Their only strategy was to hide and watch.
March 9, 2014
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
“I think Dr. Reginald Glastonbury has returned to his humble abode, Skeeter,” Angus whispered.
“And he is coming up the stairs at this very minute. What are we going to do, Angus? We left our side arms at the motel.” Skeeter tried to speak quietly.
They were cramped and sweltering in the closet. Everything they came into contact with made a clunking or thumping noise.
“We will hope he goes to bed and we can sneak down the stairs. It may be awhile,” Angus replied.
Skeeter sighed under her breath. They heard a loud noise coming from the master bedroom.
“The TV. He has turned on the TV in his room. Excellent. It will drown out some of the noise we make,” Angus reassured, as he felt around for his cell phone. “Good! I didn’t leave it behind. I hope it remembered to close the drawer to the nightstand and put the address book back.”
As the TV droned on and on, they heard no other noises. “I am going to open the closet door a crack,” Angus announced. I think I hear something else—not Glastonbury at all. Angus strained his ears. I am going to try to make it to the door to the room—to listen. I’ll be back, so leave the closet door open.” Angus eased himself to the door of the bedroom, then, stuck his head out into the hall.
“I heard a clunking noise. It sounded like it was on the roof of the townhouse,” Angus explained as he wedged himself back in the closet and closed the closet door.
“It could be a cat. Maybe a nocturnal bird,” Skeeter whispered.
“I don’t know…I’m getting a vibe.”
Angus and Skeeter heard another clank from the roof. They listened in horror as Reginald Glastonbury bounded out of bed and into the hall. They heard him clomping up the steps to the third floor—the laboratory. They opened the door a ways, so they could hear better.
“He is very fluent in French!” Skeeter giggled when they heard the string of expletives Glastonbury was growling.
“I’ll fix you! You don’t know who you are dealing with—assholes!” This was the last thing they could make out, aside from his footsteps coming back down the stairs. Then they smelled smoke.
“The fire detectors are going off all over the place. What will we do if he comes and opens the door, Angus?” Skeeter asked.
“Bolt! Bolt past him, low. You bolt down the stairs and out the door. If he fights, I’ll deal with it and meet you outside.”
Angus had Clive Dumfries on speed-dial—he rang it. “This is Angus Carlyle. I don’t want to interfere, but our suspect is back in his residence, in case you didn’t know. He returned in the middle of the night.”
“Where are you, Carlyle? Carlyle!” Dumfries exclaimed at the other end.
The bedroom light came on. The door to the closet flew open. There was Glastonbury staring them in the faces—and he was pomegranate red. Skeeter opened the other closet door and bolted low, while Glastonbury swung his arms about. She made for the stairs and the front door.
Angus fumbled to get his cell phone back in his pocket, secure.
“Carlyle! Carlyle!” Clive Dumfries had been screeching these words as Angus disconnected. When he was sure Skeeter had made it, Angus tried to bolt past Glastonbury. Reggie had picked up a decorative walking stick—the kind Bat Masterson carried in the TV series, silver knob and all—and was swinging it. It connected with Angus’ right knee. He yelped, but got to his feet. As they stood face to face, Angus realized that he was slightly taller than Gastonbury—maybe and inch. He was definitely younger.
“Look, man, flames!” Angus pointed to the doorway as he hollered. “We are going to burn to death!” When Glastonbury turned, Angus took a sidestep and dealt two paralyzing blows to Reggie’s solar plexus. One! Two! Blam! Blam!
A stunned Glastonbury turned back toward Angus. Angus followed with a crushing uppercut to the jaw. Glastonbury’s steel-rimmed spectacles flew off. Blood spurted from his mouth. Angus then delivered two fingers to the man’s eyes, then, he limped out the door, down the stairs and out the front entrance.
“Right here, Angus.” Skeeter emerged from some bushes. They doubled back around the block and up the alley. Angus was still limping.
“Look! There is a small fire on the roof, Angus,” Skeeter exclaimed.
“Scotland Yard. My guess is that they put a man on the roof to start a harmless fire. Then, they would disguise themselves as fire brigade or something and get into his property legally to deal with the fire. They could discover the evidence themselves under the guise of fire-protection.”
“They know about the possible microbial vermin they could encounter in there, right?” Skeeter asked, incredulous.
“Yeah. I am sure they have considered all of that and are prepared,” Angus answered. “They are Scotland Yard, after all.”
“What do you think Glastonbury is gonna do now? Skeeter wanted to know.
“When he recovers from his injuries, I expect him to come out here, get in his Bentley and make a run for it.” Angus stepped out to snap a photo of the Bentley and its tags, while talking.
“Let’s hide and watch!” Skeeter urged. They crept further back in among some limbs and branches.
As they hid in the nearby bushes, Angus sent a voice mail message to a separate voice mail number Clive Dumfries had given him—for voice mail only: Clive, we learned a short time ago from our operatives in Africa that Reginald Glastonbury was able to leave Kenya and sneak back to London, unobserved. Worried about this new development, we spied on his residence from a distance. We believe we saw a fire break out on the roof of his townhouse, not long ago. I feel that is an operation of Scotland Yard—just guessing—and that they do not know he is inside the residence. I expect him to make a run for it soon and I am emailing you a photo of his vehicle and he will probably be in it soon.”
“Spied on the residence from a distance!” Angus, you are so funny. Skeeter was used to his crazy antics.
“Well, that is what we are doing now, so part of it was true,” Angus admitted.
“What is taking him so long? What is he doing in there?” Skeeter asked.
Angus and Skeeter watched dumfounded as Glastonbury emerged from the back door wheeling his suitcase—the one he had not yet unpacked—and carrying three large satchels. He opened the trunk to the Bentley and tossed them in.
“What do you think is in the satchels, Angus?” Skeeter quizzed him.
“Scientific notes, I would presume. Maybe even germs.”
They watched as Reginald Glastonbury climbed in behind the wheel and sped away.”
Angus spouted out, “No more action here, for a while. Let’s go down the alley quite a ways and wait for Scotland Yard to descend en masse.” Skeeter followed the limping man down the alley.
“My gosh. What did he do to you, Angus?”
“He whacked me with a cane. It’s okay, but it’s gonna be sore for awhile.
As they watched in amazement from an alcove in a stone wall, covered by branches, what seemed like forty vehicles descended on the street in front and the alley behind the townhouse.
“Listen!” Skeeter instructed. They heard sirens of the old wah, wah……wah, wah British variety. They howled up and down nearby side streets.
Skeeter and Angus emerged from their hiding place and walked over a few blocks to get a London Cab in front of a newsstand. They wanted to be in their motel rooms when all hell broke loose, then, race to the handcuffing event. While they were waiting for a taxi to come, Angus sent a text to Dave, in Austin: “I think and arrest is coming very shortly. Get ahold of Branford Cooper if you can, and tell him to turn on CNN or some other news station, if possible. More soon, Angus.”
As Angus and Skeeter got ready to board an approaching cab, Reginald Glastonbury’s Bentley flew past them, followed by what seemed like thirty mobile units from Scotland Yard.
“It looks like he is trying to double back to the townhouse, Angus. What is he thinking?”
“Yeah. What is he thinking?”
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.