Written by alcoholandaphorism
Running down the street, a ghost invisible to all but a few, the projector Geoffrey comes across the SUV where he had left his crucible colleagues. A shattered wreck of a car full of broken glass and ridden with bullet holes. Blood drips from the open doors. Timothy’s lifeless body, head lolling and brain matter visible through the gaping bullet wound. Beside him Timothy’s ghost, manifested above Scotty, pushing down hard upon his chest, trying to keep his heart beating. The Orpheus driver lies decapitated on the street, his head six feet away and crumbled from the impact of innumerable glass shards. Michael’s projected spirit walks back silently towards his body, no visible indication given that he was the one who was responsible for the death of the Orpheus driver. It is ten fifteen AM and the road is silent.
“Oh god” Geoffrey says, hands shivering, a state of shock coming over him The scene seems so familiar .Not the bullet holes, but the car and the death. The engine still runs, in the distance the tour bus of their clients drive on unaware. “Oh god”
Michael’s eyes blink, his physical body and spirit becoming one again. Beside him Timothy says “Just hold on” unaware that he is even speaking. Silently Michael tries to aid him with tending to his friend, but Timothy barely notices he is there. By the time Timothy has finished the blood stream is stilled and Scotty’s lungs draw a breath but weakly. He needs a hospital and soon.
“What the hell is going on?” Geoffrey finally says.
“I don’t know” Michael says “I just got back to find our driver trying to put bullets in us”
Timothy looks over at them, steel in his eyes, holding down the emotions that come with his very recent death. All he has to hold onto is his military bearing and it cuts through like the edge of a knife “Orpheus is under attack. They are killing everyone”. Tossing through the car he picks out the assassins blackberry phone and tosses it to Michael. A lock screen blinks up at him, blocking any hint to what has happened. Returning to the car Tim picks his own phone from his pockets and looks to his dog tags. A sense of connection, of oneness rises and he wraps the dog tags around his hand. Somewhere deep below they reassure him, keep him going.
Michael thinks “You say Orpheus is under attack, do they know yet? The other crucibles in the field?”
Flipping open his phone Timothy just says “On it now”
“We need to get your friend to a hospital as well. The problem is I can’t drive” Michael says, leaving out the obvious inference, that he is the only one with flesh left who can do any long term work in the physical realm.
“One problem at a time. You need to go far from here. Now” Timothy hits dial on the phone, trying to reach Andy, or anyone back at Orpheus. The phone rights and rings, static rising on the phone line until there is nothing but the static. A voice rises from the static, elderly gentleman, all received pronunciation and calm tones despite his words “Orpheus. They are all going down. They are all dying. Whoever is out there run, run as fast as you can”
Flicking the phone shut Timothy pulls the sim card and battery and then tosses it to the ground.
Geoffrey looks over “What do you need me to do?”
“You’re in more danger than the rest of us” Timothy replies “Your body is still back at London, and we need to get back there. Everyone, ditch what cards you have they will be traceable”
Michael frowns “I’ve tried living on nothing. Since we’re going back to London in may be better to do one big withdrawal here and run. They already know were here anyway”
Timothy thinks “Ok, keep the cards but don’t use them at the moment”
With Geoffrey’s help Michael sends a text message to the entire Orpheus Global Address list “Orpheus under attack. Firearms used. Trust no-one. Go to ground”. Meanwhile Timothy heads back to the car and calls 999.
“Oh god. Help me. Oh god oh god please help” Timothy shouts
“What is the nature of your emergency” comes the reply
“Oh god oh god” Timothy continues before pulling the trigger of the MP-5 and dropping the phone. Anyone on the other side of the phone should be sending ambulances by now, and no one arriving should notice the discrepancy between the time of Timothy’s death and his phone call. Heading to Michael, Timothy proffers his pistol
“Carry this please. I’m not going to be manifest much longer”
Michael nods “If I’m carrying a gun anyway we might as well bring some of the others. If we aren’t using cards, I may be able to trade the weapons for decent money to get us back to London”
“On thing at a time” Timothy says, but he doesn’t object. Soon the three are tabbing it across the moors, trying to put distance between them and the police. There’s illegal weapons, a dead assailant, Timothy’s blood all over Michael, and many other questions that they can’t afford to face right now. Not with who knows what after them, and who they may have in their pocket.
Timothy takes the lead, keeping them to concealed lands. Map in hand he points “We need to go this way” There seems to be coastal route which keeps mostly concealed until Whitby. A Caravan park nearby, isolated and out of season looks to make a good point to regroup and work out how to get back to aid Orpheus and Geoffrey back to his body.
Timothy looks over to Geoffrey, aware that he knows his body is back in a electronic tomb at Orpheus HQ, back where the danger is, back where no one is answering. “You ok?”
“Vaguely functional” comes Geoffrey reply
“Just focus on getting through this” Timothy says “The rest gets easier” Inside Timothy can feel the contradiction to his statement. Anger rising, it seems so much closer to the surface now, no flesh to contain it. No life to contain it any more.
Geoffrey smiles at Timothy’s reassurance and his still controlled demeanour. “Tim hasn’t lost it completely with dying” he thinks. “If things continue well, back at Whitby they may even be able to take a shot at the shadow class that has been bothering them”
Michael sees something else. He has very deliberately not been asking Timothy if he is ok. Not mentioning his death, He doesn’t want to push anything that may break the military demeanour.
Michael says “I can’t help but thinking that we just fled a crime scene and I’m probably main suspect for what happened there. Even Orpheus may not have the pull to get me out of this” Michael tries to keep a clam face, but years of distrust of the police seep through. His fear evident.
Timothy looks over “You touch any weapons we left there?”
“No. I’m just worried, I’m someone who has been off the record for half my life. They may not care too much about evidence when it comes to people like me”
Timothy shakes his head “I’m more worried our attackers are doing this in broad daylight and don’t seem to care who knows it. We’ve got someone powerful after us” as he speaks Timothy starts to fade, the vitality maintaining his form released and the dog tags tumble from his hand as he become incorporeal and invisible once more. “Hmm, would you do me a favour Michael and pick those up”.
Michael scoops them up into his pockets and walks on, now seemingly alone despite his ghostly colleges “So. Given that. We got any ideas how we will get back to London, or back to a train station at least?”
“One step at a time” Timothy repeats as they walk on
Rain starts to fall on the moors, miles pass by in silence that is finally broken by the distant sound of blades whirling, of helicopters.
“You’re going to have to hide for a while” Timothy says to Michael, aware he is the only one of them visible. With the uneven terrain of the moorland Michael has no problems sandwiching himself below a grassy ridge. The helicopter still comes close, swaying this way and that in the sky. Breath held Michael watches from under the ferns as it passes dangerously close before his eyes. Eventually the helicopter banks off, heading to another remote spot to survey.
Michael wastes no time in rising and heading for cover as sirens rise in the distance. He soon finds a walkers path. Avoiding the walkers he drops below the cover of the trees that shield the path from above. The trees keep him safe for several miles, breaking open to blue sky near the caravan park.
As his eyes adjust to the light he sees three men facing him, high visibility jackets and helmets. Police officers. Seeing Michael the leading officer yanks out a police radio. Dropping to his knees, as if from exhaustion, Michael holds out a hand towards them
“Help. Please help me. There’s a madman. I’ve been running so long. Help me”
The ruse does little, looking from the bulky bag to the blood that covers Michael, the lead cop mutters “Fuck. It’s him”. As he brings the radio to his ear, it sputters and lets out a piercing wail. Possessing it Timothy, makes the radio shriek, higher and higher until it tears itself to pieces. As it does so Geoffrey lets loose with a scream, mixing with the sounds of the radio, throwing the police flying.
The radio explodes. the police officers hand a mangled mess, shards embedding in the officers neck. One officer flies backwards, slamming against a tree from Geoffrey’s concussive wail. The other is less fortunate, the impact as reality tears tossing him from the cliff edge, screaming down until he is cut off by the impact of the ground below.
Geoffrey looks on in horror at the devastation his act’s have causes until Timothy interrupts, screaming at Michael “Run”. Needing no encouragement Michael break into a sprint, sliding and slipping across the hills edge, grasping at roots to keep from falling. Trying to put distance between himself and the scene of carnage behind him. Exhausted he finally slips to the ground, Caravan park in sight before him. Trying not to think that police never forget, never stop searching for one who kills one of their own, and they will think that man is him.
In the distance the helicopter can be heard again. Whirring closer, within twenty feet of the caravan park. Pulling himself to the ground, Michael tries to shield his profile. Just as it looks like it will spy him, the helicopter starts circling back, towards where the search team was taken out. A brief respite, but one that will soon renew their searches with personal grudges fuelling their actions.
Gasping for breath Michael sputters “There may not be a way for me to make it back to London after that. You may have to go on without me, helping Geoffrey is the main thing”
Timothy shakes his head “If we leave we can’t help you if you get caught”
Michael smiles slightly “There isn’t a jail that can keep its keys from my reach. They can’t lock me up for long”
Timothy just shakes his head again “Stay here. We’ll check out the caravan park and find you a safe route in”. Still following the habits of his life, hugging walls and keeping out of sight, Timothy makes his way through the park. Noting security cameras and locked doors. Finding the security hub, he seeps his gauze into the system, turning cameras to watch the skies. Geoffrey keeps an eye on the people. A few gardeners, men drinking hot beverages near the tractor. Work done they spirit Michael through unseen, an expensive caravans door easily slipping open at Timothy’s touch and then they are inside.
First Michael washes, showering the blood from him, then shaving down his hair. Stealing clothes, smart suits from wardrobe. The weapons, including Timothy’s pistol and other evidence left concealed under a tarp underneath the caravan. By the time it is done, but for two small sharp shivs hidden on his person and Timothy’s dog tags Michael is clear of evidence and hard to identify as the same person who fled the scene.
Returning into the caravan Michael spies Timothy and Geoffrey watching the television, muted and with subtitles so not to alert any of the skeleton staff that still walk the area, Even for a projected spirit Geoffrey is pale as he stares at the screen.
Rolling footage spools forth. The London Shard, twelfth and thirteenth floor destroyed. Smoke billowing out. Headline banner crying “Terrorist attack on London Shard”. News crew and police swarm below. A BBC reporter speaks soundlessly to the screen, her words appearing in text below.
Geoffrey sees where his body should be. He should be dead, but he’s not. He feels that link to his body. Somehow he is alive, somehow he is not in the shard. Timothy looks at him “I take it you’re not dead?”
Geoffrey works his lips soundlessly for a moment then speaks “No. I don’t think so. I don’t think I’m at the Shard either”
Timothy speaks, his voice cold and calm “Way I see it, you are either being held hostage or some of the Orpheus group got out”
Geoffrey shrugs, attempting feigned nonchalance “Can’t do anything about it now”
“We need to get London first” Timothy adds.
Michael pauses then speaks “If Geoffrey’s body is safe we may not need to go back so quickly. We could try and contact Orpheus. There has to be people who were on jobs that day, people on leave. Someone who can assist us”
Geoffrey looks to Timothy “Did Andy mention any other operations?”
“He mentioned something with Kings Cross. Something bad, It could be related to this” Timothy says ”I can’t believe Orpheus knew nothing about this. Not something so big. Maybe they couldn’t contact us to warn us”
“Maybe they didn’t think we were going to be attacked” Geoffrey says
“No. I think they would have informed us anyway. This was too risky. What could they have know, what could their secret operations have seen? Damnit, we really don’t know anything about this bloody company!”
Michael steps forward “We may need a change of priorities. You may consider this selfish, but if I’m to be any use I will need to clear my name with the police.”
Timothy looks to the screen “You say you were off the grid for a while. Well” he indicates to the screen “Orpheus records are a bit unobtainable these days shall we say. They wont know who you are”
Michael pauses uncertain then nods his head, letting Timothy continue “I suggest we head to Whitby, maybe meet up with the mirage class you mentioned”
“Id like that” Michael says “It may seem small in the greater scheme of things, but she has a shadow class after her and I’d like to help”
“It’s good to do what we can in these times” Timothy says and with that it is agreed. Michael leaves his physical body hidden under a bed in the locked caravan. The police may not know to look for him, but there is no reason to take chances. Whitby is nearly an hour away, wearing to project that long as a skimmer but it should be possible and a ghost form cannot be spotted by the police. Timothy and Geoffrey have no such limitations and can make the journey easily.
The three walk in spirit across the moors, to find the woman they know as Poppy. Michael glances to Geoffrey, who is lost in thought
“We had a conversation on the train. Before this” Michael says, Geoffrey just looks away and wont match his gaze. Michael continues “You probably saved us”
“It’s not just that. It’s everything going down. I don’t know how I feel. It just hasn’t sunk in. I’ll have to face up to it sooner or later”
Michael just says “Right now, we do what we have to do. We have no one backing us up. You’ve done well so far”
Geoffrey is silent for a long time after that then finally says “Thanks”
It’s coming up half one in the afternoon by the time the crucible reaches Whitby. The town is covered by a thick layer of fog, the viaduct they travel barely visible. Street lights pin prick in the distance over a hundred yards below due to the conditions. A haunting cry of seagulls comes from the nothingness. Looking to the distance they can dimly recognise the Abbey surmounting the hill. The Abbey where Crucible of Filth are due to record their video later today.
Row after row of terraced houses enclose them as they walk through the grey streets. Ahead, below a creaking pub sign stands the bodyguard that they had an altercation with back in York. The pubs name is the Carpathian and is reflected in the pub sign, a red eyed wolf running across the coast, its eyes locked on an approaching age of sail ship that bears the same name as the tavern. Rolling a cigarette the skinhead and mirror shade bodyguard that the crucible met before stands, ignoring the booming familiar blast of black metal that emanates from the pub. As the crucible approach the seagulls around scatter, crying to the sky, knowing there is something unwelcome amongst them.
The decision is quickly made to hunt for the tour bus, it seems to be a link for the ghost they now know as Poppy. It doesn’t take long to find it, nestled around the corner. As they explore Michael itches at his wrist, plasm breaking forth and solidifying into a ghostly shiv. It is only visible for a moment then disappears up the sleeves of his jacket, a reassuring presence. As the crucible explore Poppy stares at them from the shadows. Panic runs across for a moment before her eyes rest upon Michael and she speaks “You had a run in with her”
“Yes” Michael says “Thankfully, due to Geoffrey here, she got the worst of it”
Poppy glances to Geoffrey, a savage happiness flickering across her face, then fades to concern “Are you ok?”
Yeah, I think so” Geoffrey says, a twitch at the edge of his lips betraying the uncertainty of the statement.
“I couldn’t stop her. Can’t stop her” Poppy says “I saw her, she’s with them now. The other three. They aren’t like what they used to be, they are like her now. They went to the abbey. I couldn’t stop them. I think, I think the one who did this to me. He’s got someone else. A girl, in the back of a van. The girl I saw in York, I think they’re going to hurt her”
Michael looks and then quietly says “You’re Poppy aren’t you?”
Poppy flinches “I didn’t tell you that”
“No. no you didn’t. We’ve been trying to find a way to help. Trying to find who did this to you. We want to stop him. Can you remember, anything about what happened, anything that would help?”
“No.. I think he made me forget” Guilt crosses Poppy’s face again “I just remember how good it felt, as he was killing me,…how could I…”
“It’s not your fault” Michael says
Poppy points over to the shaven headed bodyguard “I heard him say he was to take them to the abbey?”
“He knows? Then I think we are going to find out” Michael says, All three of the crucible can feel the darkness inside welling up, bubbling easily to the fore now. Eyes hard,and faces controlled, trying to keep it inside.
Poppy breaks the tension as she speaks to Timothy “You’re not like the other two are you. You’re like me. Properly dead?
“It’s a recent thing” is all Timothy will say.
“I’m really sorry. I hope when you find the other you, you can stop him, before he does anything to hurt the people you care about”
Tim raises an eyebrow “Other me?”
“You’re like me. There’s another you out there who knows every thought you’ve ever suppressed. Everyone you ever cared about. Another you who wants to find them and hurt them and make you watch, Your shadow”
Tim looks silently at Poppy for a moment then says “Thank you for warning me”
Poppy looks back at the skinhead in mirror shades, the bodyguard. “I remember him. I remember him,,,drinking blood. Oh god that’s disgusting. He drank it and he enjoyed it the freaky kinky fucking mother fucker. He was the one who…he held me down while they..”
Poppy’s words trail off as her throat gags, unable to vomit. Shivering, horrified and scared. Her non existent stomach contents still trying to rise. Michaels eyes just go numb. He takes four long steps towards the bodyguard before Geoffrey places a hand on his chest.
“Hold up. Allow me” Says Geoffrey with an evil smile. Slipping ahead he whispers audibly from the air beside the skinhead “You. The Abbey. Now”
“Not you a fucking ‘gain” The skinhead mutters.
“Now” Geoffrey says, before turning back to talk in the spirit realm to Timothy “I hate this bastard, If he doesn’t co-operate can you take control and march him up the road”
“Oh I can do plenty” Timothy says.
“Easy now, we don’t want to hurt him” Geoffrey says
Still dead eyed, Michael finally speaks again, Quiet, but no longer unsure “You misunderstand me. You heard what she said he did. I don’t want to use this man. I want to kill him”
Startled Geoffrey looks over “I kind of understand, but this is a difficult situation”
“You heard what Poppy said. This man breaks people”
Geoffrey speaks, quiet and calm “Listen, he may come to understand what he did. If he lives through this he will have psychological scars for the rest of his life. He will pay”
“Besides” Timothy says “I don’t want him hanging around as a ghost and bothering us”
“Trust me. He wont” Michael says. Unable to hear this exchange the bodyguard finally assumes no more is coming and pushes back into the bar behind him, pulling a phone from his pocket and dialling quickly. A silver thread slips around the phone unseen and jerks it from his hand just as he hits dial. Michael watches as he scrambles after it shouting “Boss. Boss. Their coming. Their coming” The man’s face crumples as he sees the battery draining, the call failing to connect and the phone dying. His work done Timothy’s spirit drains back from the phone.
“Shit. Shit Shit Shit. Shit!” Finally panicking the skinhead shoves his way through the crowd of goth’s and drinkers. Kicking and pulling. A girl goes flying, her boyfriend stepping up with angry shouts and is kicked to the ground. Letting loose his anger the skinhead kicks again and again on the prone figure unaware of silvery threads snaking around the room, tangling tables and ashtrays.
As he prepares Michael feels Timothy’s energy mixing with his own, boosting him. Nightmares come with it. Memories of Timothy’s life. Burning flame and staccato gunfire. Civilians screaming as flame takes their skin. A man in a blue helmet stands alone in the midst, unable to intervene. Timothy’s memories rise a new anger in Michael and he lets loose a hail of debris and shards, Geoffrey’s cry of “Leave him alive” unheard over the release of the pain within.
Every ashtray in the table crashes against the skinhead. Shard break and impale deep. The crowd scream in terror. The man is thrown to the floor, hit with impacts that should have killed him, but though he bleeds he shouts still
“Fuck. What the fucking fuck” the skinhead tries to stager to his feet, some shards bouncing off him where they should impale. Tables rise from the ground and chairs with them, adding to the hail that sends the skinhead staggering. He throws wild punches, grabbing for a fleeing woman as the crowd rapidly rush from the room, but finds no purchase as the assault redoubles.
Impossibly the man’s wounds seem to close as pint glasses shatter upon him,a painting ripped from the wall and its frame impaled through his side. With painful steps he staggers towards the exit, dropping to his knees before pushing through the storm an arm in front of him shouting “Boss! Boss! Boss!”. Punching flying tables from the air, clothes shredded he reaches out for the door.
A loud click sounds from the door, Timothy intangible beside it. The bodyguard looks disbelieving for a moment then starts pounded upon the door screaming “You fucks. You can’t fucking kill me. The blood . The blood. Come on you dead cunt!”
Geoffrey approaches, hearing all this and wishing to calm the situation. He comes across a scene of debris hurling down, the man’s wounds closing as he screams
“You can’t kill me” The bodyguard roars again
“I warned you” Geoffrey whispers quietly “So, we will see about that”
The world dissolves, a roar and a scream as Geoffrey shouts, wooden flooring tearing up in a line towards the man. As the force washes over him, his knees buckle slightly, but doesn’t pause in his pounding of the door that shakes and buckles in it’s frame. A wooden chair leg impales through his leg and smashes him into the glass of the door, the broken shards that fly out immediately grasped in silver threads and impaled back into his body
The skinhead sags, still beating weakly at the door, which seems to be restoring itself before his eyes. Coughing blood he finally collapses, still dragging himself across the ground, laughing. Blood splatters on the ground and is licked up as the skinhead laughs. “You’re all going to die. You can’t take him. The master will break you. Break you fucks”
Seeing he is badly injured Geoffrey lets go of his scream, standing back.
Drained and hollow Michael throws his silver threads once more to the ceiling, which sags dangerously from the damage the skinhead inflicted on the structure. With a hard pull the ceiling comes down, crushing and entombing the skinhead bodyguard below. Finally spent Michael falls to the ground, not calm this time, drained and shivering spent of the anger to protect him. Something about the skinheads words has shaken him greatly.
As the dust settles Geoffrey speaks “What the hell was up with him?”
“I don’t know but I have the feeling it has something to do with the missing girls” Timothy says
“What do you mean” Timothy asks
“Could it be something else controlling him. A spectre? Could possession do that?”
Timothy pauses “It seems off that he was in character the entire time if it was possession, he’s either been possessed a long time or this was of his own volition”
“Then if the others are like that we have a big problem” Geoffrey states
Michael rises, the turbulent thoughts hidden back behind a polite mask. No longer the raw fear, of the silent anger of the past minutes “Poppy’s gone” He says after a moments search outside
“The girl’s gone to the abbey hasn’t she” Timothy notes
“Probably. I may have got overenthusiastic there. Not sure how much I have left in the tank. You?” Michael says, in response a darkness rises inside, promising more energy than he could ever wish, one that to his mind wears a familiar face.
“If all three are like that one I’m not sure” Geoffrey says.
“Then it’s simple. We don’t fight” Timothy says “We get the girl out and that’s it”
All agreed, the crucible ready to leave the ruined bar. As they leave Michael looks over to Timothy “What you did in there. Helping me. Thank you. I felt..” Michael pauses as the memories that leaked from Timothy rise again “just, thank you”. In response Timothy just nods, not acknowledging what they both saw.
Across mishmash of cobbles streets and old shop fronts the crucible walk, heading towards the abbey, where the Manger of Shit await. Familiar sounds, what could be called music by some, blast out from the hilltop. Goths in black lounge around the streets and throng across the hill. One hundred and eighty six steps lie between the group and their destination and the screams of the crowd echo as they continue their slow ascent. The chords of Manger of Shits most famous track “Whipcord Orgasm” their companion as they walk.
As they reach the top they are confronted by a a giant video screen, visible above the crowd. Samuel Shit upon it, covered inn pale make up and dripping fake blood as he screams into the microphone.
The mist finally parts and Samuel leans back in mock horror, his hands sheltering his eyes “Ah harkern the daystar rises” he shouts “Casting the dead back with it’s harsh reign. Let us go forth and violate the innocent and pure in defiance of it’s gaze”
“Let us cut the bullshit” Geoffrey mutters to himself as the band segue into their next song “Rape of an angel and douse her in menstrual gore”
Meanwhile Michael looks across the grounds for vans. There are many, vans holding generators, vans used as shops, vans of one of the many people that fill the crowd. No hint of which may hold the missing girl. With little to go on the group head towards the Abbey where the video recording will start tonight, hoping to find some clue.
Amongst the vast baroque ruins of the abbey they find roadies moving generators and construction an impromptu stage. Floodlights, not yet active are being pulled up ready for the night. Over gravel paths and small gardens are evidence of video equipment and make up areas. The video will be made here, but there is little else to see.
Looking down at the bones visible through his hand, and the reopening wounds on his side Michael raises his hand “I’m not quite sure how much longer I can keep projecting here.”
“I’ve got plenty of time left” Timothy says, slightly tersely
“I didn’t mean anything by it.” Michael mumbles “Just didn’t want to leave you alone. You’ve stood by me”
“We would just have to defend you. The enemy would target the weakest link” Timothy says. Seeing Michael shrink back, gaze to the ground he adds “You’ve done a lot already. I don’t want you to risk yourself”
Geoffrey isn’t listening to this conversation though. The threads are weaving round him, the future giving up it’s secrets. Daemonic creatures dance the night. Three girls cavort in ghostly form. Their plasm congealed and blackened, thick wounds on their necks and wrists. Chains flow from one to the other binding them. Between the chains stumbles Samuel who screams as they drag him forth through the abbey. In the corner a figure sits, face partially obscured.. Smiling through a face of blood he leans into the moonlight, the manager Solomon. In his arms is a woman, the girl assaulted in the black swan. He lowers his fanged maw to her neck and…
the vision fades..
Pale, Geoffrey speaks “I think we have a big problem. Four shadow class entities and at least one unknown”
Timothy thinks and then sums up the situation