6.2 Response

by Matt P.

Tennyson leaned back and smiled. The question hung in the silence of the room as everyone, even the ones behind the glass, considered it and it’s repercussions. Finally, Walter answered.


“Why not?” Tennyson asked, an almost disappointed note in his voice.

“Because that’s a really idiotic cliche that normally involves a more complicated plan then anyone could actually pull off in the real world.” Walter responded. “And as hard as you’re trying, you aren’t a super-villain.”

Tennyson looked deflated for a moment, like he had been really hoping he would be seen as a suave super-villain. But then he grinned again and leaned forward against the table, his whole demeanor suddenly engaged once more. “I like you, Richards. So I’ll be honest.”

Walter didn’t respond, but slowly raised one eyebrow and let the man continue.

“Of course it wasn’t my plan to get captured. I was sent to kill the two girls. If I didn’t and got caught then it was simply a bonus.” Tennyson said this as if he were discussing his grocery list, the score of the Chiefs game, or holiday shopping. Walter put a hand on the table and braced it to keep himself from coming across the table. Hot red rage raced through his mind, and his heart, like a charging horse. He knew he had to get it under control, knew that part of Alexander sending him in was an implicit agreement that he would keep it under control, but the smug bastard was just sitting there with a smirk like it was nothing.

“A bonus?” Leah asked with a more even keel than Walter would have been able to manage at the moment, with his knuckles white and the rising heat of anger in his chest. He managed to give her a grateful look before he turned his eyes back to the other man and forced them to be calm, and steely.

“Well perhaps not a bonus, call it some intriguing additional intelligence. For example we now know that someone wants to help them, which is how I got caught.” The captured criminal explained, with a shrug. “We thought there might be…outside players swinging things one way or the other, and now we know.”

“You act like you’ll be in a position to tell them.” Walter finally managed to rejoin the conversation with an effort. His voice was mostly level, if only somewhat edged, and he forced his hands to move from the table edge and resume a normal posture.

“Oh, I will.” Tennyson offered airily, waving his fingers lightly. “I may spend some time in here or county, but I will be back in their employ before too long. And with even more intelligence then we ever expected.”

Walter’s curiosity outpaced his still simmering anger at that last comment, and he couldn’t help but raise his eyebrow again. “What, you can magic your ass out of closets as well? And what intelligence will you be taking back even if you could get out?”

Tennyson’s smile was now nothing eve cousin to a mirthful grin; instead it was filled all with hidden knowledge and smug superiority. It was a snake’s grin, a predator hiding in the bushes and waiting to pounce with what it knew—and they didn’t.

“There is so much here that you just don’t know about, Walter. Things that will get you in trouble if you don’t get out of their way.” Tennyson offered in an almost amicable tone. “The best thing you could do? Get on a plane with your daughters, and leave. I can tell you the people I work for will not follow you, will not chase you, will not hunt you. You will not hear about the Border any more, and you will be safer and better for it.”

Walter stared at him for a moment, as if stunned by the impromptu speech. “What don’t I know?” He asked, any attempt at good cop bluff or bluster in his voice gone. Tennyson simply began to laugh, shaking his head.

“Oh, Major Richards, I don’t have the time to tell you what you don’t know. Even if we left out the things you just never studied at your schools and kept with my areas of specialty, we would be here for weeks.” Tennyson’s laughter suddenly vanished from his face, which assumed the icy harshness of a wind racked peak. “We knew that there was somewhere in the city that was protected, where some things had been hidden. We were trying to find it, and find a way in to it. But the people that protected it were very good at what they did, and we couldn’t.” His eyes glinted like blue diamonds, and Walter swore they were darker then they had been a minute ago. “Turns out it’s here. All waiting for us. And you brought me in. Under the law, under the moonless night, and under iron you brought me past all their defenses. And what is iron from without is gossamer from within, and my masters come calling for me. I call you, oh knife of the darkness. I call you oh crow of midnight. I call you oh storm of shadows. Thrice called, thrice willed, thrice done.”

As he finished, the room shuddered as the air conditioning turned off, and all the lights went dark.