Thursday 2 January 2014

Magic Falls Part 32

I am sat in the plainest room I have ever sat in. There is only a table and some chairs. They are heavy plastic. I do not have any control over whether or not I can leave. There are guards outside the door.

There is a man opposite me. He’s in his early forties. He’s slim and bearded and professional. He has not told me his name. He has been asking me the same questions over and over, trying to find different ways into what he’s trying to find out.

“How did you know about the sword?” he asks. I’ve lost track how many times he’s asked me variations of this question.

“It’s on Google Earth.”

“Very funny.”

“It’s all over the internet. There are pictures everywhere. Why is it unusual that I might know about it?”

“Because you know more.”

“I don’t know any more about why this has happened than you do.”

He looks to his left to the large mirror on the wall and then presses his finger to his ear before nodding.

“Why not just bring them in?” I ask.

“What?” He says.

“You’re blatantly talking to someone behind that mirror. This is not difficult for me to work out. You’re not even being subtle about it. If they want to talk to me, just bring them in. Let them ask directly.”

“I’ll ask the questions,” he says, before bringing his hand back to his ear. He looks to the left again and nods. 

“They’re joining us?”

“Yes,” he says. He doesn’t look overwhelmingly happy, but then he doesn’t look particularly angry either.

I’m exhausted. This has been going on for days, and I’ve been confined to a cell the rest of the time. I’ve not been hurt and I’ve been treated pretty well, all things considered, but there’s absolutely no doubt about the fact that I’m their prisoner.

I’ve asked to see a lawyer, but been told that because this is a matter of security, this isn’t a typical kind of arrest. I’m pretty sure that they are making up some of the rules as they go along, but they’re not being particularly forthcoming.

Still, I have no idea why Jack betrayed me the way he did. Where I came from… when I came from… Jack was my closest ally. We had created a group together that went on to change the world. The Knights. But somehow… things had turned out differently. He had become far more influential this time around – it had happened more quickly, possibly because of the situation with his daughter (or, although I didn’t want to admit it because of ego, because this time around, he’d done it by himself, and without me holding him back).

But still, all that influence. All those people ready to believe. We’d been able to do a lot with hundreds. He had thousands just in that audience, let alone in the rest of the country. Or the world.

All that belief. All that power.

And he believed me. I know he did. He knows how important this is, and yet, somehow and for some reason, he made me go public and then he gave me up. And I didn’t know why.

The head of the department walks in. He had been introduced briefly the day beforehand, but he’d been very quiet. He’s with another man, and I still can’t work out where I know him from. I’ve been trying to work it out since I saw him in the theatre.

“Darren,” The head says, “We’re not on different sides here. You’ve got to understand that. We’re all looking for the same thing.”

“What’s that?” I ask.

“We’re looking to keep everyone safe. The rules have changed. We know that and we are accepting it, but we can’t just declare anarchy in one fell swoop.” He says, calmly. “All we know about you is what we’ve been told. You’re here purely as a precaution. And so we can find out more about what’s going on.”

“I don’t know what’s going on,” I say to him.

“Is he telling the truth?” he asks the other man, the familiar-looking one.

“I don’t know,” he says, frowning at me with confusion.

The head turns to him. “What do you mean ‘you don’t know’?”

“I mean I don’t know,” he says. “I can’t read him.”

“You could earlier.”

“I know I could earlier. I can’t now. I don’t know why.”

I looked at him more, and then it clicked. “You’re Shane Smith,” I said. “I’ve seen you on television.”

He looks at the head and then back at me, a ghost of a smile flickering across his face. “Yes, I am.”

“Why are you – you’re a stage magician. Why are you here?”

“Why do you think he’s here?” the head asks me.

I look at the two of them for a moment before realising. “Because magic is becoming real… so if people believe in your magic…”

Shane Smith nods. “Basically. Frightened the hell out of me at first, I can tell you that. I’m a mind reader. Used to be, I only did it for the stage. Now, it’s all the time.”

“All the time?” I ask.

He looks at the head, who nods. “Yes,” Smith says. “it’s not something I can switch off.”

“So…” I ask, “What does that mean with regards to what I’m saying?”

“All I’m getting is that you’re looking for your wife. Other than that… I can’t read a thing.”

“How are you blocking him?” the head asks me, looking more concerned now.

“I’m not doing a thing,” I say. “I really don’t know anything about this.”

“But you know about the sword.”

“I’ve only seen it on – “

“We have it on good authority,” the head tells me, cutting me off. “You know a lot more about this than you’re letting on.”

“You just don’t trust us,” Shane says. “You don’t need to be a mind-reader for that.”

I look at the two of them for long moments. “Then let me go. Let me go back to what I was doing.”

“How about,” the head asks, “if we were to offer a deal?”

“What kind of deal?” I ask.

“What if, in return for you helping us with the sword in Trafalgar Square,” he asks calmly and evenly, “we tell you where your wife is?” 

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