Novel by David Smith
Available through Amazon and his official website.
“The strength of two connected neural pathways is thought to result in the storage of information, resulting in memory. This process of synaptic strengthening is known as long term potentiation.”
“Who can say where inside a man’s body his soul is kept? Who can pinpoint a part of his brain, or even a single synapse, and say this is or is not the essence of that person? Can one body be possessed by two souls, and if so is one equally as guilty of the crimes committed by the other?”
Not a word is spoken between us and we’ve been driving for over an hour, me behind the wheel. I can see purple marks on her left cheek, bruises, finger marks from the two slaps I gave her earlier. Her face is a mixture of confusion, anger and fear, not the fear of what might await us when we reach the UN building, fear of me. I like that. I like the feeling of power it gives me over her.
‘You must be the dumbest Torp in the universe,’ I say to break the silence. It’s not something she’s pleased to hear, ‘I can see by the startled fawn expression on your vacuous face you don’t understand yet. Well, let me make it baby simple for you. When Krillik was trying to hunt me down I had to hide somewhere he couldn’t find me. I had to hide so deep inside your precious Jake Redwood that my pulse could never be detected. I hid too deep. Jake Redwood became the dominant of the two of us. When I was released to take on Krillik at Joint Base Andrews, Jake still kept ultimate control of this body. As soon as Jek wasn’t needed any more he was able to suppress me and take control again. The body reverted to Jake Redwood. He’s kept control since then, Mister Normal, Detective Jake Redwood, the regular guy. But the dumb ass didn’t know how to operate the shuttle portal back there. So, it was either release me or we all die. It was a stupid move even for him, releasing me just before using the portal. I was the one transported, not Jake. If you let the Genie out of the bottle it’s not easy to put it back. Well, I’m out and I can promise you this, I’m never going back. Your beloved Jake Redwood is as good as dead.’
Her eyes are wet but she isn’t crying. I think she’s too scared to show her true emotions. She must really have liked the dumb fuck.
‘We need to stop somewhere,’ I say, ‘We need to properly rehydrate after the shuttle.’
‘There’s a rest stop a couple of miles ahead,’ she says a little petulantly because she hasn’t yet come to terms with the new order of things, ‘There’ll be a diner we can use.’
‘No,’ I say, ‘I know exactly where we’re going.’
We drive another thirty miles in silence. She doesn’t ask what our destination is. I point to a road sign ahead. It reads, ‘Westfield Shopping Mall 1 mile.’
Though she says nothing Jane’s facial expression says ‘Why? We’ve driven past about ten diners now.’
I take the slip road and it takes us on a short driveway into the Mall’s huge car park. There are hardly any cars, just a few parked near the main entrance. I slide the saloon into a space near the entrance doors and kill the engine.
Any other mall and the place would be heaving with shoppers. But this mall is special. True, some people come here to shop, but some don’t. They have an entirely different reason for coming here every day. I know why. It’s an extremely well kept secret I found out about when I was Major Jake Redwood the recuperating soldier and low profile pen pusher in the army. I may have been given a humble desk job but I was dealing with hundreds and hundreds of highly sensitive US military documents every week, making sure they were secure, and either filed correctly or destroyed.
Westfield shopping mall is a very special place. There is a section of the mall that is permanently closed to the public. There’s a big sign on the wall telling them to stay well away, take a hike or get prosecuted. The sign says this section of the mall is dangerous because it’s under reconstruction. I know the sign has been there since 1998. I know the other side of the wall on which the sign hangs is something that shouldn’t be there.
There was a nuclear missile development program in the eighties to build smaller intercontinental ballistic missiles, rockets that could be launched from mobile units called Hard Mobile Launchers. The program was allegedly scrapped but in fact some of the missiles developed were secretly kept in service, not on the backs of Hard Mobile Launchers but in missile silos. The silos are small and cleverly well camouflaged by locating them in populated areas inside shopping malls, sports complexes and even schools.
The theory was that a large number of small silo banks would be less vulnerable to counter attack than the nuclear silo clusters currently used. There are about a hundred special places like Westfield across the United States, and I know where they all are. I also know exactly what’s inside them. Each one contains five silos. Each silo houses an MGM 134A Midgetman. Each of these carries a 4.5 megaton airburst nuclear warhead, and each missile has a range of over 4,000 miles. The sites are well guarded and well maintained with the missiles ready to launch at a minute’s notice.
I don’t need all five missiles, just the one.
We climb out of the car and head for the mall, Jane trailing slightly behind me as we enter through the main doors. I know the restricted section is right alongside the food court and I head straight for that area. It’s a typical shitty court with units selling entry level junk food to harassed mothers, mall junkies and school kids. We weave through the cheap plastic chairs and tables to a spot right by the dividing wall between the secret section and the food court. Jane pulls out a chair and sits down at the only clean table in a row of six. I look at her as if she’s done something stupid.
‘Get some drinks and something to eat,’ I tell her.
‘How? We have no money.’
‘You have to be the dumbest fucking Torp I’ve ever met,’ I say as I turn my back on her and walk over to the nearest outlet, a burger stall. I beckon to the man that looks as if he’s in charge and he comes over to face me across the counter.
‘Can I help you?’ he says, a big smile on his puck marked face.
‘Sure,’ he says as he opens the till and takes out all the fifties he has and hands them to me. I walk back to the table and throw the cash, about $500, onto the table in front of her.
‘Now, get some drinks and food. I have something I need to do. I’ll be back in ten minutes.’
The food court is on the upper level of two, where most of the smaller retail outlets are. I walk along till I see what I’m looking for, a clothes store, one pushing older style items for business types. Perfect. I walk inside and have a look around. I spot what I want, a Trilby hat and a long trench coat that goes down practically to my feet. An elderly sales assistant walks over to where I’m trying on the hat and coat.
‘They’re a good fit,’ he says as I check my appearance in the long mirror.
‘They’re mine,’ I say.
‘Certainly, sir,’ he says, ‘Would you like anything else?’
I don’t answer. I just walk out of the shop with the hat pulled down hard and the collar on the trench coat turned up to hide as much of my face as I can.
I make my way from the food court down to the lower level where there is a set of doors to a lift. I stand and wait but don’t have to hang around for long. After about a minute there’s a ping and the doors slide open. A young man wearing jeans and a golf shirt steps out of the lift. He’s well built, fit, and alert. He looks around as he steps from the lift, cleverly, surreptitiously, so no one would notice he’s a highly trained soldier on duty. I figure he’s one of the many guards around the building keeping the silos secure. I step over towards him.
‘Biometrics?’ I ask.
He believes I’m his superior officer and will do anything I ask of him as long as I keep the vision I’ve just planted in his brain strong.
‘Yes sir,’ he says. He knows he mustn’t salute or do anything that would make it obvious he is military.
‘Take me down,’ I say.
He moves aside to let me enter the lift first, then steps in behind me. There’s a Perspex rectangular scanner mounted into the wall of the lift above the level buttons. He holds his hand against the bottom section while he presses his eye against the top. There is another ping as the lift doors close behind us, and the cage descends four floors.
‘Take me straight to the control room,’ I say.
As the doors open I see dozens of people, military but dressed as civilians. They’re all busy with whatever their tasks are. I send a wave of vision pulses out at them and nobody reacts to me being there. They all see me as someone who they never deal with but has superior authority to them, and so has every right to be inside their little secret base. We walk through the general administrative area into a long corridor. There are check points at five stages as we head to the control room, each manned with uniformed military men. We pass through all of them unchallenged. We enter the control room. There are six men inside, four technicians sitting at a bank of controls and two on guard over them. As soon as I’m inside I put them all to sleep except one technician and one guard.
‘Sir!’ the technician says to me, waiting to be given his orders.
He neither salutes nor stands, and I nod my head slightly towards him. He knows precisely what I want him to do and starts re-programming target coordinates for one of the missiles. He finishes doing what I want him to do then turns to me and says, ‘Target re-set to the new coordinates given with air burst detonation set to one thousand feet.’
‘Ready to launch?’
‘I need the launch codes and authorization, sir.’
I nod at him as I plant the vision making him believe he has whatever mumbo jumbo codes and security clearance he’s been told he has to have before he can press the button. I watch him flip over the safety cover on the big red button, and push his set of launch keys into place. I turn to the guard and plant a new vision in his head. He walks smartly from the room and returns seconds later with the second set of launch keys.
‘Thank you,’ I say as I take the keys from the guard and slot them into place, then we both turn our keys at the same time, arming the missile.
‘Fire it,’ I say to the technician.
‘Sir,’ he says and presses his thumb down hard on the big red ignition button.
I plant one last vision in the head of the guard before I leave. As I walk through the underground silo base towards the exit lift I can hear a series of single gunshots behind me as the guard moves from room to room shooting everyone there through the side of the head. No one runs or resists or raises any kind of alarm. No one even cries out as he systematically kills every living person in the base before blowing a hole in his own head. There will be no one left to answer questions as to what made these people collude to launch a nuclear attack, the epicenter being a small industrial site that was once a disused airbase on the island of Anglesey in North West Wales.
There is panic and chaos all around when I step out of the lift back into the shopping mall. Not surprising, really. You’re out trying to buy a new mop in Wal-Mart and a fucking great big nuclear missile thunders out of a secret silo in the shop next door. The silos are built so they shouldn’t cause loss of life should a missile need to be fired, but it’s not the best job ever done by the engineers and designers. I suppose they figured if the Midgetman arsenal had to be deployed most of the country had already been fried anyway, so why put the taxpayer’s money into a safety design that actually works. The truth is if you fire off a Midgetman this close to unprotected people there’s bound to be casualties.
There are badly burnt men, women and children lying around everywhere, their prostrate bodies still smoldering. Most are dead but some are still alive and screaming in pain. There are bodies in pieces, torn to shreds when the back thrust from the missile ripped the roof off the mall showering white hot metal and molten glass onto the shoppers below. It’s a scene of total carnage. These people mean nothing to me and are not a part of my plan. Their suffering, their deaths are of no consequence in the scheme of things, so I weave between the debris, and the dead and dying, making my way towards the main doors into the mall. The entrance has been hit by falling debris and is twisted out of shape.
There is a jam of bodies ahead of me. People that had been trying to escape the mall through the main doors are trapped, caught by the twisting metal frame and falling debris from the building. Others piled into the human mangled mess desperate to escape and not realizing there are people trapped in front of them. The glass dome at the entrance has collapsed onto the frantic desperate crowd below, sending a shower of razor sharp shards down cutting the people underneath into shreds. It’s a horrific scene, a blood bath. Those still alive are screaming for help.
I step over the bodies till I get to the human log jam. I climb on top of the dead and dying, making my way towards a gap at the top of the pile of human suffering. One woman, face soaked in blood, grabs at my leg pleading for help. I kick her hands away and keep climbing till I reach the gap. I squeeze through and I’m out of the mall, free of the carnage. I scramble over the wreckage of the entrance till I’m back onto the solid ground of the parking lot. In the distance I hear the first noises of rescue vehicles, sirens wailing, some way off yet. Wreckage from the mall is scattered across the parking lot. I head towards where I dumped the car, taking off the coat and hat as I hurry along. When I get to the car I flick open the boot, then manhandle the dead Dreek out onto the parking lot, laying the body flat. As quickly as I can I push one of the body’s arms into the Trench coat, roll it over then slide in the other. I lift the body off the ground and slip the Trilby onto its head before I carry it across my shoulder to the entrance doors of the mall. There I slide the dead Dreek off my back, dropping the body in amongst the pile of the dead and dying that were trapped when the doors collapsed. I turn and run back to the saloon car.
I’m not surprised when I see Jane now standing by the car. I figured after a few minutes sitting like a doofus in the food court she’d have sensed something was wrong and gone looking for me. I figured she’d have thought I may have wanted to give her the slip and tried to take off without her. I figured the first place she’d have looked would be back at the car. She must have narrowly escaped the carnage. Her insecurity probably saved her life.
‘What the hell, Jek?’ she says, a million unspoken questions in the expression on her face.
‘Let’s get out of here,’ is all I say in response.
‘What the hell did you do?’
‘Get in the car,’ I say as I slip into the driver’s seat.
I think about the time that has passed since the missile was fired, about six minutes. I figure about now it’s going to be a very hot day in Anglesey, North West Wales, somewhere between 50 and 150 million degrees Fahrenheit. The blast radius from the airburst detonation will cover the whole island. I doubt anyone will survive, though statistically there should be some folks make it through the day, but the radiation will eat them alive later. I figure Krillik won’t be a victim of the thermonuclear explosion. He’d have jumped straight into the shuttle portal after me, not to the Reach in case I’d been waiting for him, but to the nearest portal in the States to where the Reach was. It’s in his instincts to do this, go hunting for me himself. He wants me dead but can no longer trust his minions to do the job. On top of this he wants his fun. He wants to see me die in a long, drawn out agonizing death, not quick, practically instantly, like the poor fuckers on Anglesey are dying now.
I figure the base that Grow set up will be obliterated in the blast, along with all the equipment they’d have transported secretly to Earth that they hadn’t manage to disseminate to some country or another. I figure all Krillik’s little helpers at the base will be frying right now, cutting the strength of his force down to whatever Dreeks and Torps he has spread around the world.
I can handle them now. I can take Krillik, Abel and any remaining contractors working for Grow here on Earth. Then it’s only a short hop and step to taking control of this planet.
‘Did you get something to drink?’ I ask.
She looks as if she’s going to make a wise ass answer then thinks again.
‘Yes, a cup of coffee, that’s all.’
‘We’ll stop up the road and get something to eat once there’s enough distance between us and the mess back there,’ I say.
I smile at her. She doesn’t smile back. We drive in silence for a few minutes then I say, ‘I couldn’t stop it.’
‘I couldn’t prevent what Abel did back there.’
She looks at me but says nothing, waiting for me to spin her a yarn she can try to believe. I oblige.
‘When I was in the army I found out that Westfield had a secret missile bunker hidden in a part of the precinct. After you’d been transported back to the Reach, Krillik burst into the portal room with his thugs. As I stepped onto the transporter mat he tried to plant a vision in my head to get me to walk back off to prevent me from escaping. But he was too late. The fibrils had already started the deconstruction process. When he tried to plant that vision something happened when our minds linked. For a brief moment I was able to see into his mind. I saw a thought, a sort of vision of something that was planned to happen soon. I knew it was at Westfield. One of Krillik’s Dreeks was inside the control centre. In the vision he detonated the five warheads mounted on the missiles in the silos. That was Krillik’s plan, to detonate a massive thermonuclear explosion right here in America.
I was able to get inside the control room and I was just in time to stop the Dreek detonating the warheads in the silos, but I was unable to prevent him from launching one. I know Krillik was following orders given to him through Abel sent directly from Grow. It was to be Grow’s first act of terror to show its power over Earth. It’s meant to blackmail the UN into handing me, or my dead body, over to Abel. But it’s a sham. The order to detonate the nuclear warheads must have been in train even though we were already captives of Grow at the time.
It’s not about me any more, Jane. I’m a side show. It’s not even about Grow, through Abel, exercising control over those in power on Earth, although this little demonstration would have achieved exactly that had it succeeded. It’s about Grow justifying the genocide of the human species so Grow can harvest the planet for profit. Whether I’m dead or alive, in their clutches or free is irrelevant now. It was all a device to get to this point, the detonation of nuclear bombs in the atmosphere, and the loss of life and suffering that follows. Grow wants to make the case to The Powers that the human species is violent and unpredictable, and has weapons of mass destruction it’s prepared to use to destroy its enemies, even itself if attacked. There are no such weapons on any other planet in the universe, Jane. So, if humans eventually manage to develop the technology of space travel using shuttle portals then they will be a threat to all civilizations throughout the universe.’
Jane tries to digest my lies but I can see she’s struggling to make sense of it all.
‘Are you saying the charges brought against you by Abel were just a sham?’
‘No, they’re real enough, but it’s just the start of an escalation process that will show humans as too dangerous to exist as a species in a peaceful and civilized universe. Had he succeeded, Abel would argue to The Powers that the human species should be destroyed. After all, they had exploded thermo nuclear devices amongst their own people just to demonstrate the power of their weaponry to Grow. The massive loss of life and suffering would not be tolerated. The Powers would then sanction Grow to release its modified Revelation spores on Earth.’
I can see the blank look in her eyes so I put it more simply for the dumb bitch.
‘Look, Grow makes a legitimate demand that I’m handed over to face trial. Earth refuses, and, to show how powerful it is, Grow blows up hundreds of thousands of innocent people and claims humans did it themselves. Grow argues its case that the human species should be removed and wins. Grow releases the spores. All humans die. Grow sends in a clean up squad then starts exploiting Earth’s assets for a fat profit. Is that simple enough for you?’
‘I understand,’ she says, ‘but it doesn’t mean I can see the sense in what they tried to do. If Abel had succeeded it was more a demonstration of the destructive power of Grow over the weaker minded human species. There’s absolutely no logic in humans exploding weapons of mass destruction amongst their own kind with no warning either to their own people or to Abel so he’d get the message. And why kill people? Why not just detonate one in a desert somewhere? If Abel had succeeded it’d be obvious that Grow had detonated the bombs to show its ability to use mankind’s weapons against itself. Every single military device man has is at the disposal of Grow. Surely Noone would argue this in the courts of The Powers.’
‘You think too much,’ I say as I start to pull onto the slip road to the diner.
It’s crowded, hot and sweaty in the restaurant, and the place is buzzing with the news. The island of Anglesey has been wiped off the face of the Earth by a thermonuclear device that originated from America. There has been a massive loss of life. The good and the great in Britain are scratching their heads trying to figure out what happened. How could the ‘good old US of A’ drop a 4.5 megaton warhead on their sleepy little backwater island?
According to the rolling news on the TV in the restaurant, the President of the United States had picked up the phone to the British Prime Minister as soon as he’d been informed of the incident by his military chief. He told the British PM that a terrible accident had happened; an unauthorized missile launch had taken place. It sure as hell wasn’t deliberate. It was either human error or sabotage; he didn’t have all the facts. So far there has been no official reaction from the Brits. That’ll come but it’ll be wishy-washy; naughty Americans; try not to do it again please. The Brits are toothless old sabre-rattlers with no balls.
We take a table at the far side of the diner as far away from the babbling crowd gathered round the TV as possible. The chef already knows what I want and is cooking it as his top priority. These people’s minds are so easily manipulated. The food arrives hot and appetizing. The waitress pours us both coffees and skitters away to catch up with the latest from the TV, and cluck out her shock and horror along with the other gawping morons. I tuck into my meal while Jane just sits and looks at her plate.
‘I don’t know how you can,’ she says, more to herself than to me.
‘Eat,’ I say, and she knows it’s an order not a request. She pecks at her food, pushing it around her plate with her fork and occasionally half heartedly chewing on something to keep on my good side. I’ll need her soon, then, once she’s served her purpose I can be rid of her long face forever.
‘We need to get in touch with Noone. He needs to know what happened,’ I say between mouthfuls of my meal.
‘Oh really,’ she says, and I note that the defiant tone in her voice is back again, ‘…and how do we do that?’
I’m tempted to punch her hard in the mouth but I keep my control.
‘Don’t take me for an idiot,’ I say, making sure I have full eye contact with her as I speak, ‘You said you’d been in regular contact with him. You said you have a communications device back in your office in the UN building. Where the fuck did you think we were heading?’
I’m suddenly aware that someone is by my side. It’s a child, a young girl about six years old. She’s staring at me.
‘Is that you on the TV?’ she asks, pointing at the wall mounted TV screen.
I look across and there I am; Jake Redwood’s cop I.D. mug shot. The next shot is of Jane, her U.N. Security clearance shot.
‘That’s you,’ says the child to Jane who is now looking at the screen. The running update at the bottom of the screen reads;
‘Police and military forces are still hunting for two people, a male and a female, suspected of carrying out a string of crimes across the District of Columbia in the last two days. These crimes include murder. The male is named as Detective Jake Redwood of Polk County police. The female is named as Jane Krieff, a United Nations Special Ambassador. These people are highly dangerous and under no circumstances should members of the public approach them. If sighted please contact the District of Columbia police emergency contact line.’
I put the child to sleep. The kid crawls under a table and curls into a foetal position amongst the food debris and dirt off people’s shoes. But I know it’s too late. All those watching the TV bulletin in the restaurant have seen us walk in. I glance across at the griddle area and see a fat chef, a woman with more weight on her hips than an Orca smirking at us. I know she’s feeling pretty pleased with herself. I know she’s called us in to the police and they’re on their way. The model citizen, doing her bit for justice as her gum chewing mouth sprays spittle over the burgers and melted cheese on her griddle. She reckons she’ll be the local hero and dine off this for years to come. Well, she can do it without hands. I nod at her and she presses both her hands flat onto the searing surface of the griddle in front of her. I make sure she feels no pain now. She’s still smiling at me as the smell of burning flesh from her hands mixes with the aroma of the griddling burgers. She’ll never be able to use her broiled hands again. I smile back at her as I stand to leave.
‘Outside,’ says Jane.
I look through the restaurant window into the parking lot. There is a ring of police vehicles around the diner, all facing towards it. The doors of every vehicle are open both sides. There’s a cop crouching behind every one pointing a weapon of some sort or other at the diner. Cops are not normally a problem. Their weak minds are easily controlled. But these are special, well prepared and a genuine threat to my plans. These cops are wearing lead lined helmets with lead coated visors. I try to plant visions in their heads but it’s useless. They’re well screened from the power I would normally have over them. They were prepared for this confrontation. If they’ve been given shoot on sight orders we’re dead as soon as we step outside the diner. I don’t want it to end this way, here in a shitty diner in the middle of nowhere. This is my planet. I will be its supreme ruler. I will not let it end in such a shabby way. I look around the diner. It’s packed with men, women and children, every one a weapon I can use. I look at Jane and I know she knows what I plan to do, send these people out into the parking lot. They will leave quietly at first but once outside they will attack the police officers with insane fury, as if their very souls depended on it. They will all be killed, gunned down in cold blood by the police, but that is of no consequence to me. I will escape through the melee they create.
Jane reaches over the table and takes hold of my arm. I look into her eyes. They are both pleading and commanding.
‘No,’ she says, ‘It’s time to stop.’
I make the folks in the restaurant sleep. Jane is right. There’s perhaps a better chance of success being inside the system than outside. Maybe it’s time to give ourselves up. What changes my mind from sacrificing the people in the diner and making a run for it to handing ourselves in is the helicopters circling above. Some good citizen, probably a cop, has earned himself a nice little brown envelope full of cash by tipping off the media. The air above the diner has about eight helicopters hovering above it. Two are police but the rest are choppers from news channels. I reckon there must be half a dozen live feed video cameras focused on the exit to the diner.
If we walk out with our hands held high and no weapons in sight and they gun us down the world will be a witness to our brutal and unjustified murder. So the cops have no choice. My new plan is that we walk out. We get arrested with the world’s media watching, following our fate, demanding to know what happens to us. The authorities will have no option other than to keep us from any harm. We get protected in custody, and we get a voice. We get heard. The world’s media will insist on having access to us and hearing our side of the story. I will use them for my protection and for my propaganda. These people are fools. Being seen to be just and fair holds more sway than protecting their species, a weakness I intend to exploit and use to my advantage.
‘Time to go,’ I say to Jane.
I nod at the griddle chef that called the police. It’s time to let her feel the pain, and suffer for what she did. Her piercing screams shatter the silence in the diner. The police raise their weapons as Jane and I push through the door and step out into the parking lot. With the helicopters circling above us, and their cameras focused on the action I raise my hands high, kneel on the ground and flop forward onto my face in the parking lot, spreading my hands and legs wide. In moments cops are all over me, pulling my hands up high behind my back and snapping on Graphene cuffs to my wrists and my ankles. Specialist technicians are seconds behind the cops. These guys are carrying a lead lined helmet that covers the whole of my head. There’s a lead coated screened grid where the eye holes should be that I can see through. They slip the helmet on then strap it in place tightly with a steel choker chain secured with a padlock. The helmet will block any attempt I make to plant visions into any human’s mind. They think this makes me safe to handle.
I turn my head and watch what happens to Jane. She’s made to lie face down in the dirt like I was, and her wrists bound with Graphene cuffs, but she doesn’t have the lead lined helmet fitted. Whoever is in control of this operation has decided she is less of a risk than me, even though it’s common knowledge she’s a Torp and perfectly capable of twisting human minds just like I can. Either side of her are two cops. They put their arms under her armpits and pull her to her feet. I can see she’s going to get special treatment. I can see they think she’s been used and I’m the bad guy in whatever has been going on.
When she’s stood upright she is taken away from the police vehicles by two uniformed officers to the far side of the parking lot under the trees, out of range from the prying eyes of the media helicopters in the sky. There’s a vehicle parked there I recognise, not a cop car, a black Lincoln Navigator.
I now know her arrest is a charade. Standing beside the rear passenger door is a man I’ve seen before. Jane smiles at him as she approaches. The cops either side of Jane remove her cuffs then melt away as Abel steps forward and kisses Jane gently on both her cheeks. I now know I should have killed the treacherous bitch when I had the chance.
End of Part Eight