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Thursday 6 June 2019

The Arrival

    “He’s just arrived Number Two.”
    “How is he settling in?”
    “He’s shocked, confused, disorientated.”
    “That’s only to be expected. I’ll invite him for breakfast, and have a little chat.”
     It’s quiet, almost too quiet enough even for a drum solo! No sound of traffic outside, he pulled up the blind and looked out of the window on an unfamiliar sight. Gone was the street outside his house, and the row of houses opposite, to be replaced by cottages, statues, a bell tower a lawn with a large chessboard set out on it, and an Italianate Piazza. He spun round in confusion this was not his house. Suddenly the telephone began to ring, he walked over and picked up the receiver.
    “Welcome back to the village. It’s time we had a little chat. Number Two, the Green Dome.”
     The man left his cottage and walked out into the village, there were a few people out and about now. One fellow riding passed on his tricycle rang his bell and bid him good day. He walked through the village, along a cobbled lane, up some steps and onto a road. Crossing the street he went on a bit then climbed the steps up to the Green Dome, where he stood for a few moments on the balcony looking down on the square on the opposite side of the road. People wearing bright coloured clothes, piped blazers, straw boaters, carrying open colourful striped umbrellas. All going about their daily business. He turned and faced the large arch, he went under it and approached the door to the Green Dome. He was just about to pull the wrought iron bell pull when the door opened for him. He walked through the doorway and into the foyer beyond. There a diminutive man dressed in black tails bowed, and ushered the man though a pair of French doors to a pair of solid steel doors, which opened at their approach. Beyond the open door was an impressive domed chamber.
    “Do come in why don’t you, you’re just in time for breakfast.”
    Understanding the butler bowed, turned and went to make breakfast. The man stepped forward and down the ramp, the big heavy steel doors closed with a resounding clang behind him.
    “Well now, how have you been keeping?”
    “I’m sorry but I seem rather confused. Where am I?"
    “What do you mean where are you, you know where you are, you’re in the village.”
    “What village?”
    “Do you know who you are?”
    “Where have you been for the past six months?”
    “Is this how it begins?”
    “How what begins?”
    “The interrogation.”
    “Is there a need for an interrogation? All I’m doing is asking you a couple of questions. Now where can the harm be in you telling me who you are and where you have been for the past six months?”
    “Because that’s where it begins, answer one question and you expect all the rest will follow.”
    Suddenly the pair of steel doors opened and a tall thin man walked in. Brown hair, hazel eyes, wearing a light blue jacket with dark blue piping, a fawn coloured turtle neck jersey, beige trousers, and deck shoes.
    “This is Number Fourteen, he’s my assistant.”
    “I didn’t think he was your wife!”
    Number 14 made a bee-line for the Prisoner.
    “Wait, it’s too soon for the strong arm stuff. Fourteen here is an expert in delivering physical pain. If I were to leave you in his tender care for two, perhaps three days, you’d come whimpering to me to tell everything you know. So why not make it easy on yourself, thus saving us both a great amount of time, and you an enormous amount of pain.”
    “Number Two can I have a word?”
    The two men turned away from the Prisoner.
    “You know who he is?”
    “Yes he’s one of ours. He was released back into circulation, but as someone else, his mind housed in another man’s body, after undergoing the Seltzman mind transference process. The idea being to gather information, then to eventually return to the village in order to give us that information.”
    “But he doesn’t remember us or the village!”
    “Something has gone desperately wrong!”
    “The amnesia room!”
    “Every plan has its flaw sir.”
    “How do you mean?”
    “You know what they’ve done don’t you?”
    “I think I can guess.”
    “They put him in the amnesia room and removed all memories of the village from his mind.
    “And now we’re forced to take the information inside his head!”
    “It was expected that he would be brought back to the village and then he would simply tell us what we wanted to know. But now he thinks we’re the bad guys, and that we’re on the other side!”
    “This is a fine mess someone’s got us into! Break the security of any nation my foot!”
    “What now?”
    “Take what we sent him out for, then remove all memories of the village, and send him back out there, what else can we do?”
    “Life is never easy is it?”
    “It could be worse.”
    “How, tell me how could it be worse?”
    “It could have involved Number Six! This fellow here you should get him to tell us everything we want to know in a couple of days.”
    The man refused to talk. One day when he was allowed to reconsider his position he went for a long walk off the cliffs.

Be seeing you

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