Edward A James examined the two smaller side murals, flanking the ‘Group Family Scene’ behind the coffin-shaped desk in this newly discovered section of his prison. Their aspect ratio was tall and very slim. The representations did not flatter the two grim strangers, designated by Edward as ‘The Elders.’
Speaking aloud to images of ancient otherworlders trumped talking to oneself! Edward went with the flow. Insanity suited him. It was in his blood.
His captors would not break him down. It was never going to happen.
“Eleanor, Barry, good day! Such lovely flowers! A Damascus Rose Hybrid?
“Eleanor! Have you spoken to the staff about that carpet, the one beneath the lovely slate blue silk sofa? It’s smelling a bit necrotic, I’m afraid.
“Barry! Are you not responsible for SECURITY here? Any issues, notable incidents while I was out? Remember THE LAST TIME, last winter? The stress complications, the ‘cabin fever?’ Things got a bit out of hand…”
Edward Anton James edged closer to the silent couple immobile, their frozen features trapped in hardened mineral glass like flies in amber.
‘Eleanor’ was a bit ‘long in the tooth,’ literally. Her features were rendered supernaturally clear, frighteningly fractal. Edward was very myopic, and analyzed his visual world like a macro photograph. He moved as close to Eleanor as he dared, and stared. Not a missing dye-dot, nor errant air-bubble, nor renegade impurity watered down his first impression.
Her teeth were filed to sharp points. Like razors resting upon livid flesh. If she pursed her narrow plum-painted lips, would she bleed?
‘Barry’ seemed to be capable of hearing Edward’s very thoughts, although he was just an image sealed in thick hard glass. The eyes were worrisome; unnervingly vibrant, shifting electric blue, diode red, then abruptly collapsing into deep black voids. Edward rubbed his own eyes. It certainly was an illusion, a hallucination.
Edward James believed there was a family resemblance, possibly even a shared genetic signature. Eleanor and Barry seemed less like a wed couple than a pair of siblings. Sister. Brother. Twins?
Yeah. Eyes, deep-set, irises the color of golden dawn, pupils long, thin, and vertical.Their noses large, aquiline, saurian. Hair gossamer, bituminous. Images of Angels Of Darkness. The skin tones were way off. Was it a lack of color process, or a lack of humanity?
The two were gray. Stealth-Fighter-Jet gray. Komodo Dragon gray. Gray and granular.
“Angelique, the air’s different then it was,” Randall Osbourne said.
“What do you mean?” She’d been busy thinking about the platinum discs. She had two of them in storage, somewhere here inside The Arielle Facility.
“THE SPEAKER didn’t vocalize like us people talk, Angelique. A comparison would be someone smelling food; instead of tasting it! Not even knowing what the food looks like, or what it’s called! It wasn’t language… Disconnected impressions.
“Those ‘Platinum Eagles’ are acting like catalysts. Something is turning our keys. Pushing our buttons. Mine, at least. A form of spirit possession?”
“Randall, you’re pleading insanity?” “Angelique, yes.”
Angelique Fraser thought about the two shining moon-things deposited in her husband’s office here, by that pair of sinister strangers: a tall one, vociferous, intimidating; and the other one who looked like a ‘Penguin-Man,’ an ungainly, reptilian conjurer of fear.
Penguin-Man extracted his eyes. Transformed them into gleaming coins. Then they left. Shortly afterward, Edward Creete Fraser leapt off a bridge, and his body was never found.
Randall had a sense of smell like a bloodhound. He could detect a single molecule of cologne. A smear of tarry nicotine. Inbound ocean tide waters.
“The air, the composition, the barometric pressure. It’s reconfiguring.” She knew Randall was distraught when he sounded like a damned scientist! “You mean, that’s bad?” Angelique wished to know. “Unless you find frozen dead things interesting.”
Randall got up from the silk sofa. He moved fluidly, and offered a hand to Angelique, to help her up. This time, he would not drag her! The devil had been placed on hold. Together they continued towards the door to the Floor Zero parking, which contained two very distinctive automotive personalities.
Joule stirred, dreaming. Its fuel cells were vast for feeding the modified 1976 Cadillac 500 Cubic Inch Monster-Motor. Joule was capable of cruising several hundred miles in a day without stopping. Consequently the hybrid catalytic power generator inside Joule could sustain a handful of on-board computers a very, very long while.
Joule was receiving thoughts and feelings from unnatural things warming up inside storage tubes of alien alloys forged at black foundries on a planet that no longer could be charted. There were seven dewars. Flasks. Even now, massively rock solid cold, still below terrestrial minus 273 Celsius. Earthly alchemists would say that was impossible.