Monday, 1 May 2017

Fans Fiction Mitchell Part Three by DJ Forrest


Mitchell Pt 3

By DJ Forrest




Mitchell sat on the soft bed in the doctor’s surgery, his legs dangling over the edge and stared down at his feet. He was sat in his socks and boxers, his clothes tossed untidily onto the metal legged chair beside the bed, where a paper towel roll lay spread up the middle of the plastic leather upholstery. Dr. Lexi Barlow was the opposite side of the room, her long shoulder length blonde hair tied back in a pony tail caught the sun as she moved in front of the window. Rays of light shafted through the gap in the drab curtains. She was filling a syringe and had her notes half written on the desk in front of her. It was Mitchell’s monthly check up.
   ‘You’ve lost weight are you eating at all?’  She called over her shoulder and heard him move on the bed, peeling his legs off the plastic coating.
   ‘Mitchell, it’s important, are you eating?’
   ‘Depends what you mean by eating?’ He concentrated on her figure hidden from view behind her doctor’s coat, her figure hugging top that held her body in just the right places presenting a multitude of hopes from each of her patients. He knew she wasn’t dating anyone, there was still that chance, still that hope, and after the expensive meal, the walk back to her flat above this place, she must surely know of his intentions by now.
   ‘You know exactly what I mean.’  She turned to face him, the syringe ready with a solution to boost his immune system. She saw his thin complexion, pronounced cheek bones, his skin tight around his chest and were those more bruises?
     Mitchell sighed.  ‘I only eat when I’m hungry.  Besides it hurts when I do.’  He looked pained at her; the beatings had taken a lot out of him. If it wasn’t Brody it was Tweedle Dum and Dee, Alex’s men. Why they couldn’t just talk to him like normal human beings instead of answering everything with a left jab. 
     He watched her push the needle into his skin at the top of his arm and winced. She smiled. 
   ‘You’re such a baby.’
   ‘Hey that hurt.’  He added taking hold of the cotton ball after she’d removed the needle. ‘I don’t have to come here and take this you know.’
   ‘True, but then you and I couldn’t catch up and you know you can’t resist our chats, and as I recall it was your turn to bring the cakes.’  She teased. He’d brought her a box of cakes once which had been fresh. What he’d failed to tell her were they were already hers from the kitchen downstairs.  He smiled, then grinned.
   ‘Ok, but on one condition.’  Lexy looked at Mitchell.
   ‘What’s that?’
   ‘That you kiss me.’
     She shook her head laughing. ‘You never give up do you?’  She popped the syringe into the dispenser and pulled off her latex gloves binning them and returned to her notes. ‘You can get dressed now.’  She called finishing up and signing off the papers, closing the file and pushing it into her filing cabinet. 
   ‘Aww come on.’  He moaned padding over to her, slipping his hand gently against her waist, his chin against her shoulder.  ‘You and I... we’re made for each other.’
     She laughed and turned to face him, their eyes close, lips even closer. 
   ‘Mitchell please, I am your doctor, not your lover.’
   ‘Moriarty’s.  I bought you dinner.’
   ‘On a stolen man’s credit card.  I do remember.’
   ‘I still bought you dinner, and flowers, and that cute little laptop, come on if I didn’t like you I wouldn’t go to great lengths, and if you didn’t want it, you wouldn’t have accepted it.’ Mitchell added.
     He studied her face, inhaled the sweet aroma of her perfume, if he could remember the smell he’d buy her a fresh bottle of it. His hands traced up her blouse, pushing aside her work overall. 
   ‘We could make sweet music together, push aside the boundaries of doctor patient relationships. What have you got to lose?’  With his left hand slipped around her waist he pulled her closer, and felt her breath against his lips, he was almost drunk with her scent.  He slowly, carefully dipped his head to meet her lips.
     For a moment or two she allowed him to kiss her, felt his soft lips caress hers, her arms slipped around his waist, his soft warm skin, his aroma, her mind slipped back into work mode and she pushed him away. 
   ‘No this is wrong, I can’t.’ She rubbed her lips and turned away. Closing her eyes she hated herself, she couldn’t. She just couldn’t.
     Mitchell snatched up his clothes and left the room. She heard the outer door slam shut and sighed.  
     He worked off his anger that seemed to rise a lot these days, perhaps it was the weather, perhaps he was just sick and tired of playing. He liked her, no loved her, but she’d never see that. Maybe it was the flat, maybe he was pushing it too much, perhaps he had to give her space. He slowed his pace maybe that was it. Maybe he had to allow her to make all the moves now. 
     Accepting this he walked along the pavement, passed the mini mart, the watch repairers and the ATM machine. He passed the kid stepping from the newsagents with an ice cream on a cone and into the path of the black sedan with Tweedle Dee and Dum. 
   ‘Get in.’  A man in dark shades and a thick neck and pit bull of a face growled.
     Mitchell took a step back and shook his head. 
   ‘No, I’m done with this, I’ve had it, you want the blueprint you go get it yourself.’  He saw the brute step from the car, and bolted, cutting across the road. Mitchell dodged between a Number 88 bus and a cyclist. The cyclist squealed on his brakes and shouted abuse before regaining his composure. Mitchell cut through the shopping mall, a small array of expensive shops with few customers, and selling items that the average joe wouldn’t or couldn’t afford. 
   From the view of the road, the black sedan was still following him, Mitchell frowned. He took the road away from the streets, away from the shops, and out along the railway, out towards the embankment. He could run all day, but the heat and the lack of energy was punishing him. He stopped to catch his breath, the squeal of brakes and he glanced ahead.  The sedan was parked.
   ‘Damn you!’  Mitchell cursed. He thought of the route, he could go under the bridge at the canal, across the barges, out along the old warehouses, but he was too exposed. Where? Where could he go?
     The side window slid down and Alex peered out, his dark eyes and impeccable dress sense oozed wealth and power. 
   ‘Give it up and get in the car.’
     Mitchell remained where he stood.  ‘I’m not getting in. I’m done. I can’t get what you need, I’ve tried drugging the guy, I’ve fucked him sideways and I still can’t access what you want.’  He protested.
   ‘Get in the fucking car and stop wasting my time.’ Alex hissed impatiently.
   ‘NO, I’M DONE WITH THIS, DONE WITH YOU.’  Mitchell backed away. He turned and ran, disappearing in amongst the buildings to his left and the throng of shoppers coming out of the shopping centre back in the busy streets once more.
     Alex leaned back in the seat.
   ‘What do you want us to do boss?’ The driver asked, his gruff voice choked in the suit, beads of sweat gathering pace around his thick neck and bald head. 
     Alex flicked the handheld device that sat on his lap, raising it up he smiled as a red dot flickered through a selection of small squares, zooming in he located the red dot, and isolated the squares to be the shops in the centre. At some point he knew the boy would head home, giving up on being chased, all animals went home in the end. He’d wait.
   ‘Take me back to the office, we’ll deal with the boy shortly, give him time to think he’s won.  Mitchell is a creature of habit, and at 4pm he makes his way back to that hovel he calls a home. And we’ll be waiting.’


     Captain Jack Harkness kicked open the door of Building block 3 and came face to face with a large male crocodile, its shoulders just wide enough to squeeze out of the gap.  He yelled in fright having almost run into its sharp snapping mouth and called out to Gwen, amidst the screaming coming from the mint sucking Marley.
   “GWEN? GWEN, ARE YOU OK?’  He yelled trying to see past the large hulk of reptile.  With weapon drawn Jack was torn between firing at it, and firing over its head. In the end he did neither and pressed his comms.
     Marley was beside herself with fear; more mints were falling from the torn packet in the pocket of her borrowed coat. Gwen weighed up the situation – quickly, then something became apparent, the size of the creatures could easily have taken both Gwen and Marley in two snaps of their giant jaws but no, they weren’t after them. 
   “Marley, shut up.’  Gwen became aware of the strength of their jaws so close but still not in attack mode.
   ‘Marley shut up and look at them, look at the crocs, they’re not attacking, what are you doing, what are they doing?’ Gwen could still hear Jack shouting and called back on the comms.  ‘I’m alright Jack, they’re not attacking, they’re....eating.’  She followed the white ball that fell from the shaking girls’ pocket and saw the crocs follow the scent. 
   ‘They’re after the mints. Marley how many more have you got in your pocket?’  Gwen edged towards the girl standing a couple of feet away from her. She was still crying memories of her more recent encounter with them had come to the fore. But even as she watched, she noticed for herself that they weren’t attacking, they were waiting on her instruction. Slowly Marley reached into her pocket and gripped the ripped bag, she yelped as a stray mint fell from her pocket and rolled to the female crocodile that snapped it up inches from her feet. 
   ‘See if you can encourage it to the other side of the room.’ Gwen suggested, as the other crocodile baying for freedom returned to the female.
   ‘How?’  Marley never took her eyes off the large reptiles.
   ‘Look at them, I wonder if they’re like dogs, pets, if you can make them do what you want?’
   ‘Are you serious?’  Marley turned from the creatures and gave Gwen such an incredulous look that Gwen had to admit it was a long shot. She raised a smile of encouragement, right now she wanted to be out in the fresh air with Jack, rather than in here with these.
   ‘Just a bit.’  
     Marley swapped three mints into her right hand, the crocs followed the movement.  ‘Worst case scenario is I’ll throw and they’ll take my arm off.’
   “No worst-case scenario is running out of mints and still being in here. Now throw the bloody mints.’
     Jack watched in wonder but also calculated the distance the girls were stationed at, to run back to the exit and escape.  He kept an eye on the security guards, but nothing had moved outside. 
   ‘Hurry up I’m not sure how much time we have here.’
     Gwen glanced back at the door and wondered if all else failed she could shoot the lock, but judging by the large key that would have slotted into the lock, it might have required more than one round, and if that was the case, she’d not have chance to fire twice. She saw the daylight catch on the backs of the crocodiles, both of which had patches of hair on their backs. She remembered the blurred photographs back in the Hub.
     Marley tossed the three mints in her hand past Gwen and into the darkness of the room.  At first the crocs didn’t move and Gwen wondered if they knew what they were planning, then as the mints clattered to the ground both creatures ambled after it, swishing their tails from side to side as they ran. 
   ‘NOW.’  Gwen grabbed Marley’s arm and jostled her towards Jack and the way out. Jack pushed the door closed as he heard and saw the crocs making a bolt for freedom and more mints. 
   ‘You alright?’  He glanced at Gwen and the girl, pale as the mint balls in her sweaty hand.
   ‘I’m good let’s go.’  Gwen turned to run back the way they’d come when she came face to face with fully loaded weapons held by young men barely out of school. In amongst the throng limped an elderly man in white slacks, white open neck shirt, greying to white hair, short cropped, and metal framed glasses perched mid way down his nose. 
   Jack put away his weapon and noticed Gwen still had hers in her right hand. He stared at the throng of six young men. Six young men with firearms pointing in their direction. 
   ‘I’m sure we don’t need to use those.’ He never took his eyes off the weapons, noting how nervous the fingers behind the triggers appeared to be.
   ‘I wouldn’t be so sure.’ The stiff English accent boomed from the group that parted like a sea of green allowing Lord Henrick Bishop through. He wasn’t as tall as Jack, perhaps 5’ 8’ but he was muscular and his thick stubby fingers had probably throttled more tardy workers than Jack had done to his own staff over the years. 
   ‘Torchwood I take it?’  His eyes took in Gwen with her side arm, firmly gripped he noted, he glanced with disgust at Jack before his eyes settled on Marley. And what are you doing with them. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted you. Give you a job? You disgust me, you and your layabout boyfriend, I might have guessed it was you.’  Bishop pointed a stubby fat finger at Marley, and snarled at her. 
     Gwen glanced at Jack who did the same back before staring at Marley. 
   ‘What are you talking about?’ Jack asked.
   ‘Her, this traitor in the midst. What is it with young folk, they see something that is different and immediately it’s animal cruelty or they want a share of the wealth, so what is it, missy, see something you liked, thought you’d cash in on it. Was I not paying you enough?’  He raised his hand as if to strike her, as Jack stepped in and took hold of the man’s hand mid swipe. Several raised weapons pointed towards Jack and Bishop.
   ‘You’ve got the wrong girl, now why don’t we talk about this and you can tell us what the hell you’ve done to these creatures, because from where I’m standing, you’re operating on creatures that don’t belong in this environment, creating monsters you can’t control.’  Jack growled.
   ‘Oh but we can.’  Bishop snatched back his arm and straightened up.
   ‘What, with mints, sweets?’  Scoffed Gwen, her eye on the gun-toting teenagers. 
   ‘That was an accident, but it works, it calms them down, all the trainers use them.  Or are meant to use them, but your boyfriend...’  He growled back at Marley, who still shaken from the crocodile encounter was still whimpering and a mess from the ordeal.  ‘...cost us a life today.’
   ‘What do you mean?’  Jack narrowed his eyes.  ‘And call your dogs off.’  
     Bishop glanced back at the soldiers.  ‘At ease.’  He returned his gaze towards Jack.  ‘This is my property. I breed creatures who will adapt to any climate, you can see for yourself Captain, that our world is changing, climates we once had for the creatures of our world are lost to cultivation of green belt land, to swamps and forests. Before long these creatures won’t be able to survive.’
   ‘So, making monster versions of their former selves will do what exactly?
   ‘Arm them against the future.’
     Gwen raised a brow.  ‘Where have I heard that before?’
     Bishop rounded on her.  ‘We know all about you. Torchwood. How you operate. You will not shut me down. I have dealt with you in the past.’
     Marley perked up.  She remembered the reports back on the desk, two of the operatives from their Glasgow office had disappeared after inspecting this place. But it wasn’t this place, it was the place on the other side of the anomaly. And why was he referring to Marley as being an employee or his, when she wasn’t.
   ‘So if you know all about us, you’ll know that we CAN and we WILL shut you down.’ Jack said, studying the man with simmering rage.
   ‘On what grounds? Clearly it was you who were trespassing. These animals never leave the compound, they are purely here for experimentation purposes. I treat them with respect and understanding, and they are fed, trained, and looked after. I have never ill treated an animal in my life.’
   ‘It was that word back there, experimentation.  Why would you want larger creatures than those of their original state, why would you want to experiment on nature’s creatures?’  Gwen clipped her gun back into its holster and stepped back slightly from the men. She could hear noises from behind the door. She glanced at Jack and gently flicked her head towards it.  Jack moved slowly away as he listened to the old man, till Bishop stood with his back to the compound.
   ‘...and furthermore...’  But that was as far as Bishop got before the walls began to crack around the door frame. The soldiers backed away, Gwen, Marley and Jack edged away, removing their weapons and edging towards the exit, only Bishop remained standing. 
   ‘What the...?’  He could only stare as the wall crumbled in a mass of falling masonry, as Elvis, or the new Elvis pushed at the concrete brickwork and sent the door frame and surrounding wall out with such force that Bishop was forced to retreat. He felt the force of the brickwork clip him, they hit him hard in the back and legs but he kept moving, turning only when the bricks settled. 
     From where they stood, Jack, Gwen and Marley could see the sheer size of the crocodiles, both now wading out of the swimming pool, the green slime and algae clinging to their scales. 
   ‘Oh my God, the size of them...’  Gwen said, aghast. They were huge, they were bloody huge!
   ‘Now do you believe me?’  Marley countered, glancing between both Jack and Gwen, open mouthed, stunned by the enormity of the reptiles, the size of Volvo Estates and tails the length of giraffe’s necks.
     There was a volley of shots as the young soldiers opened fire on the advancing reptiles, amidst calls of halt from Bishop to no avail. The bullets penetrated the thick hide, but did nothing to stop the crocodiles from wading towards the group, singling out the white suited man, the large mint of all. 
     Marley turned away as with one snap of the giant jaws, Bishop was bitten almost in two, only his feet to the ankles remained.  Jack winced before realising that the scent of the mints were still strong, and given their powerful receptors, it wouldn’t take the female long to realise that the girl standing beside Jack and Gwen still had the treats they so desperately craved.
   ‘Run.’  Jack instructed pulling Marley back.
   ‘But if we run Jack, they’ll gain ground.’
   ‘We have to do something, those creatures get a taste for freedom who knows what they’ll do.’
     Marley shook herself free.  ‘You go.’
   ‘No...don’t do this.’  Gwen guessed where this was leading.
   ‘Back there there’s no Geoff, here I have a chance.’
   ‘NO, here is another of you.  Geoff is going to freak and plus crossing your own time line.’
   ‘But it’s not my time line, another dimension, another me.’
   ‘It’s still not a good idea.’
   ‘What choice do we have, if I can get them into the building, a more secure building....I have to try Captain.’  
   ‘Ok.’ Jack accepted.
   .Jack, no, no she can’t.’  But Gwen knew judging by the size of the crocodiles advancing towards them, that Marley was maybe right. 
     Jack flipped the VM cover and scanned the perimeter, keying into the schematics of the building itself. He could see that three of the enclosures were still intact, but there was no way that these two large hulking creatures would fit back in through the doors.
   ‘There has to be somewhere else.’  He studied the design as Marley stepped towards the lugging reptiles homing in on her scent.
   ‘Hurry up and find one because I only have 9 mints left.’

***

Ripley’s Music Hall had been abandoned for over twenty-five or more years. It sat derelict. The wooden beams were peppered with holes caused by woodworm years old. Wallpaper hung heavy with dust, peeled from the walls. Pigeons cooed and sheltered in the loft space, gathering on the window ledge in the dying embers of the day. On the second floor where the balconies once gazed over the stage, Mitchell sat quietly, the opening in the wall where the wooden slats had decayed and the brickwork had crumbled, gave fresh air into the dark building. Mitchell had come here quite often as a boy, it was one of the first places he’d stayed after he’d arrived in London. It provided shelter, and overlooked Take Away Road as he liked to call it – rows upon rows of fast food joints, open from 11am right through to four in the morning. 
     He sucked the chicken grease from his fingers, the delicate sauce that dribbled down his hands of the marinade. It would never guarantee to fill your belly healthily, but then given that his only vegetables came from swanky restaurants using a stolen credit card, or in the take away boxes of fried, or garnished burgers he was doing well to achieve at least two of his five a day. But she was right, he was losing weight. 
     He’d bolted the food down, but he knew given the next few minutes the pain in his guts would result in him throwing up what he’d eaten, or suffer the pain for the next 12 hours of what was worse than indigestion. But he needed the energy, he needed sustenance and he needed the hell away from London.
     Since leaving the care home his destination had only brought him to London, there seemed something familiar about the city, something that had brought him here, a drive.  But now after spending the rest of his childhood, and now a year off his 25th birthday, he still hadn’t found what he was looking for. But Lexy...how could he live without her?
     He felt the first bouts of pain splinter inside him, the sharp jabs as the food passed through to his stomach and began to break down, but it felt as if it had bypassed his stomach.  He felt sick, clutching his stomach; he curled up into a ball and cried at the pain, stifling his screams so as not to be heard outside.

***


Marley was silent on the journey back towards Cardiff, in fact it took some time before both Jack and Gwen spoke either. The crocodiles despite their size had been placid, which for a crocodile was unusual to say the least. And after calling for those who ran the operations from inside the computer rooms to open up the large pool that fed into the basement of the main building, a large reinforced room that already housed several other crocs of equal size, the gates were closed and the remaining mints were despatched.  Marley watched them mix with the younger, smaller creatures and wasn’t sure but it looked as though the female crocodile, the one who had taken most of the mints from her looked elated at seeing the younger ones. 
   ‘What will happen to them now?’  She’d turned to Jack, who seemed to share her feelings towards the female reptile. He puffed out his cheeks. 
   ‘Can’t rehouse them, the best thing that can happen is they’re put to sleep.’
   ‘Best thing for who?’
   ‘Best thing for everyone. After what you’ve endured could you honestly say you’d feel comfortable walking along the shores of Coniston Lake knowing that at any point, a large crocodile would lunge out of the water, or come inland and trash a quaint little town?
   ‘All for the search of mint imperials, or men in white coats.’
   ‘Exactly Gwen.’  He raised a brow and a smile at Gwen. ‘Take Marley back to the SUV, I’ll be along just shortly.’  
     Gwen didn’t have to ask where Jack was going, she knew as well as he that the crocodiles couldn’t live out a life beneath the house forever and being Jack, he’d make sure the creatures were dealt with before he left.
The copier machine had been playing up for the last 10 days on the eighth floor of the almost abandoned BT building in Park Street, Cardiff. Winston Collie, Artemis Fowl’s greatest fan or so it said on the grey t-shirt visible through his white shirt, sat his packet of tic tacs on top of the machine while he fiddled for the controls after unplugging the machine from the wall.  He was a dab hand at electronics, he’d taken to watching YouTube videos and knew everything there was to know about all the equipment in any office, anywhere, so there would be a simple reason for the breakdown. Likely Phyllis in Accounts had buggered it up with too many paper clips, it did that, bugger up. And she was a bit heavy handed. You had to be gentle with these machines, treat them like your car, gently, caressing each and every cog and wheel, and everything would slot into...
   ‘Ahh bugger.’  Winston withdrew his bloodied thumb and immediately sucked it. He peered closer at the open back of the copier, peering back out was a sheared off paper clip. He shook his tousled head, cursed Phyllis and got to his feet. He reached for his packet of mints, but there was nothing there.
   ‘What the...?’  he spun about, still sucking his thumb, the taste of copper metal and mint a strange combination on his tongue, his other hand rooted out his handkerchief in his right hand pocket of his black pressed trousers.
   ‘Who the fuck...?’  He saw Dave from Accounts saunter out of another door and called to him. ‘Hey, you didn’t see someone come out of here, did you? Some bastard stole my sweets.’  Dave shook his head and noted the bloodied handkerchief. 
   ‘Bloody paperclips in the machine, that’ll be Phyllis in Accounts that is.’  Dave shrugged and pushed his spectacles back up his nose.
     Winston returned to the copier room and searched under the machine, under tables and chairs but the mints were definitely gone. Swearing again, he went in search of a first aid kit. 
     There was a strong pungent odour further down the corridor, near the staff kitchen, a sort of rotting cabbage on a hot day, or...or like his terrapin tank, the one he used to have before the buggers bit him and he’d given them to the zoo. Winston winced even now thinking of them, the scar was still there on his middle finger, which he held up, then smirked as it looked like a rude gesture. He quickly brought his hand back down.
     The staff kitchen was a scene of chaos, beakers, cups and dishes lay broken, and three cupboard doors hung off hinges with severe puncture marks where their middles looked to have been punched with a lump hammer. He stood in the doorway and surveyed the damage. 
   ‘Someone is really pissed and it’s not even Friday.’ He turned to see Dave carrying a stack of papers and a box up the corridor towards him, he was maybe only 200 feet from the door of the kitchen when Winston felt a gust of air breeze past him from behind and spun around expecting to see something, but there was nothing there.  He turned again when he heard Dave yell in pain and the papers and box dropped to the ground. Winston could only stare.
   ‘Dave?’
Dave had completely vanished.
     Winston took a few tentative steps towards the box and sheets of accounting papers that lay on the ground and against the wall, like a puddle of paper, but there was no sign of Dave, and his spectacles gave the only indication that he’d been there at all.
     By the time Torchwood arrived back at Base, a sea of blues and twos flashed in the evening light and a cordon had been put across the front of the building. Those that still worked in the building huddled in groups in the car park, a few inhaling menthol cigarettes.  Winston was talking to a uniformed officer, and had been for the last ten minutes.  He wanted to know if he could go home, as much as he needed his laptop for the film he’d downloaded on work time, he wasn’t sure he wanted to return to the office and disappear like Dave did. He’d already told the officer he had no idea where Dave had gone, and he wasn’t known for his jokes.
     The team climbed out of the SUV, Jack as usual keen to find out what the problem was came back to the girls after a few moments and reached into the back of the vehicle for their kit.
   ‘What is it?’  Gwen asked searching Jack’s body language for answers.
   ‘They don’t know, but there’s a man missing. According to that kid over there.’ He nodded towards a young man sat in the back of an ambulance, red blanket around his shoulders, sipping on a mug of hot tea, while a uniformed officer scribbled details into a flip notebook ‘One of his friends just vanished in front of his eyes.’  He shrugged on the backpack.
   ‘Another anomally?’  Gwen grabbed her pack.
   ‘Don’t know, but there’s only one way of finding out.’  He handed the other rucksack to Marley. ‘You coming?’
   ‘You mean, you want me to help?’  Marley took the bag out of habit.
   ‘Let’s just say, you passed the initiation test.’  Jack flashed his matinee smile.  ‘Welcome to Torchwood.’

***

It was dark when Mitchell came to. The pain in his guts had been so intense he’d passed out, but it seemed to have done the trick, there was no pain any more.  He pushed himself up, slowly. Something didn’t feel right. There was a different smell in the building, it was the first thing that had awoken him, a fat sweaty smell, like the kids in the home, body odour.
     It wasn’t him. He froze mid way to getting to his feet. Turning towards the doorway there was a darker mass blocking the light. Panic washed over him. He scrambled to his feet, but he was trapped, and the only escape was out of the balcony and that was a long way down.
   ‘There’s no point running, there’s nowhere to go.  So...’  Alex Shepperton stepped out of the shadows throwing a little light into the room from the gap in the wall.  He was flanked by his two burly bouncers.  ‘...let’s get down to business.’

     Syd’s Cafe on the Mile Road was quiet at this time of the evening. Syd usually closed up by seven, but seeing four customers at the six seated table, it was business he couldn’t afford to turn away. The recession had hit everyone hard on this street, Syd was surviving on what came through the doors, he couldn’t afford to turn anyone away, even if it meant closing the doors late, and missing the time with his kids. Money was money, and it was better in his pocket than anywhere else. He busied himself at the back of the shop keeping an eye on the CCTV monitor that sat over the fridge freezer by the door. 
     Alex Shepperton, immaculate dress sense, set the mug down on the wipe clean table cloth and folded his arms resting them on the table. Mitchell sat opposite, next to him sat one large balding thug in a suit.
   ‘The thing is, Mitchell, I’ve given you many chances, and all I’ve heard are excuses. Now if my life was threatened and my legs were to be broken I would be doing my damndest in making absolutely sure that didn’t happen. So why am I hearing excuses?’  
     Mitchell stared at the milky tea he’d not touched.  ‘Reuben doesn’t have it.’
   ‘So who does?’  Alex studied the boys’ face, he looked gaunt compared to other times he’d seen him. His clothes hung off him.
     The thug cuffed the back of Mitchell’s head.  ‘Well, answer the boss.’  He barked coarsely against Mitchell’s ear. Mitchell yelped and brought his hand up to his head, rubbing his throbbing skull.
   ‘I’m not doing it. The man’s an animal.’  Mitchell edged along the seat, but there was still no escape, the other side of the thug was a wall.
   ‘If you do not do this, you will always owe me, you will never be free of me.’
   ‘I can’t get close to him, he watches my every move, if I slipped something in his drink he doesn’t drink it, he trusts no-one.’
   ‘His name?’
   ‘Alastair Brody. He’s Reuben’s boss. He’s an evil fucker, I’m not doing it. I won’t.’  Mitchell sniffed back his emotions as his voice broke. Alastair Brody had forced himself so many times upon each and every rent boy that he’d picked up. None of the victims ever got close enough to stop him, or get free of him, not alive anyway, and Mitchell knew it. 
     In a coffee shop after the first instance with Brody, he’d shared a coffee with Colin. The young boy who’d found his way into the Thames with his throat cut, had been the last before Mitchell. Whatever Brody was trying to find out about the young men he paid for, Mitchell couldn’t be sure, but if he wasn’t the first to get close to Brody, if he wasn’t the first to be picked up by Shepperton to carry out this deed, then he probably wasn’t going to be the last.
     Alex leaned back in the chair.  ‘Alastair Brody, he still there eh?’  He sighed heavily. 
   ‘You know of him?’  Mitchell studied the man with the clean shaven face, olive complexion, smoothed back black hair. He looked like the typical gangster from a 1950’s American cop show, Mitchell had seen enough of those over the years, the black and white movies, Tommy guns firing unlimited ammo at the opponent and yet still managing to miss them. He wondered if, nah...
     Alex looked back at the boy.  ‘Alastair Brody is the head of the Ministry of Defence department that Reuben works for. I thought he’d retired by now, evidently not. You’ll need cunning on your side, and you’ll also need to keep your wits about you. Has he taken you to his apartment yet?”
     Mitchell shook his head.  ‘Always his office.’
   ‘He has an apartment that overlooks the banks of the Thames. It has double glazed windows, which I’m not sure open. He has a room to the left of the window, he keeps it locked unless he has visitors.’  Alex leaned forward at the table again.
   ‘He’s a sado-masochist, more sadist. That last boy used to work for me, used to have your job.’
   ‘Wait, the kid with his throat cut...worked for you and now you want me back in there. NO.’  Mitchell got to his feet but was instantly pulled back down by the hefty bodyguard.
   ‘How often have you been to Brody?’  
   ‘Two maybe three times. That’s enough.’  Mitchell felt sick, Alex was using him, like the kid before him and countless others, he wanted to throw up.
   ‘Then there is no other person to do this job other than you. All the others were killed in the first meeting, the fact that you haven’t shows Brody that you’re strong enough; your stamina can take what he throws at you. Whatever it is, you’re the best man for the job. You’ve got three days. I want the blueprint on my desk by Saturday morning, or Fred and Harry will be round so if you decide against doing this job, get your affairs in order.’ Alex pushed the chair back grating it across the black and white tiled floor, his goons followed suit. Only Mitchell remained seated. 
     Mitchell watched from the doorway of the café as the black sedan drove away up the street. He pulled his jacket tight around him, and keeping in to the shadows, slunk away up the darkened street. If he could get away from Shepperton he would, but for reasons he couldn’t yet figure, Shepperton knew where he was, at any given time.
     If he ran, Shepperton’s thugs would just drag him right on back. He pushed open the door to his downstairs flat. Everything just as he’d left it, even the wolf, who merely lifted his head then closed its eyes again. 
     Mitchell lay back on his unkempt bed and stared at the hairy scary spider on the ceiling and sighed. Even that couldn’t leave. Stuck to the ceiling from years of heavy nicotine smoke and whatever else was congealed above his head. Just like the spider, he was going nowhere. He had to find the blueprints before Brody introduced him to the murky waters of the Thames.

Captain Jack Harkness strode into the BT building like a man on a mission.  Having already spoken to Winston about Dave, he knew enough to know that whatever had happened would be over the head of the local constabulary. 
   ‘Keep these doors closed and do not let anyone in or out until I say so, is that understood?’  Jack had barked at one of the uniforms. Gwen merely smiled before slipping inside with Marley. The solid glass doors closed tightly behind them. 
     From the start of their business on the 17th floor Jack had had the schematic of the building homed into his VM and bringing up the holographic blueprint he could detect no life signs anywhere in the building other than the three of them standing beside the reception desk.
   ‘Dave, was on the 8th floor when he disappeared. So, let’s check out the 8th floor. Keep your comms on at all times, there should be a spare ear piece in the bag, put it on.’  He instructed Marley who rummaged in the bag for the piece and stared at it. 
   ‘We never got these in Glasgow.’
   ‘Tin can on a piece of string?’ Gwen quipped unclipping her gun from her belt holster and checked her rounds. 
   ‘Mobile phone, nothing too glamorous.’  She pulled the ear piece on and withdrew a standard issue Gloch 9mm. She marvelled at how well it fitted her like a glove.
   ‘Don’t tell me, you never got one of those either.’  Jack remarked choosing the quickest route up to the 8th floor.  He located the Fire Exit.  ‘We’ll take the stairs.’
   ‘We did just I’ve never used one before.’
   ‘You get used to it.  I’d never used a gun before I joined. You soon pick it up.’  Gwen smiled, reassuring her.
   ‘Are you coming or will you be discussing knitting patterns next?’ Jack growled before leaving the door swinging shut behind him. He took the stairs up, two at a time, breaking into a sweat the higher up he climbed. He was out of practice. Back in the Hub this would have been regular training. He checked the VM and detected movement on the 7th
   ‘Follow with caution.’
     Gwen had always been fit, juggling work with Anwen, working on minimal sleep, she was used to belting along the roads and pavements, climbing the stairs two at a time, but there were a lot of stairs, and it was a long time since she’d done anything this energetic. She stopped mid way for a breather. Marley struggled up to the landing and joined her. Jack leaned over the balcony several floors up. 
   ‘Hurry up or would you rather go home?’  He grinned as Gwen raised her middle finger and disappeared to the next level.
   ‘It was never like this in Glasgow.’  Gasped Marley staring up at the levels still to cover.
   ‘Believe me, nothing will ever be like Glasgow.’ Gwen pushed herself on and pulled herself up the stairs, gun in her left hand, her comms beginning to scratch, the static build up intensifying. She pressed it, but couldn’t detect Jack on the other end. 
   ‘I think the comms are down.’ She pulled the ear piece off. It bothered her like a lot of things, such as answering the phone in a lightning storm. Perhaps there was static interference up on the 7th floor, perhaps another anomaly. She pulled her phone from her pocket with her free hand and saw no signal. She growled and pushed on.  Floor 7 in big blue letters on a white plack stared back at her beside the Fire Exit. It was sitting unlocked.  She pulled the door open and was met by destruction. Damaged and cracked inner walls, in some places looking as if something or someone had been thrown through it. There were waste bins and where some potted vegetation had once sat in the corners of the corridor, were now spread across the walkway like a soil carpet.  She saw neither Jack nor anything else that could have been responsible for the destruction but she could hear Jack further along the corridor and whatever he’d found was definitely not coming quietly.

     The 7th floor was wrecked from the moment he stepped onto the open hallway. The soft padded offices leading into the various levels of cubicles containing the call centre equipment had been scattered like deckchairs on a windy day.  Flung against the opposite walls, drawers of filing cabinets and desks hung open and askew, contents lying all around the desks as if these had once been soldiers with their innards on display. Jack didn’t have time to think what could have caused it because whatever had caused it was still in that open plan room and came at him with such force, he felt his feet leave the floor and his right shoulder hit the only undamaged wall by the elevator. He yelled as he hit it hard, his head connecting with the corner of the elevator jam and fell to the ground dazed. His gun lay a few feet from him. He groaned, groggily and shook his head to right the blurred vision, it didn’t help. He felt the familiar trickle of blood through a hairline cut on his head. He paused before he got to his feet. His vision might have blurred but his hearing wasn’t impaired at all. 
     He deduced from the way it walked that it had more than two feet, and judging by the destruction it was definitely something big and what was that smell? It was familiar – too damn familiar!  He pressed his finger to his ear and only felt his ear.  His comms piece was missing!  Damn!  He sensed that whatever the creature was, given that it had more than two feet, it was definitely looking for something. 
     Jack staggered to his feet and pressed his fingers against the headache that was starting to build. He looked at his finger tips – blood.  Still, given that he was once again immortal all he’d feel was the pounding headache for a few more minutes. He glanced around and saw his comms near the elevator and retrieved it pushing it back in. When he pressed it, all he heard was the white noise of static. He removed it again.
     He retrieved his gun and scanned the room. There was now a definite heat source but it was strangely camouflaged. He narrowed his eyes, followed the direction on the VM and used caution. 
     The creature was indeed searching for something, but there seemed little in the way of candied goods on offer and the tin of baked beans that it had pierced when it ransacked the kitchen did little to appease its hunger. So on it searched. It was still searching when it saw the man in the uniform, so unlike anything it had seen before, but often a two legged male had something to offer. Inhaling using its strong receptors it detected something different in the man than the one before. It didn’t have what it was looking for. It turned around in the cramped space and whipped its tail straight into the man sending him sailing through the air into the metal doors it had seen open not so long ago. It went back to investigate, because the metal doors had given it a few treats earlier, many packets of candies had fallen nearby, perhaps it would be lucky to find more.
     As the computers fizzled and popped, something strange occurred around them.  As Jack monitored the VM scanner he saw what he’d begun to suspect all along. As the build up of static electricity throughout the office intensified, the image of a large crocodile became apparent. 
   ‘You must be Elvis!’ He lowered his VM and raised his gun as the creature charged towards him. Several shots fired at the thick skin of the crocodile but Jack could see that this creature was far from solid. 
   ‘Oh you’ve gotta be kidding me!’  He fired a few more but the bullets shot through the transparent body and hit the wall behind, penetrating the double-glazed windows, forcing loose papers to flutter. 
     The creature kept coming. ‘Shit!’  Jack had long since discovered that waving your arms at a creature to confuse them when they appear to charge, might work with some creatures, but large built like a brick outhouse were not likely to stop in a hurry and given that the snappy end was nearing Jack, he wasn’t going to start putting any theories to the test, and ran.
     Elvis, gave chase, smacking various large desks and free standing wall boards out of its way as it chased after the figure flapping in the blue coat. They used to do this at the facility – it was called training!  Only Elvis had never trained in an office before!

Gwen and Marley edged slowly forwards taking in the surrounding damage and guns at the ready were prepared for what came at them. Only Gwen wasn’t quite prepared to see Jack cut through the remaining upstanding cubicles, fear on his face, running hell for leather towards her. 
   ‘RUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNNN!!!!!’ He yelled as he caught her up. She frowned at first, considering she couldn’t see why he was running, until she saw furniture being cast aside as something large and becoming visible now and then, forced her to run after Jack. Marley didn’t need any encouragement, as soon as Jack yelled she ran back to the Fire Exit and shut the door behind her. Her heart was in her throat, would this nightmare ever?
     Gwen cast an eye back.  ‘Where’s Marley?’
   ‘Hopefully taking cover.’  Jack panted searching for another escape route and finding it.  Another door. He prayed it wasn’t locked. They reached it at the same time and thanked the heavens it was unlocked. Pushing through they came to another office, another row of cubicles with computers and desks and pot plants. This time untouched. Jack slowed his pace, turning his head to view the door. 
   ‘Where’s Elvis?’  He panted heavily as he stared back. No sounds came, no knock of the door, no crack of the brickwork. He turned to face Gwen. 
   ‘You alright?’  She nodded.
   ‘How was that possible?’
   ‘The...anomaly. It must have come through after Marley, it’s the only explanation.’  He heard a roar and the door thumped. Taking Gwen by the arm he steered her towards the untouched office and around a corner and glanced back towards the door.
   ‘What are we going to do Jack?’
   ‘At the moment, we can’t kill it.’
   ‘Why not?’  Gwen checked her rounds while wondering if Marley was alright.
   ‘It’s not a solid being, I emptied a complete magazine into it and it just passed through. It’s like a ghost but it’s not.’  He sighed. 
   ‘So how do we do it Jack, we can’t keep a crocodile of that size in this building, how are we going to stop it?’
     Jack was silent for a few moments, then straightened up and reviewed the cubicles.  ‘Mints.’
   ‘Are you seriously wanting sweets at a time like this?’ Gwen asked. Jack raised a brow at her.
   ‘No. Those crocodiles back at the facility were controlled by mints. Of course, the guy Dave, he probably had mints, the crocodile took them because he smelt of them.’  He strode towards the first desk and rifled the drawers. Nothing! He went to the next and the one after it, then smiled, shaking a small container of candy.
   ‘Are you shaking your Tic-Tacs at me?’  Gwen smirked.
   ‘Check every cubicle; get as much of the mint as you can. I’m going to the generator room.’
   ‘You’re not leaving me with Elvis.’ Gwen glared
   ‘While you’ve got the mints, you’re safe. I’ll not be long. If I find Marley I’ll send her up to you.’ He ran to the elevator and pressed the button, as the doors slid open he recoiled in horror. He couldn’t quite make out whether it was Dave or part of Dave, or part of some other person, but remnants of human remains covered the floor of the elevator. He reached in and pressed the basement button and watched the doors close, and took the stairs.
     Jack hated leaving Gwen upstairs especially with a large hulk of a creature that could do that amount of damage to a human, but he couldn’t be sure just how many other crocodiles were in the building, and there wasn’t time to tell Gwen what he needed in the generator room. He knew exactly what he had to do.
     Marley sat on the concrete floor and hugged her knees as she sobbed into them. She’d not slept much in all the time she’d been in this building, every time she did, the memories of her fiancé came back to haunt her.

With every thump of the door Gwen grabbed her gun and aimed it in that direction. 
   ‘Right, fifteen packets of chewing gum, six tubs of other chewing gum, tic tacs, fresh mint spray, bottle of mouthwash and some menthol cigarettes. Okay. So if Barbara Woodhouse can train a dog to roll over and play dead, I wonder what I can teach a bloody great big hairy crocodile.’  There was a shoulder bag, black with gold chains decoration on the front. Gwen tipped the contents onto the desk, she stowed the mints into the bag and hung it over her shoulder, it went quite well with her black boots. 
     Shaking her head she rummaged at the various items on the desk, a name made her heart flutter. Millie Harper. An image planted itself in her head and she smiled for a moment before glancing back at the door waiting for Elvis.

The door of the generator room had been locked, but to a man of the future like Jack, a locked door was nothing when you had a Vortex Manipulator. Who needs a sonic?
     Along the right hand side of the main wall were a series of yellow panels, inside three were the components, cables and switches that powered electricity to the levels from the basement up to the mast. Jack ran his finger along the series of switches, some were still on, some switched off. He narrowed his eyes. His actions in the next few seconds could cause a multitude of issues for Gwen; for the contents of the building but most of all for the large unstoppable crocodile. But given that they couldn’t live with a partially invisible creature roaming the corridors with an exceptional sweet tooth, it was all or nothing.
     Jack switched every single switch ON. The effects throughout the building were illuminating. Computers sprang into action, their Standby graphics logo lit up the monitors across the entire office block, those that sat on the floor exploded like erupting volcanoes, spitting sparks onto carpeted flooring and scattered paper, the Fire Exit fluorescent lighting flickered into life and every floor belted brilliant white light. Marley lifted her head at the sudden change and scrambled to her feet.
     Gwen fully laden with mints jumped as the computer nearest sprang into life, the logo flashed and the voices of a thousand Windows erupted into song. 
     Jack found a signal as he ran back up the fire escape steps, he called Gwen and prayed she still had her phone. 
   ‘Did you find enough candy?  Good, leave a trail and get yourself to the roof.’
     He returned to the 7th floor just as Marley pulled open the Fire door and came face to face with the creature. She slammed the door shut and backed into Jack as she stepped away from the Fire Exit. Screaming again as he grabbed her before she pushed them both backwards down the stairs, he pushed her up to the next flight of steps leading to the next level. 
   ‘Find Gwen, and get to the roof.’  He ordered before psyching himself up and exiting the Fire Door firing shots at the reptile now fully animated.  It took the hits but it kept coming, snapping and snarling as it gave chase along the corridors. Jack was grateful for the fact that the corridors were narrow enough to slow the creature down, but also fully aware that there was nothing stopping it coming after him, and it wouldn’t stop till it had what it needed, and Jack smelt like a trainer. 
     On his way back to the 7th floor, Jack had collected a stash of candy from the cleaning room, or at least it smelt of something minty fresh. He sprayed the cleaning fluid at each turn. He had to get the croc to follow him. 
     Marley eventually after entering the 8th floor located Gwen and both made their way to the roof, scattering a paper trail of mints and minty products that would lead the sweet tooth reptile after them. 
   ‘And what do we do now?’  Marley called to Gwen as she stood against the wall of the exit leaning over to catch her breath, her legs painfully begging to rest.
   ‘Jack’ll have a plan I’m sure.’  Gwen replied between gulps of air.
   ‘And what if he doesn’t.”
   ‘Trust me, Jack always has a plan.’  She gave her a smile that she’d used so often before, the smile she hoped convinced Marley that all was fine, even though she doubted that Jack had any kind of plan other than whatever goes up, must undoubtedly come down. Somehow.
     Echoing down the stairs below them they heard the growling rasp of the crocodile.  Marley heard heavy puffing of breath as Jack emerged on the roof of the building, closely followed by the crocodile. Gwen pulled Marley away from the doorway that splintered and fell away as the muscled creature ploughed through the doors as if they were mere polystyrene blocks, still fully charged, the electricity within the building somehow keeping it alive. 
     The roof of the building was as large as the floors below it, but with the mast in the middle and all the electrical devices, the now ruined stairwell and the crocodile and three civilians, it wasn’t as spacious as downstairs.
   ‘Okay I’m assuming you’ve got a plan Jack?’  Gwen kept her eyes on the four legged creature, its tail whipping side to side as it angrily weighed up the man in its sights. It detected another food source, something stronger but concealed by a white probe that fizzed and created a fuzz of confusion within its tiny brain.
   ‘Yeah.’ He defended then quickly looked at Gwen.  “No, but I’m hoping you’ve still got enough products in that bag of yours that will lure the croc to its death?’  He held out his hand for the shoulder bag. Gwen passed it over unsure how this plan was going to work. 
   ‘The last time we were on a building like this, Captain John Hart had minutes before that bomb exploded, are you expecting a rift...’
   ‘Anomaly.’ Marley called from behind her.
   ‘Anomaly, rift, I don’t care Marley.’ Gwen snarled. She shot a look at Marley before quickly looking back at Jack and Elvis. ‘Is that what you’re waiting on?’ Gwen’s voice raised an octave before she calmed. Elvis was still weighing up the man in the long coat taking the food source it could so strongly detect. It moved for a closer inspection. Slowly. Calculating.
     Jack viewed the contents and raised a brow. There were some definite sweet tooth’s in that office block. 
   ‘I never got chance to see if we’d picked up on any rift activity or anomaly.’  He looked at them both while keeping a mindful watch on the crocodile.
   ‘So we move for Plan B.’  He smiled awkwardly at Gwen and swallowed hard. ‘I’ll see you downstairs.’
   ‘Jack...’  Gwen knew she couldn’t stop Jack. She knew what he was going to do. She smiled back at him. ‘Good luck.’  
     The crocodile saw its food source running away, the smell of mints too much of a temptation to ignore lumbered after Jack towards the edge of the building. Gwen could only watch as the hulk of the creature shook the very roof as it ran, catching up with Jack, leaping after him, after the bag, and disappearing off the roof, the last glimpse of the tail as both it, Jack and the bag began the descent. 
     Jack’s coat acted as a parachute billowing and at one point as he’d leapt, knowing the outcome of such an act, he was overtaken by the crocodile as it plummeted to earth, hoping for a lighter landing, it’s tail hooked around the bag and pulled Jack towards a much quicker death.
     The crocodile crashed through the walkway into the sewers releasing a horde of rats that sprang from the ground and scrambled for freedom. Pedestrians and police at the scene scattered and screamed, climbed on cars and walls to escape the large sewer rats and the mess that followed. There was nothing but flesh and bone as the crocodile slammed into the ground, slamming Jack onto the pavement, his wrist still wrapped around the shoulder bag. 
  ‘Elvis has definitely left the building!’  Gwen said quietly before she and Marley rejoined the party downstairs.

The building was declared unsafe and closed, which pleased Jack no end. It meant they now had full access top and bottom and given his long years of experience at working in a building where old cabling, dodgy plumbing and the ever increasing feel of unworldly creatures locked somewhere within a basement, was going to feel right at home here.
     As the office was restored he found a note wedged in between his chair and copy of ‘Moby Dick’ that he’d picked up in an old bookshop.  He opened the folded piece of paper to find a phone number and a message:
   ‘Where the hell are you Captain? Call me urgently on this number your son is in trouble.
   Lexy Barlow.’
     Jack frowned.
  






  




    


    

   




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