Bloodline

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Chapter 3

Evelyn Sullivan always thought the lab was peaceful in the dark. She enjoyed the night shift her desk bathed in the pale blue glow of the computer screens that lined the room; she was the night manager of the LCDD, Londinium’s Central DNA Database. Her passion for technology had worried her parents no end. Children who showed an interest in technology went one of two ways either to prison or to a government funded training programme. Eve proved to be one of the lucky ones and eventually rose to her position as the night manager.

The LCDD dealt with all of Londinium’s DNA testing, from citizen passes, to criminal cases. Things normally ran smoothly, the humming from the computers helped to relax her, but things tonight would not go so well. Eve was just pouring the second cup of coffee when an urgent beeping almost made her knock her cup over. She turned back to her desk and the message flashing on the screen drove all thought of coffee from her mind. Rushing to her phone she called Ted Bundy.

*

Alex woke with a jump and fell off the sofa he’d been sleeping on. He winced and rubbed his elbow, ‘what had woken him?’ He looked around the large but minimally furnished room, sunlight flooded through a gap in the pale curtains and dazzled on the brightly polished floor. Alex shaded his eyes and went to stand but his stomach lurched and his head span, he groped behind him for the sofa and fell back groaning. There was a chuckling behind him and gingerly Alex turned round.

“Luke?”

“You look even worse than I feel. Fancy a coffee?”

“Umm yeah…” Alex stood slowly his stomach lurching.

“Whoa!” Luke rushed to his side, “If you are going to be sick the bathroom is just down the hall.”

Alex stumbled down the hallway and collapsed gratefully against the cool porcelain of the toilet. He couldn’t remember the last time he had felt so awful, the beer in the village was barely strong enough to get him tipsy, what had he been drinking last night? Last night, vague memories surfaced, full of garish colours and drinks with umbrellas in. The thought of alcohol had Alex throwing up into the toilet; he never wanted to drink again. Once the heaving had subsided he flushed and ran some cool water in the sink, glancing in the mirror he barely recognised himself, his hair was a mess, glitter ran down his cheek and mascara was smudged around his eyes. What had he been thinking? Quickly he washed his face, and scrubbed the makeup away. Smoothing down his hair he made his way back into the kitchen where Luke greeted him with a small smile. “Better out than in, that’s what I always say.”

Alex grumbled and sat at the breakfast bar. He was never going to find Bridgee at this rate, but then he remembered the photo, Bridgee had worked at that bar. “Bridgee … I have to go back to that club.” Alex tried to stand but Luke pushed him back down.

“Slow down tiger, you’ve been there and done that.”

“What do you mean?”

“Last night, all you talked about on the way home was how this guy Sid knew where your sister lived.”

“Sid?”

“How much did you drink last night?” Luke laughed, “Sid is part of the rebellion.”

“Oh…” the events of last night crystallised in Alex’s mind, “oh god I agreed to go to the protest tonight.” Alex cradled his head in his hands.

“Drink this, and things will start to look up.” Luke handed him a large mug of black coffee. Fighting the urge to vomit Alex took a sip and sighed.

“Its good stuff hey?” Luke took a gulp of his own coffee and turned on the large flat screen TV which descended from the kitchen units. Alex was about to comment on this when the headline caught his eye.

“…To recap, breaking news just in. An explosion has destroyed the LCDD. A source from inside the palace suspects that the protest last night was a diversion and that blowing up the DNA lab was the real goal of the rebellion. Without the LCDD all DNA testing and profiling will be stopped, it is believed that the attack was carried out to stop the palace from finding an heir to the presidency.”

Luke hit the mute button and turned to look at Alex’s horrified expression, “Don’t worry. I’m sure it’s not true, I mean you talked to them last night, they didn’t mention anything?”

“No, of course not. Rodney, the leader, didn’t seem capable of something like that. God Luke what have I got myself involved in?”

“Look, this Sid guy will be waiting for us at Lower City Central, I suggest you find out where your sister lived and then forget all about him and the rebellion.”

*

The death toll from the Lab explosion had reached double figures by the time Alex reached the Lower City SVTS station. The idea of meeting Sid and getting involved with the rebellion seemed more and more dangerous, if he wasn’t so desperate to find Bridgee, Alex would’ve forgotten all about it.

“I’m sure they didn’t mean to blow anyone up.” Luke tired to reassure Alex as they went their separate ways, but Alex didn’t feel any better. He stood alone now, busy commuters streamed past him, tutting if he got in their way.

“Psst.”

Alex looked around.

“Psst” The voice seemed to be coming from the shadows by the vending machines. “Over here.”

Alex pointed to himself, “me?”

There was a sigh from the shadow, “Yes, you.”

Alex cautiously edged closer. “Who’s there?”

“Its me, Sid.” He stepped from the shadows and smiled at Alex. “Don’t worry I’m not going to bite.”

“Did you really blow up that lab?”

“Shush, keep your voice down.” Sid beckoned him closer until they were both in the shadows again.

“Is that why you’re hiding? Did you kill all those people?”

“No, it wasn’t us.”

“But the T.V …”

“You can’t believe everything you see on T.V Alex. I’m telling you that the explosion was nothing to do with the rebellion.”

Alex looked into Sid’s earnest face and decided that for now Sid’s word was enough for him. “Ok, but then why are you hiding?”

“My face was all over that broadcast last night and Rodney has already been questioned by the police.”

“Then I really shouldn’t get involved…”

“You want to find your sister don’t you?” Alex nodded. “Then come on, let’s get going.”

*

Just when Diaz thought life couldn’t get any worse, there was a terrorist attack. If there was a God to believe in after the collapse then he’d of felt deliberately persecuted. Diaz was chairing another emergency meeting; there were so many emergency meetings at the moment that there was no time for anything else. Ted Bundy had spent the last hour trying to convince everyone that the rebellion had been responsible for the bombing but Diaz was having trouble believing it.

“Isn’t it obvious? The rebels must have done it, they have the most to gain from blowing up with Lab.” Ted was almost shouting.

“But all information points to them being non-violent. There should be a full investigation instead of just jumping to conclusions.” Cyril was adamant.

“They could have blown up half a dozen other buildings by then, we need to act now.”

“If we start arresting lower city citizens then we could have a riot on our hands,” Cyril turned to Diaz, “can you imagine what the press would say?”

“It would be the final straw for us all…”

“But!”

“No Ted, not until we have some evidence.”

Ted was silent for a moment, then he sighed, “There is evidence.” He said quietly.

“Why didn’t you say before?” Cyril couldn’t believe that Ted would hold something important back.

“You are talking about the phone call you received from the Lab about ten minutes before it exploded?” Diaz delighted at the expression of disbelief that crossed Ted’s face.

“How did you …”

“You are not the only one with resources. So why don’t you tell us what happened?”

“I spoke with the night manager, she called me as a Level One security alert had been activated. Someone had broken in, so that’s how I know.”

“That’s not proof it was the rebellion, unless you are going to say the manager said ‘oh no the rebels’ before they hung up.” Cyril had never liked Ted much and took every opportunity to belittle him.

“Well no, of course she didn’t … but I mean it’s obvious.”

“Thank you for finally telling us about the alert Ted, but Cyril is right we need to do a complete investigation before we start arresting people.” Diaz looked around the room, “Thanks everyone that’s all for now.” Ted stormed out angrily and soon only Cyril was left with Diaz. “What’s up Cyril?”

“I have that information you wanted about Ted, it all seems a bit fishy if you ask me.”

Diaz had learned to trust Cyril’s instincts, “Fishy? How?”

“Well Ted has gone to great lengths to hide the fact that he’s engaged.” Diaz shrugged and Cyril continued, “Who do you think the Founding Families would appoint as the new President?”

“Probably William Patterson-Mitall, why?”

“Well Ted is engaged to his daughter Emily.”

“Ahhh, that makes a lot of sense, no wonder he’s been pushing for the Founding Families to get involved.”

“Yeah he fancies himself as the son-in-law of the President.” Cyril let this sink in a moment. “So what are we going to do about it?”

“I don’t know, I’ll have to think about it. For the moment lets just take everything he says with a huge pinch of salt.”

“Ok, I’ll keep digging, maybe he’s hiding something else too.”

“Thanks Cyril.”

*

“She was living here?” Alex was looking at the small house in the cramped road, long shadows fell across it from taller neighbouring houses.

“Well in the attic room I think she said.”

“She didn’t describe it like this, are you sure?”

“Yeah, I walked her home from the Siren a few times.”

Alex had never considered that Bridgee would lie about her life in the city

“Come on.” Sid patted Alex on the shoulder and led him towards the door and knocked firmly.

A woman’s voice grumbled from inside, “What’d you want?” she asked opening the door. The woman looked to be in her late fifties; she was wearing a grubby cardigan over on old faded dress with threadbare slippers on her feet. The smell of cooked cabbage and stale sweat almost made Alex gag.

“We are looking for Bridgee.”

“Well she’s not here.” The Landlady went to slam the door but Sid pushed his way inside and reluctantly Alex followed him into the dark hallway.

“What do you think you’re doing? Get out of my house.”

“Not until you tell us about Bridgee.” Sid’s tone made it clear that there would be no argument, and Alex was forced to wonder again about his intentions. They followed the Landlady into her parlour, a small room crowded with dressers, side tables and two paisley patterned sofas. On almost every surface a pair of feline eyes watched as Alex and Sid sat opposite the woman. Alex felt he needed to make amends for barging into her home.

“My name is Alex and I’m Bridgee’s brother, I’ve come all the way to Londinium to try and find her, please any help you can give me would be very much appreciated.”

“Well why didn’t you just say so dear, there is one small problem though.”

Sid went to say something but Alex spoke over him, “What is it?”

“Bridgee owes me a months rent.”

“You have got to be kidding,” Sid wasn’t about to let some little old lady take advantage of Alex.

“Sid, it’s worth it to find Bridgee.” Alex turned back to the Landlady, “I can pay her rent as long as you let me stay here whilst I’m looking for her.”

The woman smiled and produced a cash card reader apparently from thin air, “Let me just take your card.” Alex handed it over and a few minutes later there was a beeping from the reader and the woman gave it him back. “A pleasure doing business with you.”

“I bet it was.” Sid mumbled with a shake of his head. “I’ll leave you to sort out the rest Alex and I’ll come back for you tonight.”

Alex hardly looked up as Sid left, too many questions for the Landlady crowding his mind. “When did you last see Bridgee?”

“Let me think, she hasn’t been back for at least a week possibly two.”

“And she didn’t say where she was going?”

“No, I try not to pry on my lodgers.”

Alex sighed; he’d hoped that there would be some answers when he’d found where she lived. “Can you take me to her room?”

“Of course dear, it’s up both sets of stairs in the attic.” The woman made no move to get up so Alex cautiously climbed the stairs.

The room was not what he’d been expecting. Bridgee’s letters made it sound like she lived in a modern apartment block similar to Luke’s, but in reality the house was dark and musty and the attic was gloomy with only one small window. The slant of ceiling meant that Alex could only fully stand up straight right in the centre, the bare floorboards creaked under foot and a small single bed sat awkwardly under the eaves. However, Alex could see that Bridgee had tried to make the best of her situation, photos and letters from home were pinned to the sloping ceiling, in the window she’d hung a pink curtain and beneath it an end table served as her dressing table with a small mirror balanced on the window sill.

“You don’t really look like her.”

Alex jumped and looked to the middle aged man in the doorway. “Who are you?”

“Sorry, my name’s Clive Fisher, I spoke to Mrs Rose the landlady, you’re Bridgee’s brother?”

“Yeah.” Alex looked to a picture that Bridgee had pinned to the wall, it was of her and Alex assumed a friend.

Clive came to stand beside him, “I can’t really see the family resemblance.”

Alex knew Clive was right it was something that had niggled at the back of his mind for many years. Bridgee and his three younger sisters all had the most beautiful straight auburn hair, whereas Alex’s was dark blonde and would curl given the chance. He had asked his mother about it once and now he gave Clive the answer he’d been given then. “I take after my Dad’s side of the family, whereas my sisters take after my Mum’s.”

“Oh …” Clive said, still staring at the photo.

“Do you know Bridgee well?”

“Oh yes, she has been living here since she arrived in Londinium.”

“I feel as if I hardly knew her at all.”

“She talked about you a lot, I always got the feeling she missed you.”

“Well she never told me about working at the Scarlet Siren, or living here…”

“I think she wanted you to be proud of her.”

“And now she’s missing.”

“The last time I saw her she was sat on the bed crying, she was saying that things had got messed up.”

“Do you know what she meant?”

“I tried to get her to tell me but she just got more upset.” Clive thought for a moment, “Mrs Rose was lurking in the hallway, maybe she heard something.”

“I’ll ask, thanks.” Alex ushered Clive out and went back downstairs. He peered into the parlour Mrs Rose had a large ginger cat on her lap and was watching something on the television. The cat gave Alex a filthy look as he entered the room.

“What now?” The landlady grumbled as she muted the TV and glared at him in a way which her cats would have approved of.

“About Bridgee...”

“I told you I don’t pry.”

“But she’s been here for months you must know something about her, or why she might of left everything.”

“Well my tenants do confide in me, naturally.”

“Of course they do.” Alex coaxed.

“She had a lot of man trouble, your sister did. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone didn’t get her into trouble.” She said with a knowing wink.

“Clive said she was crying the last time he saw her.”

“Men,” she huffed, “more trouble than they are worth.”

“Did she have a regular boyfriend?”

“Came in at all hours of the night she did. Not the way to behave in a respectable house, but like I said, I don’t pry.”

Alex could tell that she wouldn’t say anything else interesting so he left her and the cats to watch television.

*

Ted was fuming. Who the hell did Diaz think he was? When Ted was President, Diaz and Cyril would be the first to test the corporal punishment regime he wanted to bring in. Ted had tried to be nice about it, tried to make the explosion political but now he would have to take drastic measures, no one could find out what had happened at the Lab. Some young little upstart from the sticks wasn’t about to ruin all of his hard work, all of those years spent sucking up to Diaz, kissing arse and agreeing with the President’s ridiculous policies wasn’t going to be ruined. Initially Ted couldn’t believe his luck when Bart Smudge died without an heir. He was certain that his fiancée’s family would be swiftly elected as the new hereditary line. But Diaz was making things horribly uncertain, and he seemed to have the support of the entire crisis group. Ted had tried to convince them separately that what Diaz was doing was damaging for Londinium but they seemed to have an unshakable faith in Diaz which Ted couldn’t fathom. His soon to be father-in-law had made it crystal clear that if he wanted to marry into the Patterson-Mitall family he had to make sure they were elected as the new presidents.

Ted knew he had to take drastic measures to cover up this new development, he was just glad that Eve Sullivan had died in the lab explosion; she was the only other person who knew what had happened. At least he’d had some good luck, and now with swift action he hoped to make the luck stretch a little further.

*

Bob Presley, also known as the Master Technophile, hurried through the rain. Storm clouds lengthened the shadows of the skyscrapers nearby, to Bob’s mind they loomed over him like snatching arms ready to rip the forbidden book from his grasp. There was a shout from behind him, an innocent noise turned by Bob’s frantic mind into the sound of pursuit. Risking a quick look behind him Bob plunged into a dark doorway and out of the rain.

The building was right on the edge of the city’s fashionable and wealthy upper town district, a place where your postcode was worth more than the small bedsit you rented. To Bob it was all about style, tell people you lived in the upper town and doors opened, a little reluctantly in Bob’s case, that would shun a man from the lower city. Clutching his stolen book to his chest he ran up the concrete steps to the fifth floor, barely feeling the burn in his legs and lungs as he fumbled for his keys, dropping them twice in his hurry.

He couldn’t quite believe he’d even got this far, the penalty for discovery was life in prison at best. He had pried some useful information from the technicians as to the location of a pre collapse book on bomb making, which is what his furtive afternoon outing had been in aid of. Bob had been shocked to learn that whilst the book was under heavy security during the night it was available for research purposes during the day and once your ID had been scanned nobody gave you a second glance. The logic being that it would be pointless to try and steal a book as your ID would lead the police straight to you, and Bob had found a criminal element thriving on this logic, fake ID passes were unthinkable to all law abiding citizens, meaning that no one thought twice as Professor Thackeray had asked to see the book. Bob almost felt bad about sending the police to raid Thackeray’s residence, but as the Professor had been so unhelpful in the past Bob cast his conscience aside.

At last he unlocked his front door and practically fell inside, slamming the door behind him, and sliding the deadbolt home. Home, finally now he could breathe and examine his prize. The book was slightly damp from the rain but otherwise none the worse for wear. He crossed to his kitchen table and reverently laid it on the clean white cloth he had prepared earlier. It might as well be night for all the light getting through the window; Bob clicked on a single table lamp and sat down with a note book and a smile. Like an island in the darkness Bob worked unaware of everything else.

*

The rain had stopped by the time darkness had started to fall, weak sunlight making the clouds a watery yellow. In the Trade Plaza which sat snugly inside the L of the trade centre, merchants were venturing back outside to try and tempt passersby with all manner of goods. The smoke that more or less continuously billowed from the large archways covered the stalls like a grey mist making the market seem eerily cut off from the larger city; it was through this mist that Eve stumbled, weaving unsteadily. The burnt out shell of the LCDD was barely a block away and the sounds of life had drawn Eve cut and bleeding after the explosion. She had collapsed in a cotton storehouse and had woken groggy and with a patchy memory. Now she stumbled through the market place her head aching and her body sore trying to remember which direction would lead her home.

It was purely by chance that she happened to pass by the protest at the palace just as the TV cameras were rolling almost knocking Alex over as she fainted again.

Ted had been watching the TV coverage secure in the knowledge that he would soon put an end to all of this ridiculous rebellion, when his heart skipped a beat. He watched stunned as Eve fainted in Alex’s arms live on TV, this couldn’t be right, he’d been told she was dead. Grimly he realised that her name would have to be added to his list of people to have removed.

For Alex, Eve’s sudden appearance had saved him from spending the rest of the night with the rebellion, something he was very grateful for. Although he would have preferred a less dramatic rescue. Sid had picked Alex up as arranged a few hours earlier, Mrs Rose suspiciously staring from the window as they had headed towards the palace. It seemed to Alex that everyone was staring at them, and whispering, they knew what Sid had done and now Alex would be blamed too.

Sid seeing Alex’s unease had distracted him with talk of Bridgee. “Have you found out more about Bridgee’s disappearance?”

Alex nodded and related Mrs Rose’s tale of her coming in late and being seen with lots of men.

“It’s a good job Mrs Rose doesn’t pry,” Sid said.

Alex smiled, “Was Bridgee really like that?”

“Well she was very popular at the Siren but she didn’t strike me as the kind of girl who’d go all the way on the first date, which is unusual. It made her special and innocent.”

“So she didn’t have a boyfriend then?”

“To be honest I didn’t know her that well, maybe one of her roommates would have a better idea.” They continued on in silence, Alex’s mind consumed now with thoughts of Bridgee.

There was a police presence at the rebellion when they arrived and a large number of TV reporters and camera crews. Rodney and the protestors were huddled in front of the gates of the palace, trying to look inconspicuous.

“Sid, thank god you’re here” Rodney shouted, “Alex so glad to see you.” Rodney shook Alex’s hand vigorously. “Didn’t know if you’d come, not that I’d blame you for backing out after all this bomb business.”

Alex shot Sid a glare before answering Rodney, “It wasn’t you who blew up that building, right?”

“Oh good heavens no, it wasn’t us.”

“We seem to have attracted some new people tonight,” Sid commented motioning to a group of dangerous looking men lingering nearby.

“About that, they believe that we did blow up the lab and they want to help us destroy more of the city.” Rodney looked nervous, “They’ve have got ‘criminal’ tattooed on their foreheads.”

“Leave it with me,” Sid sighed and melted into the crowds of onlookers.

“What’s going on?” Alex asked, Sid suddenly seemed a much more dangerous man than Alex had realised. Suddenly the entire city seemed more dangerous than Alex had realised. There was a commotion from the gathered police officers and Alex watched as Sid whispered to a man in a suit and stepped back. The man then began issuing orders, but Alex kept his eyes on Sid who watched from the shadows as the dangerous protestors that Rodney had been worried about where rounded up by the police and taken away. Alex saw the man in the suit nod to Sid who nodded back.

Rodney seemed oblivious to Sid’s involvement, “finally the police get a clue,” Rodney said turning to Alex, “Don’t you worry about that, we can get our nice peaceful protest under way now.”

Sid reappeared by their side, “with all the cameras here you should make a speech Rodney, get our message out.” He nudged Rodney forwards and called for quiet.

Rodney gulped, there were so many people watching him. “Umm, this is the second night of our rebellion, our demands haven’t changed.” Rodney desperately looked round him and smiled when he saw Alex. “We have a celebrity endorsement tonight, Alex here;” he put his arm around Alex and pulled him forward, “performed with the Painted Ladies last night.” There was an intake of breath, as everyone gathered peered closer to get a better look. Rodney stepped backwards a few paces leaving Alex alone.

“I’m not really a celebrity sorry, I only arrived in Londinium yesterday.” Alex said quietly. The crowd was silent waiting for him to go on, cameras flashed and reporters stared at him waiting for their headlines. A voice welled up from deep inside Alex and spoke loud and clear. “I have learnt a lot about Londinium and what the city stands for, what you the citizens stand for in that short time. For me Londinium stands for freedom and for hope.” There was applause. “Londinium means ideas, means a stronger future for the whole world. Londinium should be a beacon of technology, a place where the best and brightest flock, a place of inspiration. It shouldn’t be a place of schoolyard squabbling and bullying. You as proud Londinium citizens should demand better, there is no truth that you can’t handle, there is nothing as dangerous and lies themselves. Fight with us to protect your birth right, because I for one would stand tall if I had been born here.” The world around Alex erupted into cheers and applause, flashbulbs blinded him, and reporters shouted questions. The numbers of the protestors swelled as the crowd rushed to be part of the rebellion. Rodney and Sid took him by the hand and congratulated him as others slapped him on the back. “I knew you’d be good for us.” Sid was beaming, with Alex the rebellion couldn’t fail. All the while Alex was dumbfounded, where had the speech come from, it hadn’t sounded like him at all.

*

Diaz and the emergency council had watched awe struck as Alex’s speech had been shown on TV; the news anchors were waxing lyrical about this stranger whom they knew nothing about. Diaz looked at the faces of his colleagues; Ted Bundy was conspicuously absent.

“Well that was unexpected.” Diaz declared, breaking the spell of silence.

“Who the hell was that?” Cyril asked.

“That’s what we need to find out.” Diaz was worried, under the leadership of Rodney Crumple, the rebellion was a laughing stock, the man had as much charisma on TV as a watermelon. But this Alex on the other hand shone and Diaz was very worried.

*

In Mrs Rose’s parlour the reaction was different. Clive and Mr Finkle, the third and final tenant, were sat like supplicants at Mrs Rose’s feet whilst she held tight control of what television was deemed suitable for the delicate male temperament. She feared that the least amount of excitement would turn her lodgers into beasts unable to stop themselves ravishing her, in reality however, not even complete insanity would drive Clive to want to touch his elderly landlady. As for Mr Finkle, who was even more advanced in years than Mrs Rose, he wouldn’t have known what to do if he was turned into a ‘beast’, although his large white beard made it easier to imagine.

“Here, that’s my new lodger, ha! Just wait until I tell Queenie next door, pedigree cats are nothing compared to having a famous tenant.” Mrs Rose and her neighbour Queenie were engaged in the old age tradition of one-up-man-ship, and had spent years trading good natured insults and gossip. Which, is how the press learned within a few hours where Alex was lodging.

*

It was shortly after his speech that Eve fell into Alex’s life and into his arms. Within moments they were surrounded by paramedics and the protestors. Alex insisted on going with Eve, grateful to leave the spotlight. He understood little of what came next, the medical jargon whizzing over his head, in a blur of lights and sirens they were ushered into the Londinium A&E. As Alex walked through the automatic doors he saw his own face reflected back at him on the TV screens over the reception desk, he didn’t need to hear the words to know that the TV was playing back his impromptu speech. As he followed Eve into a cubicle there were whispers behind him, and he was thankful once the curtains were closed around them. He looked at the woman on the bed properly for the first time; she appeared to be a little older than him, with straw blonde hair like a halo around her. She groaned slightly and her eyes flickered open.

“Where ... where am I?”

“There was a sign saying A&E on the way in.” Alex replied realising, not for the first time, how little how knew about the city. “I’m sure you’re safe.”

“How did I get here?” Eve rubbed her head and winced, “there was an explosion.”

“The LCDD was blown up last night.”

“What! No, that can’t be right.”

“It was all over the news this morning, were you there?”

“I was working ... I don’t remember much.”

“Oh.”

There was silence for a minute before Eve asked, “Who are you?”

“Right, sorry, my name’s Alex. You kind of fainted in my arms.”

Eve blushed, “sorry, I’m Eve.”

The curtain was pulled back sharply and a doctor wearing a white coat bustled in. “Do you mind,” He said looking too Alex, “I need to examine her.”

Smiling at Eve, Alex got up and moved beyond the curtains, as they were being drawn back Eve called out, “You’ll stay won’t you Alex?” She couldn’t explain it, but there was something familiar and safe about him.

“Of course.”

*

Ted sat brooding in the dark, just when he thought he was getting on top of the situation that damn woman had to turn up, and now it would be twice as expensive to sort out. Ted picked up the phone and dialled a number he wouldn’t dare write down for fear of prosecution. He was determined to succeed regardless of the consequences.

“Speedy Cleaning services, how can I help?” An efficient sounding woman answered the phone

“I need to order two executive packages.” This was the first time Ted has used the service but he knew from his soon to be father–in–law that they handled everything with the utmost discretion.

“Certainly Sir, can I take your account number please.”

“It’s 545537.”

“Thank you.” There was an almost imperceptible change in her voice as she registered the number, “Very good Sir, an operative will be with you within the hour.”

Ted hung up, it was all coming together, the excitement was almost too much soon so soon he would have everything he’d ever dreamed of.

*

Bob stretched out awkwardly he had read the book from cover to cover, his brain alight with inspiration. The plan which had been percolating in his thoughts ever since he had started the technology group was now fully formed. A bomb was certainly an interesting idea that would achieve the chaos he was after. The idea had been brewing in Bob’s mind for years, he didn’t have the intellect or the family for politics but power was the ultimate aphrodisiac. Ever since he was small Bob knew he was destined for greatness, it flowed in his blood. His mother had told him every night before bed that he could be anything he wanted, and he had believed her. The belief burned in him and gave him strength, he wanted to be the most powerful man in the world, and he had no doubt he would be. Bob pulled a notepad towards him and wrote a list of what he needed; at the next meeting the Technicians’ would be given the task of collecting the different things so that nothing could be traced back to him. The plan was foolproof.

*

Eve smiled from her hospital bed as she watched Alex be congratulated by the other patients and staff for his speech. She had watched several re-runs on the T.V and was impressed with his sincerity; his belief seemed to invigorate everyone he spoke too. Sid joined her, they had been briefly introduced by Alex before he’d been swept away, they chuckled as one old man was vigorously shaking Alex’s hand to the point where it looked like his arm would fall clean off.

“He’s amazing isn’t he?” Eve said, unable to stop the awe from showing in her voice.

“That he is.”

“What’s his story?”

“I don’t know, he just appeared like a saviour. A miracle made of flesh. I knew from when I first saw him that there was an untold amount of good he could do for the rebellion and for the city.”

“You don’t know how right you are.” Eve whispered with a shake of her head.

“What do you mean?” Sid turned to face her fully. He frowned, just who was this woman?

“I ... It’s nothing.”

“Look Eve, I need you to tell me anything you know about Alex. I would hate for something to happen...”

“You mean like someone blowing up my workplace? Do you think you can do worse to me than that?”

“You work at the LCDD?”

Eve flushed, “That’s not important.”

“I think that’s where everything started, what was so dangerous that someone tried to kill you and destroy all the evidence?” Eve stubbornly remained silent and Sid leaned closer to her. “Do you think you are safe now? The whole world just saw you faint on live T.V.”

Eve crumbled, “I’m scared.”

“I can help you if you tell me, is Alex in danger too?” Eve nodded, tears forming in her eyes. “Tell me so they can’t hurt him.”

Eve took a deep breath and Sid leaned closer still. “He’s the heir, alright.” Sid was quiet for a moment then nodded his head, like her answer had just cleared up some questions in his mind. Eve continued “The test results came back last night I called my boss, and then the building blew up. I don’t know how I survived but to run into Alex like that, its fate I have to help him.”

“You have Eve; you may have just saved his life.”

Eve smiled and rubbed he eyes. “Are you going to tell him?”

“No I think it would be too much right now, he’s not much good too anyone if he’s messed up cause he’s just realised his whole life has been a lie.”

“So what now?”

“I have contacts, I can keep you both safe. But Alex will need your help if he is ever going to fulfil his destiny.”

“Anything.”

Sid smiled and stepped away, in one fail swoop the whole game had been changed, this wasn’t a rebellion anymore this was about putting the rightful heir back in power, and things would need to be done carefully. He walked out into the ambulance bay and made a phone call.

*

There was a knock at Ted’s front door. Peering through the peep-hole Ted could see a youngish man in a suit and tie, his dark hair was neatly trimmed, his face handsome, but not pretty, the kind of man who’d blend right in anywhere. A good trait for a hired killer Ted supposed as he let the man in. He knew better than to ask how he had found him so quickly.

“Hi...” Ted began uneasily, closing the door.

“You will call me Johnstone, once our meeting here is concluded we will have no further contact. You know our terms?”

Ted nodded, gladdened but chilled by the man’s efficiency.

“Good, here are the bank details you will need,” Johnstone handed Ted a business card. “You will deposit half the funds now and half once the job is done.”

Ted turned to his laptop and the banks website he’d had open ready, after confirming his details, Ted began to input the account number he had been given.

“There is no way to trace this account to us, and this payment is non-refundable.”

Ted was rendered mute by the imposing figure and Johnstone beside him, and could only nod his understanding as the funds were transferred.

“All I need now are the names.”

“Al....”

“No, don’t speak, just write them down.” Ted did so and handed the paper to Johnstone who glanced at the names and nodded once. He then turned round and left Ted’s apartment, closing the door silently behind him. Ted released a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding, Johnstone scared him thoroughly. Sitting down Ted was at least reassured that the job would get done and within a few days neither Alex nor Eve would be alive to cause him any problems.

*


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