It was like being submerged in thick warm liquid. He felt safe and secure, as though nothing mattered anymore and sort of peaceful calming embrace he had no wish to leave and yet something was pulling him away. At first just a gentle tugging he tried to ignore, unable to tell whether his eyes were closed or not but he tried to clench them shut tight none the less. If his eyes had been open then there was nothing to see but black, then the tugging increased its insistence.
First he felt it behind his arms, then legs. Then it spread up his spine too the back of his neck and then his hair was being pulled. He fought as hard as he could without knowing how to, he couldn’t feel his body, couldn’t move his legs or arms or head, all he could feel was the constant pull trying to take him away from this place. The warmth was dissipating too, he felt cold and unease penetrate the safety of the new environment......then....then there was light, a tiny spot in front of his eyes growing steadily bigger and closer......
Robert’s eye’s snapped open and was hit by horrific mind shattering pain as well as blinding white light burning his eyes. He wanted to scream out in agony but something was covering his mouth, something cold and plastic, he felt pressure on his eye lids and they closed again.....
The new place felt wrong now, no longer in anyway warm or safe, the constant tugging ripping through his spine and now he felt as though liquid was filling his lungs, he wanted to cough but couldn’t, like running out of breath at the bottom of a swimming pool, he was going to drown......
His eyes snapped open again and this time found the source of the light, a huge surgical lamp hanging over him, he tried turning his head left and right and could now make out shapes moving around him, people dressed in dark grey surgical scrubs and face masks. Two stood over him examining a section of his chest that wasn’t covered by surgical blankets there was a lot of blood.
“Damn it he’s coming round again!” snapped the first of the two, a male voice “Get more anaesthetic in him now.......stop that bleeding! Where the hell is that pacemaker?”
Robert heard no more as he closed his eyes again. He did not return to the place of warmth and peace, but instead fell into a deep sleep.
He was standing in his hotel suite, in the living room, surrounded by his men, all dressed in quality suits and watching him with apprehension and fear. They should be fearful. Each one of them had signed their own death warrants the minute they had decided to join against him. He turned on the spot to look each one in the face before the moment he knew was to come.
Some could look back, although not bravely, the rest hid their faces by staring at the floor or out through a nearby window. Fifteen, fifteen of his oldest employees, men he’d literally pulled from the gutter, the absolute brink of human waste and given them meaning and purpose and now, this is how they would repay him. He wondered, wondered if anyone of them would actually have the guts to pull the trigger themselves? To stand in front of him, stand in front of him and look him in the eyes before ending his life? He doubted it.
Finally he reached the point at where he’d started, staring back at the face of a man he had known and, to a certain extent, trusted. There was no loyalty or compassion in his gaze, no trace of emotion for the man he was about to kill, his childhood companion, other than a tiny smirk across his face. Robert Farrell’s executioner pulled the hammer on the revolver into position then said something, something Robert’s memory was choosing to block out.
The gun barrel was now pointing directly at Robert’s chest. There was no sound, just the flash of the gunpowder and a tiny trail of smoke. Robert wasn’t aware he’d been shot at all, there was no pain just a sense of falling, he knew he was crumpling to the floor as the ceiling and upper bodies of his former personal guard disappeared out of view.
Then he was lifted into the air, his eyes were still open, he could see the living room door approaching. As they passed through it Robert felt something else, another presence behind him, left in the room. An unnatural presence that sent a chill down his spine, then, as they carried him out and down the hall way, the presence disappeared. He knew where they were taking him, the spare room. The room at the end of the hall which was always under reconstruction of some kind, the room all his unwanted guests ended up visiting, the room with the missing window and the builders rubble shoot that lead down to the sealed skip bellow.
The men were talking but still he couldn’t make out what they were saying, they sounded scared but not of him, chattering like children, if only his memory would allow him to remember what they were saying? Then it was in front of him, the missing window and the rubble shoot, cold wind and rain was seeping into the room, he could feel it splatter down his face. Slowly they tilted his head towards the entrance of the shoot and then he was sliding, fast, his body crashing and spinning around the giant yellow pipe, he felt a rush of wind on his face and saw the dark black of the exit hole. He reached it in no time and then the feeling of falling before......
He sat straight, clutching his chest and waiting for the pain to return, it didn’t. Robert looked around dark room he found himself in. The walls were dark grey-black brick and stunk of damp. There were no lights of any kind, the only light seeped into the room from a tiny barred window set high in the wall across from the tiny and very uncomfortable bed he had apparently been laying in. Where was he? Had his executioners realised their mistake, found him alive and now they were keeping him locked up for some reason?
Robert pulled back the pathetic blanket covering his legs, he was wearing what looked like a dirty hospital gown and the room was icy cold. He tried to swing his legs off the bed but found them impossible to move and when he tried they throbbed as if he’d had them bent at a strange angle for too long. Again and again Robert tried to pry his lower body away from the mattress but only succeeded in tiring his upper body out instead.
“Don’t try to move yet, your leg muscles are still too weak, try practising wiggling your toes first” the voice was coming from behind him, a young woman’s voice. Robert tried to turn his head but could only just make out the very edge of what looked a thick lead door, “Who are you?” he asked, despite having just woken up in a strange dungeon like room, semi crippled and freezing, he sounded remarkably calm, “Just trust me, your legs will not be strong enough to work properly for a while, just practise using your feet and the rest will come.”
Robert ignored her and continued to try and swing his legs off the bed, this time his legs did move. Robert swung his feet to the edge of the bed, then pushing back on his hands, straightened himself up and pushed off. His feet hit the floor and he stopped for a moment to catch his breath, Robert could now see the door in full, massive and definitely lead. A small letterbox sized window in the door allowed Robert to see his visitor for the first time, or rather, the floppy black fringe or hair that covered her eyes almost completely.
“Please listen to me,” the woman continued, “even if you manage to stand up...” Robert pushed off the bed, “you’ll only end up....” but it was too late. Robert’s legs had no strength at all and he crumpled to the floor, smashing his knees hard on the cold stone. He heard a lock click and the dory or swung open. Robert turned his head to take in the young woman. She stood no more than 5ft 5 her very thin frame was covered in a dark blue dress that reached her feet and a black shawl, her hair was ebony black and fell down to her lower back.
The woman crouched down next to Robert, “Next time do us both a favour and listen to me please, the tone in her voice was of kindness rather than frustration, he turned to look her in the face, her floppy fringe had slipped to one side revealing her full face. He was transfixed, she was the most beautiful person he had ever seen, her nose was small and had the tiniest upward tilt at the point. Her cheek bones were high and strong allowing for a thin but graciously curvy face, her lips were pert and palest pink.......but it was her eyes that held his gaze, they were brilliant electric blue, the most brilliant and unnatural blue he had ever seen and even then, just looking into them he would have sworn they were growing brighter.
“Come on,” she said putting an arm under his and trying to lift him, “we have to get you into bed before the others come looking for me.” Others we coming, the door was open and she was convinced he was to weak too defend himself, this could be his best chance for escape if he was clever. Robert allowed her to help him regain some balance then take a couple of controlled steps back till his backside touched against the bed, slowly she helped him lower himself down until he was sitting on the edge of the bed.
“Ok, let’s just get you tucked back in.....” Robert made his move quickly grabbing her throat he slammed her back against the bed and pushed as much weight down on her as he could. “Now,” he whispered at her in cold unfeeling tones, “call these others, tell them to get your boss down here now, who is it anyway, Abigail Knight? Connor? Who do you work for?” he loosened his grip on her throat a little and she coughed, “I have no idea what you are talking about,” all kindness she sounded scared, but not of him, “but I swear if you don’t let me go right now there is no measure to how sorry you will be!”
Robert gave her a twisted evil grin and was about to respond when his expression dropped, something strange was happening to her eyes. A tiny glimmer behind her pupils, then the retinas began to flash wildly, the whites pulsing with what looked like raw, white energy. Robert pushed his body off hers but could not help but watch and her face began to darken, not just her face but her hands to and as he looked at her feet, he saw the exposed areas of her legs begin to blacken, her whole body was turning jet back.
Then the bed started to shake violently, Robert fell back off the bed and hit the floor, the young woman sat up, her teeth bared and hands clenched, the power growing inside her had become a white glowing aura around her body. Suddenly more people burst into the room, Robert saw one, a young man dressed in ripped blue denim and carrying a sequinned cloak or blanket which he threw over the girl. Robert never saw the other, but he knew someone was standing behind him, someone immense and powerful.
Hands gripped him from behind and lifted Robert into the air, he could see the entire bed and floor, the woman and man struggling on the bed, the cloak pulled down tightly over her, the young man turned towards Robert and addressed the one holding him up in a panicked commanding voice, “BARRY FOR GODS SAKE, PUT HIM TO SLEEP AND HELP ME!” then everything went black.
Robert’s eyes slowly fluttered open again. He was back in bed but this time completely unable to move, he looked down and saw the thick leather restraints binding him to the mattress. Realising he was not alone, Robert turned his head as far as he could and saw the young man in blue denim, ripped jeans and matching jacket and a thick red sweat shirt, he looked furiously down at Robert, his lips actually pushed back over his teeth. The two men’s eyes met but neither spoke, the young man was obviously trying to psyche Robert out but Robert was well practised and would give nothing away.
“Thank you Wolf,” came an older commanding voice from where Robert new the door to be, “you may leave us now, I doubt Mister Farrell will be any trouble bound to the bed.” Wolf stood still for a moment continuing to stare down at Robert before obviously thinking better of ignoring the command and turned towards the door, he left the room he never breaking eye contact with Robert once.
The older man came into view, he was tall, over 6ft and very well dressed in a deep blue pin striped suit complete with waist coat pocket watch, chain and finished off with a pair of wire framed glasses perched on the end of his pointed nose. He was thinly built but pristinely groomed, his crop of multi-greying hair slicked perfectly back over his head. Robert could tell immediately that this man was in a clear position of authority if not the very person he had wanted to meet. It was time to get some answers.
“Robert Farrell,” the man was pacing the room, from the far wall back to the door and reading from an extremely thick file, “Who are you?” Robert asked, the man stopped pacing and turned to face him, “If you speak again I will call Wolf back in and I feel certain he will more than enjoy gagging you, do you understand? Nodding will be fine.”, “I’ll ask you again,” Robert was calm and cool, “who are you?” The man snapped the file shut and called “Wolf!”, moments later the youth returned carrying a leather strap with a large rubber ball attached to it.
Before Robert could utter a word Wolf had brought his knee down hard on Robert’s chest, Wolf pushed the ball hard into Roberts mouth then pulled the leather strap over his head and tightened it till it was crushing Roberts head. Then as he got up, Wolf dropped his knee back down hard into Roberts jaw, “Woops” he sounded neither sorry nor concerned that the man behind him might punish him. “That’s enough Wolf, thank you.” Wolf left the room again grinning broadly at Robert, “I think,” the man began again, “that a night like that will teach you that in here, Mister Farrell,” he leaned in close to Roberts face and smiled at him, “you are completely and utterly powerless.......sweet dreams.”
The man left the room and slammed the door closed. Robert could hear two sets off footsteps moving away and a young voice laughing. Robert pushed at the ball with all the force his tongue could muster but the strap was to tight and it was digging into his head painfully. He looked up at the wall with the tiny barred window, the sun was streaming though at least he assumed it was the sun. It was so bright that the same thought kept coursing through his mind, that if it was the sun, if it was still daytime, he would be stuck like this for a very long time.
Robert closed his eyes, this was his speciality. This is what he was famous for, not caring. Incredible patience, terrifying patience and a coolness that most special-forces operatives would kill for, he would sink into his own subconscious, black out all outside tension and stress. Robert sank into himself, trying to take his mind back to that night again, he needed to re-analyse it, to understand the event properly. He tried to put it back together piece by piece, first the room, its black corner sofas and white rug against polished black wood flooring, the glass cabinets full of expensive antiques, alcohol decanters and glasses.
Then him, he pictured himself standing directly in front of the roaring fire place, the glass top coffee table on his other side. Robert was dressed in his pure black trousers and an open black silk shirt, his jacket and tie removed for the evening, he stood at 5ft 9, his short black hair was slicked back over his head. Robert’s features were attractive. A slender face with a perfect profile, yet all this was over shadowed by the coldness in his almost grey-blue eyes. He had a slender athletic build and always had his shoulders hunched up and always alert.
Next his men, all fifteen of them, one by one he placed them around him until finally only one person was missing, Connor Blandford. Robert focused his mind and put Connor into the scene. He stood almost a foot taller than Robert, almost three years younger and much broader. He was thin faced to, but pointy and less attractive than Robert, Connor had the kind of face you would instantly distrust without reason. His upper body was clearly the more powerful than Roberts but, as Robert was famed for his calmness, Connor was not.
Connor was a time bomb of fury and adrenalin and the expression on his face clearly told Robert he was running out of time. Everything was now exactly as Robert remembered it, it felt quite unusual looking down on the scene of his own execution. What happened next? He had done his turn on the spot, looking from one of his men to the other before ending up staring at Connor again. “So,” it was Robert who spoke first, “this is it then, after all these years, from one failed scheme to another, all the tantrums and.....” Robert stopped talking, Connor had cut him off but he still couldn’t make out what he was saying.
Then he felt it, that strange presence he had felt in the dream. It was a cold sensation, much like how he expected it to feel if a ghost was to pass through you. Roberts mind scanned the room, every inch and yet the strange feeling seemed to have no physical presence in the room. “So why wait, Connor” Robert had started speaking again, “kill me and take my place at the head of the business. Knowing your ability for cool logic and being able to think things through calmly, you should hit bankruptcy in about six months....” the gun flashed, smoke billowed from the barrel and Robert crumpled to a heap in front of himself.
Connor had said something else but he could not focus on the words, something was stopping him. Every time he tried the sensation of something else being in the room grew more potent. He watched as his own men picked up his body and carried it from the room, his mind was pulling him with them, he could not stay here he had not been in the room to remember what happened. As his mind pushed his consciousness through the door, he noticed two things he had not before, the first was Connor. He was flinching nervously, speaking in a hushed muffled voice and looking terrified. The second was a movement, something shifting at the back of the room, something unseen lurking in the shadows.