“Fancy a game?”
“I’m sorry I don’t play chess.”
“You should learn.”
“And you’re the man to teach me.”
“I learned to play the game from a grand master.”
“Number 2 himself. It was a cold morning when No.34 managed to break the security seal on one of the windows to my cottage, that way he was able to leave my cell and break out into the village.”
It was dark, a little after curfew and the nightshift would be just settling into the normal pattern of activity. This was the best time to stage an escape, as calculated. Having climbed out through the window he was careful to close it behind him, then he dropped down into the bushes, and crouched there for a couple of minutes peering out into the gloom of the night. There were outside lights on, enough to guide his way, but not so many that he could not keep to the shadows. His route through the village took along the front of a terraced row of cottages, down a set of steps, across the road, down a second set of step and along a cobbled path. He stopped and crouched own, peered into the darkness and listened.
In the Control Room No.2 was putting a late shift in as he and the Supervisor-No.56 stood watching the wall screen in green night vision.
“How far are you going to allow 34 to get?” the Supervisor asked.
“Oh just far enough and no farther” No.2 replied and he instructed the Observers to keep a sharp watch.
No.34 moved on, but keeping low, passed Hercules and the pink pavilion, then right along a short cobbled path and along the road down towards the old people’s home. Then working his way along the quayside he put his back to the village and headed towards the cliffs.
“How much further are you going to let him get? The Supervisor asked.
No.2 still watched the screen “We have him in infra red, there’s nowhere for him to go that we cannot see. Besides I want to know what he’s up to this Number 34.”
No.34 made it onto the cliffs, more than that he had made his way down to the bottom of the cliffs and onto the beach. He took a small torch from his pocket and pointing it out to sea began to flash a light.
“There!” the Supervisor ejaculated “A light, it’s a message, who can he be signalling to?”
“I don’t know, is that Morse code?” No.2 asked “perhaps there’s something on radar, a plane?”
“No sir, there’s no aircraft” the radar operator reported.
“Sonar?” said No.2.
The sonar operator reported that there was nothing coming through, there was no ship or submarine.
No.2 could not understand it “There must be, he must be signalling to someone.”
No.34 crouched down on the sand maintaining the flashing of a light out to sea. He couldn’t understand why there was no response to his signal, “The Tunbridge must be there” he thought to himself. He checked his wristwatch, then he thought of the small radio in his pocket. He took it out and shining his torch shone a light so he could tune it into the right wavelength. Then he dropped the torch it bust against a rock he swore then put the radio to an ear, but all he could here was static. “Where is that blasted submarine?”
In the Control Room No.2 still stood looking at the wall screen, the supervisor was talking with an Observer.
“It’s not Morse code sir, just random flashes of light. But he is trying to attract someone’s attention.”
“Someone he thinks should be there, but perhaps has by now long since departed its station!” was No.2’s estimation of the situation.
“Do we bring 34 in now sir? asked the Supervisor.
“Yes, no, there’s nowhere he can go, there’s no-one out there, I think we’ll leave him to spend the night on the beach. I shall leave it with you, goodnight.”
“Goodnight Number 2.”
As the Control Room returned to normal routine operations, out on the sand No.34 was faced with the prospect of spending a night on the beach, and the thought that no-one, from his world the marines nor special forces were coming. Turning back to the cliffs he remembered there was a cove, and set in the cliffs was a cave, he shone his torch to get his bearings then put the torch out, no point in attracting the attention of the Observers. However the light from the torch had attracted something altogether different, altogether more deadly. The white amorphous mass came at him out of the darkness, by the tide. He had heard the blood curdling roar it was too late for him to react. It was on him in an instant, he clawed at the white membrane that covered his face, his lungs were burned deprived of oxygen, he fought to catch his breath but he was slowly being suffocated, he cried out then fell back onto the sand…..dead.
Be seeing you