Friday, 9 November 2012

Chapter 14.1

Cyril opened his eyes and wondered how long he was unconscious. Judging by his current view of tree foliage and the thumping headache originating at the back of his skull, he had been blown right across the road and into the tree opposite. Embedded firmly in the trunk of the tree, just inches above his head, was a tortoiseshell. It was still smoking.
  He sat up. His ears were ringing and bits of his body screamed at him but nothing vital seemed to be broken. He winced and glanced over his shoulder. His tail, for once, seemed to have come off unscathed. He probably had a couple of cracked ribs but he would live - assuming he was not about to be eaten, that is.
  Looking around him, the only signs of Lloyd that Cyril could spy were a couple of feathers lying on the ground nearby. In a twist of fate, the bomb may have just saved his life. Hopefully, the bird was incapacitated somewhere or had flown away. If not, there was not a lot Cyril would be able to do to defend himself now.
  Cyril staggered to his feet and then half collapsed as his left leg gave way under him. He looked down. He could not see any disturbing signs of trauma. Gingerly, he put his full weight back on it. It was painful but he reckoned he could probably walk it off. Shaking his head to try and clear the ringing in his ears, he widened his attention to take in the other side of the street. The air was thick with dust, which was still settling; he could not have been out for more than a few seconds. The litter bin across the street was gone. Beyond that, there was a large hole in the side of the bank between the glass doors and the ATM.
  Grimacing at the effort, Cyril half walked, half crawled, across the road. Halfway across, he realised that the ringing in his ears was not ringing in his ears at all - twenty or so car alarms were sounding in the surrounding streets and an alarm high up on the wall of the bank itself was wailing like a banshee.
  Cyril dragged himself into the bank through gaping hole, wondering why it had been selected as a target. There must be easier targets if one wanted to get hold of wads of cash. Besides, the tortoise had missed the ATM. On the other paw, there was no link that Cyril could see between a bunch of hippy druids and a bank that surely represented the opposite of everything they stood for. Not that Cyril really knew what they stood for. The alternative was possibly even more disturbing: perhaps the bank had not been selected at all. Perhaps the targets were random.
  The air inside the bank was choked with dust and surprisingly quiet given the cacophony of alarms wailing outside. It was then that Cyril realised that there were no alarms ringing inside the bank. Was that odd? He did not really know much about bank security systems but it seemed odd.
  A loud crash to his right drew Cyril’s attention but when he looked round there was nothing to be seen except a couple of sheets of paper drifting slowly to the floor. As his eyes drifted down with them, he noticed that the floor was littered with bits and pieces of safety deposit boxes and their no-longer-so-safe contents.
  The little light from the streetlights outside that had managed to heroically battle its way through the dust cloud to the interior glinted invitingly off numerous jewels and other goodies strewn among the wreckage. It also gave hints of a few envelopes stuffed with cash of various currencies, poking out through singed corners. Given the amount of obvious loot there was a distinct lack of obvious looting.
  It was then that Cyril noticed the next strange occurrence in an evening of strange occurrences. The pieces of paper that had been drifting down towards the floor had not reached it. Instead, they had changed heading and were drifting towards the wall: drifting up towards the wall.
  He looked around for some any sources of strange wind but Barry the flatulent badger was nowhere to be seen. The dust in the air all around him was moving as if recently disturbed but the trend of its motion was definitely one of that induced by traditional gravity.
  Cyril limped over to the wall to investigate. With the change of angle, he could make out some kind of thick cord, or something similar, attached to the paper. It was slowly contracting, bringing the paper closer to the wall as it did so. He stepped forward for a closer look but where the cord reached the wall, he found it very hard to focus. The slightly concussed squirrel blinked a couple of times, trying to clear his blurry vision. Perhaps he had hit his head harder than he thought.
  A voice from above said: “Stuff this. Just whack him!”
  Cyril instinctively looked up and could have sworn that he saw something scuttle along the ceiling before vanishing in front of his very eyes. The paper dropped to the floor beside him and he turned back just in time to meet something hard and sticky travelling towards him at very high speed.
  “Ow!” he cried, clutching his eye. “That really hurt!”
  The second blow knocked him out cold. With a slight shimmer, a chameleon de-cloaked on the wall beside him, with a second appearing on the ceiling above his head.
  “C’mon,” said the latter. “Let’s finish up and scarper before the Old Bill get here.”

Chapter 14.2 ☛

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