Running, running, running… Every time his feet gave up and he fell to the ground, he would gather himself up, stumble forth a pace or two and then gathering speed through some sheer contortion of the will, he was once again running fast down the hill. His cheek hurt, as if the earth had slapped him so that his body might suffer as did his ego. Thoughts, one after another, followed his mind’s eye inwards. Mission unaccomplished.
It wasn’t a first time for things to go wrong. The target escaped unscathed. His partner was nowhere to be seen. She had accompanied him against her better judgement, knowing that there was every chance she would be recognised, her disguise too feeble at short notice. He had failed her and now she was gone. Dead or worse…
He was certain that he would die of guilt before dehydration or exhaustion had a chance to finish him off. What a coward. Yet what could have been gained from staying behind? All had been lost long before he took to the road. He had to survive. If there was any chance of getting her back, he will do so. Time. It was all a matter of time. Hours, a few days at most.
Which hurt more, mattered more: loss or humiliation? Humiliation he could deal with. He had been humiliated many a time in his life. He had learnt to let it wash over, turn every knockdown into an upward step. You did not get into his shoes by wasting time on pity parties. But this he had not expected.
He thought of her name. It was seldom that he indulged in speaking it out. Ever cautious, she had forbidden it, even when alone. She became a number, a code. Just like him. She was little more than a shadow. Her past so insubstantial as to allow her to disappear at will. For a time they had worked the field apart. He didn’t like her restraint. She despised his recklessness. Alaska had changed everything. Too much perhaps. And then came the Game…
“We have to get out of here now. He knows,” she had said. She had meant it. He knew that much. It could not have been all a lie. So where did they go wrong? Had there been clues? Did she try to tell him, did she try to warn him? Had he been too wrapped up in his ego to pay sufficient attention?
Running, running, running… He was exhausted. He stumbled. He fell to the ground. The cut on his right cheek had started to burnt and now he could feel his heart pulsating in the side of his face. No. It was impossible. He must be imagining things. Hot liquid gushed unexpectedly down his cheeks. He tried to wipe them dry, his hands dirtied by the dust of the road. Shaking, he forced himself to straighten up again and looked along the road ahead and then behind him. Alone, he screamed. Once. Twice. Thrice.
It was the release he needed. All of the pain, the dull thumping tension that had been gathering strength in his chest, let out at once. He laughed. A madman, his suit ripped at the knees and covered in dust, his face slashed and bleeding, dirt mingled with blood.
After a while his laughter subsided and he breathed in deeply. It felt that he had never truly breathed before that moment. His eyes had a mad glimmer about them and the trace of a smirk was imprinted in the corner of his face. Limping slightly he continued down the hill, one step at a time, determined yet heavy. The weight of a life to be saved set on his shoulders.
This is great. Of course, I’m hooked on “Spooks” (which I never knew of until a couple of months ago)…
I enjoyed it while it lasted and was sorry to see it go. This cuts across spooks and the Bond series. I have started a saga on Twitter quite by accident a few months ago under the hashtag #VB009, impersonating an MI6 agent and it’s taken off beyond anything I could have imagined. This is my first piece of this length, as the limitations of twitter make it difficult to write more than a couple of lines at a time. A fellow blogger, Kavalkade, has developed a series of spoof cartoons featuring several others, including your truly. It is a little harmless fun and I thought it would be interesting to explore it in a little more depth. Not my genre, but I like a challenge.
Oh, I think you wrote it masterfully! I’m looking forward to next week’s episode 😉
Oh thank you, Martha. I have promised to explain 009’s disappearance. There might be a sequence on Japan. Will see what I can do.
A great little piece. I feel that you have really captured the essence of this genre here. I picked up a sense of the introspection of Daniel Craig’s Bond (regardless of the pic.) – that sort of deeply buried emotion and sensitivity which is hidden to prevent personal damage.
Thank you, Chris. It is a far cry from a Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, but I enjoyed warming my way into the genre. Perhaps I will try to follow up with another piece.
Very good, Vic, you nailed that one.
Thank you, Richard. Lovely to hear from you, as always.
Reblogged this on Andy Kaufman's Kavalkade Krew Featuring The Wandering Poet and commented:
Vic has returned, and set the #VB009 webisode to a story.
Her take diverges a bit from the humorous #VB009.
It’s very well written, and you get a sense of Ian Fleming’s Bond, for certain.
Of course James has hidden his feelings, both to do his job, and as he mourns the death of his wife.
One often sublimates oneself to a higher calling. In James case it is to the service of the Crown.
And he simply never knows when he might not return from a mission.
It’s a burden often borne
Cares not easily shorn
To do what must be done
In a life on the run.
Thank you for the reblog, dearest Kavalkade, and for the wonderful write-up. I plan to write a few follow-ups and will see whether I can experiment with humour. There is a scene that has been haunting me for a while of a dark cellar and armed men in kimonos. 😉
Gripping writing! Pulled me right in and kept me reading…wanting more!
Oh! I’m glad. There will be more to this story. I just have to knuckle down and write it up.