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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Special Circumstances - 20. The End

The woman’s head didn’t move because it had been bound like the rest of her. The only indication a projectile had hit her was the tickle of blood which was emanating from her left temple. I scanned upward, focusing on where the shot had come from. A lone figure with a rifle stood at the edge of the upper level, close to the corridor from which we had entered the factory.

I didn’t have any time to dwell on it. As the victim died, the ritual turned sour. I could feel how the lingering raw power was brought into motion. However, it had nowhere to flow. Maybe they’d tried opening the gate and because the power wasn’t harvested from the dead victim, the gate was never attempted, the energy never consumed.

Suddenly, uncontrolled power manifested itself in a chain of lighting which jumped from ritualist to ritualist, engulfing all of them. Their chanting was replaced by screams of horror and pain.

“Jamie! Get out of the circle!” Morris-Walker shouted.

Of course, I stood next to the victim within the circle they formed. I leaped to get away from whatever was happening behind me, landing unceremoniously on my belly. However, I held on to my pistol.

There was a loud rumbling behind me. I lifted myself on my right arm to look back. The circle which formed the ritual barrier now extended visibly upwards. Inside the cylinder was pandemonium. Bodies and concrete parts swirled in a vortex of blue energy which bathed the factory hall into an eerie light. It was deafening. Then, as suddenly as it had started, everything rose in the vortex and was gone. A mini black hole?

Morris-Walker walked up to my side. He extended a hand to help me get up. I took it gladly, pulling myself up without pulling him down.

The silence which followed was equally deafening. No trace remained of anything inside the circle, no bodies, and no detritus. It was as if the circle area had been cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. The feeling of power and oppression was gone, and the hall was dark again.

Before he could say anything, I had to ask, “What just happened?”

“I am not completely certain, but I assume they started opening the gate, but did not have enough energy to complete the task. This resulted in a backlash from the cosmic barriers separating the realities. They were sucked up into the void between worlds.”

I didn’t want to give that explanation any more consideration. I felt relieved and disgusted at the same time. The ritualists didn’t open a gate, our reality was saved. After this experience, I was convinced this was true. At the same time, we hadn’t been able to rescue the victim. Again. I looked up at the shooter and to my surprise, I recognized a fellow police officer thanks to my darkvision.

“Well done, Jamie!” Morris-Walker hadn’t seen what happened and must’ve been thinking it was I who had killed the victim.

A new voice boomed from behind us. “You might nearly have turned your young charge again, Rupert, but this time the dark deed was done by one of mine.”

Morris-Walker and I turned in unison to face the man who stood on the barrier of debris.

“Chief-Inspector Mwangi.” The minister’s greeting was unenthusiastic. They knew each other.

“Minister.” The big man gave a short nod. “I suppose you both are all right?”

What an entrance. “Yes, sir,” I said, “We are.”

“Very good, Jamie. If you could both lift your hands, please. Slowly.”

“Lift my hands?” Was he joking?

“A precaution. Minister, if you could do the same, please?”

I looked down and saw the red dot on my armor which wandered up out of my sight. I assumed it was now somewhere on my throat or face as the rest of my head was covered by the helmet. I lifted my hands, my right still holding my Glock.

“This is preposterous,” Morris-Walker said and lifted his hands.

“Thank you, gentlemen. If you could make no sudden moves, we’d appreciate that.”

The Chief-Inspector climbed down from the debris. I wondered where they’d found a ballistic vest big enough to fit him. Strangely, he mastered the obstacles with more grace than I thought possible.

Mwangi came closer but kept a distance of about five meters.

Morris-Walker tried controlling the situation. “Chief-Inspector, very good that you are here. Please allow me to extend my thanks to you and your men.”

“Spare us all the speech, Minister. I’m sorry for one of my people who had to clean up the mess you’ve caused.”

Morris-Walker threw Mwangi a glance. If looks could kill, Mwangi would be dead right now.

I turned to the minister. “What’s he talking about?”

“Yes, Rupert. Would you like to tell Jamie or shall I?”

These two had a history, and I was the one being played. “Tell me what?”

In response, Mwangi waved at Morris-Walker.

The minister cleared his throat. “The Chief-Inspector is of the opinion I had deceived you.”

“Go on,” Mwangi said.

“I did not lie when I told you there was no formal education in all of this. You have once asked me whether I could teach you more about our extraordinary abilities, and I refused.”

“Yeah, you did.”

“The reason is that I have tried to teach once before, about ten years ago. Sandeep was a brilliant and talented young man, it was a pleasure teaching him. He hung on my words, was eager to please, and easy to work with. We started researching gates, entities, effects, and rituals. We traveled extensively, gathering rumours, sometimes facts, and mostly folklore. It took years distilling fact from fiction. But in my own hubris, I did not see he was hungry for more power.”

“Your research laid the foundations for what happened here tonight. You did nothing to stop him,” Mwangi said.

Morris-Walker ignored the interruption. “His own extraordinary mental abilities were not enough for him. Sandeep was driven to seek more. We know dealing with spiritual entities is dangerous for the mind. Their reality is alien from ours. Dealing with direct contact by opening a gate is even more so. Sandeep was convinced he had found a means to protect himself. I was doubtful. How would one ever know whether it worked or not if one was mad without realising it? Over this dispute our friendship ended. I rejected his suggestion to try opening a gate.”

As I listened, comprehension began to twist my gut. “Let me guess. He did.”

Morris-Walker nodded. “Indeed, he did. He started to experiment behind my back. Slowly, he changed. He stopped making sense. His theories and applications were correct, but his reasoning became, for the lack of a better word, odd. I am grateful I have never given in to his demands.”

Another piece of the puzzle fell into place. “That explains your strange knowledge without any practical application, Minister.”

The bewildered look he gave me was priceless. “I beg your pardon?”

“Remember the gate from which the green horde came? You knew all about it, and that it needed an anchor, but you had no clue how it would look or how to actively disrupt it. That told me you’d never done such a thing yourself.”

“You are more observant than I give you credit for.” He let his gaze linger, but I wasn’t sure whether it was appreciative or disdainful.

This guy had no right to judge me. “I’ve spent years with people who want to deceive me, Minister. That’s what being a police officer is mostly about.”

“Jamie, I have never lied to you!”

“Oh, I’m certain you’ve never told me anything which wasn’t true, Minister. At the same time, the truth is but a level of omission, isn’t it?” I had learned my lesson. “Therefore, the question is how much you’ve omitted this time, Minister.”

Morris-Walker sighed. “As I said, behind my back, Sandeep conversed with extraplanar beings who slowly started warping his mind. Increasingly, we would clash over his ambitions. Until one day two years ago, he disappeared and was nowhere to be found. About fourteen months ago, there was a burglary in my house. The thief only stole a set of laboratory note books and diaries concerning the work Sandeep and I had undertaken. Based on what was missing, it could only have been him who stole it. Therefore, I began my own investigations to find him. I must have been on the right track, because shortly after, the attacks on me started. Well into that is when we met, Jamie.”

I was furious but kept my calm. Although I was seething inside, my stoic demeanor won as I asked, “You’ve known the identity of the murderer all along? All of this could’ve been prevented? You gotta be fucking kidding me!”

He averted his gaze. “Jamie, I had nothing but a hunch regarding his identity. Until that first weekend with you when I was able to read the entity which had taken me, was I able to determine what they were planning. Only then did I become aware of the murders and their purpose as sacrifice. However, the reading of the entity did not confirm it was indeed Sandeep who had bound it.”

That was outrageous. “Semantics, Minister! Let me get this straight. For the last four months you knew who the murderer most likely was, what exactly he was planning, and the police could’ve been looking for him and his cronies all that time?” I had to take a deep breath and turned away from him. “Two sacrifices and four downstairs. Six innocent people died because of your inaction, you bastard!”

Morris-Walker answered stiffly, “I have explained my reasoning to you several times.”

“Yes, secrecy for specially gifted people,” I said and nodded towards the Chief-Inspector. ”Seems to me there’s at least someone in the police who knows about specially gifted people like us, rituals, and how to end them ... and who couldn’t be bothered telling me about it.”

“As we are dishing out blame, Jamie,” Mwangi said, “You weren’t particularly forthcoming with information either.”

I looked at the ground. “You got me, sir. The minister is correct when he fears for specially gifted people. As a gay man I know very well how it is to be different from the so-called normal people. I don’t need to hazard a guess on what would happen if normal people knew there are people with superpowers among them. The secrecy is necessary, life-saving even. How could I’ve known that you know?”

“Same here, Jamie. My small and very secret unit consisting of such specially gifted people in the Met deals with supernatural events. There’s an internal standing order for inspectors and above to contact my team when strange events or occurrences are reported. Therefore, when the bodycam footage from your first run-in with the manifested spiritual entity was screened, we were contacted. After confirming the validity of the footage, I drove out to meet you. An invisible man is quite strange, wouldn’t you think?”

Thinking back at what I had to go through I was annoyed, but humour was the best response. “I still think so, but recently I’ve become a bit more tolerant of strange events.”

He chuckled and turned to the minister. “Well, Rupert. Tell Jamie why you didn’t approach me.”

I glared at Morris-Walker. “No omissions!”

Morris-Walker, the slick politician he was, held my gaze. However, the annoyance in his response felt genuine. “Simple. There are security screenings depending on what information one needs to handle as Member of Parliament. My higher level access has always been disapproved by one specific department in the Metropolitan Police. Guess which one.”

Mwangi bowed slightly. “We knew you were special, Minister, but not in what way. Because you didn’t want to discuss it any further in my interview with you, what other decision should I’ve made?”

“Let my applications pass?” There was such a righteous indignation in Morris-Walker’s voice. Arrogant asshole!

“Well, you got there in the end anyway, Minister. Our task is to protect. You know as well as I that there are malignant forces out there. I sincerely hope you agree those shouldn’t be part of the government of the realm.”

“I am not a malignant force!” The minister was outraged.

I turned to face him. “With the ability to read minds, you easily could be. Nothing is safe from you.”

The minister glared at me. I’d just told Mwangi what Morris-Walker had kept from him. On one hand, I felt as if I’d deliberately outed a fellow queer to a third party. On the other hand, in this case considering the minister’s abilities, the stakes were a lot higher … for everyone else.

His eyes flared with anger. “Don’t make this personal, Jamie! I could not care less about how often you get fucked by your boyfriend and in what manner, or how little is in your bank account. This is trivial and truly not worth my time.”

So, he’d read my mind more deeply than he’d admitted. I should’ve been more angry now, but my anger had already been spent. Instead, I felt a strange pity for Morris-Walker and a vindication for my decision to tell.

“It might be trivial to you, Minister, but it’s very personal to me. Maybe I just don’t want you to know that about me. But that isn’t the issue at the moment. What’s important to you? Your political rival’s secret dealings and backroom exchanges so you can spoil them? How much Mwangi knows about yours so you can thwart his investigations? The Prime Minister’s secret codes for the nuclear weapons?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, young man!”

Arrogant asshole. “First of all, Minister, you’re only ten years older than me. Stop using this annoying expression. Second, you aren’t daft, sir. You know exactly what I mean. You can’t tell me you don’t know you could be a threat to democracy and due process.”

Before Morris-Walker could reply, Mwangi intervened. “Gentlemen, this discussion isn’t leading us anywhere constructive. May I assume we’ve now concluded the blame game?”

The Chief-Inspector looked first at me. I took a deep breath. At least fourteen people had perished due to one man’s hubris and another one’s greed. There were the five ritual sacrifices, the four I had found downstairs whose deaths had probably fueled the barrier and traps, and finally the five ritualists, although I wasn’t too unhappy about them being gone. I glanced at the minister, then back at Mwangi and nodded. He then looked at the minister who nodded also.

“Thank you, gentlemen. There are more immediate matters to discuss.”

“Before we do that, Chief-Inspector, would it be awfully inconvenient to you if Jamie and I finally lowered our hands?”

Mwangi lifted a hand and gave the tactical signal for stand-down. “Of course not, Minister. You have confirmed you’re indeed the people I thought you were.”

What was that supposed to mean? Anyway, we lowered our hands, and I holstered my pistol.

Mwangi was all business now, which I liked. “Jamie, what have you found downstairs?”

“There’s a room where I disposed of a creature which was eating body parts. As it disappeared in a flash of light, I assume it was summoned. In the room, I counted four heads, sir. Otherwise, there’s camping gear. There are a further two rooms which I haven’t investigated, sir.”

“Have you fired any weapons?”

“Yes, sir. There was a trap and I fired at brick hands. Then there was the creature and finally, I fired a shot at the lead ritualist. About a magazine and a couple of rounds. I lost my Taser in that maelstrom earlier.”

Mwangi took out the Taser he carried and held it out to me. “Here, that replaces your lost equipment. I see you carry enough ammunition to not need to declare any shots fired.”

I took the Taser and holstered it. “Thank you, sir. What happens now?”

“Well, Jamie, you’ve accompanied your principal to Leeds on a business trip, and I understand the two of you have spent this evening in your hotel rooms. Based on an anonymous tip-off during an investigation into the disappearance of several people, we required a search warrant for an abandoned industrial site which was granted. We’ve found the lair of a gang of five who held at least four people in a dungeon and tortured them. This intervention was an emergency initiative of the Met and after securing the site and establishing control, we’ll hand it over to local CID. We’ll see what evidence we find that allows us to identify the five ritualists. If so, they’ll be wanted but never found. If we can’t find anything, they’ll just end up in the missing persons statistics.”

That was it. I was disappointed. He was right, of course. “The five ritual victims will remain four unsolved murders and one unsolved missing person case. All unrelated, because there isn’t any forensic evidence linking them.” I sighed. “I hope you can find out who the four dead people in the basement are, Chief-Inspector.”

“We’ll do our best. I assume they were homeless persons from various parts of the UK.”

Sometimes, it was unfair. “So, nobody will miss them.”

“The compassionate society,” Mwangi quoted an old Conservative Party election slogan.

The minister recognised the slight. “Have you finished your chat, Jamie? Can we leave now? I suppose the Chief-Inspector wishes us gone.”

Mwangi stepped aside to let us pass. “Minister.”

Morris-Walker marched off towards the makeshift staircase. As he passed Mwangi, the Chief-Inspector said, “We’ll be watching, Minister.”

The minister slowed for a moment, but didn’t respond.

I followed. When I walked past Mwangi, he held out a hand to stop me and gave me a letter. Confused, I opened it. I chuckled when I saw the transfer order.

“Not again.” I grimaced.

Mwangi was perplexed but still smiled as ever. “You want to stay in Close Protection with Boswell?”

What an awful thought. “Gosh no! It’s just that last time I held such a letter in my hands, I got involved in all of this.”

Mwangi turned serious. “Ignorance is indeed bliss. You can’t ever again not know. So, best to work for the good of society. Rest assured this final shot was awful for the sniper. Like you, we’re good people, Jamie.” His smile returned. “You’ll like it.”

I smiled back at him. “See you on Wednesday, sir.”

Morris-Walker waited to comment until we were in the basement at the bottom of the stairs leading to the loading level. “I knew our time together would now come to an end, Jamie, but that you will work for Chief-Inspector Mwangi is disappointing.”

I chuckled. “Minister, do I detect a hint of jealousy?”

He climbed the stairs with more vigour than I’d thought possible after the exhaustion he had displayed a short while earlier. “Maybe I have grown more fond of you during our time together, Jamie, but do not overstretch it.”

“Yes, Minister.” Walking behind him, I rolled my eyes.

For the rest of the evening, Morris-Walker was quiet. He’d left the bag close to the entrance. He handed it to me, and I unequipped and stored the armour pieces, tools, and ammunition neatly in it.

We left through the same door from which we’d entered and were met by a guard Mwangi had posted there. She’d already been informed of our impending departure and gave us a lift in an unmarked vehicle to the car park where we picked up the black BMW. Mwangi’s solution to the concrete block at the entrance to the property had been a tractor which had pushed it out of the way.

At the car park, we confirmed nobody was around, and I stored my machine pistol and ammunition in the car’s safe. As we left, I felt sad we hadn’t been able to rescue anyone, but relieved this nightmare was over. We arrived at the hotel at around quarter to two in the morning.

We wished each other good night and went into our respective rooms. Before I could do anything else and as much as I craved a hot shower, I had to call Mike.

He picked up almost immediately. “Jamie, what news?”

“Hey, my love. Have you been waiting for my call?” I was allowed a little teasing before getting to the point.

“Of course. How couldn’t I? Tell me, what happened? Did you prevent the murder?”

I yawned. “I’m very tired, so here’s the short version. It took a while to pinpoint the exact location. Finally, we found an abandoned industrial site. We searched it carefully and found a gruesome murder scene. There was no sign of a ritual.”

I felt awful for lying but the story about the ritual had to be canned now. It was over.

I continued my explanation or better, lies. “Morris-Walker is pissed off. It all came to something but not what he had expected. Chief-Inspector Mwangi found it very funny, not the murders, but the minister’s ritual theory. But instead of choosing to make the minister and me the laughing stock of the country, he offered me an immediate transfer into his Specialist Firearms Command unit.”


“Yes. Let’s say he knew Boswell can’t stand me.”

Mike was serious, but I could hear the concern in his voice. “To be fair, it’s probably better that way. This posting is awful for you. You don’t owe Morris-Walker anything.”

I sighed. “No, I don’t.”

Thankfully, Mike’s tone became more cheerful. “There you go. Also, there won’t be any more walking around half-naked in the minister’s house.”

“Yeah, there’s that.” I chuckled.

“And when will you start with Mwangi’s crew, and what do they do?”

Dangerous territory. “They execute high risk warrants. So, I will still carry a firearm. My first duty is on Wednesday morning.”

“Wednesday? Wow! They don’t waste time in the Met. In my old force it took weeks for officers to be actually transferred after making a request, if it hadn’t been declined.”

Well, that wasn’t any different in the Met but my circumstances were hardly normal. “Well, these are both special branches. I already have all the clearances. So, will you make me a cake to bring to my new team?”

“Sure! I hope they’ll actually eat it.” Boswell’s team’s passing over his cake had hit the professional chef in Mike hard, although the reason for it not being eaten had been me and not the cake itself.

I yawned again. “Let it rest. I hope now you can go to sleep.”

“Yeah. Yeah. Sorry. I love you, Jamie. See you tomorrow.”

“I love you, too. Have a good night.”

When I put the phone on the desk, I sincerely hoped the lying would end now. Mike deserved better.

I showered and climbed into bed. I was tired, but in my mind, I went through the events of this evening. I lay there thinking Wednesday my new job would begin without Morris-Walker. That was more of a relief than I thought it would be.

From behind me I grabbed a pillow and held it, wishing it was Mike. Of course, I’d be home tomorrow when I could hold him for real. I could look forward to having a life with the man of my dreams by my side.

Copyright © 2024 lawfulneutralmage; All Rights Reserved.
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A very special thank you to my editor @Mikiesboy and beta reader @CassieQ. Their support and advice has been invaluable.
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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