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Wednesday 2 October 2019

The Passenger

    “How do you like my taxi?”
    “Its trendy I’ll give it that.”
    “Yes, where I come from I’m more accustomed to black cabs.”
    “Black taxis!”
    “Yes, only young trendy people in London drive or are seen to ride in Mini-Mokes like this.”
    “So we are trendy young people.”
    “Yes I guess we are. Are we nearly there yet?”
    “I asked to be taken to the nearest town.”
    “I did tell you we were only the local service.”
    “Yes, but I’m willing to pay you to take me to the nearest town. So far we’ve gone round and round, up and down the same roads…twice, isn’t there a road which takes us out of the village?”
    “Yes, but you’ll only end up back here in the end, that’s why we’re called local!”
    “Look, just take me as far as you can, and I’ll take it from there.”
    “What are you going to do?”
    “Find a road to the nearest town.”
    “But there isn’t a nearest town, there isn’t any town, there is only the village.”
    He pulled hard on the hand brake bringing the taxi to a dead stop. He climbed out and began to walk.
    “You can’t leave” the driver shouted out after him.
    “Why not?”
    Suddenly a white amorphous sphere appeared emitting a blood curdling roar.
    “Because of that” the driver said.
    “What is it?”
    “Get in and I’ll drive you back to the village.”
    He climbed back into the taxi, and it sped off back down the road towards the village.
    “What was that thing?”
    “The Guardian, keep away from it whatever you do.”
    “What does it do?”
    “It serves and protects the community, but it doesn’t like anyone trying to leave.”
    The taxi came to a stop.
    “I’ll let you out here.”
    He climbed out, and stood looking at the rear off-side wheel.
    “Looks like you’ve got trouble.”
    The driver got out and went to inspect the wheel, just as the passenger climbed into the Mini-Moke and drove off. He drove down the road taking the left hand bend at the far end. Then passed the café, turning left and down the road, passed the Town hall, down the hill towards the old people’s Home. Then a hairpin bend, and a sharp right down the slipway and onto the beach towards freedom. He put his foot hard down on the accelerator; there was nothing to stop him now. He glanced over his shoulder, he was leaving the village in the distance. But then through the windscreen he saw that same white amorphous sphere heading straight towards him on a collision course. Just then he realized that the Moke had a canopy, and as long as he remained in the vehicle the thing couldn’t get to him. He pressed on, and began to weave the vehicle this way and that in an attempt to out manoeuvre the white sphere which was in pursuit, and then drove the Mini-Moke in the direction it happened to be pointing in, leaving the Guardian and the village behind in his tracks. He felt exhilarated, he shouted out in pure joy. Then suddenly a tyre blew and he lost control of the vehicle.
    “Post 5 make your report” said a voice over the radio.
    The man laid down his rifle and picked up the radio “Front off-side tyre sir, he’s lost control of the vehicle.”
    The white Mini-Moke was brought to a stop by the driver who climbed out and began to walk.
    In the Control Room the Supervisor stood watching the action play out on the wall screen. He picked up the yellow ‘L’ shaped intercom “The subject is now on foot walking across the sand away from the village towards the southern perimeter.”
    “Very well, orange alert” No.2 ordered.
    In the Control Room the Supervisor passed on the order “Orange alert.”
    Somewhere on the seabed a second segment of the Guardian was released from the containment area. The white amorphous sphere travelled upward through the water eventually burst through onto the surface of the sea. It instantly began skimming across the waves towards the mouth of the estuary where it took to the sand, rolling and bounding towards the lone figure. The man stopped and gazed into the distance, there was a white sphere heading towards him. Looking in all directions all he could see was the expanse of sand. He began to run, to run towards the cliffs but it was touch and go whether he would make it as now two spheres were closing in on him. Running was not easy, his feet sank in the soft sand slowing his progress. He was still a hundred yards or so away from the relative safety of the cliffs, he glanced over his shoulder as he ran, then he tripped, stumbled, and fell to the sand. The white membranic Guardians were but a few feet away emitting that blood curdling noise, a cross between Gregorian chant, a bicycle pump, and someone breathing through an aqua lung. He stumbled back onto his feet and began to run but they were on him in an instant knocking him to the ground, then he rolled over face down in the sand. The Prisoner thought this his only defence now, but then one of the things, this amorphous sphere began to smother him until it engulfed his whole body. In a strange kind of way he felt it must be like being back in the womb, he found he could breath, and it was warm, its funny but he felt a kind of comfort, he felt safe. That was until a mixture of acids began digesting his body, his blood giving the white membrane a pinkish hue. And on the beach nothing was left but the clothes the prisoner had worn.
    The Guardians rolled and bounded across the beach back towards the sea, eventually returning to the containment area at the bottom. In the Control Room the Supervisor and Observers returned to routine surveillance of the village

Be seeing you

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