had an appointment. Not his usual running day.
He felt his brow; sweat was trickling down his face like a waterfall. His parents’ blackened farm still had the lingering smell of burnt wood. Duncan rubbed his back a little and walked over to the oasis of unburned grass in front of the house. He lay down and gazed at the colours of the early morning sky and watched the flitting colony of flies, twitching in the above his head.
The whole thing was bugging him: the fire, the untraceable bullet, his parent's death, McManan's death and now Hamburg’s. There'd been more death in the town in the past few weeks than at any other time he could remember and no answers. Nothing concrete from the police, or anybody. Suspicious death, odd death and then there was the old Governor, who couldn't be found now. The new Governor had apparently disappeared too.
His father had been trying to tell him something, he knew it. It was a cliché but he felt like he was being watched sometimes. Chrissy just told him he was paranoid.
Maybe she was right. He was starting to feel paranoid.
He felt a sense of loss. He’d known Jakob for a long time and he felt angry and guilty.
Enough was enough.
He felt there was something bigger at work. Maybe it was just his paranoid imagination, but over the years he'd learned to trust his instincts. They were on overdrive. He knew the clues were here somewhere if he could only piece them together. He walked over to the remains of the barn and pictured the scene of his father hanging there. It made him feel sick. He went over in his mind every detail, every piece of information again. He tried to screen out the emotion and act a neutral observer.
Something to do with the shoes and socks, some story his father had told him when he was small, but he couldn’t recall anything else. Something to do with ‘Of mice and men?’ Or something else? Some story his father used to tell him but did he tell his brother or sister? He didn't even know what to ask but he knew somehow that was the key.
He shook his head.
A car was rolling up the drive; he could see the headlights glinting occasionally through the dust it was throwing up. He waited running what he was going to say, trying to figure a way to make him buy it.
The car drew closer and he could hear the distinctive noise of the engine and the wheels crunching down the road. It came into view, drew closer and the two men looked at each other.
The quiet whine of the fusion engine hissed into silence.
Chuck Ellephanie got out of the car and walked around Duncan kicking loose pieces of grass. He thrust his hands deep into his pockets.
“I'm not sure why I agreed to do this. Curiosity I guess," he said in a disconnected voice.
“No, neither am I entirely," Duncan replied evenly, “Were you followed?”
“Not as far as I can tell, but Willerby and the rest of them are clever. Let's get into the car, I'll tint the glass."
They got into the front seats and sat in silence for a moment looking out of the window.
“Interesting car,” Duncan said finally. “Prototype?”
“Doesn't always work,” Ellephanie continued, “You have to be nice to it." Duncan smiled weakly.
“Are the press going to talk to you later?” Duncan asked.
Ellephanie looked off into the distance.
“So this was your father's place, eh? Must have been alright once"
“Yep, it was. The barn used to be over there. You can see the remains of the house just down there.”
“Sorry about your parents. Unfortunate." They sat in silence again for a while.
“It doesn't quite add up all this somehow does it?" Duncan said abruptly.
“The deaths, McManan, my parents, Hamburg."
Ellephanie didn't reply at first.
“Shit happens you know. People have reasons to be angry," he said finally.
“All these people though, in a short space of time,” Duncan scratched his neck.
Chuck turned around to face him.
“Cut the crap, what are you getting at?”
“I think this whole thing's bigger than either of us. I think there's something going on and someone wants shit to happen. I don't know what, why or who but someone does. It's got to stop or we'll have a bloody war on our hands."
Chuck sighed and shook his head.
“So you get me all the way out here to tell me some hocus pocus and expect me to believe that you're not just scared?”
“Think about it for God's sake Ellephanie. Think about it. I just don't want any more dead."
“Well I rest easy at night, I wasn't the one who built the wall and started up all this shit."
“No and neither was I. I didn't ask them to put up the goddam wall!"
“No? But you could have asked them to take it down."
Anderton fell silent for a while. “That’s not the point."
“So what is the point here Duncan? What do you want? We both want. We just want on different sides. Nothing’s going to change that."
“Just use your head, goddam it. Ask yourself if you don't think there's something funny going on. That's all I ask.”
“I have, and the only thing I see that's going· funny round here is sat just next to me. You started all this shit and now you're blaming me for it. Well that just is a pile of bull. You're just scared."
Duncan got out of the car and then poked his head inside.
“If I were so scared, why would I call you? Arrogant Jackass! Think about it if you've got any sense left at all."
Duncan slammed the door.
The engine whined into life and fluttered. It whined into life again and fluttered.Duncan turned around and started to run back to his house. He could still hear the engine whining and stalling as he ran down the drive.