Written by Chris (alcoholandaphorisms)
Five Seconds Ago:
The wind blew past Gwil’s face as he stood, facing the track. Romford Station. The rattling of the trains in the distance send a shudder up his spine. The Tannoy spoke, garbled but understood. “Stand back from the edge. The next train does not stop here” No one was looking at him, no one ever looked at him, he thought with an ill humoured snort. This was it. Where it ended for him really.
He had talked about it, or so the world said. About his guilt. They all saw it within him now, what he felt. But he hadn’t said it, hadn’t had the catharsis. Couldn’t say it. Not now. Not ever.
Only one way then. He lifted a foot towards the platform edge and…
One Week Ago:
They found the shipping container. Placed in the same place as promised. Records lost. Stevedores shone the lights around the darkness. They were nervous. Not like the old man, thin and frail, protective plastic layers over a well cut suit, protecting it from splatters of grease. He had come to check the merchandise in person. An old man, thin, frail, and deadly as a knife. He had never killed with his hands, only with the commands of his voice. Some times he wondered what it would be like, to do it himself, with the edge of a knife. The stevedores worked crowbars into the edge of the container, the door unusually stiff, trying to leverage it open.
The stevedores kept their lunch, it was one of the Eastern European heavies that lost it, the old man saw to his disgust. You can’t get the staff these days. The heavy stumbled away, trying to escape the smell that came from the container. Someone would have to clean that up. Far too much evidence, at what turned out to be far too hot an area.
The old man looked, dispassionately, into the container. Men and women’s bodies, thin from malnourishment, stacked high over each other, trying to find some respite some air. They had suffocated in there.
The police reports found that the hidden air pipe had been damaged in transit. The handlers knowing nothing of their cargo. The old man ensure everyone involved was paid. They did their job, and well. It was those he could not pay off that had resulted in this. Do not punish people for chance, or you risk them not taking chances in your favour. He was a pragmatist. Nothing was lost here, but a small chance for profit. He would make that up in the next batch.
Two Weeks ago:
The bodies’ name was “Becca Stone”, one of many. A body with a history of burnt identities and lost names, In the future the entity calling itself Mz Stone would wonder about that. The prescience of it, or the serendipity. It would look and wonder if it was all planned, if you ever escaped. For now the entity, the angel watched.
There were twenty four bodies here. Human. Information sliding from the machine showed them as lowest three percentile financial solvency. That was a tool to use to move them. They were to be transferred to the UK, fifteen numbers came up, burner phones, dark net ip addresses, potential handlers in the UK. A face formed. An old man. A moment passed and now he had contacted her, a week ago, to arrange this. To his memories all of this would have been initiated by him. She was a long time reliable asset, one who has served him well for years. Or so she had become in the last few minutes.
She watched. There were fifteen bodies on the floor. She knew the distance between them. Their exact times and means of death. Even without the information from the machine she had seen it, with this bodies’ eyes. The Destroyer angel walking amongst them. Each movement efficient. Nothing wasted. A single round between the eyes of each.
They had been protecting the twenty four living bodies she had to move. They were supposed to be responsible for taking them to the auction, half an hour from here. Instead, the machine said they needed to be in the UK. So the Destroyer had ceased fifteen bodies. She had been watching, they did not even register pain as they fell. They just ended. Clean. Efficient. Service.
The twenty four bodies did not resist. Information flickered down, weak points, words to reassure them, keep them calm. Minimum fuss. Minimum wastage. First into the truck. Then into the cargo container.
She watched as it was sealed. There was a glitch. She kept recalling the image. The fifteen bodies. Clean. Perfect. Painless. Perfect. There was a moment, data extrapolated. The future. She saw her task, and how it ended. What faced each of these twenty four bodies. Messy. Painful. Degrading. The two images hovered, one a dark mirror of the other. The Destroyer’s task perfection, clean, and efficient, and the results – then her task, the wasteful, the sadistic and the brutal.
Her hand reached up and crushed the air pipe. It was, to some inhuman reckoning, mercy. and then she fell.
Gwil looked over at the voice that had shouted at him, his foot hanging half way towards the edge.
There she was sat, watching him. Hair shaved down, garbed in commando trousers, and loose open camouflage jacket over greying shirt. Half Indian by Gwil’s guess, the other half he couldn’t guess.
No one else looked at them as she approached. “Don’t jump yet. Not until you hear me out”
“Screw you.” Gwil snarled “What is this. Samaritans on the move? You have no idea. None. Just get out of my way and..”
“It will hurt your way.”
“Maybe it should”
Mz Stone nodded “Maybe. Maybe you want to hurt it instead. The machine.”
Gwil fell. His strings snapped. “Hah. Fucking hah. It can’t, I tried to ignore it, but it fucking can’t. We can’t. It wants us to…we can’t even.”
“I can. I can hurt it. I can hurt it so very much. I can make the cult listen to you. I can make them dance to your tune. I can make them a knife to stab into the god machines’ eyes, and break every one that steps in your way”
“No” Gwil says shaking his head “No. I got what I wanted. Don’t you see. I got everything. They listened. They accepted me, and it ALL GOT WORSE. I can’t do this. The way they look. Sanjiv. Ryan. The things they see when they look. I FUCKING CAN’T”
“You don’t have to. I can be you, for you. All the pain is gone, and your last thought can be that they have no idea what you just loosed into their midst”
Gwil just let his head drop, broken.
“There, there “Mz Stone said taking Gwil in her arms “It’s all over now”
Five Minutes From Now:
Gwil sat, face expressionless, watching the trains go by. Ignoring the footfalls as they ran towards him.
“Prophet” A female voice, angry, panicked, no – very angry in fact. Easily manipulated. “The police are looking for you. You should not be here. Come with us. Prophet, we will keep you safe.” The woman, designation Lucy Brent.
A weight on his shoulder, bouncer grip. Easily over extended, shoulder dislocated. “Come on “Prophet”. Back to where you can shit yourself in peace. Don’t let us down ”
“Of course not” Mz Stone muttered with Gwils voice “Why would I ever? Faith before all. Faith before fucking all” Gwil’s face was a mask of pain and self loathing.
Inside Mz Stone smiled.