Disclaimer: none of the characters are mine, but belong to Impossible Pictures™.
"Well, I'm here, what's going on?" probably wasn't the best opening line James Lester could come up with, but the sight of police officers – the last people James Lester expected to see – was probably responsible for this mangled introduction.
"Mr. Lester?" fortunately, the speaker was not a police officer, but a nurse. "I'm nurse Cassidy; I spoke to you on the phone."
"Yes, I recognize your voice," James turned to face the woman. "I'm James Lester-" he gave his ID to the police officers, "-now what is going on?"
"Well, sir, about half an hour ago the patient was brought here by his companion, who told us to contact you, since Mr. Quinn is your employee," nurse Cassidy explained helpfully.
"Mmm, and did this companion give you his name?" James Lester asked, suspicions of the gone and unlamented Ethan Dombrowski raising their heads.
"No sir, the lady didn't give me her name, though I assumed that she's his wife – they're about the same age, and got that same outdoors weathered look," was the reply.
Lester felt his heart sinking in his chest: there were not too many women with weathered faces in the lives of the ARC, and he seriously doubted that Ethan, or Patrick, or whatever his name was, got himself a sex-change operation to confuse them. "So where is she?" he asked, suspecting that he already knew the answer to his question.
"Gone, sir," the nurse confessed. "She got out of my sight for just a moment and poof! She vanished! I don't know how she did and why!"
James Lester was really grateful for being such an experienced politician, schooled in holding his facial expressions, for otherwise he would have given himself away for sure: he was now certain who that woman was and how she managed to slip away unnoticed, even without her personal time anomaly manifestation device – she was that good.
"Sir?" a police officer spoke up. "Since the man is supposedly your employee, can you please take a look at him for identification?"
"Certainly, lead on," Lester nodded graciously. "Where is he?"/ / /
"Oof! Ouch! Where are we?" Emily exclaimed as darkness finally retreated – sort of – before the flickering lights of a flare. "Connor, Abby! Is everyone all right?"
"No, we most definitely are not," Matt Anderson answered instead. "That explosive trap of Ethan's caused a collapse of the street, and we fell. Connor and I spent all this time digging you and ourselves out, and there're no signs of Abby or Becker."
"Of course, there aren't any signs or sights at all, since we're in unilluminated sewers, but you get the picture," Connor added, miserably. Even in the flickering light of the flare (it was almost halfway done too), Emily could see that both of her companions were covered in copious amounts of dry blood, and her own state of condition felt just as bad. Plus, there seemed to be something wrong with the way as to how she viewed the flare in general, but that could wait...
"What do we do now?" Emily asked softly instead. "Can we contact Jess or anyone else?"
"No, all of this junk is blocking Matt's comm.-link, and ours got lost in the explosion," Connor confessed. "I'm thinking that we should wait here until the back-up arrives to dig us out, and Matt appears to be agreeing with me. What's your take?"
Emily paused, apparently deep in thought. "I don't think that I'll be able to go very far if we start walking," she confessed. "I feel tired, weak..."
"Emily!"/ / /
"Emily!" Matt's panicked cry – perhaps the first one since he learned of his father's fatal illness – spread far through the empty sewers of this London sector. It reached the ears of one Ethan Dombrowski, causing him to pause and to think.
Ethan was not a man dedicated to thinking: nowadays his entire life seemed to be focused on solving his problems with a final solution. Even the foolishly persistent Danny Quinn ended up 'solved' in this matter – in one of the more prolonged and cruel ways that Ethan was able to create on the go.
"Idiot like father and monstrous hypocrite like mother," Ethan muttered under his breath. "Now what to do now?"
In general, Ethan's idea was clear and straightforward: to spread death and anarchy in London and anywhere, anywhen else from now on. In case of Matt Anderson and Lady Emily Merchant, however, Ethan's feelings were more vivid, more personal: they had dared to frustrate his plans, made him feel vulnerable and human – that was something Ethan would not tolerate.
On the other hand, Matt and Emily and any of their companions were currently hurt, weakened, vulnerable... perfect to be shot down by an Armalite or by a thrown explosive missile, yes...
Ethan stiffened and froze, as a giant insect – longer than he was tall and quite a bit bulkier crawled past him, naturally eyeless and blind, an uninvited guest from the future.
But though it had no eyes, its tremorsense was perfect, as Ethan confirmed once again, silently observing the giant vermin crawling in the direction where Matt and Emily were stuck at.
"Excellent! This will solve my problem for me quite nicely," Ethan muttered to himself and went on his way, confident that things will turn out his way for once.
He was wrong.End Part 4