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Monday 12 April 2021

Further Tales From The Village


    There was a man of mystery in the village, no-one knew who he was, no-one knew where he came from, and everyone kept their distance from him. Dressed in a black wide brimmed hat, black suit, and crimson lined cloak he wandered the village like a lost spirit. No-one ever saw his face, because he wore a black linen mask over his head. The only thing that could be defined was his nose and the spectacles he wore. They say that anonymity is the best form of disguise, if it was a disguise, it was a very elaborate one, as he stuck out like a sore thumb in the village. This prisoner was dressed more for the dimly lit, atmospheric of the Montmartre district of streets of Paris than the holiday resort atmosphere of the village. Some citizens nicknamed him Sandeman!
    “Who is this mysterious figure that goes about hiding his identity behind a mask?”
    “The Lone Ranger sir.”
    “I made a joke sir.”
    “Oh yes very humorous Number 14. You should be on the stage.”
    “The stage sir, so you really think so?”
    “Yes, there’s one leaving in five minutes!”
    “Oh very good sir.”
    “Alright, alright no need to go overboard.”
    “Unless you’re on the Titanic!”
    “What’s that you say?”
    “Overboard…Titanic….never mind sir.”
    “Oh you made another witticism do try to avoid them Number 14.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Well what sir?”
    “It’s a hole in the ground….get it?”
    “Yes sir.”
    “So who is this eccentric dressed figure that haunts the village, and creates such a pall?” 
    “No-one knows sir.”
    “What do you mean no-one knows sir, we must know.”
    “Well the story goes that he was once a man who wielded a not unsubstantial power, like yourself sir, a man who likes impressive offices, again like you sir” No.14 said glancing about the domed chamber that is No.2’s office.

    “Are you trying to tell me that he’s a former Number 2?”
    No.14 shrugged his shoulders.
    “Why isn’t he compliant by wearing clothes more in keeping with the village?”
    “He’s allowed to wear his own clothes sir.”
    “Why is that?”
    “I really couldn’t say sir, I believe he started wearing those clothes having had a bad experience.”
    “A bad experience?”
    “At the hands of Number 6 sir, who revealed him to be part of a spy ring operating in Paris.”
    “So he was brought here to the village.”
    “He was here already sir.”
    Suddenly the pair of steel doors opened and the diminutive Butler appeared.
    “Yes what do you want?” No.2 asked looking passed his assistant.
    The Butler stepped to one side and the mysterious cloaked figure stood framed in the doorway. No.14 turned round, the Butler withdrew and the mysterious figure spoke.
    “I imagine you were not expecting me!” the mysterious figure said.
    “What do you want?” No.2 asked.
    “To see you.”
    “What about?”
    The figure looked at No.14.
    “He’s my assistant, and confidante.”
    “If only I had had one of those perhaps I would have avoided my current predicament.”
    “Which is?” No.2 asked.
    “To act as a spectre, as a warning.”
    “A warning?”
    “Well you wouldn’t want to end up like me!”
    “There are worse fates, I’m informed my predecessor ended up a brainwashed imbecile on the town council!”
    “Who would be Number 2?” 14 thought quietly to himself.
    “I don’t think there’s much danger of me ending upon like you, 14.”
    “Yes sir.”
    “Rip this man of mystery’s mask off.”
    “You will take away my anonymity!”
    “I want to see who I’m dealing with” No.2 said rising up out of his chair.
    No14 stepped forward and made to rip off the black linen mask, the man of mystery did raise his hands in defence, but it was no more than a gesture. 14 then spun the figure round; flung off the wide brimmed hat he wore and ripped opened the back of the mask then spun the figure round again. It was a shock to look upon the face which just moments before had been hidden from human eyes. No.2’s jaw dropped, and then the face was once more dressed in a black linen mask. The figure stooped to pick up his wide brimmed hat, and with a theatrical swirl of his cloak the figure walked up the ramp and out through the opening steel doors. No.14 turned to face his superior, but found him to be completely alone in the domed chamber.

Be seeing you

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