Friday, 28 February 2014

Mothballs: Resurrection of Frank Clarkson (part 4)

"I knew it." Aksel exclaimed, as the two youngest Laurisdens walked out of the police station, "I told you I knew it!"
Verity rolled her eyes. "Great." They continued out of the police station and walked towards the port.
"But don't you get it? This concretes the whole thing!" He cried.
"It also means that Septimus is in real danger."
They continued in silence, a miserable silence, the silence that children, of a generation much further on than the Laurisdens', will suffer from, as the ice cream van drives away. The boat man, who stood with another man, saw them, as the slowed to a mere tiptoe, and waved.
Aksel waved back, then turned to Verity and pleaded. "Please will you cheer up. For the sake of the boatman, at least."
Verity nodded and faked her smile, instantly feeling ever so slightly better. The boatmen welcomed them over and, shaking his head about something the other man said, waved him off and welcomed the children's over. "Hello, Laurisden's. I hope you've brought my payment, as we've been warned off from taking people there. I guess you don't care though."
Aksel grinned. "No, we don't"
"May I ask, what payment am I getting?"
"If I'm right, where we're going is a factory with twenty nine thousand sovereigns worth of drugs in, drugs that have been used all over Europe. Drugs that you can sell to anyone."
"I'm not a drug dealer, kid."
"No, but these drugs are currency. And you need currency."
The boatman weighed it up slightly. "Alright. Get in the boat and hide under the large blanket. Don't want any coppers seeing you."
The two Laurisden children crawled beneath the old musty blanket, that felt like old carpet, and waited, as the boat started to move away. It rocked up and down, making the Laurisden's feel sick. The acids in their stomachs were bubbling and they felt sick, but the boat slowed as if it could sense their suffering and soon the boatman was ordering them to remove the carpet. They climbed up and Aksel threw out his hand suddenly. "Stop Verity!" He shouted as she prepared to wade through the water. "If the fish are dead, don't you think we'd be?"
She climbed down from the side of the boat and nodded. "I guess you're right. How do we get in then?"
Aksel turned to the boatman. "Can we pull back a bit further?"
The boatman nodded. "Yeah, we can. But not by far."
The boat went a bit further up the stream they were on and stopped the nearest it could get to the massive factory building. The stream led into the factory, probably to power large machinery, and there was a barrel stuck of the water. The boatman took a large plank of wood up and slid it across to the barrel, using it to balance the plank. Having thanked him greatly, the Laurisden children left the boatman and climbed across the damp board, onto the barrel. There was a rock jutting out of the water, so they clambered onto that and then hopped onto platform to the right of the stream that led out of the factory. There didn't seem to be anybody about, so they clambered on and ran away, but stopped, as they observed the machinery the water powered. It had a large conveyor belt that led lumps of iron structures into a machine that showered it with hydrochloric acid, until the iron chloride  went through drains into the stream.
They continued, and looked for cells, but couldn't find any. And then suddenly, they saw two guards on their rounds. Luckily, the guards didn't see them, as they'd managed to hide in time, and so they continued down to where the guards were, once they'd gone away, that is.
It was obvious what they were guarding. Septimus. It was a single cage, that you could see completely around, and Septimus was inside it, bruised.
He ran to the bars when he saw them, and grinned, as Verity worked some magic on the lock. The door swung open and the older brother climbed out grinning. "Thanks for getting me. Now let's get out of here." He said.
Aksel shook his head. "We need to add one final touch."
"No Aksel, these people are too dangerous."
"But I worked it all out. Just trust me on this!"

They ran up onto the balconies at the top of the factory and started to run along, towards where Septimus said the resurrected cadaver lived. It was an old office, with glass windows and a table that the cadaver sat at. He looked honestly surprised when the three Laurisden children burst through, Septimus brandishing the speech that Aksel had written. "Hello, Frank Clarkson." Septimus read. "Don't try to call the guards, or we'll hill you?"
"Kill you." Aksel whispered.
"Ah! Or we'll kill you."
"I'm the Lazarus, you can't kill me!"
Septimus turned to Aksel. "How did you know he was going to say that?"
Aksel shrugged. "Good old fashioned luck, I guess."
Septimus nodded. "Now, Mr Clarkson, I know you aren't Lazarus. Because you never really died."
"The rivers of some areas of Russia are exceptionally cold, and many scientific investigations have discovered that you can often preserve food in them."
"So?" The cadaver asked.
"And that process has been recreated in coffins. A body is put in the coffin and flozen?"
"Frozen!" Aksel exclaimed.
"And frozen, and once it's taken out, it seems dead."
The cadaver paused.
"And funnily enough, that plocess?"
"Process." Aksel replied.
"That process had been used to create the illusion of resurrection for a very long time!"
The cadaver clapped. "Well done, kid. I guess you're right."
"I'm not finished." He said, deviating from the script. "You see, Madam Bazarains show has toured all over Eastern Europe, including Russia, and in every single place that it stopped, there have been reports of a new drug, that they call the God Powder. The same drugs as those supplied by your company."
"Rubbish. We couldn't travel around with drugs, they'd be found!" The cadaver cried.
"Literally, how do you guess this?" Septimus asked Aksel.
"I've got a knack for guessing revelations."
"I can see that." Septimus replied. "Now, how you disguise the drugs is very clever. You take a bag of drugs and then put it in a mould, pouring iron all over it. Once the iron has set, you end up with a iron shape with a bag of drugs inside. When you get to wherever you need, you dissolve the iron in hydrochlolic?"
"Hydrochloric acid, creating iron chloride and leaving the bag of drugs intact."
The man nodded. "I guess you're right kid. We got told you'd be able to beat us, by the obscured man. But we didn't believe him. I guess we were wrong. But if we go down, so can you." He lit a flame and took it over to the corner. "Goodbye to us all!" He lit a fuse.
Verity stared. "That's for a bomb, isn't it?"
"The barrel in the stream outside," Aksel announced. "it must have been filled with explosives!"
They ran out of the door, past some random guards and then out of the factory, just as it exploded. They looked back at the burning remnants and watched as all the drugs formed a cloud that made many people feel really good.
Aksel grimaced. "I guess we'll never know who the obscured man is."
Septimus shook his head. "We need to find him."
"Why?" Verity demanded. "He's gone. He can't cause trouble for us?"
"Because he's got Sebastian."
"What?" The younger siblings exclaimed.
"He's got Sebastian and the voice machine, and he said it was the key to his brilliance."
"What brilliance?"
"I don't know, but it was deeply malevolent."

To be continued......

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Mothballs: Resurrection of Frank Clarkson (part 3)

Septimus moved first, throwing his stick out and presenting the first masked man with an almighty blow to the head. He spun around, jabbing the stick into another of the four assassins. Aksel was caught up with Septimus' sudden out burst, when one of the hooded men struck him from the back, knocking him to the floor.  Verity ran at the assassin who'd attacked Aksel, but was pulled back by the  assassin she'd discovered. Septimus slammed his foot into the second assassin again and sent him to the floor. Pleased that he'd knocked two of the assassins out, using purely the element of surprise and his own knowledge of Bajitsu, he turned to Aksel and Verity. Verity was being held back screaming as Aksel was threatened with a knife. Septimus saw the advantage they had, and so backed off, throwing his stick to the ground. The assassins turned to him, releasing Verity and Aksel and advancing on him. Aksel realised what was going on and grabbed Verity, pulling her out. Despite her loud protests, the assassins didn't turn to Verity, and so they escaped mostly unharmed, apart from a cut on his arm, where dark droplets of blood was leaking out.
They couldn't find Sebastian so they ran back to 29 Grimmer Place. They'd been attacked many times since their parents had left, and the plan was always the same. Septimus would fight the villains off, allowing Verity and Aksel to escape. They didn't really agree with it, but their father had made Septimus swear to protect them. But this was different. Septimus was in as much danger as they were, if not more, so they were going to find him. They started investigating the next day, waiting outside the house in the park and then tailing the postman, after he'd delivered the squares letters. They followed the short ugly guy, who wore a blue suit with a hat that could be associated with the sound 'toot', into the market, where he was made his way down an alley, where a shadowy figure awaited him. He had an eastern european accent and his face was obscured by the shadowy gloom of the alleyway. The two Laurisdens were hidden by a market stall, but were in perfect business to observe the proceedings. And how curious those proceedings were.
The postman seemed nervous, as if the Obscured Man was really scary. "I did as you said, now give me. Now give me." His words faltered.
"Now give me what?" The eastern european voice asked.
"Give me the things you promised me."
"What things?"
"The euphoria, the divine lights. The God dust."
There was a long silence, as if there was a sudden revelation that had left everyone silent. But it was soon resolved as the Obscured Man started laughing. It wasn't necessarily an evil laugh, more of a girlish giggle, but it frightened the postman greatly.
The obscured man laughed further. "This is the euphoria. My euphoria." A man stepped out of the shadows, behind the obscured man."Here are the divine lights." The Obscured Man announced, his eastern european accent powerful.
"I see no lights." The postman said.
"Oh I'm sorry." He took lit a lantern and held it over the other mans face, revealing him as the resurrected cadaver, from Bazarains room. "Is this better?"
The postman screamed. "I saw you die from too much of the god powder. How can you be alive?"
The Obscured Man seemed to have smiled. "Ah, the God Powder. You'll have to ask the man himself."
The walking cadaver placed his hand around the postman's neck and squeezed. The postman was dead within minutes.
The Laurisdens walked briskly to Grimmer Place and Aksel took everything they'd received to his laboratory quickly. He'd explained to Verity, on the way, that he'd wanted to experiment on the parcel, but she hadn't realised just how far fetched the experiments were. His first move was to cut away a bit of the inside box and burning it, smelling the scent produced. There was definitely a strange smell, but the question was what?
He conducted his experiments for a few hours until he found what he was looking for. Iron Chloride. Salt created from the reaction of Iron and Hydrochloric Acid, which meant that the parcel was sent from someone who'd been using both. Iron appeared in a lot of places, but Hydrochloric acid? That wasn't common.
"What have you found, Aksel?" Verity asked, having observed the excitement on her brothers face.
"The box has traces of Iron Chloride on."
"What does that mean?"
"Iron Chloride. It's a type of salt produced when Iron and Hydrochloric Acid is reacted together. We're looking for someone who uses both. A factory maybe. A factory which uses hydrochloric acid to dissolve things."
"Which factories do you think would use it?"
"I don't know. But I know how we could find out." They made their way out of Grimmer place and to the river, where a boatman was busy, playing cards. The boatman, once he'd seen them, walked over and smiled. "How can I help you two?"
"We were wondering if any fish have died recently?"
The boatman thought for a second. "I believe so."
Aksel nodded. "Alright. Write me the address and we'll be on our way."
The boatman shook his head. "No address, lad. You can't have addresses in the water."
"Can you take us out there?"
"For a fee."
"Of course."
"How does tonight suit you?"
Aksel conferred with Verity. "Sounds good. Shall we meet here."
"Perfect. I could take you now, if you wanted."
"No, we've got things to do now."
"Alright. See you tonight."
The Laurisden children walked away and, once they'd got out of earshot, Verity asked the question on her mind. "What things have we got to do?"
Aksel grinned. "We need to test a theory of mine."

Monday, 10 February 2014

Mothballs: The Resurrection of Frank Clarkson (part 2)

It was an odd sight, really. Two boys walking along a street, with a little girl riding a cow besides them. The cow swayed from one side to another, with Verity bobbing up and down on top. They continued walking, and as they took each step, Aksel thought. He thought of the message on the back of the flyer, 'how long has your house been in mothballs? Make sure you're there because the mothballs are going to blow away.'
It wasn't that tricky. The first sentence meant that his family has been hiding for a while. The second, well he didn't know what the second meant, but one thing was for certain, he couldn't wait to find out.
They continued across the streets until they arrived at the outskirts of the city, where Madam Bazarians house lived. It was an old place, three floors and a great marble stood before the doorway. They headed towards the door, and felt the buzz of a busy place, the same buzz that Verity experience every morning as she walked Sebastian. 
Septimus rapped his knuckles on the large door and then stood back, snatching the flyer from Aksel. The door swung open, and Septimus bowed profusely, waving his top hat in great rotations. The man looking down at him stared, unimpressed. Septimus stood up and started, as Verity called it, fumbling around. He did a strange dance around the man, flapping his hands and raising his head up and down, as if to take the gist of the man. He continued, giving the man strange looks, until he'd made his way completely around the man and into the building. Once he'd done that, he tapped the man on the shoulder and took his attention, gesturing for Aksel and Verity to enter. They did so and ran into the crowd, quickly losing the big man amongst the bumbling throng of sweaty hot people. The interior of the building, or at least what they could see of it, was grubby and stained with random doors leading into strange rooms, where other acts from the freak show Bazarian was one of performed. They passed a room with a pink haze emitted from it, where many were queuing to get into it, passing it another room where it sounded as if there was an explosion. More and more people barged past them, pushing them into rooms. They fell into a room full of pigs dressed up as people, and once they'd escaped, were just pushed into another room of bearded women and men in dresses. They climbed back out and continued down the corridor, literally fighting their way past the huge crowd. It smelt acrid, burning the insides of their nostrils. But one smell topped all the other smells. The smell of rotting flesh.
The got to the end of the corridor and found a staircase, which they followed up and onto the next floor. This corridor wasn't as busy, although it did have quite a few people at the end, and at random intervals along the way. And the room at the end was Madame Bazarians. They hurried down the corridors, each room had strange noises coming from them, the busier rooms the weirdest of all. The first of the busy rooms had a strange clunking sound and the second had screams of delight. The third room had angry voices coming from it and the next room was the one Bazarian was in. The Laurisden children managed to force themselves through the crowd that spewed out of the doorway and walked into the deep centre of the room. It was dark with only a read candle to illuminate the people in there. A miserable lady sat behind the table in the centre and she whispered. She turned to a random person and said something, which drove attention to a random man in the audience. A surprised atmosphere filled the air and then Madam Bazarian dribbled something from her hand onto the flame it sparked, obviously aluminium, Septimus smiled. He'd been doing that experiment since he was little.
She clicked her fingers and two men in dark hoods with white masks carried the a cadaver in on a stretcher. They dropped the body onto the table. 
Bazarian took the candle away and flapped her hands around. A deep hum filled the room, as the hooded men backed away into the crowd. She whispered more and more and then cried aloud, "Become the Lazarus, forget your mortal qualities."
The cadaver sat bolt up right, screaming. The entire audience, including our heroes, jumped back. The cadaver stopped screaming and looked around scared. The hooded men with the white masks returned and took the body away. Madam Bavarian stood up and bowed, disappearing into thin air, with another spray of aluminium. Everyone vented out of the room, the Laurisdens included. Aksel scratched his head, wondering what the big fuss was about. 
They got to the staircase and Septimus stopped him. They waited for everyone else to hurry down the steps, and then they headed back to Madam Bazarians suite. Opening the door, they entered and looked around. It was empty. They turned bigger lights on, illuminating the table in the middle. Septimus and Aksel started peering around, searching for clues, whilst Verity played with one of her dolls on the floor. She did like being curious, but for now, looking for clues sounded boring. 
She was playing with her doll when it rolled into the shadowy recesses of the corners of the room and she reached to get it. Her hands touched carpet, wood and rough material, that felt like a cloak. She grabbed her doll and backed away. From all four corners of the room stepped out hooded men, brandishing weapons. One laughed. A voice belonging to the air around them laughed as the four men prepared to kill the Laurisden children. 
"Mothballs are rolling, Laurisdens. Will a deathly silence follow, though?" It boomed.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Mothballs: The Resurrection of Frank Clarkson

It had started with a pair of scissors, or primordial soup if you want to be pedantic. The scissors had cut a red ribbon. The red ribbon had fallen to the flash of magnesium. The man in the top hat had pushed open the door. The door had opened and people had walked around, amazed. The next day, workers had flooded through those doors. Lots of pieces of metal were sent around the factory. And then a gun fell off the production line. Mr Jeremy Parker of Sipple Row bought it, and played with it in a field. Word spread. It was apparently the best gun you could get. Everyone wanted one. Almost everybody got one.
Mr Billy Lauridsen had bought one on the fourth of January 1901. He'd moved to London from Denmark twenty three years ago, and since then had become increasingly depressed. And now he couldn't stand it anymore. When his children found his corpse, there wasn't much left. That was what forty four calibre guns did.
Then his widow started to become depressed. Off to the opium dens she went. And so, number twenty nine Grimmer Place was abandoned, derelict and demolished. Or so everyone thought.

Verity Laurisden was six years old, and she had a pet cow. He was called Sebastian, and needed to be walked daily. They'd set off walking at six o clock that morning and, as with each journey, she'd ended up riding the cow home. They were just walking up the path towards the door of twenty nine Grimmer Place when the clock rung a loud chime around the city. Verity wasn't an idiot, so she knew that it had chimed three times since she'd set off. That meant it was nine o clock. Time was important to her late father. Time is the key, he used to proclaim. She pushed the door open and the cow trotted onto the path. She climbed off him and walked over to the ring that hung from the broken rafters. There was no roof, just a few plates of wood with canvas strewn over them. There also no floor from the front door step, so it was essential you pulled the ring that hung from the broken rafters. It pulled a lever that slid several wooden planks across the large gap in the floor. They walked across the temporary bridge and on the surviving elements of the house, and the bits her brothers had helped make. A single tiny hallway, with greying walls, led her to the main room where her brothers ate. Her eldest brother, Septimus Claret Laurisden was twenty one, with a jutting chin, uncut hair and overalls. He wore welding goggles and always had a tool near him, unlike her other brother, Aksel. He liked animals, it was him who had bought Sebastian, in exchange for some beans, and was very good at cooking. He was also good at chemistry, but that very rarely came in handy.
She sat down, leaving Sebastian to graze on the grass they'd been growing, and took up the summary of the newspaper Aksel, who was fourteen, wrote up for her everyday. Nothing interesting was happening.
Septimus started tinkering with his fog watch. It didn't work properly, the cogs were out of place due to the blast of the forty four calibre bullet. It had been his fathers, who got it from his father and so on. It hadn't told the time since seven fifty three pm on the Fifth of January 1901.
"I hate this!" Shouted Sebastian, spitting out the grass he'd been drinking. "It's so boring."
Aksel stepped away from where he had been attaching the voice simulator to the family cow.
Septimus turned to his younger brother. "I wish you hadn't attached that thing to him, Aksel! It's such a pain having to listen to his sarcastic comments!"
Aksel walked over. "I don't see why no one else finds a talking cow interesting!"
"Because he's annoy," Verity started, being confused over the words. "ing. An-noy-ing."
Sebastian stared at the girl. "I carry you around town for three hours every morning, and you say I'm annoying!"
"You give me a tour of everywhere!" She really emphasised the 'everywhere' with gestures. "Even the places you don't know!"
Sebastian was just about to reply when they heard a chime. It was the envelope box chime. Aksel went off to get whatever had been put through the envelope box, that shouldn't have been put through it. He came back, carrying it. It was a brown paper parcel, tied neatly with white string. He placed it down on the table. It was unusual that a confused letter boy would post something to them, instead of next door, which had been given the title of twenty nine Grimmer Place.
Septimus took his pliers from his belt and snapped the string bow. It fell apart and left the paper ready to open. They unwrapped it, curiously, the paper falling pleased as a foot high box sat in the centre of the table in the oval room they called home. Verity reached to the lid and took it off, revealing the mysterious contents. It was a flyer. 'Madam Bazarians Seances, feel the return of past lives in Madam Bazarians magical service.'
Seances happened all the time in their city. But the next line was different. 'For the first time ever, not just the spirit will return. So will the body.'
Septimus smiled at the way Verity was reading it. At the age of six, it was really quite amazing she could read at all, never mind so well!
Sebastian trotted over to the table and started gnawing on the tablecloth. Verity brushed him off and handed the flyer to Aksel. The animal lover turned it over, peering at the writing on the back. It said some simple words. "How long has your house been in Mothballs? Make sure you're there because the Mothballs are going to blow away."