The old timepiece ticked, its mechanisms turned for all to see, none of this obfuscation common to modern clocks. It stood like a behemoth in the reception of the high school, a reminder of the past where a mere few meters away lay computers, contemporary telephones and a fire alarm system. Two women are stood in the area, facing each other and conversing but this was no idle chit chat, this interchange was regarding a recent incident on school grounds.
“I just don’t think he could do that, I mean it’s not like he is strong enough to push them off.” Affirmed Miss Humphries, a woman in her late twenties or early thirties, her voice soft but anxious.
“He could have tripped them.” Countered Mrs Baxter, an older woman, late forties to early fifties, her voice had a more strained temperament.
“Even if he did it would still be an accident I’m sure.”
“Well its out of our hands now. An… expert will be here soon to deal with it.”
The front door swung open as if on cue. A man walked through, he was shorter than average but his driven personality and fast if not intelligent mind was more than enough to make up for his slight lack in stature. He was attired in a long suit, brown but so dark it was almost black. Black gloves covered his stubby little fingered hands, one of which was holding onto a black suitcase. Oddly some ear defenders were hanging around the man’s neck.
“I’m here about the… boy.” His words cut through the air like a knife through butter.
Mrs Baxter stepped forward and shook his hand. “Yes of course.” She points to the room he was sat in. The man walks through into the room to find the boy sat behind the desk, on which he places his case.
“Hello ‘Jason’. I’m trained to deal with… circumstances like yours.” The way the man spoke his name, implied a lack of truth in its usage or an implication it was simply a codename or moniker.
Jason looked sheepishly up at the man.
“Firstly, I just want you to tell me do you have any ‘family’ to speak of?” The man probed coldly as he loomed over the boy.
He shook his head, a little frightened by the way he had posed the question.
“An orphan that should make my work much easier. First tell me about the incident and please be entirely truthful and as detailed as possible. And I mean the real truth, no need to hide your … differences from me.”
“Well these boys were chasing me, they always ran after me, and they’d hurt me when they caught me. The worse bit is they call me ‘mermaid’, just because I’m a good swimmer and can hold my breath for a long time.”
“And they chased you onto the roof, didn’t they? What happened then?”
“I just cried out in a scream, but it came out more like well… a song.”
“Just what I was hoping to hear.”
“Oh, and why is that?” The voice of Miss Humphries coming from over the man’s shoulders, he turns around in a start.
“Don’t you know eavesdropping is extremely rude?” Asked the man, clearly disgruntled.
“I have a duty of care, I don’t even know who you are.”
“Mam’, I suggest you don’t interfere in Military Intelligence business.”
“Is that so? What section exactly and what interest do you have you in this boy?”
“MI13 and I’m afraid mam’ that is classified.”
“Don’t give me the whole James Bond bit. Just tell me what you do and why Jason is implicated.”
The man sighs. “Fine have it your way, I work for the Abnormal Intelligence Service.”
Her eyebrows raise. “Oh, and what does the ‘Abnormal Intelligence Service’ do exactly?”
“We deal with the other, the supernatural, the things that should not be yet are.”
“Do you honestly expect me to believe that?”
“Miss Humphries, right? My report says you saw part of the incident.”
She shivers slightly. “That I am but I only saw a second of it, I can’t be sure of what I saw.”
“You saw something didn’t you? Something most people wouldn’t believe. We just want to study this event, it will be a lot better for Jason if you cooperate.”
“Alright, alright. So, I could hear shouting, running and then… singing. Following the noises, I go up the roof and see Jason… floating in the air, singing a mesmerizing melody. His skin had uh… been grown over or something by what looked like coral. All the colours of the rainbow, it was beautiful… and terrifying. The two boys that had been chasing him well… were walking to the edge as if in a trance. I screamed to Jason to stop and he looked at me. He stopped as I’d asked, returning to the rooftop but it was too late, the boys had already gone over the edge.” Her eyes had teared up slightly as she recalled the incident.
The man smiled grotesquely. “Well well…” He turned back to the boy. “Looks like you are not a mermaid after all but a male siren, very rare and utterly priceless.”
“What are you talking about? You don’t mean… please you can’t be serious, he’s just a boy. You said if I cooperated it would be better for him!”
The man places the ear defenders over his ears as Jason’s skin had glazed over with the coral. “Does that look like a boy to you? He’s already hurt two lads, who else do you want to get hurt?”
Jason attempts to control the man with his harmony, or lack thereof, but to no avail, so he stops and bangs his head against the table leading the man to slip off his ear defenders.
“He was just defending himself, he has such a sweet nature. No matter what he is, I still have a duty to protect him.”
“Do you even know what it is? A kind of changeling, at least that’s what they are normally know as in folklore. We know them as M-Born, I believe they have their own term for themselves, but this is no concern of mine. We consider them the largest threat to the British people, and indeed the entire human race. M-Born are the only known type of monster that is born, and not made, as such they pose a massive threat to the purity of humanity.”
“I don’t care what he is, he’s more human than most of the boys in this place!”
The man unclicks his briefcase and from it he pulls a syringe, he stabs it into the boy’s side. Jason’s eyes shut, and he falls into a slump as the fluid is implanted within him.
She tries to stop him but simply isn’t strong enough. “What did you do to him?!”
“Calm yourself mam’, the ‘boy’ is simply asleep.”
“You still can’t…”
Mrs Baxter comes in interrupting her. “What is all the commotion in here?”
“He, he, he is going to take him away and, and…”
Mrs Baxter places her hands on the other woman’s shoulders. “Please calm down, its ok I will take care of this.” She guides her out and into the staffroom, sitting her down.
“But Jason, please.”
“I said I will take care of this. Just trust me, I will do what needs to be done.”
Miss Humphries finally nods weakly, her face gone slightly pale as Mrs Baxter leaves her alone in the room.
Mrs Baxter returned a few minutes later, she had the man’s briefcase, setting it down on the counter next to the coffee machine and making her way back over to Miss Humphries.
“Where is Jason?”
“Its ok, its all sorted.” Mrs Baxter gave her a hug, it was unknown for her to show such affection, but Miss Humphries embraced her without even thinking.
Mrs Baxter took out the syringe she’d been hiding in her sleeve into her hand, sticking the end into the back of the other woman and pushing the plunger down to inject her with the chemical solution within, she starts to blackout.
“That’s it, fall into the arms of Morpheus.” She says dryly as she collapses on top of her.