Saturday, 20 October 2012

Episode 92

At the far end of the hall from where Harold, India, Box and Mr Teeth were grouped, a set of steel security doors swung open and a small group of Infinity employees trooped out, led by a middle-aged,  clip-board wielding woman, sporting a hastily-donned hi-vis vest blazoned with the words ‘Fire Marshal’.

Harold and India, invisible still in their suits, instinctively shrank back against the wall as the small group passed, no doubt heading for the door to the underground parking garage, which would be the nearest exit.  The fire marshal, seeing Box and Mr Teeth making no apparent move to exit the building, halted by them and began to insist that they leave with her group.
This was a tough one for Box: if he and Mr teeth failed to act normally and leave, suspicions would be aroused.  On the other hand, if they did as they were told, the demon and Agent India would be left on their own.  There was no way he could even tell where those two were right now, much less get any kind of signal to them.

“It’s probably just a drill,” he said quite loudly, ostensibly to the woman, “we’ll be all trouping back in here again in a minute, I bet.  Nothing to get worried about.”

She gave Box a slightly quizzical look and held out an arm in an ‘after you’ gesture.  Box and Mr teeth reluctantly turned and started walking.
Harold and India had discovered early on that they could see each other whilst the suits were powered up, even if nobody else could see them – a most sensible feature for a suit with military applications.  As the group of employees filed past, Harold beckoned to India and began running towards the security door, which was beginning to swing closed.  He had noticed that the doors were very thick steel and beyond them was a large, well-lit area.  Perhaps, he thought, Agents Mercury, Othello and Prada were being hed in there somewhere.  Not knowing what better to do and very keen not to get separated, India trotted after him.


The door to the conference room opened and four grim-looking guards stood in the corridor beyond.  The nearest of them barked at Mercury, Prada and Othello to accompany him and no nonsense.  The three agents did as they were told.

“Where’s Moon?”  Mercury asked the guard.

“Not here.” Replied the man, in a flat voice.

Outside, in the hallway, there was a quiet orderly bustle as the relatively few employees present in the building at this time of night made their way to the nearest exit, just like they’d no doubt drilled.

Pretty soon, they were in the Infinity parking lot.  The guards ushered them to stand apart from the main body of employees.

Mercury looked around, eyes narrowed, seeking possible escape opportunities.  There weren’t any but as his eyes swept over the small crowd of Infinity people, he was astonished to see….could it be?  Reverend Box and the big enforcer, Mr Teeth, dressed in something that looked like what the guards that captured them had been wearing.

He nudged Othello and gave a slight twitch of his head.  The other agent glanced casually over to where Mercury had indicated and his eyes widened slightly, but that was all.  He was not going to do anything to alert the guards.
Mr Teeth felt the vibration of the phone in his pocket.   He pulled it out and held it to his ear.  It was Pauli, asking for instructions now that things had apparently changed.  No part of their plan had included an inpromptu fire-drill after all.

“Wait ‘till we’reall  back inside, then carry on as agreed,” He said. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Episode 91

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The van rumbled to a halt at the security barrier outside Infinity Recycling. A uniformed guard emerged from the gatehouse and approached. Box nudged the barrel against the van driver's ribs and hissed at him not to try any funny business. The driver wound down the van's window as the guard approached, and held up his id.

The guard examined it briefly, checked the photo against the driver’s face, nodded and went back into the gatehouse. A few moments later, the barrier swung up and the white van rolled into the compound.

'Take us to where you'd go if your mission had been successful,' ordered Box.

The driver nodded and swung the wheel around, piloting the vehicle around to the back of the building. He drew to a halt facing what looked to be a blank wall. Box looked at him quizzically. the man shrugged and pressed a button on the van's key fob.

Ahead of them, two sections of the wall slid apart, revealing a well-lit tunnel within.

'Wow, that was certainly well disguised,' murmured India from the back of the van. The vehicle jolted into motion once more and they headed into the tunnel which curved away to the right and sharply downwards.


Prada was pacing the room once more.

“It’ll be light soon,” she said to no-one in particular.

No-one bothered to answer her. Mercury was slumped in his chair, eyes closed, while Othello stared out of the window. A few triangular sandwich packets littered the long conference table, along with a few cans of drink.

Since a silent guard had dropped off the food and drink, they had been left to themselves. Prada sighed and moved to stand next to Othello at the window. There wasn’t much to see; the window looked out into an internal courtyard which boasted a patch of grass, some planting and a few seats – presumably for the Infinity staff members to take breaks.

“I can’t help feeling we should be doing more,” she continued.

“Like what?” asked Othello. “We can’t get out, we can’t contact anyone. Best we wait it out for now and see what happens.”

Prada sighed and turned to face into the room once more. Out or boredom, she let her eyes wander where they would, although she didn’t expect to see anything she hadn’t seen before: long, polished conference table; squeaky leather conference chairs, cupboards with nothing in them. Her eyes wandered to the ceiling. It was the usual suspended affair made up of tiles interspersed with long fluorescent light fittings.

“Could we get out through there?” she wondered aloud.

Othello turned to see what she was looking at.

“Doubt it,” he said, “The space above isn’t that big and I don’t think the structure would bear any of our weight.”

“Pity,” Prada sighed. Then she drew in a quick breath, before speaking in a low voice. “What about that?”

She pointed at the centre of the ceiling where a small round smoke detector protruded from the middle of a tile.

“Interesting,” agreed Othello, also in a low voice “but unless you’ve got some boy scouts to rub together…”

“I just might have,” grinned Prada.

She grabbed her jacket from where it hung on the back of one of the chairs and began ferreting in one of the pockets.

“A-ha!” she whispered, triumphantly, holding up a small, flat square of folded cardboard.

“Who knew a hole in one’s pocket could actually be useful?”

Othello stepped over to get a better view as Prada opened out the cardboard.

“Thank you, Crazy Jake’s Bar and Grill,” she breathed.

Inside the cardboard there were two matches


They left their erstwhile chauffeur gagged and bound in the rear of the van. There was a solid-looking door set in one wall of the basement car park and Mr Teeth and Box headed over to it. A few steps behind them, Harold and India followed.

A quick swipe of the Infinity goon’s id card resulted in a most satisfying clunk as the door’s locking mechanism disengaged. Box pushed the door open to reveal an empty, brightly-lit hallway leading away into the building’s interior.

“Looks clear enough,” grunted Mr Teeth.

He went through the door, followed by the others. Behind them, the door swung closed on its spring, locking with a click. Box glanced at his watch.

“Five minutes,” he said quietly.

Mr Teeth grunted acknowledgement.

The little party made its way along the hallway, Mr Teeth and Box leading, followed by an invisible India and Harold. They soon reached an intersection of corridors. There was nothing much to indicate the best way for them to go to find Mercury and the others. The goon hadn’t known – or had pretended not to know – where they would have been taken.

“There are some stairs through those doors up ahead,” said Box, indicating a set of double doors, above which someone had helpfully placed an emergency sign.

They began trotting down the corridor towards the stairwell.

Just as Box reached out his hand to push open the double doors, the air was split by the wail of a klaxon.

“Too early!” yelled Box above the racket. “Go to plan B!”

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Episode 90

“Well, I hate to say it, old button,” said Teatime, “But I did tell you so. These OGS types are putting up with you only for as long as takes to resolve the current situation. I must say I’m glad you’ve finally seen it for yourself. Mind you,” He paused for a wicked moment, “I’m surprised that Agent India waited this long before using her taser on you again.”

“Oh, ha, ha,” replied Harold sarcastically, “I might have known better than to expect sympathy from you, but I really thought we were finally getting somewhere here. She even agreed with my idea of getting Mr Box out of the hospital. I’m such an idiot.”

“For the record,” said the little monkey, “She was acting for the good of the mission, if what you have told me is true. I’m sure she took no pleasure whatsoever in it.” He could barely keep his little mouth from stretching into a grin as he said this, however.

Harold knew the little fellow was right of course – he usually was, the smartypants. That didn’t make it any easier to accept, though. He sighed to himself. Why, oh, why did he always have to crave everyone’s friendship and approval? You’d have thought that after all these years he’d have grown out of that particular weakness, especially since that was precisely the character defect that had got him banished to the Basement along with the rest of the rebels all those long desolate years ago – as his father never tired of pointing out.

Live and learn?

Apparently not.

“What are you two talking about?” asked India. Harold and Teatime had been talking in low tones in Infernal for privacy.

“Nothing,” replied Harold curtly.

India raised an eyebrow: clearly the demon was still ticked off. She didn't care.  It wasn't like she needed its forgiveness anyway.

Harold, Teatime, Mr Teeth and India were travelling in the back of the Infinity Recycling van. Driving the van was a very morose member of unit four, whose cooperation was being encouraged, so to speak, by the gun that Box was pointing at him from the passenger seat. As an additional assurance of his good behaviour, the other members of the team were being held – after some rough but effective first aid - at Mr Teeth’s house by some of Pauli’s men. The rest of Pauli’s people were following on in their own vehicle.
Box was wearing a silver suit cobbled together from the least visibly damaged bits of the suits that the intruders had been wearing. That the ski mask-like headgear that went with the suits obscured his features was an added bonus.

Mr Teeth had not been happy to have one of the Infinity Recycling people drive the van but, as Box pointed out, they would need someone with valid credentials to get past the security guard at the gate. What happened after that… well, any battle plan was only any good until the first encounter and everyone had their part to play and all they needed was to get inside the compound.

“Ok, we’re getting close now,” said Box from the front, “Demon, you’ll need to switch on your suit.”

Harold did so. He had no idea whether the invisibility suit would prevent Infinity’s detectors from registering his presence – they only had India’s experience (and Box’s when they had tested it again to be sure) to go on.

Once again, the world seemed to switch to bizarre hues and all sounds became slightly muffled.

India, sitting opposite, relaxed slightly, the constant irritation of Harold’s presence having ceased the moment he had activated the suit. She took this as a cue and activated her own suit.

This had been the weirdest mission; working with demons instead of banishing them, fancy invisibility suits… They never covered any of this in training. Maybe she should request an extra module to be added in future… As things stood, she could not wait to get this strange mission over and done with, could not wait to get back to the everyday business of spotting the Fallen and despatching them back to their accursed home where they belonged. Well, the way things were turning out, one way or another, she would not have much longer to wait for that happy day.

The van bumped and swayed a little as it made a right turn onto the business park that housed the buildings belonging to Infinity Recycling.

“Get ready, people,” said Box, his voice tight with excitement. “We’re almost there.”

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Episode 89

Teatime was still some distance from the house when he heard the sound of Mr Teeth’s shotgun.  He scampered a bit more quickly through the leafy darkness of the lower branches of the many ornamental trees surrounding the property. The scent of oranges hung distractingly in the air, but there was no time for such things now. He got to the edge of the trees at last and peered towards the house.

The security lights at the rear of the property had come on and in their fierce white glare, the little monkey could see two men sprawled on the ground near the open patio door. They appeared to be wearing silvery suits, whose metallic sheen was now being spoiled in places by trickles of blood from the men’s wounds. The men were still moving feebly, and Teatime could hear their faint cursing.

Abruptly, the sound of another shot rang out – a different weapon this time, by the sound of it. This was followed by the sound of something smashing and tinkling inside the house, but Teatime could not see who had fired. It certainly hadn’t been the two men on the ground, so that must mean there were more invisible types about. How jolly annoying! If it weren’t for the fact that the demon and India needed the invisibility suits that Harold had liberated, he was all for going back and advising that they drive away and leave Mr Jackson to sort things out himself.  He seemed capable enough.

The suits were needed, though, and they were in the house. Teatime scratched his chin thoughtfully for a moment. If Mr Jackson could see the intruders properly, he could probably deal with them: he’d probably faced worse odds in his time on the streets as a young man, and he clearly had no qualms about shooting people.

As he gazed around for possible solutions, Teatime’s eye was caught by something over at the base of the back wall of the house. An idea suddenly sprang into the little monkey’s head. It would be risky, as he would be in plain sight if he went over there. Still, he was confident the two wounded intruders were in no position to interfere with his plan, and he was willing to bet that any others would be intent on the doorway into the house.

There was no time to lose. He leapt from the tree, landing lightly upon the smooth green expanse of the lawn, and raced for all he was worth towards the thing he had seen.


“I should have gone with him,” Harold said, as the sound of the second shot came to their ears.

“No,” said Box, firmly, “Those people are bound to be looking for you, and we don’t know if they have any more of those freezing machines. You’re best staying away from them.”

“But what if he gets hurt?” protested Harold, “You humans seem to have no qualms about shooting each other for the slightest reason – a little animal isn’t going to be very safe, is he?”

“He’ll be OK,” said Box, “He’s a smart little creature; he won’t take any unnecessary risks.  Just sit tight.”

Harold slumped unhappily back into his seat. Box was probably right, but if anything happened to the little fellow....

He drummed his fingers.

He tried to think calming thoughts; usually, a nice piece of music would pop into his head to do the job but, tonight, his mental orchestra seemed to be gigging elsewhere.


It was no good.

Harold flung open the car door and jumped out.

“What in the name of Zeus are you doing? Get back here!” barked Box, opening his own door. He and
India exited the car as Harold set off down the street towards the high wall encircling Mr Teeth’s garden.

The other two set off after him, India lugging out her taser as she ran.

Harold was already astride the top of the wall when they reached it.

“For pity’s sake, come down!” urged Box, his voice ragged from running.

India didn’t say anything, she simply whipped up her taser and fired.


Teatime covered the ground between the trees and the house in several nerve-wracking seconds. Banking on the idea that the intruders would be looking anywhere but into the garden, he ran in a straight line across the lawn, veering off as he reached the edge of the pool of radiance shed by the security lights. Here, he ran round the edge of the lighted area so as to remain invisible as long as possible.

A low stone balustrade ran round the edge of the patio, which was a stone-flagged area slightly higher than the lawn. Teatime kept this low barrier between himself and the area of the doors as he scrambled quickly round to the house’s rear wall.

Another shot roared from within in the house; the first weapon Teatime had heard had evidently been discharged again. Although the weapon made a terrific racket and shot peppered the area, it had no other effect. Teatime hoped fervently that this did not mean that the other intruders were inside the house already.  If they were, his cunning plan would be to no avail.

Crouching as low as possible and thanking the universe for his grey colouring, he made his way to his objective. At the base of the wall, there was a hinged metal cover. Teatime flipped this up, glancing around nervously to check that he was not being observed. Idiot! He chided himself. They’re invisible. How in the name of all that’s unholy are you going to know if they’re watching you?

Having no means to prop the cover open, Teatime resorted to the undignified expedient of resting it on the top of his head. Behind the cover was a simple control panel, whose controls were labelled in Spanish. Teatime pressed the large green ‘Activar’ button and the ‘sistema de aspersiĆ³n‘ sprang into life.


India skipped smartly out of the way as Harold hit the pavement with a crunch that made even the grizzled Box wince.

“Are you out of your mind, Agent?” Box whispered furiously. Somewhere over the wall, another shot rang out.

“Sorry, didn’t exactly have time to discuss it,” she replied, rolling Harold onto his back with her foot. She leant over him. “Listen, demon. Believe it or not, I did not want to have to do that, but I am not going to let you ruin everything by running off and getting yourself caught. I get that you’re concerned for your little monkey-thing, but he’s way smarter than you are and knows how to keep his head down, which is more than can be said for you.”

The effects of a taser are more severe and longer-lasting for demons’ vessels that they are on humans. This was just as well, because if Harold had been able to move right then, he would have liked very much to throttle Agent India on the spot. She was right, of course– at least in part – which was pretty annoying in itself. Teatime was smart and quick. The thing that really galled him, though, was that India had used her taser on him – again! He hadn’t been planning to just go running in willy-nilly; he had learned that much from recent events, at least. But the fact of the matter was, she clearly still didn’t trust him or respect him.

After all they’d been through. After all he’d done to convince her that he was on her side!

What did you expect? said a cynical little voice at the back of his mind. Did you really think they would ever see you as part of their cosy little team and all go running around having jolly adventures together? Wise up, dummy! They’re just using you, and when this is over, it’ll be back to the Basement like nothing ever happened.

“We don’t have time – “ India’s voice trailed off. 

When she’d shot Harold that first time, his eyes had displayed shock and surprise more than anything else.

This time, however, they were absolutely ablaze with anger.


Mr Teeth’s expensive garden sprinkler system came to life.  From many artfully concealed nozzles, jets of water gushed out and began to play over the garden, soaking everything in sight – including the patio.

The state-of-the-art Rainbow Industries camouflage suits were fantastic pieces of technology. Although they were sufficiently waterproof to keep on working perfectly well as the sprinkler water landed on them (they had been developed for the military, after all), they – and the men wearing them – still provided a physical obstruction to the water’s inexorable journey to the ground. At once, two intruders were outlined by the water, sparkling silver in the glow of the security lights, splashing off them. From inside the house, Mr Teeth’s deep bark of laughter came to Teatime’s ears, followed immediately by the roar of his shotgun. The blast caught the two men, who had been crouched close together by the doorway, obviously looking to creep into the house and take its owner by surprise.

As the buckshot tore into them, the hi-tech suits immediately stopped working, leaving two more sprawled silver-suited bodies on the patio. Teatime pushed a large red button on the control panel and the water shut off. He watched as Mr Teeth strode out through the ruined patio door and deftly disarmed all four intruders, before turning to where he was crouched.

Seeing that his saviour had been none other than the tiny monkey, the big man’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Thanks, man, that was good thinking – and good timing.” he rumbled, “I owe you. Never would have thought of using the water like that." His voice turned thoughtrful, "Pity the fancy suits got wasted, though.” Setting his shot gun against the wall, he checked the four men’s injuries – the buckshot had left multiple wounds, but none appeared life-threatening.

He retrieved the gun again and leaned up against the wall where he could see all four downed men.

“What now, Mr Jackson?” asked Teatime.

“Now we wait for Pauli and his boys and then we’ll figure out what to do with these guys.” He waved the tip of the shotgun’s barrel at the erstwhile intruders. Where are the others, anyway?”

“They’re waiting in the next street,” Teatime replied, “I’d better go and fetch them I suppose.” He scampered off into the trees once more.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Episode 88

“Drive on past and don’t slow down” barked Box from the passenger seat.

They had just turned into the road that led to the gates of Mr Teeth’s swiss-cheese-windowed mansion. A white van bearing an Infinity Recycling logo, its lights out, was parked so as to block the gateway. The gates themselves stood ajar. There was no sign of anybody around.

“How on Earth did they find us?” India wondered aloud.

“No idea, but they obviously did.” Box exhaled heavily. “This is not good. We’ll have to assume that Mr Jackson won’t be able to help us now, I think.”

“We can’t just leave him, surely?” said India.

“I’m not sure we have a choice,” replied Box, “We don’t have any weapons apart from your taser and we have no idea how many or how heavily armed the Infinity Recycling people are. Our best bet is to get ourselves away from here. I’m betting the Infinity goons aren’t looking for Mr Jackson anyway, so once they find out we’re not there, they might well just leave.”

“We have to get into the house, anyway, though.” Said India.

Box frowned. “Why’s that?”

“The invisibility suits are in there. We need them if we’re going to get into that building. Plus, if we just wait around for them to go, they might find the suits and take them back. We didn’t exactly hide them.”
Box rubbed his brow.

“OK, ok, drive slowly and let me think.” He sighed.

Harold, Teatime and India waited in tense silence as the little brown man cogitated.

“Alright,” Box said, at length. “The first thing we need is information. Mr Teatime,” he said, turning to the little monkey, “would you be willing to go on a information-gathering mission?”


Mr Teeth woke with a start. He’d been dozing at his desk, waiting for the OGS people to come back from the hospital with their colleague. He cast a bleary eye around for the source of the insistent beeping that had awoken him. On his computer screen, a message balloon had popped up, informing him that the front gate had been opened without authorisation.

Mr teeth had grown up on the streets and had a very keenly developed survival sense. He knew that the OGS people had the code to get in the gates legitimately, so whoever had triggered the alarm was no friend of his, that was for sure.

Silently blessing the foresight that had made him spend so much on his security system, he pulled up the feed from the gate camera.

The gates were ajar. A truck was parked across them, but of its occupants there was no sign.

He flicked through the feeds on all the other cameras around the house and grounds.


He stood up and operated the combination lock on the silver-grey metal cabinet behind his chair. The lock gave one final click and he swung the door open. From inside the cabinet, he took out a pump-action shotgun which he quickly loaded and cocked. He grabbed a handful of extra shells and stuffed them into his pocket – you could never have too much ammo as far as he was concerned.

He made his way out of the study into the unlit hallway, pulling the door closed behind him. He stopped to listen for a moment, at the same time allowing his eyes to adjust to the darkness.

No unusual sounds came to him, but then it would take anybody a little while to reach the house from the gate – even running.

He fished his mobile out of his pocket, quickly thumbed through the contacts list and selected one.

“Pauli, this is Elroy,” he said quietly when the other person picked up the call. “Got some unwelcome visitors here, gonna need you and your boys sooner rather than later.”

“Be there in twenty.”

Mr teeth grunted, ended the call and dropped the phone back into his packet.

There were three ways into the house: the front door, the patio doors at the back, and the door from the garage. Mr Teeth didn’t think that the intruders would come in the front door. The garage would be problematic too, as the intruders would have to get it open it, then skirt the car to get to the house door, which was an extra obstacle if locked – which it was. No, too much could go wrong with that, and it would take too much time for them.

That left the patio doors.

With the house empty but for himself, only Mr Teeth’s study had been lit.

Keeping out of direct line of sight of the living room doorway, he moved quietly along the dark hall until he could stand to one side of the door to the living room and look in.

A rectangle of pale moonlight marked the position of the patio doors. Through them, Mr teeth could see a smooth expanse of lawn running down to the trees and the ornamental pond. Nothing moved out there; not even the wind stirred the tree branches tonight.

After about a minute, Mr Teeth became aware of a soft sound, a kind of metallic clicking, coming from
where the patio door lock was located. Someone was trying to pick the lock. So, whoever it was had elected to take a quiet approach.

Mr teeth steadied the barrel of the shotgun against the doorframe assumed a more balanced stance. He could
still not see anyone out there – and his PIR-activated lights had not come on either, which they most certainly should have done by now. Clearly, whoever was out there had access to one of those invisibility suits that the OGS girl and the demon had been going on about.

This was a problem: there was no telling how many people were out there. The van he had seen on the camera feed looked like it could hold half-a-dozen people at most. Six to one were not great odds and when the six were invisible….

Part of Mr Teeth’s brain kept trying to tell him to exercise that particular type of discretion which is the better part of valour and beat feet out of there. A more stubborn part of it, however, put its fingers in its ears and hummed loudly; this was his home after all and he would not be driven out of it.

A soft click came from the lock area. Mr Teeth angled the barrel of the shotgun towards that spot.
The patio door began to slide open – all by itself, apparently.

Mr Teeth fired.