The House of Koggi
Chapter 21 The House of Koggi
They lived in the basement. The location itself was run down consisting of large Victorian houses converted to bed sits and flats, once resplendent middle class with servants and immaculate front and rear gardens. Now those gardens grew a rampant crop of disused mattresses, fridges, toys and general rubbish. Weeds competed furiously for the right to flourish in this decaying space.
People on the move, people passing through care little for their surroundings, why should they for they have no attachment or love for it. This was an area of transience. Humanity from Africa, mainly Nigerian and Ethiopian, at the southern end changing to Pakistan in the middle to pure Middle East, at the Northern edge.
These residents witnessed this migration in and out of the area with indifference, all being bent on moving on and upward both geographically and economically. Hence the occupants of the basement flat at 84 Gladstone Street had chosen the area for its very churn of people. No one paid them any heed except the Moss gang who had learnt from bitter experience to leave them alone.
A simple mugging had left three gang members in need of hospital treatment with the result that those four people of a strange appearance were given a wide berth by other inhabitants of the area.
Those four beings dwelt in that basement apartment with its peeling paintwork, dull flaccid furnishings and well worn floors. A cold dampness pervaded the place as if it had been built over a mere which even an old gas boiler, working at heart attack speed, could not banish. Years of neglect had left old age to creep into the very bones of the building and this decrepitude showed itself first in the basement. Despite all this the four appeared to accept the conditions as that of terrain. Like soldiers in the field they did not expect luxury nor did they seek it.
Three sat round a plain functional table in a moderate sized kitchen whilst a fourth inhabitant studied the television with some intent. This one was assimilating English through the medium of television.
Of the three at the table only one was totally fluent in the language to the point of being eloquent in both kinds of English, the decent and the indecent. In short she could swear like a trooper. All three looked up to the faded ceiling and groaned. They groaned not from their immediate surroundings but because ghetto music was beating down upon them from above.
“For Christ sake!” exclaimed the one they called K-kay then she spoke a rapid guttural language.
Quickly, the one watching television responded, rising and leaving the apartment.
“We need to talk” K-Kay said with urgency to the others.
“About...What about?” asked the leader of the group a little uncertain.
Looking around her as if making sure they were alone, “About the Male”
Her two companions looked at her slightly mystified.
“Speak only in English in case Fen returns; he is amazingly valuable and they want us to kill him?”
It was the tone of her voice, one of pure incredulity that said far more than her words.
“Arrh” said Jfive the leader and pointed to the ceiling. There was silence which caused all three to smile a large warm smile of appreciation.
“Well, done Fen” said Jfive, “hope no one killed.”
Jfive was not only the leader with total authority over the group’s activities she was also the one with the longest time spent in this environment. As a result her health was beginning to deteriorate. Although she took a supply of immune boosting drugs the relentless exposure to the pathogens was beginning to tell. Her skin had a pale grey tint, her eyes no longer clear, her chest wheezed in the mornings while every now and then her joins creaked like an old gate in need of oil, causing acute joint pain. Because of this slow decline her tour of duty was due to end in a little over six months time. She could not wait, counting down the days on a calendar in her room. The thought of not following her orders had never occurred to her.
It was Prep7, the third member at the table who seized on the idea.
“I always thought it strange that the order was changed from capture to kill.” she paused for although her English was very good she constantly ran out of the right words to say, so paused as if in mid thought.
At last she continued, “If you find a diamond do you smash it to pieces.”
“Diamonds are common” put in Jfive.
“Not here, they are not.” pointed out K-kay, “that is why we paid those gangsters in diamonds.”
K-Kay the most accomplished of the team who had mastered the language totally, who studied the culture and sociology of the people, who secretly liked the male of the species, something she could never admit, now took up the idea with enthusiasm.
“If we succeed in locating this errant male and then kill him what have we got? We go home from a secret mission, no glory, no extra pay, nothing. Meanwhile this male is very valuable. Remember , the government authorized this mission but the House of Koggi is paying for it. Those two coming together to eradicate one lone male makes you think, does it not?”
An uneasy silence fell as each contemplated the idea of insubordination then Jfive reverted to type,
“It is not for we to ask why” then she spoke her desire, “Job done, we go home.”
“It is not we it is ‘us’ ” K-Kay corrected her then continued ,“We all want to go home, this place is slowly killing all of us, but let us go home to something substantial.”
“What about ” Prep7 stopped and pointed a finger upwards.
“That is a problem, she hates all males.” admitted K-kay.
“She is just happy killing males.” observed Jfive.
“She thinks them parasitic” scoffed Prep7
“True they are, with their little willie wonkers.” put in K-kay hiding her real view on the male of the species
All three laughed .
“The idea is mad” said Jfive bringing the laughter to an abrupt end. ” If we do capture him, assuming we can deal with Fen34 and assuming we get him back to Kron9 what then? Who do we sell him to, who will pay us?”
“We could hire him out” suggested K-kay “like a stud”
“A stud?” queried Prep7 puzzled clearly not knowing what the term meant.
The other two comrades ignored her, neither willing to explains the ins and outs of the term.
“Nonsense, ” said Jfive, “it would cause such a ....” she searched desperately for the right word then said something in her mother tongue.
“Riot” interceded K-Kay. “that is the word, well yes but dam it, if we could get our hands on a male, perhaps the Queen K will want him.”
“They are paying us to kill him, ...“Prep7 stopped clearly trying to form another few words.
Eventually she continued, “they will not pay us to hand him over so they can kill him.”
“Why not?” asked K-kay, “Let them do their own butchering.”
Both of her companions looked at her sternly then Jfive voiced their concern.
“Could it be you want to keep him alive?”
Before anyone could answer and much to K-Kay’s relief Fen returned with blood on her hands. Everyone looked at her alarmed.
She smiled as she made her way to the sink , “No kill” she stabbed out “alive” then beamed a smile from ear to ear more pleased with her English than her fighting prowess.
The three females at the table sighed with relief.
“Very good, your English I mean.” said Jfive knowing that subduing a few humans did not count for anything to Fen.
After Fen had returned to the living room and the television Jfive took the opportunity to stamp on K-Kay’s idea.
“No, let us be clear, no selling, just find him, eliminate him and go home... agreed Prep7.” Prem7 nodded.
“Agreed K-kay?” She looked sternly at her companion almost forcing the correct answer out of her lips.
“Agreed ” submitted K-Kay.
Prep7 was keen to change the subject so asked,
“Why do the females here let the males roam free...... and give them so much ,almost as.... equals.”
Jfive laughed, “Would you believe some of the males think they are superior to the females.”
All three laughed at such a stupid notion.
“Mind you ” said K-kay, glad to be off the topic of murdering a male, ” once upon a time in our own history males roamed free .”
“Never” exclaimed Prep7 unable to believe such a statement.
“I believe, once that was so.” verified Jfive.
Prep7 eager to learn a little history asked.“What happened?”
K-kay leaned back in her chair, “Technology.” she said slowly, “If you think about it all change is driven by what can be done with what. That is technology, in this case the female of the species was able to reproduce without the male, able to produce food etc without the male, able to have fun without the male.”
“But we use them to reproduce... – in a round about way, not like these humans who appear to reproduce at will and are an infestation on this planet.” commented Prep7.
Jfive entered the conversation, “I believe we tried to reproduce without using any part of the male and without using the female body, but things went badly awry . Is that not so K-kay?”
“You could be right, at one time the male of our species numbered no more than 20 or so.
“How did it go wrong..., the last thing I want is to carry a ...” Prep7 found the thought so repulsive she could not finish the sentence.
“It appears, nature does not like the weak, the mis-sharpen you may say, but technology brought forth a repetition of weakness. Survival of the weakest as a cost apparently, for the species and for society. That is the best way I can put it. It was decided, this a is long ago, to bring back pregnancy and natural fertilisation but to keep the male in a box. By natural I mean insemination not like humans of course.”
“I find the human way, repellent..like..” add Jfive.
Just then an alarm of minor proportions sounded in the living room.
“She is on the move.” explained Prep7 and leaped to her feet.
Soon all four were gathered round one of the three computer screens located at the far end of a room that was just as shabby as the kitchen. Stuck to the screen was a label that read “14=Sultry” while a small red number 14 moved along a screen against the backdrop of a road map. Then as if by magic the number 10, in blue, joined the number 14.
“She has met the male, Carlo” Prep7 observed.
After some time both numbers stopped then disappeared from the screen. Prep7 whose job it was to remotely monitor the Olivetti gang, explained,
“They have gone inside a big building, let us see.”
On the screen a street view appeared showing “J.Case &Son Jewellers.
“Why have they gone inside a jewellery shop?”
Prep7 moved her hands skill fully over a keyboard, “Let us see if we can get closer.”
After some time the front of the shop swelled to a huge monstrous animal and they could clearly see several companies had their offices inside its belly.
“There is an Accountant” observed Jfive.
“A Media company.” chipped in K-kay.
“There ” pointed Prep7 She zoomed in on a nondescript plate which read, “Trent Detective Agency.”
“That is it.” Jfive sounded delighted.
“Going to her mobile phone.” said Prep7 as she furiously typed on another computer.
“It is off.” she exclaimed. “Reception poor.”
“So ” queried Jfive,
It took Prep7 some 15 or plus minutes to switch the phone on remotely and catch the conversation
“None of .....” a male voice, very distant, could just be heard.
Then the voice of Sultry came from the computer “I would like to see you without your spectacles. Do you ever take them off?”
Now the male must have moved for his voice was a little more distinct
“Only in bed.”
Very clear came the female’s reply
“In that case I would definitely like to see you without them.”
“What are they talking about?” asked Jfive as the phone picked up the sound of footsteps down a long corridor then the line died.
“They are flirting” answered K-Kay.
“She is leaving” Prep7 observed
“What is flirting?” enquired Jfive after a few seconds in a puzzled tone.
“I cannot begin to explain . I believe humans find it very pleasing.”
Sitting at her desk Prep7 looked up at her companion saying,
“How strange they are.”
In no time Prep7 had Trent Detective Agency up on a third screen.
“Look, does that say medical investigations under work covered.?”
Jfive appeared more animated.
“Now that girl is smart.” said K-kay
“Well, I think we shall have private words with Miss Sultry. You think?” announced Jfive.
“I suspect.” said K-kay rather sheepishly, “she understands our language.”
Every being in the room looked at her in astonishment even Fen34 who did not understand one word of what had been said.
“Impossible” declared Jfive emphatically.