Echoes – Epilogue

A gold-tipped cigarette sat in an old black Bakelite ashtray. The trail of smoke gentle rose to the ceiling. Fluorescent lights buzzed and flickered. The room had no windows, with cinder block walls painted a dull military grey. A man, dressed in black sat at the table at the centre of the room, with his seat facing the door opposite the table. Across the table were reports of various natures. Test results from the lab. Supply stock takes. Reconnaissance updates. Without looking away from the reports, he reached across to the ashtray, picking the cigarette with his gloved hand and placed it between his lips.

There was a light knock at the door. “Enter,“ the man said blandly, his concentration remaining at the current report, the health and status of a particular prisoner. He exhaled, coming out on a thin cloud. A man in military dress entered the room and stood near the table.

“You know, I thought all soldiers saluted their superiors, Colonel,” the man in black said without looking from the page.

The Colonel, squinted his eye, resisting to fully speaking his mind, “You’re not military.”

“Ah, but I have been given authority over this operation. Carte Blanche was the term that was used, I believe.” The man in black smirked, eyeing the Colonel. Then his attention returned to the report. “I take it you have come to air a grievance or some such.”

It’s him again, the soldier we found. He’s hospitalised another two. Looked as if he didn’t try. I have another sixteen going through psychiatric evaluation. The prisoners can do things to them. At this rate, I doubt there will be enough men to adequately guard this facility. Even with the measures we have taken. One of them,” the Colonel paused, not sure how much information he should relay to the man in black, “knew things about me. Things I have told no one.”

“Really?” The man in black looked up at the Colonel, “Well that is interesting. Add that man to the list.” The man in black put down his report, and then steeped his fingers, “Now any news from the city?

“We managed to round up another two dozen. Sweeps throughout the city show evidence of heavy fighting. Explosives were planted beneath the most important structures. While it appears two groups of citizenry were involved in the fighting, all of the survivors belong to neither of those groups. Once we establish a more permanent presence in the city, we will begin cataloguing the dead and disposing the bodies. However, we believe that some managed to slip through the containment line that we established around the city. It cannot be many, but we don’t have the numbers yet.”

“We’ll have to expand the net then. To a 300 km radius. I will call in for additional forces along with a rotation for the deployment here. Including your replacement.”

The Colonel nodded and left solemnly, closing the door behind him. The man in black drew on the cigarette again and returned to the reports. He opened a file that just came from telemetry and imaging. Opening the folder, he flipped over the cover sheet and looked at the first photo. The shot was made early in the morning shortly after the interference over the city began to dissipate. The first photo is an open field near a forest there is a figure in the middle. The next photo is an enhancement, showing a man running from the city.

Yes, we’ll get them, the man in black thought, we’ll get them all.

4 thoughts on “Echoes – Epilogue

  1. Well, everyone, that’s it for Echoes for now. I’m going to work on other things, but do expect more Echoes in the coming months.Special thanks to Shebarella, Femke Fatalle, K.D., Cams, Hardboy and Tim Buck II for all of the input and editing.This work is dedicate to Salvatore, who said that while I may never finish a novel, if I did, I would get a weird cult following.Here’s hoping!

  2. Bravo bravo Mr D’Randome on a great series. The world you created was easy to visualise and get sucked into. I liked when the narrative was past tense, while the character interactions were ‘now’. With this method, one would usually assume that the character would survive, but not in your mysterious world – I was always left wondering…I look forward to your next project, and hope you get time to work on some of the old Help Desk classics.GlückwünscheYour friend,The Putty Phoenix Egg Hunter

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