Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Vengeance of the Green Man: Part Fifteen

"Yes," the Green Man stepped further into the room. "I knew that Trevelyan was one of your people, that he was a plant. He will serve you no more..."

"You can't!" the monocled man exclaimed hotly, "the terror stands ready."

"One of the dishes that send the terror no longer works," the Green Man explained. "Your man Trevelyan broke it when he fell through it."

"My men..." the man exclaimed, face blanching.

"Have been drawn into the bush, to be destroyed by tribesmen," the Green Man laughed.

"So, the Green Man seeks to take the terror for himself," the man laughed.

"No," the Green Man shook his head. "Your machine will be destroyed. There are some things that should never see the light of day."

"You would destroy the terror?" the man laughed. "It has been built! You will never hold back progress."
"But I will keep you from unleashing this evil on the world," the Green Man replied. "Maybe another man will make the same discovery as you, and maybe I will have to kill him as well. But a weapon of this sort is a crime against humanity. For this reason, it will not survive."
"You can't..." the man drew a gun from his waistcoat. The Green Man's gun spoke once. The man crumpled to the ground.
"It's over..." Ms. Madison rose, moving towards the Green Man.
"A fitting end for his kind," the Green Man looked down on the corpse.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Terror: Part Fourteen

The monocled man turned pale at the words of the scornful blonde. He rose from his seat, holding in his monocle. Confusion was written across his face.

"You're what?" he demanded.

"I'm the Green Man's secretary," Ms. Madison spoke defiantly. "I work for the Green Man. And you have been noticed."

"Then there's no time!" the man grabbed for an intercom. "Control room!" He spoke urgently. "Activate the device!"

The blonde stood slowly. Now Ms. Madison was enjoying herself.

"What range does the device have?" she asked idly.

"Far enough," the man with the monocle smiled back. "It can reach as far as Cape Town. So today Cape Town will find one of its suburbs full of dead people - people frozen to death."

"Not if the Green Man stops you first," Ms. Madison shook her head.

"But I," the man laughed, "can stop the Green Man. You see, I have planted an agent in the camp of the Green Man, and he will lead then into a trap."

"But he will fail."

At that very moment, the Green Man stepped into the room.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Terror: Part Thirteen

Ms. Madison looked at the monocled man, as he glared across the table at her. She could not help but think that he bore a marked resemblance to Joseph Chamberlain.

"If... If you don't mind," she spoke falteringly, "I'd rather skip the supper."

The man laughed softly, shaking his head.

"You are a funny girl," he said, "and it will be a pity to see you die."

"That's easy to change," she replied swiftly, "just don't kill me." She smiled appealingly.

"That is not an option," she was told. "You will know the secret of the Terror. You already know too much as it is."

"I always do," came the cool reply. "Now, would you mind awfully telling me the rest?"

"That's easy," he smiled. "I have created a machine that can suppress all but the most elemental forces. As you know, I can block out all sounds. I can also block out light and heat. With my machine, I could freeze a whole city to death on a hot day, or plunge a country into darkness."

"And the disappearances?" the blonde enquired.

"A few months ago," the man declared, "one of my research assistants left here. My agents killed him, but not before he was able to let the secret of my machine get out. A number of people came to Victoria Falls to find me. I have had to slay them. You will be the next to die."

"If you knew," Ms. Madison smiled sweetly, "how many times people have said that, "you really would be surprised. Any questions for little me?"

"Just one," the man leaned forward, "who are you working for?"
The blonde laughed mockingly.
"You fool," she told him. "I'm not just some agent of a bad guy. I'm secretary to the Green Man."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Crime Does Not Pay

Ms. L. Madison writes: In part of an occasional series, we look at some people who have sought to step into the shadows. In this case, the man wanted to make a quick buck, so he got a gun and turned over the local Post Office.

He successfully held up the Post Office, and got away with a large haul. Driving away in his stolen getaway car, he hurried off, hoping that he would lose the Police. As he sped off, he was happy to note that no-one was pursuing him.

But our criminal had missed one thing. His chosen getaway vehicle was a bus. A double-decker bus. The Police caught up with the criminal outside a local chip shop, after he had stopped for Fish and Chips.

Crime Does Not Pay.

The Green Man will be back tomorrow

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Terror: Part Twelve

Ms. Madison was not pleased that the men did not leave the room while she dressed, but waited, drooling as they watched her every movement. She resolved to do them some serious harm at the earliest possible opportunity. Preferably life-ending. But as things stood, there was nothing to be done but do as they said.

Still blushing, the blonde followed the men down the long corridors of the mansion, down a big flight of stairs, towards a mighty room, lined with marble columns. In the middle of the room was a great table, weighed down with food.

"Your meal awaits you, girl," the men told her, rather callous.

Ms. Madison stuck out her tongue at the men, as they left the room. Once sure she was alone, she waited there, sneaking a few nibbles of the food, while her tummy rumbled disturbingly. Maybe it didn't look stylish, but she was one hungry lady.

Needless to say, Ms. Madison was not surprised when a voice from the door caused her to start violently, dropping some food.

"Good evening, my dear," a monocled man spoke softly. "You have come a long way. "And you will eat well. Then you will learn the secret that hides here. After that, you will die."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Terror: Part Eleven

Lady Sylvia came to slowly, her head throbbing nastily. She sat up, rubbing the back of her head. She could feel a large bump developing there, and there was a great deal more mobility there than there should be. She winced, swinging badly grazed legs off the bed on which she was laid.For once, Lady Sylvia was glad there was no mirror in the room. She had to be an absolute mess!

Hoping that the windows did not reflect too much, she crossed to them. Itwas clear that she was now inside the house, which was a classical-style mansion, hidden deep in the African jungle. This had to be the base for the mysterious activities which had been spooking Victoria Falls.

The parched grounds were patrolled by more fierce looking mercenaries, something that surprised Lady Sylvia not one whit. With the sun sinking low on the horizon, it was clearly nearing six o'clock. Close to the tropics, Zimbabwe's night and day are almost equal in length. And then there were things that might be done.

Not so far away, Ms. Madison was sat down, looking over the lawn. Dressed in pink silk undergarments, she wished that her captors had chosen to supply her with more in the way of clothes. Even so, she was planning some mayhem.

Before she could plan any more, the door of the room opened. There stood two mercenaries and a black girl in a white uniform.

"You must be good," one man declared. "The commander wants to see you."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Terror: Part Ten

Lady Sylvia followed the track along which the car must have gone, towards the falls. She turned away abruptly, following a barely visible track, noting some freshly broken branches. Clearly her years as a Girl Guide had not been in vain. Breaking through the undergowth, she was soon out on a broad plain. Impala ran, scattering at her approach. It was warm and deinitely romantic, as the young aristocrat drove across the broad plain.

She saw the land-mine just in time. Leaping from the vehicle, she rolled, covering her face. She felt the haet scorch her body, and earth shower her. But she heard no explosion. As she ran for cover, all she could hear was the thunder of the falls, even though she was crashing through undergrowth. The jungle tore at her legs, pain shooting through her, as the shapely limbs were cut in numerous places. By the time she fell to the ground, sure that she had not been followed, her legs were a mass of irritating small cuts.
Now afraid, she moved on slowly, following the trail's course, still hearing none of the sounds she knew she must be making. A little way on, she saw a white wall through the jungle. Lady Sylvia headed towards it, heart beating with anticipation and fear.
There, in the middle of the jungle was a rather severe-looking mansion in the Greek Revival style. Attached to it by a conservatory was an octagonal tower. And the windows of this tower were pulsing with light.

Before Lady Sylvia could investigate further, she felt the cold (okay, warmish) steel of a rifle press into her back.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sunday Supplement: Muscular Christianity

Sir Richard Arcos writes: I was visiting my daughter, Mrs. Rule, in darkest Carmarthenshire. We wandered a little farther afield than usual, to the little town of Llanpeblli, where we attended the English Presbyterian Church, a charming gothic building with a schoolroom that would match the chapel if it hadn't been completed by economy-minded deacons. Still, it is a most impressive edifice.

The preacher there is the Rev. Dyfig Jones-Jones, DD, a man noted for his firey sermons, and this Sunday was no exception. Declaiming against the tendency to mindless cheerfulness prevalent in modern-day evangelicalism, the doughty preacher declared that he would punch the next person to ask him 'are you encouraged?'

Now, neither Mrs. Rule nor I had time to wait. Accordingly, we approached the man who had slept at the back of the church through most of ther sermon, and offered him a fiver to ask the minister 'are you encouraged?' as he left.

We were. The minister gave the man a most professional shiner. He was unconscious for several minutes. It is nice to find a truthful man.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Terror: Part Nine

And the thunder of the falls was everything that Lady Sylvia heard. No other sound disturbed her thought - and that was enough to concern her a great deal. Looking about her, she saw the guests looking at the exit, presumably towards the spot where the bad guys had left. Wrapping her robe about herself, Lady Sylvia ran in that direction. He feet made no sound on the flagstones of the hotel, as she ran out of the hotel compound, and onto the streets of Victoria Falls, quite unconscious of her personal safety. Seeing Ms. Madison being loaded onto a car by a group of armed men, the young Aristocrat launched herself at them.

Somehow, the bullets all missed her. One sandalled foot connected with the jaw of a mercenary, and he slept.

The car with Ms. Madison in it sped away, as Lady Sylvia mixed it with the remaining mercenaries. The training she had received since joining the Green Man's team showed, as the dangerous beauty avoided all but the most trivial of blows. Conducted in absolute silence, there was an unreal quality to the battle, until the last punch. Lady Sylvia heard that one, and the sound the man made when he hit the ground.

She found the keys still in the ignition, seated herself behind the wheel, and started up the vehicle. Careless of her state of dress, the brunette let in the clutch and started off.
There was only one way she could go. Towards the falls.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Terror: Part Eight

Ms. Madison ran out onto the terrace, gun in hand, expecting to see all sorts of battle, murder and sudden death. There she saw a short man in a pith helmet, hands behind his back. And around him were a number of grizzled mercenaries in jungle kit. All started at the sight of the slight blonde in a bathing-suit.

"What the..." the man turned, eyes flashing.

"Ms. Lynette Madison." The girl raised her gun slowly. "And you?"

The man started towards Ms. Madison. She shot one of his goons in the leg, before slugging another with her gun. In spite of her relaxed, aristocratic bearing, she was a thunderstorm of violence, as men went flying.

The man in the pith helmet swore, as another blow from Ms. Madison's fists sent men staggering this way and that. Her little gun spoke a few more times, men crumpled before the girl's attack.

But it couldn't last. She was only one against a skilled unit of mercenaries. And one of the men who had not been knocked out was able to get in the one blow that was all he needed to knock her out.

By the time thatLady Sylvia made it out onto the terrace, Ms. Madison was no-where to be seen. But she didn't notice that at first.

All she could hear was the thunder of the falls.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Terror: Part Seven

Ms. Madison looked up at the azure sky and sighed. She felt the hot sun on her slim form and decided that, all things considered, there were decided advantages in working for the Green Man. A little way away, Lady Sylvia lazed under the sun, dangling one hand in the pool.

"Why hasn't anyone been killed yet?" she asked idly.

"Maybe because this evil needed to take a rest," the blonde sighed. "There have been long gaps between these disappearances, Slyv. One reason we're here now is the last disappearances."

"Then why the gaps?" Lady Sylvia enquired.

"Some sort of machine, I'm guessing," Ms. Madison replied. "That sort of thing probably needs a lot more juice than they can regularly supply out here. The Green Man's looking for the source right now."

"And us?" the young aristocrat asked earnestly.

"We stick around here and wait for our mission to present itself," Ms. Madison laughed. "Which is fine by me."

Lady Sylvia laughed happily, stretching under the sun. Even so, she checked her pocket pistol.

Which was just as well, for, moments later, a terrifying scream split the air. Ms. Madison started to her feet, lost her balance, and fell into the pool with a scream. Lady Sylvia ran for the source of the sound, gun in hand.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Terror: Part Six

The sun was setting over the falls by the time that the Green Man, the stranger and his party reached the place where they were to camp. The tribesmen who had been detailed to watch them began to pitch camp. The Green Man examined the deep jungle with fascination.

"The Great Jungle God is worried?" Trevelyan asked.
"No," the Green Man replied. "I have never been worried until I have known the foe I fight. At the moment, all I know is that people have vanished."

With those words, the Green Man walked into the jungle, the South African agent at his side. The tribesmen made to warn them, only to be warned away by the Green Man. The men walked back, allowing the Green Man to move on, unmolested.
"What is it?" Trevelyan asked.

"Nothing," the Green Man replied. "Do you hear it?"

"Hear what?" Trevelyan asked curiously.
"Nothing," the Green Man chuckled. "Not a bird, not a monkey. Nothing."
The agent fell silent. The Green Man walked forward, until they came to a clearing. There, they saw the sunset glinting off a massive satellite dish.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Terror: Part Five

The Green Man followed the wild-looking girl through the thick jungle. Even without his gun, the Green Man was not afraid. After all, he would have beated the letter on his own. The man looked up at the Green Man, confusion on his face.

"If you don't mind my asking," he spoke softly, "who the hell are you?"

"I am the Green Man," he spoke swiftly. "You?"

"Paul Trevelyan," the man replied, "agent with the National Parks Service of South Africa - at least that's what my passport says."

"I do not have a passport," the Green Man replied grimly. "Why are you here?"

"The mysterious disappearances," the man replied. "I tried to shoot that leopard, but..."

"I know," the Green Man smiled. "something plucked the gun from your hand. It must have something to do with the things that have been going on."

"You right," the girl spoke, looking back. "Is terror. The Terror hurt my people. You stop it."

"That's what I do," the Green Man smiled. "Just show me the way."

They paused, close to the falls, while the girl let out a wild cry. At once, they were surrounded by armed African warriors.

"Take them to place where Terror is," the girl commanded them.