Something old, something new

James was tired and feeling low. Having parked his car in the garage under his apartment, he’d gone up the internal stairs and headed straight for the fridge. When he felt this way it was generally best cured by food. Despite his thin frame James had a huge appetite and he began pulling out sausages and eggs for a very late-in-the-day fry-up. Flicking on the radio to catch up with the day’s news he stared out of the apartment’s river-view window, the smell of cooking sausages and drifting news stories temporarily relaxing him, lifting his mood a little.

****************** 

Outside, a team of rowers skulled along the Thames, rowing hard and then coasting up the river’s centre to catch their breath. Eight dwellings lined up along the riverbank and in the third one along, James stood at window looking out. Once the rowers passed the apartments their pace resumed. The Cloak Watch was now watching. 

****************

Msg to Shop Front.

> Mannequin home. 15:45. No contact. 

>>>  

Msg to CW Dressers.

> Work to rule. Regular placement updates please.

***************

The letter box flap clanked and James came out of his doze. He’d eaten, lain back on the sofa and drifted off listening to team selections for the evening’s Champions Leagues games. A menu for a local indian restaurant lay on the floor, a classic A5 sized, 4 pages of poorly photographed curry dishes. James bent to pick it up and placed it with the pile of other nuisance mail balanced on a small table to near the front door. Coffee. Football on the TV then some work on a research assignment the SAC team had issued.

 *****************

 Msg to Shop Front.

> Item delivered. Sound is good.

 >>> 

 ****************** 

Director Goddand stepped into the room and closed the door quietly behind him. “Peter” said a voice, “how good of you to join us, take a seat – Kelly will fix you a drink”. Peter did as he was bid and lowered himself into an old leather chair.

The room had the initial appearance of private room in some gentleman’s-only club from the 1960s – wood panelling, leather furniture and a sense of steeped, privileged history. On one wall however, there was sharp reminder of the present technology-rich day: three large plasmas hung like paintings, each with silhouettes of a single head and shoulders of a hidden individual. From left to right, the ‘Shop Keeper’, ‘Accountant’ and ‘Caretaker’ projected their presence.

The Shop Keeper spoke, “What do you think of Esther’s opinion?” A slight pause, “My colleagues believe you’re over-reacting – a cloak watch sets all sorts of alarm bells ringing and they are not welcome sound Director”.

“I think Esther is right to be cautious. You may remember her encounter in Berlin” Peter was cut short as the Accountant spoke across him “We all remember Berlin Director, there isn’t anything I don’t record in the ledger – we need to know if this is real. Is it real? Can we confirm a Sentinel?”

“And there it was” thought Peter “It was out; the word Sentinel”.  He answered, “With respect, we cannot confirm anything as yet. A cloak watch was only instigated yesterday, as you know. The team is working on arranging a set of ‘tests’ but until they’re ready we’re carrying on as normal.”

“If, and that’s a big if Director – this uncovers a sentinel, a real live sentinel working for us, working within SAC, that could be quite an asset.” said the Shop Keeper. “And” continued the Caretaker, speaking for the first time “an incredible danger”.

****************

Director Goddand climbed into the back of his waiting car.

Msg to CW Dressers.

> Tonight. Confirm readiness.

>>> 

 ***************

 

The End

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