Beyond the Sphere

Artificial smoke filled the room spreading the different colours of the lights around, casting shadows from all of the different types of people who were gathered there. Most were dancing in a group in the centre of the room, but some were stood or seated around the edge. The DJ spoke over the loud music, “Keep on getting down, here in the Underground!” The music ramped up a notch, and the DJ played the sound of cheering over the top, in an attempt to get more people dancing. Some leapt up to the dancefloor as the music started. “Mid certainly isn’t dim backwards!” The DJ whooped over the music.

Adam Rawlinson and Alex Long decided not to dance, however, and just watched the other patrons wave their arms and other body parts around on the dancefloor. An orange light appeared just above Adam, but they both thought nothing of it until a green-skinned gothic-looking figure fell on top of Adam, pinning him on his back to the wet and sticky floor.

“Nice one, Adam! You’ve still not managed that Dirty Dancin’ lift yet, I see!” A young man scoffed as he walked passed.

“Whatever, Logan!” Alex said, stepping between Logan Ashstead, who used to be the school bully several years ago, and Adam. Alex helped the green-skinned woman up, and then Adam.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, dear!” Mrs Sinster said, looking at Adam’s shirt and trousers. “Your clothes are totally ruined.”

“Where did you come from?” Adam asked as he bent to pick up his empty glass from the floor. “You seemed to come out of nowhere. Love your costume by the way!”

“Thank you, dear, but these are my normal clothes.” Mrs Sinster looked around the smoky room.

“Well, nice make-up then!” Adam continued. He placed the glass on the table and sat on the curved sofa. Alex pointed to the bar and walked away in that direction.

“Make-up? Oh. Thank you, dear!” Mrs Sinster said. She looked around the room again.

“Please, sit down. That fall must’ve hurt you. Would you like a drink or anything?” Adam pointed to the other side of the sofa. Mrs Sinster sat back, but continued to look around the room. “Did someone push you onto me?” Adam asked. “Was it that Logan? That is something he used to do back in school. He used to do it all the time to one of the teachers. I always felt sorry for her… Mrs Handler she was called.”

“Oh, no dear. I wasn’t pushed.” Mrs Sinster still looked around the room as she spoke. “Where am I?”

Alex returned with three full glasses. “Have some water!” he said, handing the glass to Mrs Sinster. “Thank you, dear.” she said, taking a sip. Alex sat down beside Adam, and touched his left upper arm. The fibres in Adam’s shirt and trousers shimmered slightly, and the fabric cleaned itself. Alex glanced around the room as he used his power to ensure nobody was looking, not that many would see through the smoky atmosphere. He glanced over to Mrs Sinster, who’d watched everything.

“Oh dear!” Mrs Sinster said, as she watched Alex’s mouth gape open. “I… er…” was all Alex could say.

“Never mind, dear!” Mrs Sinster smiled.

“One of the perks of having a superhero boyfriend!” Adam said proudly.

“Adam!” Alex spurted. “What are you saying? Why…?”

“I d-don’t know, Alex. I couldn’t stop myself.” Adam looked at Mrs Sinster. “Please…”

Mrs Sinster put her hand on Adam’s right lower arm. “Shush, dear. You have nothing to worry about with me. It’s nice to find love wherever you can find it!”

“I think it’s the superhero thing that’s more concerning!” Adam said.

“Adam!” Alex protested again.

“So, you’re Adam?” Mrs Sinster asked, looking at Adam’s confused expression. “And you are?” She looked at Alex.

“Alexander Long, but I also go by the name Lycralad.” Alex covered his mouth with his left hand.

Adam started to smirk. And then laugh. “What’s going on? Sorry Alex… your expression is priceless!”

“I think it’s me dears. It’s all my doing. Let me explain.” The two boys leant in to listen to their new friend. “I’m Mrs Sinster. I’m a Kalmalag Demon, and when we are feeling stressed those closest to us start to reveal their innermost secrets. I can’t judge anyone, although some of the secrets I’ve been told really do need judging, believe you me.” Her gentle expression quickly changed to one of concern, but then reverted back to its gentle state. “You’ll feel much better about yourselves now.” She smiled. “I arrived here through a portal… why it dropped me off in the middle of the air is anyone’s guess, and I am really sorry for landing on you, Adam. At least you broke my fall and I didn’t break any of your bones.” She smiled. “I’m searching for something called the Goblet of the Fallen Whispers. This place seems an unlikely place to find such a thing. Confusion follows me around, only this time I’m confused. I’m enjoying the music and the lights though!”

“They’ve only just reopened this place,” Alex explained. “We’re in a basement really, but they knocked out the floor above to make the room larger and more airy for the nightclub.”

“Ah… so the portal thought it was dropping me off on the floor above. That explains that, dear!” Mrs Sinster was still puzzled. “The portal sends me to the item though, so it must have been on that floor. Tell me, what was there before?”

“It was just an ordinary bar, Mrs Sinster.” Adam took over with the explanation. “It used to be called the Goblet, though!” Realisation struck all three.

“Well, I can’t take the whole bar back with me!” Mrs Sinster giggled. “And if that was the case, as soon as I touched the place I’d have been pulled back through the portal, that’s how it works, so it must be something else.” She looked around the room again, hoping something would stand out. “It must be here somewhere.”

She placed her glass onto the table, but accidentally knocked the glass Adam had picked up when she first arrived. Instinctively, she grabbed the glass and became engulfed in a bright orange light. In a split second, she and the glass were gone.

Adam and Alex sat open-mouthed.

“Your glass was the Goblet of the Fallen Whispers?” Alex said in disbelief.

“Well, I was the first one to let your secret slip.” Adam replied. “Could a revealed secret be classed as a fallen whisper?”

“Perhaps in demonic circles, I suppose.” Alex took another sip from his glass.

Logan Ashstead walked passed the table again. “Did your girlfriend dump you then, Rawlinson? Your dance moves didn’t impress her then?” He laughed and then merged with the shadowy figures on the dancefloor. Adam and Alex smiled at each other, and then continued to watch the dancing.

“Don’t hold back!” Yelled the DJ. “Have the time of your life!”.

Note: Today is National Coming Out Day, so I’ve decided to post this today rather than later in the week as originally planned.

Previous parts are listed below:

Part One here.
Part Two here.
Part Three here.
Part Four here.

Part Five here.
Part Six here.

More Sinster fun to come later in the week!

“Nothing!” Cloud punched the desk in frustration.

“It was worth a try, though,” Claudette suggested helpfully. “What do you know?”

“Well, Finger Bones is working for a man called Mr Williams. He has a mystery accomplice who I haven’t seen yet, his getaway driver.” Cloud tapped away at his computer keyboard and an image appeared on screen of Finger Bones. “This accomplice clobbered me with a plank of wood whilst my back was turned. Not very gentlemanly, all things considered.”

“He’s a baddie.” Claudette commented. “Baddies don’t tend to stick to the rules.”

“Finger Bones seems to have his own moral code. He could easily have done away with me when I was floored, but he didn’t.”

“That’s true. What did he take for this Mr Williams?”

“That’s the second mystery. He’s taken only three files from three different bank vaults. I’d hoped this audio would reveal what was in those files, but neither Williams nor Finger let anything slip.”

“Mr Williams could have. You can’t say he didn’t just because his voice wasn’t picked up on the recording. Wait a minute! Did your recording capture the registration number of the limo?”

“Good idea!” Cloud tapped away at the keyboard again, looking for the files obtained on the memory card. “I was so focused on the audio, I didn’t even consider the video. It’s been a long night.”

Finger Bones’ face was replaced by a darkened image of the meeting point. Cloud tapped at the keyboard once more and zoomed into the vehicle he was looking for. Only part of the number was readable. “XF9” Cloud read as he opened up another program and typed the characters in. Page after page appeared on screen with details of vehicles holding that combination. “It’s never easy!” he sighed, as he started scrolling through the list.

“I’ll do that.” Claudette said. “You catch up with some sleep, and I’ll let you know later what I find. It’ll take a while to try to put these pieces together, so there’s no point rushing or us both doing it.”

“I think I will do that, Claudette. Thanks.” Cloud left through the door beside the TV screens knowing although he would get some sleep he wouldn’t get that much. His mind wanted answers.

Previous episodes can be found on the Storylines page.

The Cloud reached the entrance to his Basement in quick time. He rode the motorbike through the entrance tunnel in silent mode, as the tunnel was an old and long disused sewer pipe. The end of the pipe joined a maze of interconnecting pathways, roadways and other tunnels which led for miles beneath Mid. Cloud had set up a cleansing sector at one of the junctions just after the entrance, which removed any mud, water, soil, leaves or anything else that may have been picked up by the bikes’ tyres. From there, he rode the bike along a pre-determined route of these subterranean pathways, riding left, right, back and forth, sometimes crossing the same routes he’d already taken, in case he’d been followed. He knew this was highly unlikely due to the bike being in both silent and infrared mode, but was determined to keep the location of his Basement secret.

He stopped the bike at a tunnel with a dead end, and pressed a button on the handlebar. The wall slid open before him, and he rode through quickly as it closed once again behind him. Inside he rode along another tunnel before finally coming to a stop in an alcove.

He stepped off the bike, and took off his helmet, placing it on the seat. He then pushed a brick in the wall, which caused a false wall to drop down from above, concealing the bike. Cloud then walked along the tunnel until he reached a ladder, where he climbed up quickly and opened a hatch at the top. He pulled himself up through the hatch and into a short corridor with a door at the end. The door had an intricate-looking lock in the centre, similar to a vault lock, but Cloud simply tapped a code into a hidden panel on the wall and the door opened automatically for him. He walked through, ensuring the door was closed behind him.

The room beyond the door was the main room in his Basement. Dimly-lit, with one wall hidden by numerous computer servers. In the centre of the room sat a bank of desks, and on each desk a large computer monitor. The wall opposite the server wall was covered in many TV screens, but only one was in operation at present.

“Thank goodness you’re back!” Claudette Brice said as she walked into the room through a door beside the TVs. “I was just about to come out for you!”

“No need for Cloudette to make an appearance just yet!” Cloud said as he removed a memory card from his binoculars. “Now, let’s see if we can find anything on this.” He inserted the card into one of the computers and tapped the keyboard. Claudette pulled up another chair and sat down beside Cloud to see what would be revealed.

Previous episodes can be found on the Storylines page.

The Rendezvous. Mid’s premier music entertainment venue in the 1960s.

Now, a car park for a large shopping complex adjacent to Mid Marina. The shopping complex also closed two years ago, so stands empty, alongside several other empty warehouses that are scattered around the marina area. Being outside of town in an unused area, the car park is an ideal meeting place away from prying eyes.

Parked in the centre of the carpark is a black stretched limousine. Next to it a black four by four. The door to the limo opened and a hand appeared, the index finger beckoning the passenger of the four by four to approach. The passenger was Finger Bones.

“Hello, Mr Williams!” Finger said cheerily, handing over the file to the hand. A muffled voice was the reply. “Oh yes, this is the file.” More muffled speaking from inside the car. “Oh no, it’s fine. He should be out for quite some time yet. Oh yes. Oh, no. No. I agree. Yes. The last one.” More muffled sounds and the hand emerged again, sending Finger Bones away.

Finger walked back to the passenger side of the four by four, and settled into his seat. The limousine had sped away by the time he’d put on his seatbelt.

From the rooftop of the abandoned shopping complex, Cloud lowered his binoculars and pressed a button on the side to replay the recording. Finger Bones’ voice was very clear, but Mr Williams was inaudible.

“You’ve got away this time, Mr Williams, but I’ll find you next time.” Cloud whispered to himself as he hooked the binoculars into his collar as he lowered himself down from the roof to his waiting motorbike below. “Time to head back to base and see what secrets this video on these binoculars can reveal!”

Previous episodes can be found on the Storylines page.

Cloud was on all fours and couldn’t move. Finger’s neutralising ray had frozen him to the spot.

“Never fear, my good friend, you’ll be moving again in a short while. I don’t like causing too much of discomfort to those who get in my way. I do have morals you know. However, Mr Williams wants all three of these files, and Mr Williams will get them. He isn’t as tolerant as me, I really recommend you stay away and don’t meet him.”

Cloud heard a car door behind him close, and knew Finger had an accomplice, the plank of wood that hit him took him by surprise, and at the time he didn’t even think as to who could have yielded it. Now though he knew there were at least three people involved in this mysterious case. The main one at the moment, Finger Bones, had just walked into the bank. He could hear shouting from within, presumably this bank’s security. A few moments later, Finger emerged from the bank, and tutted.

“Dear dear dear…” He mocked. The Cloud still couldn’t move. “Never mind. The guard will be outside in a moment, Cloud, and he may be able to get you moving again!”

The Cloud heard Finger get into the car. Listening very carefully, he heard Finger say “The Rendezvous. Quickly!” The tyres on the car screeched as it sped away. Cloud heard them screech again as they turned into the side street, and once more as they turned onto the main road. From the sound he knew the direction the car was heading in, and that told him exactly where the villain was heading.

He managed to stretch his back, and then stand. He stretched again to ease the ache in his shoulders. This bank’s security guard came through the door. Cloud confirmed with him that another file was taken, and then left. He leapt onto his motorbike and set off to chase Finger’s car, keeping the bike in its silent mode.

Previous episodes can be found on the Storylines page.