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Sunday 19 July 2020

Tales From The Village

     No.2 sat in his black spherical chair behind a grey curved desk. Leaning forward he pressed a button on the Control panel switching on the large wall screen. The view was not one of the village but of the Guardian perpetually moving in its confinement area somewhere on the seabed. In one respect it seemed to be malevolent, as though it would do you serious harm if it were to get out. And it would, the effects have been witnessed. But confined as it is it has a calming, soothing effect, it relaxes one almost to the point of sleep. No.2 often sat watching this Guardian when he felt stressed. The Guardian its job to care and protect, and yet it is confined and just as much a prisoner in the village as anyone. Worse, it’s a slave forced to police the village, to round up and subdue escapees even to kill if necessary.
    The pair of steel doors opened and a gaunt looking man in a white coat walked down the ramp.
    “Good morning Number 2” the doctor said.
    No.2 made no recognition of the man.
    “Number 2, you wanted to see me.”
    No.2 finally looked away from the screen and at the man in the white coat “Fascinating don’t you think?”
    The doctor looked at the screen “Currently we are conducting experiments using that Guardian in therapy techniques; also it’s possible that through the Guardian we can carry out indoctrinations on patients.”
    “To what ends?”
    “We do not know as yet, it’s very early days. You wanted to see me to ask about our friend Number 6.”
    “Yes doctor, how are things in that department?”
    “He’s given us quite a lot of information, most of it we already knew. He’s playing with us. I shall have to use more extreme measures in order to get him to give up the more vital information.”
    “Perhaps there is another way doctor……….”
    No.6 was eventually discharged from the hospital and allowed to return home. You know how it is when you’ve spent a long time in a hospital the outside world seems crowded and noisy. Well the village was anything but that, quiet yes, and there seemed to be no-one about. The taxi had dropped him off outside his cottage, which was at the back of the row of terraced cottages. He opened the door and went through into the lounge opening the French window he stepped out onto the small balcony.
    “Aren’t you going to offer me a drink?” a voice asked.
    No.6 turned round to see the figure of a man in the lounge. He was about 5 feet ten inches tall, with greying hair, 53 years of age with a thin moustache.
    “Doyle what the devil are you doing here?”
    “Get me that drink and I’ll tell you.”
    No.8 poured out two large whiskies, looks the same tastes the same but it won’t get you tiddly no matter how much you drink of the stuff!
    “Bottoms up as we say in the Navy.”
    “I could ask the same of you.”
    “You’re the last person I thought to see here.”
    “What do you mean by that?”
    “Too clever by half you are or were. I never thought the other side would catch up with you.”
    “And what about you?”
    “Oh you know me, I wasn’t that high up in the Admiralty, just about good enough to transport some secret plans of the Navy’s new guided torpedo. I was on a train in a locked compartment. I must have dozed off, I woke up here, and the plans……..well you can guess.”
    “I’m surprised they took you if all they wanted was the plans.”
    “Yes I wondered about that they don’t seem to believe me when I tell them I’m just a minor bureaucrat. Nevertheless they keep asking me questions about files I have seen, the projects I know about.”
    “You’ve told them?”
    “What do you think?”
    They drained their glasses and No.6 refilled them.
    “So why have you come to see me?”
    “I guess I’ve been sent here as a guide, to show you that you can expect the worst of it.”
    “Believe me I’ve already had the worst of it, you name it and they have just about done it to me.”
    Doyle thought for a moment “A man like you should be able to break out of here easy.”
    “Believe me Doyle it’s not so easy, I’ve tried.”
    “Perhaps we could try together.”
    “Why, do you have a plan?”
    “No, I thought you might?”
    “I’m fresh out of ideas. Really why are you here?”
    “I told you?”
    “Did Number 2 send you?”
    “How do you mean?”
    “I haven’t forgotten, we never did find out who the leak was in navy Intelligence.”
    “You think it was me!”
    No.6 threw his glass of whisky into Doyle’s face.
    “You were always a bit of a blister. It’s no wonder no-one could stand you!”
    “Get out!”
    “Don’t you worry, just wait until I file my report with Number 2.”
    “I’m sure he’s already well apprised of the situation, and you’re still nothing more than a lap dog!”
    “Why you scumbag!”
    The two men began to grapple with each other exchanging punch for punch, throwing each other about the cottage, upsetting table lamps picking up ornaments to throw at each other and smashing against a wall when they missed! The fight was brutally hard fought Doyle was thrown against shelves in an alcove his body receiving a number of blows. But he managed to throw his adversary off and lunged at him hurling him to the floor; No.6 hit the back of his head on the coffee table and slumped on the carpet, unmoving.
   No.6 was dead! The terraced cottage of 6 Private was cleared of all the furnishing, fixtures and fittings, and then closed up ready for a new occupant. Doyle who had gone too far with No.6, was held to account in
London by his masters. A few weeks later he arrived back in the village…….as a prisoner!

Be seeing you

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