Hourglass of the Hostile

Frayed Edges...

Cool the touch, the broach is a deep pewter in colour. Intricate lines carved into the lower organic rhomboid shape are Celtic in styling, all interlocking lines and patterns. The upper half is shaped as some kind of wingless drake, it’s body made up of five looping curves, which mesh with the lower design, which is further punctured by four splayed claws and short stumpy legs. Most hypnotic are the multifaceted red stones set in the eyes, the way the light catches from the incredibly delicate cut gems, seems to reflect light onto the teeth and open maw of the cast creature…an allure of red light, bright and arterial in colour.

It stares up at me and I see with it’s eyes…

It is raining, the deluge of water drumming a loud roar on the iron roof covering the porch. There are tree’s all around, and I can see headlights from a car, projecting their beams through the rain, creating an effect of swirling watery patterns. The windows to the cottage have been boarded up, with a small sliver of light leaking from around the boards set in the window. The light is bright and paints thin sharp lines on the roof and concrete floor of the porch.

A boy stands before me. He is in school uniform and he appears slightly pale, he is no more than 9 years of age. He has a worried look in his eyes. The boy speaks.

“Granma, I don’t really want to be here tonight, it’s a horrible wet night and I want to go home to Mum.”

A female voice responds, soothing, cajoling and with a hint of condescension “There is no need to be worried Toby, everything will be ok, it is warm inside and there is delicious food for you hungry tummy”

“But Granma, I don’t feel like doing things with you tonight, I have school tomorrow and want to feel well.”

“But Toby, I can’t help your Mummy and Daddy get the things they want if you don’t cooperate with me, and don’t you want a Robo-saur? I’m sure all of your friends at school have them”
The child begins to pull away, shuffling towards the porch he looks towards the car parked in the rain.

“Please Granma, I really, really want to go home I’m too tired tonight”

An arm reaches out, wrapped in light brown suede, a hand, delicately manicured, but bearing the wrinkles and veins of an older woman, snakes out and snatches a handful of clothing near the childs shoulder, spinning them around roughly. The female voice cuts through the white noise of the rain, sharp and authorative.

“Toby! I have not driven all this way in the rain to listen to a spoilt ungrateful child whine about feeling cold and being tired, when there are perfectly good drinks and tasty food inside.”

A fearful, wide eyed stare from saucer brown eyes. Again the feminine voice, softer with forced compassion.

“ Come inside sweety, we’ll be as quick as possible, and once it’s done, I’ll let you see the special treat I have for you in my boot…I’ll even let you play with it all the way home…”

Vision fades, my answering frown is palpable, as if the top half of my face is trying to cave in on the lower half. Freda and Seb stare at me with that look.

“Umm…This broach from Sabiti’s house…”

From the Diary of Randal Shepherd,
Wednesday 30th September 2009. 20:58

I write this as I sit and watch them unload Rosalie Sabiti’s White convertible Audi A3 onto the concrete floor of the Glen Osmond warehouse. Surrounded by late model Mercedes Benz vehicles, the car seems oddly fitting in this environment. Kris has organised a couple of motor technicians from one of Thomas’ dealerships to come out and rig up the Audi to run 24/7.

Phaelan assures me that he can tap into the cars elaborate multifunction telecommunications service and obtain the location of any incoming calls as well as allow us to listen in on any call made with any number registered on this system. I have read about this, and have considered an upgrade for my Suby, it will be nice to see it all in action.

The footage from the airport security camera’s clearly show Sabiti attending the Europcar stand and hiring a Mini. She is observed driving away in the Mini, so it is clear that she remains in the city. This is further confirmed with footage from the speed and traffic observation camera’s positioned throughout the city.

The Scourge have elected to head back to visit Carlos Sabiti, to see if he has any other phone numbers on his phone which we may be unaware of. They have elected to pose as police officers, and have armed themselves with one of my mock warrants for search and seizure of property. They are going to slap the poor fool with paedophilia allegations, which should be more than enough of a distraction to seize his phone amongst other things.

The Scourge have also decided to hand the two Chimera prisoners over to me for ‘further management’. While Seb and Raisa seemed to take this decision in their stride, Dr Otto seemed to be struggling with the concept. I’m not sure if her pensive mood was a reflection of regret in her decision, some kind of disguised callousness or restrained horror. I can imagine such a decision may way heavy upon one’s conscious, and I know from self-experience that these types of decisions, made on a repetitive basis, can wear away at one’s connection with humanity, like some kind of slow chaffing of fingers and palms gripping tightly to fading tendrils of emotion and humane connection.

Okay that’s more than enough of THAT kind of reflection. Kris is signalling me to come and talk, gotta go.

From the Diary of Randal Shepherd,
Wednesday 30th September 2009. 21.50

Phaelan has logged a network service tag from the third unlabelled number in the phone book of Sabiti’s Audi. The phone was only online for about 30 seconds before being switched off again. Phaelan tells me that the signal tagged three base stations, which triangulate to an area between Regency Road and Grand Junction Road, which matches my previous registration tags made by the cities various speed and traffic observation camera’s (Note: Have more installed).

This equates to roughly six suburbs, translating to hours of searching.

The Scourge are back, and are strangely subdued. Their search of the Sabiti residence has turned up naught. It would appear that Rosalie’s husband is unaware of any potential child pornography goings on (just as well, I’m not quite sure if Seb would have left much of him around had he found evidence to the contrary). Lucky for him, not so lucky for the Scourge, who are like agitated teens agers preparing for a hard nights partying, and are waiting for the ‘responsible behaviour’ lecture to end.

They elect to head out to the general area and begin a search of the surrounding suburbs.
I have placed an ‘observe and follow’ order for the local law enforcement in my desperation to snag any kind of lead on Sabiti’s whereabouts.

The wait continues.

From the Diary of Randal Shepherd,
Wednesday 30th September 2009. 22.18

A second network service tag, again from the mysterious third unlabelled phone number. Again the phone is only online for around 30 seconds, not quite enough to get a fix, however the previous tagged telecommunications base stations remain unchanged suggesting she hasn’t moved (at least not very far).

The Scourge have begun a search of the Suburb of Blair Athol. It is yet to yield any results.
I am undecided as to whether to move or wait and be present for any possible calls.

It seems clear to me that Sabiti is clearly expecting a message or someone to call.

From the Diary of Randal Shepherd,
Wednesday 30th September 2009. 22.51

A third network service tag, again unchanged in origin, this third episode remains consistent with a 30 minutely check in.

It would seem something is definitely going down tonight. I better call Jarrod.

From the Diary of Randal Shepherd,
Wednesday 30th September 2009. 23.03

Fourth service tag, this time only 15 minutes from the last, a sign of getting more desperate?
The Scourge are still yet to yield anything. Jarrod on standby. Rick notified.

From the Diary of Randal Shepherd,
Wednesday 30th September 2009. 23.17

Eureka! A fifth network tag, and this time a phone message, which has been transcribed by Phaelan.


I have Phaelan running a back ground check on the business, should have details in the next 10 minutes, Scourge are on their way to the location, Jarrod also enroute. Kris has finally opened the warehouse door, gotta fly.

Smells of human industry ride heavily on the winds in this section of my city. I flex my muscles and adjust my arms, to angle my feathers in an effort to catch the meagre updrafts driven up from the wide and high industrial buildings. Acrid scents of chemicals, rubber and steel are snatched from the winds buffeting my sharp ebon beak.

My sharp eyesight espies movement below, a group of three, moving rapidly across from my final destination. A large burly male, all but obscured from my augmented vision, this fact alone telling me a tale of significant growth in power and prowess in my short absence. He is accompanied by a similarly obscured feminine form, graceful and sinuous in her movements, her rapid, yet careful strides soliciting barely a whisper from the broken gravel and stiff grass she passes through. The third, another female, breaking away from the group, climb rapidly up the side of an adjacent building, her speed and strength belying her petite stature.

As I feel my patience beginning to wane, the anticipation of what I face this evening bringing an uncharacteristic tiredness to my being, I glean the roar of motorbike engine, carried to me on southern winds. Within moments a small dark figure, with strangely grey pallor skin, riding atop some kind of powerful Japanese touring bike, circumnavigates the warehouse serving as my selected destination for the evening. With several large pumps of my wing muscles, I lift higher and trace a lazy parallel to his course, observing his sharp and unnecessarily brazen parking manoeuvre in a car park close to the Polycarbonate manufacturing premises.

As I bank for another look at the three positioned adjacent the main vehicle entrance, a second, highly familiar engine sound is carried to me on the winds. The distinctive burble of opposed piston engine, coupled with the high pitched whine of turbine herald the arrival of the cities Sheriff.

Far from helpless, it would seem their resourcefulness has led them to the same destination as my own. The thought of their presence weighs heavily on my ancient mind as I observe the newcomers link up with the patiently hiding three. Their actions suggest knowledge a degree of knowledge of the events about to unfold, I pray they are adequately prepared for what awaits.

Mercifully, I am left only a small amount of time to worry over these musings, as the anticipated actors in this Danse Macabre take centre stage.

The fleeing yellow bird, screeches into the street below, It’s eyes bright and wide with fear. Closely followed by the Silver Fox, eyes wide and filled with the thrill of the hunt, the taste of anticipation riding it’s hungry maw, it’s eyes a deep sanguine.

The yellow bird banks sharply into the warehouse, barely missing the gates and disappearing from view, the Silver Fox follows mere moments behind, its heedless lust cutting a swath through the premises gates, the sharp thud of metal on metal sending a wave of desperate panic through its prey.

I bank sharply now, the time for action now upon me. Slicing through the winds I pin my wings to my side and arrow lower and lower, slipping beneath the warehouse veranda. With claws outstretched, I touch the ground with the lightest of touches, using the briefest of inertia to augment my course, to sail above the Silver Fox to better take in my surroundings.

The Silver Fox is toying with its prey. More than capable of outrunning her, he allows her to cross through a grated steel bridge, spanning what appears to be a sunken conveyor and serving some kind manufacturing plant. With frenzied haste, the old duck crosses the threshold pausing as her mortal vision finally catches sight of three shadow characters situated across the other side of the manufacturing floor. Situated next to two widely spaced consoles, on a platform at equal level stands a man of my height and stature, he bears dark silken robes, hooded. The robes are emblazoned with a silver threaded Chimera situated on the left breast. In one hand he totes some kind of firearm, the other is concealed behind the head of a child who clings to his leg. My sharp bird eyes observe something unseemly in the manner in which the child grips the man’s legs, and there is an inhuman glint in the child’s eye, a missing spark of innocence perhaps? The other two figures are obscured by shadow, my eyes only able to pick out that one is female, and the other a large dark-skinned male. Both appear to be holding a similar stance, arms and hands held in front of their bodies and heads tilted down.

The duck hesitates, briefly unsure at these darks figures and their seeming lack of recognition of her existence. The robed individual appears intent on Silver Fox, who now aware of the newcomers, hesitates near the centre of the suspended walk-way.

It is at precisely this moment, this pause in action, that I strike, descending to several metres from where Silver Fox stands. Calling up my blood, I forcibly veer into my human form, knowing the briefest moment of animal ecstasy as I coalesce to my anorak, hat-bearing form. Silver Fox is now aware of my presence, and he turns to face me, eyes wide and tinged with blood.

“Thomas? What are you doing here?”

“I followed you Doug, to prevent you from getting yourself in deeper trouble than you are already in.”

“What do you mean trouble? I’m not at any risk here – It’s Granma and her team of filthy kiddy fiddlers that are about to cop it” His voice accusatory, echoing through the seemingly empty manufacturing plant. “This isn’t your fight mate.”

“Actually Doug it’s you who has come to the wrong fight. This IS my fight, not yours. Besides, I didn’t think instant gratification was your kind of thing?”

“What do you mean? I’m doing what I’ve always done…” he turns to take a second glance at his prey and those she now stands near.

“Look at who’s she with Doug…” Snatching a glance at me, he returns his gaze to the adjacent platform “…have a good look, this is not what you think it is…”

“Wierdo’s, Child Molesters’…soon to be dead…”

A third voice enters the foray, this one a deep timbre, it is a voice intimating leadership, tainted with arrogance and self-righteousness. Stepping away from the child and breaking their embrace, the smooth featured and somewhat chiselled chinned character speaks.

“You’ll have to forgive me gentlemen, but all this banter is inciting boredom. I must admit I would tend to side with Mr Clarke here, I have found that actions speak louder than words.”

With inhuman speed his hand swings from behind his back, as my mind registers the possible purpose of the strange aerialled box held in his hand, his finger depress on the single red button situated on the sleek black body. There is a beep issued several steps from where Douglas Clarke, the Silver Fox stands, and my vision is foiled with a sharp bright light. The metal beneath my feet ceases to be and I feel my body falling. I am washed with a wave of heat and something sharp and hot hisses into my flesh, an involuntary gasp escapes my lips, decades of painless existence bought to a sudden end as the nearly forgotten sensation returns in all of its bright nerve burning glory. A similar cry issues from a blurred obscured figure barely two arm-spans away. Something hard and metal slaps against my left thigh, spinning downwards. There is a rush of hot thick air and the floor rushes up to meet me.



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