At the risk of boring you all silly, I thought I’d post one more, very short post about my mystery character, Alex Tang. It leaves a lot to the imagination, but I’m rather proud of how much I’ve managed to convey with these 400 something words. I hope this answers most of your questions. The video clip below is what I was listening to while I wrote. The track is called ‘Knights of Palmyra’, from Jo Blankenburg’s album Vendetta.
The holos of the two government representatives glanced at each other before turning back to the slim, Asian man who sat perfectly still on the sofa opposite.
It was the older official who finally spoke.
“We do understand how bitter you must feel about your husband, James. But we’re pretty sure the people who set fire to the safe house were hired by Beaumont-…”
“If you refuse to testify they’ll get away with everything!” the younger official said.
Alex Tang’s face remained inscrutable as he said, “Your people should have thought of that before they left my husband to burn.”
“We’ve apologized for that a hundred times!” the younger official began.
The older official cast a withering glance at his companion before continuing.
“Our people died in that blaze too, James. Jenny Martin was one of our best operatives, and she left behind a three year old daughter.”
The mention of Jenny Martin made Alex wince. He had liked Jenny. She had been a friend. And when the wall had imploded, shooting that ball of flame towards him, she had shielded him with her own body. Her sacrifice had saved his life…
“With two of his team down, and your husband…trapped under that wall, Phil Denning did the only thing he could…”
…Yeah, he ignored Pete, and saved your precious witness…
Pete, Alex’s husband of less than a year, had been furthest from the inferno. Trapped, but also protected by the heavy cupboard that had been blown on top of him by the explosion, he should have been the one to survive. Instead, he had died a slow, agonizing death.
Despite being blinded, and burned to a crisp wherever Jenny’s body had not protected his, Alex had remained conscious the entire time… listening to Pete scream.
“Won’t you at least talk to Phil? Hear his side of the story?”
Talk to Phil Denning? The man who had let Pete die?
A mirthless chuckle escaped Alex’s lips as he turned bitter eyes on the two holograms cluttering up his living room.
“I don’t think so.”
“We’ll let you think things over,” the older official said. “If you change your mind, you know how to reach us.”
…when hell freezes over…
Alex remained seated as the older official winked out.
“You know they’ll have to pull the plug? If you don’t co-operate,” the young official said. When Alex did not answer, he too winked out.
Alone again, Alex Tang turned his head towards the window. The glass was pristine once more, allowing him to see the Forbidden City in all its glory.
When he had first woken up inside Innerscape, he had smashed the window and thrown himself off the ledge. He had woken back in his bed. Unscathed.
But there was always more than one way of skinning a cat.