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After a moment the grid came loose and O’Donnell went first, it was difficult for him but he managed to descend one-handed by wrapping a leg around the steel ladder when he shifted his grip. Sara followed and landed with a gentle splash, she wrinkled her nose,
“Yuck, sewerage wasn’t on my agenda for today.”
O’Donnell gave a soft chuckle then asked,
Sara looked around in surprise,
“Damn, I thought he was with you. Probably gone to find Jenny, he’s her imp after all.”
“S’pose so. Okay, I reckon he’ll be able to watch out for himself.” he pointed, “This way, yeah?”
“Yep.” Sara took point, she had was she referred to as a ‘direction bump’ and always knew exactly where they were going. O’Donnell sometimes teased her that she was part homing pigeon. They began to wade through ankle-deep water, Sara hoped they would be in time.
Horace was weaving through grass as fast as he could manage and still remain silent. He knew his mistress was going to be in trouble quite soon and wanted to be there to help. The near-human with her and the one following them puzzled him. He could smell their similarities despite the fact of their conflict. The guardian decided to concentrate on making effective progress and allow the humans to sort out their complex problems.
Paradox stopped suddenly, head tipped slightly to one side. Jenny advanced a few paces before sensing he was no longer close and turned quickly to find out why. The man held up his hand for silence and she frowned,
‘Don’t know but could be. I suggest we wait and see.’
They moved quietly to either side of the rough path and hid. Smith moved into view, he was casting, using eyes, ears and nose. Paradox’s mind reeled. How was this possible? Smith was dead. Then he remembered the odd drawing sensation after their fight. That must have been cybermites leaving his body and entering Smith. Which meant that the Brother was no longer human and Paradox wondered if he could now justify aggression against somebody who might have been changed by his new status as an undead.
Paradox decided there was only one way to find out, stood and stepped out from cover.
Smith turned to him and said,
“I remember you from a long time ago.”
“And I you, Smith.”
“Not Smith – Death.”
Paradox barked a laugh,
“You always were a presumptuous bastard. But deciding to call yourself that takes your arrogance to new heights.”
Death and Paradox faced each other in silence then Paradox said,
“So now what? We can fight ‘til the cows come home but neither of us can die.”
“So why bother? Why not join me and take over the Brotherhood. Father Wilson is a weak old fool. We’re not human any longer, Paradox, we’re better.”
Jenny was beginning to worry, neither man had made an aggressive move yet and she wondered what they were saying to each other. She tried to read Paradox’s mouth and caught the phrase, ‘neither of us can die’. Jenny knew that was wrong, Sara had mentioned about burning Morris’s body, evidently Smith wasn’t aware of that.
Death watched the other carefully, he seemed to be considering the options and eventually nodded,
“If this venture is to succeed, we need to remove as many obstacles as possible.”
Paradox raised his weapon and aimed it where Jenny was hiding,
“We can’t be killed, but she can.”
In five hundred years time, most of us will be forgotten dust. But Hitler will still be remembered, God loves irony.