And so we start on the downward slope of actually answering some questions in this story. Hopefully.
Last time we saw our amnesiac villain he had just been disguised and escorted to a meeting he was apparently late for with a rather important-looking figure named Derrick Mansley.
Is this a good guy or a bad guy?
What does he want with Wolfgang?
We shall find out in this next part…
For new/forgetful people, I would recommend reading up on our dear villain’s exploits so you have a slight idea of what’s going on.
And here’s hoping I don’t utterly confuse everyone…
Enjoy part 13 of Blank Mastermind!
By his tone of the word “late” it sounded like he’d said “dead”.
I guessed this wasn’t a meeting about the insurance on my Mustang or something.
I swallowed. “Fashionably late.”
Mansley frowned, “That excuse expired three days ago.”
Three days ago. More or less about the time when I was regaining consciousness at Bad News’s house. Was that really just three days ago?
“I forgot.” It wasn’t a lie. I did forget the meeting. Along with everything else.
My hands were twitching. I reached to slide my hands in my pockets, but ended up just rubbing my hands over the sides of the coat and down to my jeans. What kind of stupid jacket doesn’t have pockets?
Mansley raised his eyebrows. I saw his mustache move a bit. He shook his head and chuckled, standing from his chair.
I managed to stick my fingertips into my jeans pockets as he came around the desk. He should have stopped advancing on me about a foot and a half before he did.
I pulled my head back a little so I could at least focus on his face without crossing my eyes.
Mansley’s frost-blue eyes narrowed and he tilted his head. It reminded me of my falcon in a more creepy, in-your-face sort of way.
“Dankworth, where would you be without me?” His breath puffed a spearmint smell in my face.
Was that a rhetorical question? Back out in the lobby was the only guess that came to mind.
I pressed my lips in a tight line through the rubber of my mask. My gaze felt glued to his.
Mansley waited. “I want you to think about that for a minute.”
Yep. Lobby was looking like the best possibility.
“You’d be in prison for the rest of your life. Your little circus would probably be there with you.”
I blinked at him.
“Any attempts to reach the level of things you’ve been accomplishing would have ended in poorly executed disaster. Without me, you’re a clown. An inept Robin Hood with an atrocious name. ”
More mint puffed in my face, making my eyeballs feel cold. His voice lowered to a firm, patient whisper, “So I need you to stay with me on this, okay?”
I swallowed again. “Yes, sir.” The words came out automatically and didn’t seem like mine.
“Good,” he stepped back and returned to his desk.
A lingering smell of spearmint hung in the air around me. I coughed a little. I could feel more sweat under the mask and my cheek twitched with the effort not to itch it.
There was a small squeak as Mansley sat back down in his chair. He ran a hand over his hair and looked briefly down at his desk before looking back up at me.
“Do you have any idea how much trouble that little stunt at the baseball stadium caused?” His voice was tired and almost fatherly.
I scratched at the back of my neck and felt the mask stretch a little. “Um . . . a lot?”
“A lot that could have been avoided. You almost blew everything.” He paused for a second and gave a half chuckle. “No pun intended.”
I felt like I should be contributing a bit more to this conversation. I cleared my throat, “Well, we were working on that thing for a while . . .” From what I’ve been told . . .
Mansley leaned forward, “I know, but working together requires communication. We’d already sent out the note for the kidnapping to take place when you decided to skip the meeting, go for the bomb act instead and make everyone look stupid.”
Wait, so this guy sent the note? And wanted me to carry it out?
“I’m not your minion . . .”
I shouldn’t randomly open my mouth. My thoughts fall out.
But instead of shooting me or kicking me out or something, Mansley just gave an admitting nod. “True, but I’m here to help you and you should appreciate that.”
I closed my mouth and nodded like a broken bobble head. That was a bare escape from letting the amnesia slip.
He held my gaze for a bit more, then stood from his chair again and walked over to a small file cabinet looking thing in the corner. Papers rustled as his fingers brushed across them. He stopped after a few seconds and reached inside a folder, pulling out a little button box.
Oh great. He was going to detonate some bomb and collapse the ceiling on my head for displeasing him. The thought crossed my mind that I was going to die an old man. A fake old man.
But the button clicked under his thumb and nothing happened except a small buzzing noise, then he put it back in the folder.
I let out a breath and started to run my hand over my hair. My fingers hit the rough, plastic-feeling tufts and I pulled my hand back down.
Mansley walked over to the book to the left of his desk and ran his hand down the corner where the bookshelf met the wall. He stopped at a scratch in the paint and held his index finger there for a second.
There was another buzzing noise and I jumped.
The bookshelf creaked and swung open like a door, revealing a cement-walled hallway that descended into a dark abyss.
Mansley flipped a light switch, lighting up a few bare bulbs and stepped into the hallway. The sound of his shoes clicking on the floor echoed.
I just stood there. I think I was holding my breath for some reason.
His footsteps stopped for a second and turned on his heel to look at me. “Coming, Wolfgang?”
“D-down there?” I stuttered. Visions of torture chambers filled my mind.
“Yes, of course.” Mansley frowned, “Is everything alright?”
Stupid. I probably went down there all the time. And now he was suspicious.
“Yeah, great. Fine. Wonderful.” I smiled and rubbed my shaky hands on my jeans before following him. “Just asking.”
Mansley raised an eyebrow, but shook his head and just closed the bookshelf behind us as I caught up.
I was an idiot.
I stuck my hands in my pockets and tried to avoid thinking about it. In fact, I tried to avoid thinking about anything at all.
Our shoes hit out a unified rhythm on the hard floor and echoed down the hall. I shuffled my feet a bit so we weren’t walking in unison anymore.
The lightbulbs seemed to be spaced just so no part of the hall would be technically dark. We walked from near blackness into painful whiteness about four times before the hall ended.
And it looked like the door didn’t have a doorknob.
I kept my hands deep in my pockets and took a few deep breaths, trying to slow my heart rate a bit. My head was pounding and the mask was getting extremely itchy and tight feeling.
Mansley simply walked up and put his finger to a small dot where the doorknob should have been. There was a click and the door popped open.
Ah, more fingerprint locks.
I slipped through the door after Mansley and the white light of the hall shifted into a more yellow light. The room was quite unimpressive after the long hall and secret door I had to go through to get to it.
At first glance it looked almost like someone’s garage, with a few more wacky tools involved. The same sort of gasoline and metallic smell. Wires and screwdrivers lying around. Somewhere Liza would probably like.
Then at second glance, there was an enormous bomb in the corner.
I took an involuntary step back and my heart rate doubled, but I said nothing. Pretty safe guess that thing was mine.
“Only one last thing for you to do,” Mansley’s voice came from my left.
I nodded, having no idea what he was talking about. My gaze fell on a bullet shaped dome that was covered by a tarp. I wondered if it was another bomb.
Mansley looked at me, then at the tarp. “Oh that. The housing is totally finished. Got all the bugs worked out of the electronics for that finally. It’s one last attachable part on the bomb itself we haven’t figured out yet. Should be up and running soon, though.”
Such a calm conversation.
“Do we have a date?” I asked, keeping my eyes on what was apparently the housing and hoping that this wasn’t already an established thing.
He stroked his mustache down with two fingers and sighed. Spearmint mingled with the gasoline smell. “Still working on that one.” He glanced up at me again. “You can take the mask off now, if you want. No cameras around here.”
I let out a sigh of relief and started working the mask off. It stuck and pinched in weird places as I pulled up the rubber. Mansley’s footsteps moved a bit further away as I had the mask over my eyes.
By the time I’d managed to painfully pull it off over my hair and stick it in my pocket, I saw he was over by the bomb, tapping a few buttons.
I scrunched up my nose and made a few faces, stretching my face out a bit after all that rubber clinging to it. “So, what’s the one thing I have to do?”
Hopefully not selling my soul or something.
Mansley hit another button and swiped a finger across the little screen on the front of the bomb, then turned to me. “This is your bomb. Your big chance at justice. I want you to program it.”
I looked around him at the bomb, “Um . . . okay.” What if I were to say that I don’t want my big chance at justice?
He nodded, his blue eyes serious with the apparent weight of the moment, then stepped aside.
I walked slowly towards the glowing blue screen.
“CODENAME” it read. There was a flashing cursor in the bar and a keyboard below.
My fingers moved of their own accord and the name “Eloisa” blinked onto the screen. The bar lit up green and went to another slide.
“FINGERPRINT” was the next word. A circle took the place of the keyboard.
This Mansley guy really loved his digit-scanners.
I pressed my thumb in the middle of the circle and waited for it to load. It lit up green and went to another.
This screen said “KEY PHRASE” with a microphone icon below it. I looked at Mansley.
“Am I supposed to say something here?”
I thought for a second, then hit the button. It lit up and I cleared my throat. “Um . . . die by the sword.”
Hoping it didn’t pick up on my eloquent “um”, I hit the button again. The screen loaded for a second, then popped up with a little box.
Did you say: ‘Umpire by the sod’?
I hit the “no” box. Try again.
“Die. By. The. Sword.”
Did you say: ‘Dobby the sword’?
I ran my hand over my hair, “What the heck?”
Mansley cleared his throat, “It just matters that it got your voice in there. You can confirm it.”
I sighed and hit the “yes” box.
The screen lit up with one big check mark. “Success! Device programmed!”
All annoyance melted away and a chunk of ice settled in my stomach. How many people had I just condemned to death?
I jumped as a warm hand came to rest on my shoulder. Mansley let out a breath.
“You’ve done it.”
I nodded, trying to force some enthusiasm and failing.
“After all these years, it’ll finally be ended. Justice for all those killed that day.” He stared at the checkmark on the screen, but didn’t seem to see it.
I felt a shiver run through me and felt for my pockets again.
“Their blood has cried out from the ground too long.” Mansley squeezed my shoulder, “Can you hear it, boy?” A moment of silence. “Your father and mother. Peter. Eloisa. All the others. All the innocents.”
I swallowed, staring ahead. Fuzzy memories needled the edges of my mind and I winced as my head started to throb again. All the others? My family members weren’t the only ones I was avenging? I felt like I should have known that, but it still surprised me.
Out of the corner of my vision, I saw Mansley look over at me. “Their song is coming to an end. And you’ll be the one to hit the final note.”
Man, this guy should have been the one to take over on my rallying speeches. I barely had an idea of what he was talking about, but still, it stirred a sort of pride and determination within me that I knew shouldn’t be there.
I pushed it out of my mind. This is a bomb. It’s going to kill more people. I need to stop this.
It was quiet for another few minutes. Mansley closed his eyes and I wondered if he was praying. If so, I hoped God liked Dallas better.
My ears buzzed and the pain in my head expanded. The memories were pushing right at the door. I shook my head a little, mentally locking my door and pushing a few pieces of furniture up against it.
Mansley exhaled another puff of spearmint and squeezed my shoulder again. “I’ll stay in touch about the date.” He smiled, “Time for the Wolf to head back to his den, huh?”
I nodded. I had quite enough to gnaw on back there.
This is getting a little harder to write. I didn’t loose everyone there, did I? XD
More answers on the way soon.*looks nervously at plot outline* We’ll have some exciting stuff coming up…
And as promised last week… share buttons for everyone! Two options for everyone. A more basic button here:
And a bit larger one here:
So to use those, copy the text underneath the pictures and paste it in a text box/html widget on your site. Should work just fine. 🙂 Thank you to anyone grabbing it!
Oh… and another Bad News collage just because.
What do you think is going to happen next? Who is Mansley? Can Wolfgang put a stop to his own plans this time?
We’ll see… somewhere along the line.
See you next week everyone and please comment!