Saturday, 11 February 2012

Watchtower of my Dreams

The Inspector of the local police looked down on the body and shook his head. In all his years on the job he thought he had seen it all, but this was new to him. A length of the maintenance tape that was across the opening flapped in the updraft coming out of the elevator shaft and the smoke from his cigarette wafted upwards and outwards.
"Okay we got the car coming up, stand away please."

He stepped back as the elevator was powered up and the car rose slowly until it was level with the floor. Checking that the area around him had been cleared he dropped the cigarette and pulled some gloves from his pocket before walking onto the elevator.
"Who found her?"
"Security was watching the fight in the Broken Piano. The security drones dragged her out screaming and then she ran. We followed her mostly on the tapes, copies probably already forwarded to you."
"Details, I want details."
"Well.... she ran straight into the elevator, through the maintence strips and plunged to her death. So it seems. She wasn't running very fast."
He looked at the body and sighed. The short white hair was matted with blood and the pink and white kimono she wore wasn't much better. Carefully he rolled her over and looked into the face of Carmilla D'morenta.
"It's a pity. She was cute."

Casting a trained eye down the front of the body he noticed something, a thin cut in the outer fabric of the kimono. Carefully he opened the blood stained belt and drew aside the inner layers. The cut went through all of them, and as he felt, through the body. Thin blade, stabbed with some force into the body. He gestured his companion over.
"What do you make of this?"
"Well I'll be damned. Someone stabbed her and she ran. Panic, fear?"
"I'll check the tapes, might be some clue there. We'll have to find her Master or Mistress as well."
He tapped the collar with his finger, then looked around.
"Where is her bag?"
"There was no bag, this is as we found her. No one else has been here."

Stepping away from the body he went over to the desk that had been setup for him by the junior officers. Pulling the surveilance data he watched her leave the Piano. Slung over her shoulder was a bag. He followed her to the elevator. When she went in, she had a bag. As he watched the screen flickered and he cursed, slapping the side of the terminal. Then he stopped and wound the tape back. It wasn't console interferance, the recording had been filleted.
"Hey, this has been editted. Who had this before you sent it to me?"
"No one. It was pulled straight out of the archives when we asked for it, all backed up to computer core."
Rolling it back and forth he watched it. Two, maybe three minutes he reckoned had been cut. Time enough for someone to get down and up. Assuming they climbed like a daredevil in and out.
"Pull me an ID on the body. I want to know the minute we find out who she is and where she recloned."

Carmilla D'morenta sat watching the sunset. It hadn't taken long to travel down to the Geisha House from the cloning facility in Nonni. What had taken a while was finding out what had happened in the last three weeks. Silently she listened to Whisper as she retold her some of what had happened, and pulled datalogs from her diary and various databases.
"Why didn't I scan myself, Whisper? I used to do it every week, regular as clockwork. Sometimes more, when I had things I needed to remember. But three weeks?"
Folding her jacket she put it over the back of her chair and sat down at her terminal and gazed at the screen.
"Three weeks... it's almost as if they never happened. I dont think I've lost that much time before."
"Well I've informed Victor, he says he is sending you the up to date details of the last three weeks transactions, and he has pulled the changes you made to your security codes and they are coming by courier."
"He can do that?"
"He's the CEO, he has all the toys, remember?"
"Yes, I do. Where did I die?"
"Thukker Space. Apparently you were at the Piano again. I've pulled the security feeds from The Piano, and before that at the Skyhook. It seems you were getting on well with a young lady, and you took her to the piano."
"And that's where the fight started? I started a fight?"
"In between the alcohol and probably the lack of vitoc you must have been hurting. The security feeds show you staggering... and then you tried to attack another patron. You were thrown out by security drones, I'm not sure what happened to her."
"I started a fight with Eliza? Huh, that figures... though I thought she wanted me dead."
"She might have been the one to push you down the elevator shaft."
"No, I probably ran to get away from her. Hell, you know what she's like. She can take on twenty men barehanded and walk out alive."
"So could you....."
"Yeah, but not intoxicated and poisoned...."
"But not suicide."
"No, probably just hallucinating and scared. Hell, death by accident. Aaaah, wake me in a few hours please Whisper?"
"Of course I will. Sleep, it'll do you good."

Carmilla settled back into the soft comfort of the bed and kicked her shoes off. Corporate certainly appealed to her more than some of the things she had worn. The smart suits looked good on her, and from what she had seen, she was doing well working for Victor. Still the stigma of working for the people who had brutalised her so much when she was younger. But times change she mused as she drifted off to sleep.

In her mind, she dreamed. The grey fugue of sleep rolled around like clouds and in the middle stood the watchtower. Lights streamed out from within and pushed back the darkness and the grey. Step by step she walked to the tower, through the whisps and wraiths that danced and writhed in the air before her. A great stone watchtower that stood firm. Climbing the stairs inside she stood on the top, holding onto the railings looking out, watching the darkness being pushed back by the light. Strange shadows rolled around the billowing clouds of fog and mist. Noises, cries and screams came from the shadows, a cacophony of sounds, and she strained to hear what they were saying as the winds howled and bashed themselves into the tower.

Firm, proud and undetered she stood there, in her dreams while the darkness was held back. And she watched as a snake appeared, multicoloured and long, winding itself up the tower and standing next to her. She watched as the snake looked at her, and in her minds eye she saw that the snake was not just a snake, it was also herself. And becuase it was here, in the watchtower of her dreams, she knew it was not here to make trouble for her.

In her sleep she snored softly, a smile occasionally on her face. By the side of her bed a figure stood in the darkness, quicksilver eyes watching her sleep. Eventually the figure dropped a bag on the side of the bed and walked into the darkness of the room and vanished. Moments later Whisper and several geisha ran in and flicked on the lights, all of them looking around, weapons in hand. Carmilla awoke.
"Whisper? What's going on?"
"Who was here?"
"Other than you? No one... I've been asleep."
Whisper walked over and picked up the bag. It was familiar enough and she recognised it, as did Carmilla.
"My bag. How...."
"I dont know. But a silent alarm went off in here, which is why we came running. Someone brought it here. Looks like your guardian angel is taking a bit more interest."
Carmilla laid back down and closed her eyes.
"If she was, she'd have stopped me falling down an elevator shaft. Good night Whisper.. and thank you."

From the windowledge the Little Snake watched silently, and smiled before departing into the islands darkness.

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