Beware the Bonesmen.
Listen to me, Hannah. Whatever you do, you can’t listen to them. They’re on the wrong track and they will be coming for you, they’ll think you know the right path to follow.
You have to lead them wrong. You know as well as I that if the Calibra Idol gets to the Bonesmen, everything is going to go wrong. For the world.
Hannah, I don’t have much time, so I can’t tell you everything you want or need right now. But trust me, when next we speak, I’ll clear everything up. Just remember, you cannot trust the Bonesmen. They’ll tell you everything you want to hear.
I’ll tell you the truth.
Stay safe, Hannah.
Roland McHale, December 16th 2016
Run. Pack a bag and run. The Bonesmen are coming. Grab the Eye and get out.
Roland, December 20th 2016
I know you feel safe at Mama Zuzu’s, but the Bonesmen have figured out that’s where you’re hiding. Zuzu’s is no longer safe.
Meet me at the Hanging Tree. Monday, at 1000. They haven’t located that yet.
We can meet and I can explain everything. Bring the Eye and all your father’s notes.
We’re taking the fight to them.
Merry Christmas, Harpy.
Roland McHale, December 25th 2016
Hannah Thompson waited beneath the naked branches. Her breath flowed in the cold air, swirling in the freezing morning. She knew she must look ridiculous, pink earmuffs keeping her ears from going red in the winter air and the bright red puffer jacket. She’d pulled into the services on the M40 during the mad dash from Mama Zuzu’s and picked them up along with a pair of lime green ski trousers.
Her red hair danced into her vision as she shook her head, trying to clear the sleep from her mind. The brown leather satchel that hung from her shoulder was heavy, containing all of her father’s research into Calibra and the Bonesmen. That and the Eye.
It was a curious thing, the Eye. Some kind of artifact, a ring of gold with a sphere of obsidian in the centre, roughly the size of her palm. Arthur McHale had found it at the Temple of Serapis, same place he’d found her father. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, the McHales and the Thompsons, all working together. Then her father had died. That’s when everything changed.
It had been a winter like this one, cold and biting. Fog had hung low, clinging to the ground like a leech, refusing to let go. The last words her father had spoken to her were that he’d be back in ten minutes.
They found him two days later in a ditch by the roadside. The official story was that he’d been hit by a car and then missed by the passersby in the fog.
‘Hannah? Is that you?’ Roland’s voice brought her out of her reverie, the tear that had escaped freezing against her cold cheek.
‘Roly?’ She called out. She could just make out the shape of a man through the dense fog, coming steadily into view around the side of the trunk.
‘Hey, Harpy.’ He’d always called her that. That was his thing, Greek mythology. ‘Did you bring it? Everything?’ He reached out and pulled her into a tight embrace. His arms were weak and thin, but it was the Roland she remembered.
‘Yes, yes. I’ve got everything. All of it.’ Her tears were flowing freely now. It had been hectic, manic… There weren’t enough words to describe everything. From the meeting with Mr Ossa, through the chase to Mama Zuzu’s and then the dash to the Hanging Tree.
Finally, she wasn’t alone. She wasn’t being chased. There was something familiar.
‘Good. Now listen to me.’ His voice cracked as his tears marched down his cheeks. He squeezed her tight and put his lips close up to her ear. Close enough that she could feel his breath, warm in the freezing air against her cheek.
‘They’re here.’ He said, so softly she could barely hear him. ‘You have to run. Go back to where it all began. Destroy Calibra.’
He released her, then there were two staccatto coughs in the night. Her brown eyes widened as Roly fell forward. ‘Run!’ He said, weakly, before collapsing to the ground.
A second figure emerged from the fog. ‘I do hate it when I have to kill people.’ Mr Ossa said, removing the clip from his gun, sliding a further two rounds to replace those he’d just used on Roland. He expertly slid the clip back into the weapon and trained it on her chest. ‘Now, Miss Thompson, don’t be coy or flighty. Hand me the satchel and everyone gets out of here alive. With the exception of Mr McHale here, that is.’ He reached out with his right hand, holding the gun steady in his left. ‘Do be a darling, I’d really rather not shoot anyone else today.’
She whimpered, then swallowed hard. She grabbed the strap and raised the bag over her head. All of her movements were precise and methodical, accompanied with deep breaths. She reached out with it and Ossa moved forward to grab it.
That’s when she made her move. She threw herself backwards into the fog. The same thing that had let Ossa sneak up now gave her the opportunity to get away. She couldn’t even stop to consider poor Roly.
She finally paid attention to what he’d said.
Adventures, mystery and a secret organisation. Who is the mysterious Mr Ossa? Poor Roly…
The Idiot in Tin Foil