It was full daylight now and Box was pacing agitatedly up and down the living room. Even though it was still early, the heat was building up. Through the French doors that he had thrown open, the angry buzz of a neighbour’s lawn mover started up.
“Zeus’s beard,” he said, irritated, “It’s not even six-thirty. The only ones who’ll be sleeping through that racket are people who wear earphones to bed. Where are those agents?”
Harold glanced at his phone again just in case, but there were no missed calls and no new messages.
“I’m sure they’ll be here as soon as they can,” he said, “What are we going to do when they get here anyway?”
“To be honest, I’m not sure yet,” Box replied, “From what you and the others have told me, it looks like someone’s trying to get Project Dynamo up and running again. The thing is, if it’s not OGS - who have an obvious motive to get rid of demons at least - then who is it and why?”
“And how, don’t forget how.” Said Harold, “Demons like Baron Samedi aren’t that easy to overcome. Even if Dynamo is working somehow and Enigma – “
“Enigma?” Box gave Harold a quizzical look.
“It was quicker to say than ‘our mystery adversary’ all the time,” grinned Harold, “Personally, I think it’s a bit obvious and cliché, we should really have gone for something like the Congregation or something spooky like that. Point is: having located one of us, it’s not a simple matter to get the upper hand. Demons who’ve been on the Brightside as long as Samedi and co – and angels like Illyriel - are practised in exercising their various powers. You were an agent once, you know this stuff.”
“Yeah,” Box flopped into a chair, “Binding would work, of course, if you were quick enough - and the demon couldn’t get away before you finished the words.”
“Tell me about it,” said Harold ruefully, remembering the unpleasant barbed-wire prickling sensation of Mercury’s Binding.
Box raised an eyebrow. “You’re Bound?” He snacked his hand against his forehead, “Of course! So that’s why you’ve been helping OGS. I should have realised. Honest to goodness, if I were any dumber, I’d lose a battle of wits with a flower pot. Getting careless and stupid in my old age is what I am. Here’s me treating you like one of the team and all the time -”
“But, I’m not Bound,” interrupted Harold.
“What?” Box’s face was a picture of disbelief. Demons helping out? This was new.
“I’m helping of my own free will.” Harold went on. And the moon is made of green cheese, his inner voice finished for him. “Well, sort of, anyway. Look, the Basement and the Penthouse have come to an arrangement of sorts – until this is over at least, and I’m sort of assisting OGS.”
“I see.” Box pursed his lips, “Well, there’s a thing. There’s a thing indeed.” He lapsed into a thoughtful silence as he paced.
Harold stuck his hands into the pockets of his borrowed leather jacket and was surprised to discover they were not empty. Carefully, he withdrew the items and laid them on the coffee table – a box of matches, some cinnamon tic-tacs and a small bottle of antibiotics. Harold checked to make sure that no other personal property of the jacket’s real owner remained – it was only polite after all.
His phone beeped. He snatched it up quickly and read the message.
“It’s Othello, “ he said, “They’re on their way.”