Day 214: Put your iPod on shuffle. Write down the lyrics of the first song that comes on, and use it as an opening line.


“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.”

“Oh, if you only knew what we’d been up to.” Major Blackthorn lifted Herbert’s chin, looking down into his bloodshot eyes. “But you don’t, do you? You’ve got no idea how far this goes.”

The giant screen behind him showed the baying crowd, having just watched Marlowe take a swan dive from the Wessler building. People were screaming that it was a trick. He had dived off and nothing happened,no falling, no screaming. He just stayed there, floating high above the plaza.

Blackthorn threw back his head and laughed, long and loud. “See! All Marlowe wanted was to be loved. To be special. That’s what we gave him!” He drew a remote from his pocket. Two buttons sitting next to each other above a small keyboard. “Yes, Herbert. We made him special. And look at him, adored and wonderful!” Herbert shifted against the flexicuffs around his wrists, but he couldn’t find any give. “Mr McCoy, we made Marlowe. Didn’t intend for him to go quite so public yet, seeing as we’re still in the beta testing stages.” Blackthorn removed his cap and threw it expertly onto the hatstand, pausing for breath and to scratch his thinning grey hair. “We got enough of the freaks together to work out how they ticked. There was a little bit of collateral, but this is a war after all. It was a real shame about your brother but… Such is life.”

Herbert lurched forward, dragging the heavy metal table forward a couple of inches in his rage. Blackthorn leapt back a foot, landing silently. “Haddock. Don’t respond directly, just tell Blackthorn he’s an ass if you can hear me.”

“You’re an ass, you know that?” Haddock said, jerking his body to try and snap the cuffs again to no avail.”What the hell are you doing?”

“Right now? I’m detracting attention. After all, Marlowe’s playing the role of a magician. Wouldn’t it be a shame if one of his tricks were to tragically fail. He dies in a trick gone wrong and all the talk of powers dissipates until we’re ready to release it. To the chosen ones, of course.”

“You mean you and your bunch of racists?” Haddock said out loud, screaming internally for the mysterious voice to come back, for  Marlowe to give in. He hoped he could distract Blackthorn long enough for the show to be over, or at least for Marlowe to get low enough so he wouldn’t die if Blackthorn hit the kill switch.

Blackthorn spluttered. “Racists! No, Mr Haddock, we are patriots.” He launched into a diatribe against Haddock and his Boatmen.

“Thank God for that. I thought he was never going to do his evil villain rant. Now then, Haddock, you need to listen closely. And take the stupid look of your face before Major Disaster over there realises we’re in your head. We’ve lost Marlowe. He’s not surviving the day, so that’s out. You’ve got to get to that remote, Haddock. Then, you need to bring it to us here. Don’t ask where here is, you already know.” The voice laughed. “It’s all in your head! Now, get a bloody grip of those cuffs, will you? He’s going to be distracted when he pushes the button. That’s your moment. East door, up to level two and into the hangar bay. I’ll talk to you again then. Back to Blackthorn now, there’s a good chap.” It wasn’t a Boatman talking to him, that was for sure. He knew them all. He’d been the one to recruit each and every one.

“There Marlowe goes, gearing up for his big finale. He’s going to fly higher than he’s gone before and then I get to push the button.” Blackthorn spoke with glee, staying transfixed to the drama unfolding on the screen. “Yes, he’s all keyed in, our good old 24601. Look at him go!” Blackthorn raised the remote as Marlowe reached the peak of his climb then pressed the right hand button. Haddock watched as Marlowe’s flight turned into a fall, his face twisting even as he yanked apart his bonds. Blackthorn didn’t even notice as he made his way through the east door.

Haddock slammed through into an empty corridor. It was only a matter of time before the Bastards arrived. The voice had said the hangar was on level two, which would be great if he had any idea about…

The luminous green sign on the wall screamed that level two was to his right and up some stairs. He tipped his head and sped off.

Meet Herbert ‘Haddock’ McCoy, my new protagonist. Who are the Bastards and the Boatmen? Not entirely sure yet but stick around and hopefully we’ll find out.

The song from which this entry’s prompt was taken is Vegas Lights by Panic! at the Disco. Thoroughly recommend it. 

If I can find an appropriate entry, I may look at writing this from Marlowe’s point of view. Recipient of amazing powers and he uses them to be a celebrity? Sounds like my kind of guy. Any questions or thoughts, drop me a comment! 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

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