Wednesday 15 April 2015

ID submitted. The experiment has begun.

Verifying ID. Please stand by.
ID verified. Welcome, Reader.
You have our apologies.
Stand by for instructions.

The sign at the top of this page says "news and information about Pat Flewwelling's science fiction thriller series HELIX".

I should have said "From the moment you clicked on any page in this blog, you became engaged in a literary experiment."

Behind this home page is a story. A free novella. The events therein occur slightly before, during, and after the events in Blight of Exiles, (published 2014 by Tyche Books), and which lead up to the events in Plague of Ghouls (forthcoming 2016, Tyche) and in Scourge of Bones (tba).

Backstory. Side story.
New characters. Familiar characters.

In the 30 episodes following here, you'll read what couldn't fit into those three novels. Backstory of fascinating characters who didn't make the cut into the final draft. Side story of Blight characters, which would have detracted from the flow of the narrative. And one incredible story of two unlikely troublemakers - a network administrator and an accountant - who will risk their lives to save the man who will bring about the downfall of Wyrd.

And because so many of the characters in HELIX are technically inclined, there are many references to digital networks, telecommunication systems, emails, chats, etc. What I wanted to do was unveil a story for the reader to piece together, as any HELIX character would.

That meant exploring different forms of digital communication, listening intently to the actual words people use in live conversation, copying their patterns of grammatical and spelling errors, mimicking the way we use different "handwriting" styles - fonts, colours, signatures, etc. - in our standard communications. And that means testing out this experimental, narrator-absent storytelling technique on you, kind reader.

My goal: to make you an active participant in the story.

To turn your brain into the narrator.

Abductions. Viral degeneration.

Heh. Seems true to form that this blog is engaged in secret human experimentation.

These episodes were originally posted between November 2014 and March 2015. I never liked the format. Sure, I could throw in standardized rows of text, but whether it was an email or a voice transcript, it still looked like a blog post. In the spirit of my feral-geek HELIX characters, I wanted something that was perfectly suited to a virtual platform, and which could not be easily translated into standard book or novella formats. The problem was, I couldn't afford to hire someone to do a layout that would tell the story for me.

And our story must be told.
Even if *we* wish we could forget.

So, perhaps in imitation of my own characters (albeit, six months late), I taught myself HTML. I designed my own templates and elements. Now I'm returning to the story and reformatting the whole thing, one post at a time, and smithing it into the novella I had originally envisioned.

If you're new to the site, then welcome! (You poor, unsuspecting guinea pig, you.) If you're a return visitor, please pardon the reruns, but I think the visuals really do add a new dimension to the story.

Spoiler alert: it's all going to hell.

Friday 13 March 2015

Kill / Capture / Quarantine (Episode 30)

Kill / Capture / Quarantine Order

Date of Issue: October 10th, 2014

Target name: Jay Brandwine
Aliases: Jason Brand, John Mohan, John Chin, Jim Murphy, William Berkman
Agent Callsign: Icewine

-          Gender / sex: Male / cis-male
-          Height: 5’5” (165 cm)
-          Weight: 160 lbs (72.5 kg / 11 stone)
-          Hair: brown
-          Eyes: brown
-          Skin tone: pale to tan
-          Ethnicity, can pass for: Caucasian, Eastern European, Near East
-          Languages spoken fluently: English, German, French, Spanish
-          Languages spoken passably: Low German, Afrikaans, Portuguese, Finnish, Japanese, Korean, Tamil, Bengali, Burmese, Thai, Malagasy, Arabic, Mandarin

Threat level: 1 (Extreme)
Urgency Level: 1 (Civilians at risk, Wyrd at risk)
Recommendation (escort, drug and capture, sudden seizure, or DOA): DOA

Rationale for k/c/q: Agent is MIA despite recall orders to Varco Lake. Agent implicated in the firebombing of Wyrd-protected sanctuary known as Wyndham Farms. Agent wanted in the murder of two human agents (Pine and Sumac); wanted as person of interest in disappearance of Agent Larch. Agent wanted as a person of interest in $2.5 million dollar embezzlement of Wyrd funds. Wanted in connection with suspected lycanthropy-based snuff films and pornography trafficked on the internet.

Preliminary leads: Before her disappearance, Agent Larch mentioned several unaccountable trips with her senior field partner (Jay) to Sudbury Ontario, where he would disappear for up to four days at a time, leaving her in a hotel unsupervised and without orders. Larch also mentioned his irrational and erratic behaviour, especially whenever returning to Sudbury from his solo excursion. She had overheard several mentions of "Elmbury, Ontario" in his private phone calls, though it is unclear who he might have been talking to, or why. There are several personnel reports and complaints expressing Larch’s concern regarding Jay’s deteriorating mental state and increasingly bad or dangerous judgement calls. These complaints were dismissed without investigation.

Habits and patterns: Jay has frequently returned to England, Germany, Ireland, and Japan for holidays, with some rare excursions to Bangladesh, United Arab Emirites and Madagascar. Historically, he has had business holdings in UAE, Bangladesh, and Japan, though these have been liquidated since his declared bankruptcy in 2009. Jay rarely drinks, but has been known to experiment with some recreational drugs, especially amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and psychoactive mushrooms. Very rarely frequents restaurants, bars, sporting arenas, or other public venues. Prefers fish to beef.

Skills: substantial military training World War I and II, later Croatia, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Continued mixed martial arts training, specifically Muay Thai and Silat. Expert in edged weapons, especially combat knives. 75 years’ experience as a Wyrd field agent. Polyglot and polymath.

Weaknesses: prone to irrational behaviour in human form, bloodlust in-cycle, prone to careless public exposure in-cycle.

Threat level to agents: Extreme
Threat level to civilians: Extreme
Threat level to exposure of lycanthropy to mass media: Extreme

K/C/Q issued by: Abram Haberman, Chair
K/C/Q seconded by: Chloe Anderson, Vice Chair
K/C/Q abstention: Angie Burley
K/C/Q vote: motion carried

K/C/Q assigned to: Owen Ishmael Chase

Thursday 12 March 2015

Fallout (Episode 29)

TheBetterHalf_1919: We have her.

Anders: What? Where?

TheBetterHalf_1919: She’s safe with me.

Anders: You found her?

TheBetterHalf_1919: Agent Larch did. She’d been trailing Jay for days. Unfortunately, it meant leaving Jay's trail to save Pine.

Anders: And Pine? How is she?

TheBetterHalf_1919: It’s touch and go.

Anders: Does anyone else know?

TheBetterHalf_1919: Larch, myself, and now you. No one else.

Anders: Are you on the continent?

TheBetterHalf_1919: Only until she’s stabilized, then we’ll go where you and I agreed.

Anders: Will she survive?

TheBetterHalf_1919: We just don’t know. She was half-drowned in that culvert, and she’s missing most of her right thigh, half of the muscles in her left arm, and parts of her face are simply gone, including an eye. There was massive internal damage as well. She’s covered in lacerations and bite marks. He missed her arteries by a hair’s breadth.

Anders: Did she say it was Jay?

TheBetterHalf_1919:  No, and I'm not convinced this was his doing. I’ve known Jay to be many things, but neither cannibal nor ghoul.

Anders: I’ve had my worries about him for years.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Worries and facts are two very different things, my love.

Anders: Do you need me there?

TheBetterHalf_1919: There’s not much more you can do to help.

Anders: And is she…human?

TheBetterHalf_1919: Not any more.

Anders: So then she does have a chance.

TheBetterHalf_1919: If she had been infected 3-4 months ago, I would say she'd have an excellent chance at survival. The question is, can she survive long enough for the infection to take hold? The answer is...maybe not. But we haven't given up hope.

Anders: What about Larch?

TheBetterHalf_1919: I’ve recommended she accept immediate promotion.

Anders: With or without Wyrd approval?

TheBetterHalf_1919: Wyrd be damned. If Ishmael be your son, so be these women my daughters.

Anders: How poetical!

TheBetterHalf_1919: My only regret is that only one of them will come out looking like me.

Anders: And the other one...? I'm not sure how Pine will feel if she comes out looking like Jay.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Time will tell, so long as Pine survives the next few days. Twice, I’ve already had to resuscitate her.

Anders: And here you are, chatting with me instead of watching over her.

TheBetterHalf_1919: She’s in good hands with Larch.

TheBetterHalf_1919: As for what she might become? Sumac says he heard a wolf howl in the background when she called the second to last time.

Anders: And with that much tumultuous human traffic so nearby, no natural wolf would linger to howl. Fortunate for us, less so for Pine. So, if not Jay, perhaps a friend or another rogue lycanthrope.

TheBetterHalf_1919: And yet she raves on and on about these “bonewalkers”. I’ve asked Larch about them, and she says only that she saw human cannibals running about in porcelain masks.

Anders: Then we can hope it was Jay. Odd though...cannibals? As far as I know, cannibalism isn't catching. But then again, I've been watching too many zombie movies to laugh off the idea entirely.

TheBetterHalf_1919: And then there was Wyndham Farms. Maybe someone escaped during all the ruckus. 

Anders: But why porcelain? One would think carbon fibre a more practical material.

TheBetterHalf_1919: All the more reason to keep this girl alive as long as possible.

Anders: And when she begins to metamorphose? She'll lose more than her identity.

TheBetterHalf_1919: We need to resuscitate her enough prior to full onset of the infection, in order to get a clear understanding of what happened, before the infection steals her memories.

Anders: Assuming there hasn’t been any substantial brain damage, of course.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Although, if she comes through this as a lycanthrope, even without her memories she may yet point us in the right direction. Like sire, like pup, as they say. If she comes through as anything else...well then. We'll have a better idea of what these cannibals really are.

Anders: Yes…yes I can see how well that’s worked for both Bridget and Ishmael. Letting them fully develop into their final cycles has clearly pointed us in the direction of their own forebears. And so quickly! Why, it’s only been thirty-five years, tracking down anyone who looks like Ishmael.

TheBetterHalf_1919: You’re such an optimist, my love. That’s why we get along so long.

Anders: Indeed.

Anders: And if not Jay, then who? Who is our culprit? Someone stole two and a half million dollars from Wyrd, and it wasn’t me, it wasn’t you, and it wasn’t Ishmael. If not Jay, then who?

Anders: Someone abducted a senior field agent and mauled her in the middle of nowhere. Why?

Anders: Someone has murdered my boy Sumac. I want to know who, and I want to know why.

TheBetterHalf_1919: And I want to know who’s next, so we can get to them before "Someone" else does.

Anders: One might assume Bridget is the next on Someone's list, especially after what she did at Wyndham Farms. And naturally, we can rely on Someone including the two of us on his or her list.

TheBetterHalf_1919: We can handle ourselves. I’m more concerned about our curious human counterparts.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Beloved…

Anders: Yes, my heart.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Whenever Pine comes around, she asks about Sumac. Distress is adding an unnecessary strain as she struggles to fight both injury and infection.

Anders: I’m doing all I can with the resources I have.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Nothing at all?

Anders: I have a medical examiner's report - with rather graphic pictures attached - a death certificate, an obituary, a closed coffin funeral, and a burial plot. Other than that, I have nothing but conflicting reports.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Whether he’s dead or alive?

Anders: No, *how* he died. Wyrd says he died of an infection (which may or may not be true, depending on the "infection" in question). Omnispectrus says he committed suicide the night he was fired. We both say he was healthy, sane, and driven to find Pine, before he was rudely murdered in the middle of our conversation. The doctor says he was drugged, beaten, and bitten to death. All four stories are believable. All four stories might be wrong.

TheBetterHalf_1919: So what do you think is the true story?

Anders: That both our Agents of Chaos have had their wishes fulfilled.

Anders: Pine has been promoted.

Anders: And Sumac has died in the body he chose.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Silence Is... (Episode 28)

From: Badr ibn-Abadi
Sent: Monday, October 6th, 2014 @ 9:15 a.m.
To: Omnispectrus Auditing and Forensic Accounting Team, Omnispectrus Small Business, Omnispectrus Personal and Private Business, Omnispectrus Corporate Tax
CC: A. Burley, A. Haberman
Subject: Team Announcements

Good morning,

Please note the following team changes.

This week, we bid a fond, temporary farewell to Chandra Mufti, as she departs for the next six months on maternity leave. We hope that you have a safe and easy delivery, and that Baby Mufti joins us here at Omnispectrus as soon as she can count her toy blocks.

We wish to extend congratulations to Sara Chu for her promotion to Senior Small Business auditor! Sara has been with Omnispectrus for over twelve years, having started as a personal assistant to George Landover, and progressing through the company from the Personal Taxes Team all the way up to Programs and Best Practices. Sara has been working hard these last few years to complete her MBA, which she completed early in 2013. Congratulations, Sara!

We also wish to extend a congratulations to Paul Richtor for his temporary reassignment to Senior Forensic auditor. Although Paul has been in the Corporate Tax department for the last four years, he has shadowed very closely with the forensics team. Having completed his degree in Criminology in 1998, he is delighted to at last be putting his education to use.

Please also note that Paul will be assuming the full workload of Sousa Sourenian, who has left Omnispectrus effective immediately to pursue other interests outside our organization. Please bear with Paul as he adapts to his new role. We appreciate your flexibility under such sudden circumstances, Paul! Keep up the good work.

Feel free to reach out to Chandra, Sara, and Paul with your congratulations and best wishes.



From: Abram Haberman, Chair
Sent: Monday, October 6th, 2014 @ 9:23 a.m.
To: dl Wyrd Council Executive, dl Wyrd SitCon, dl Wyrd FieldOps General, dl Wyrd Agents General
Subject: Field and Support Ops Announcement

Hello all;

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce the death of agents Pine and Sumac.

Field Ops Agent Pine has been a highly decorated field agent since 2000, when she was first inducted into our ranks. On that fateful day in March of 2000, Agent Pine discovered that her college roommate was being attacked on a campus park by a rogue lycanthrope. Without any regard for her personal safety, Agent Pine quickly subdued the lycanthrope with baseball bat and Taser, then managed to manacle the rogue to a staircase in a locked university outbuilding to await authorities. Furthermore, realizing the danger of a university-wide panic, Pine hacked campus police security videos and replaced all surveillance evidence with pre-recorded security footage. She was unable to save the life of her roommate, but by her efforts, unskilled as she was, she was able to subdue a rogue lycanthrope and save the lives of countless others in her community. Her death was faked that same month, and her new identity was created after Wyrd field training, under the tutelage of Owen Ishmael Chase. Her fourteen year career has been highly commendable, and she had been on track for promotion in February of next year. Out of respect for her family, we are withholding her civilian name and the cause of death.

Field Support Agent Sumac has been very much an unsung hero among agents, and likely unknown to most of you. In late 2007, Agent Sumac had been living a much different life abroad under extremely harsh circumstances. Due to reasons we hold confidential, Agent Sumac was brutally assaulted by members of his community and left to die in a fire in the middle of the village square. A Wyrd agent, who had been passing through at the time, rescued Sumac from the fire and nursed him more or less back to health. Using a Wyrd-policy loophole, the Wyrd agent in question offered to promote Sumac, in order to give him the greatest chance of survival and recovery; however, Agent Sumac declined. A second offer was made: to start a new life abroad (here in Canada) under an assumed identity and to work for Wyrd. Sumac heartily accepted, emigrated to Canada, and was soon employed as a forensic accountant. Since then, he has been invaluable in the hunt for rogue lycanthropes, tracking their movements through digitally-processed financial records. Sadly, Sumac was found at home by a concerned Wyrd agent, dead apparently of a chronic and untreated infection, the result of complications from his injuries sustained in 2007.

As always, donations will be accepted for a memorial for these two agents, but we request that you treat this communication as restricted information.

On behalf of all lycanthropes, we humbly applaud all human agents who have time and again demonstrated phenomenal courage in the pursuit of peace and safety of all, worldwide.

With my sincerest condolences,
Abram Haberman, Chair, on behalf the Wyrd Council

Monday 9 March 2015

No Longer In Service (Episode 27)

A_Boy_Named_Sue: But I don’t know where else to look!

Anders: Have you any access to the list of field operation missions? Can you find out if she was assigned to a recent k/c/q?

A_Boy_Named_Sue: No, I don’t have access to that!!! And I’m not going to walk over to Burley’s desk and demand it either.

Anders: You seem to have made a good connection with her already.

TheBetterHalf_1919: The boy is right. We can’t exclude the possibility that it was Burley herself who issued a k/c/q to capture Pine. Who else would know where to find Pine?

A_Boy_Named_Sue: This is all my fault.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Or more precisely, what’s to say she’s not in league with the embezzlers and literally sent the girl to her doom?

Anders: My darling heart, I love you when you’re brilliant, but I hate you when you’re right.

A_Boy_Named_Sue: None of this would have ever happened if I hadn’t told her to check the archives.

Anders: Nonsense, boy. None of this would have happened if someone hadn’t tried to bring down Ishmael in the first place. If they hadn’t been so bloody reticent about the entire quarantine affair, none of this would have happened.

TheBetterHalf_1919: If we’re laying blame, perhaps we should include that fellow Dr. Grey, to whom we owe this horrible mutation of lycanthropy.

Anders: Or Wyrd itself. After all, it was the Moldova Incident which has split this organization in twain.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Never mind all this. We could blame everyone and everything – we could blame the moon for all that’s happened to us – but none of that will help us locate Pine.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Sumac, do you have access to all Wyrd financial accounts now?

A_Boy_Named_Sue: I guess…

TheBetterHalf_1919: Including those of Pine?

A_Boy_Named_Sue: I…might?

A_Boy_Named_Sue: Do you know her Wyrd ID?

TheBetterHalf_1919: No, you’ll have to be clever. Do you remember her legal name?

A_Boy_Named_Sue: Penny Stalkingbird?

Anders: Walkingbird.

A_Boy_Named_Sue: Let me see what I can find.

TheBetterHalf_1919: With luck, you should be able to find also a credit card number. Once you have it, I should be able to trace all recent transactions. Any kind of account number should allow me to crack into her financial records.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Ishmael isn’t the only hacker in Wyrd, after all.

Anders: My beloved has been skilled in the art of cheque and credit card fraud since…well, since the invention of cheques and credit cards, I suppose.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Credit cards only, my love. Cheque fraud was a later addition.

Anders: In the meantime, what do we know? Have we heard back from the company that has promised to perform aerial photography for you?

Anders: That area you mentioned before, not far off the Transcanadian Highway. Was she very far from the quarantine site?

TheBetterHalf_1919: To be honest, I’m not very sure.

TheBetterHalf_1919: The Wyndham quarantine is considerably further south-west than the position Sumac has speculated.

Anders: Our friend Sumac may also be incorrect. The Transcanadian Highway is an exceptionally long roadway, even within a single province. All we know is that she could be in a culvert under the road, and that she thinks it was the Transcanadian highway.

TheBetterHalf_1919: You’re not being particularly helpful, dear, nor encouraging.

Anders: Have we been able to trace the last known location of the cell phone Pine was using?

TheBetterHalf_1919: I’ve had someone look into it for me, but they haven’t gotten back to me yet.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Sumac, dear, have you had any luck yet?

Anders: Sumac shows as “away”…He never has been that skilled at multi-tasking.

TheBetterHalf_1919: I’ll give him five minutes, and then I’m calling him.

Anders: “Him” who, dear? Your contact at the cell phone company, or Sumac.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Well, both, I suppose. I don’t see why I can’t carry one two or three conversations simultaneously. Not very much different from my days with the WRNS, now is it?

Anders: Ah, to see you in the old grey wool again. Brings back fond memories. My darling Jennie Wren. I wouldn’t wait so long to call the cell phone fellow.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Right you are. I’m already dialing.

Anders: Sumac, we need you, my boy. Be quick about your business, please.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Getting through to my contact.

Anders: I have my map open. In the meantime, be a dear and find out if her cell phone is “still on the move”. We’ll need to know specifically where the phone was at the time of those two calls, as well as where the cell phone is now, if it has since moved on.

TheBetterHalf_1919: As I recall, Sumac said that it sounded like the cell phone was crushed at the end of that last message.

Anders: Very true. It may no longer be broadcasting. Just the same…

TheBetterHalf_1919: There, we have it.

Anders: And the result is?

TheBetterHalf_1919: Cross-referencing against the map…

TheBetterHalf_1919: Cross-referencing against satellite imagery…

TheBetterHalf_1919: Rather surprising. She’s not at all on the Transcanada Highway.

TheBetterHalf_1919: She’s on the highway between Timmins and Sudbury.

Anders: I see a series of small towns along that highway between Timmins and Sudbury. Perhaps she’s not far from civilization after all.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Yes, it appears she was running of a cell tower very near to this town of Elmbury. There are plenty of roadworks in that area as well, and I have an idea or two of which might have the highest commercial traffic.

Anders: How quickly can you get to an airport? I’ll make sure to have a rental car waiting for you at the airport.

TheBetterHalf_1919: There’s an airport at Sudbury. I should be able to fly in fairly quickly, weather dependent. But first we need to confirm with Sumac that this was her cell phone that she called from.

Anders: Whose phone would she be using, if not her own?

TheBetterHalf_1919: Standard procedure for a field operation. If you are required to take down a target, one of your first tasks, aside from completing a capture, is to strip the target of all means of communication with the outside world. They would have removed her cellphone as quickly as possible.

Anders: True enough, but we haven’t even proven that she was captured on a k/c/q order in the first place.

Anders: For all we know, she was on a standard operation under someone else’s field command.

Anders: Beloved, can we trust any other volunteers to adopt as Agents of Chaos?

TheBetterHalf_1919: If you had asked me a month ago, darling, you know I would have said yes.

TheBetterHalf_1919: But for the sake of curiosity, whom were you suggesting?

Anders: Agent Larch. She is very good friends with Agent Pine, and no good friend of Jay.

TheBetterHalf_1919: A difficult call. A battered wife might be disinclined to file a police report against her own husband. In fact, she might even warn him of impending trouble.

Anders: Beloved, I hate you again.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Yes dear.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Sumac, are you there?

Anders: Call him.

TheBetterHalf_1919: Dialing.

TheBetterHalf_1919: …

TheBetterHalf_1919: Anders, there’s no answer.

Anders: Are you calling his cell phone or his home phone?

TheBetterHalf_1919: His cell phone. It rings four times and goes to voice mail.

Anders: And his home phone number?

TheBetterHalf_1919: I’m getting in the car.

Anders: Why?

TheBetterHalf_1919: There is an automated message advising me that this number is no longer in service.

Friday 6 March 2015

Bonewalkers (Episode 26)

From: Sumac’s Other Email Addy
Sent: Sunday, October 5, 2014 5:58 a.m.
To: Anders, Chloe
Subject: We need you stat

Pine called me. She’s being attacked right now. Phone is damaged. Last known location, Ontario, probably on the T-Can. Cross-referencing against MTO database for accidents. There were at least three accidents that I overheard on the phone. Police responded while I was on the call. Trying to get info on OPP calls to multiple car accident, no luck. Need help urgently. Need a live body to get her out of trouble.


SousaPhony: Anything yet?

PieterPyper: At what time you said?

SousaPhony: about 4:38 a.m.

PieterPyper: What time zone?

SousaPhony: I’d have to know where she is, damn it!

PieterPyper: Got a single vehicle accident east of Thunder Bay at 5:00 a.m., multiple vehicle accident at Wawa at 4:38, multiple vehicle accident at Ignace at 3:00 a.m.

SousaPhony: Cross-reference with police reports.

PieterPyper: All of them have police reports.

SousaPhony: Cross-reference with the report of a police no response.

PieterPyper: What do you mean?

SousaPhony: I mean I think police went to the accident site and never reported in afterward. Like they went there and then disappeared off the face of the earth.

PieterPyper: What the hell, man?

PieterPyper: What’s this about?

SousaPhony: Just trust me.

PieterPyper: Okay, I’m not seeing anything like that yet. Give me twenty minutes. I’ll get right back to you. But on one condition.

SousaPhony: What?

PieterPyper: You tell me what this is about. Are you going all alien-conspiracy theory on me now?

SousaPhony: We’ll talk. I swear. Even if it means recruiting you myself.


Transcribed call from Sumac’s private prepaid cell phone

Woman: Janet Allen speaking, how can I help you?

Sumac: Hey, Sousa Sourianian here. You remember me at all?

Woman: Uh…Oh! From Omnispectrus? Yeah, you came and reworked our payroll. Sure, I remember you. We still owe you a bottle of Lagavulin for finding that “phantom” employee, who’s been pulling down a $75,000 / year salary without actually existing.

Sumac: Hey, I’m here to help. But listen, I have a favour to ask.

Woman: Okay.

Sumac: Fairly urgent, too.

<call waiting indication>

Sumac: Uh…sorry. <quietly> Shit.

Woman: What kind of favour?

Sumac: Is there any way I uh…Shit. Could I rent a plane from you guys?

Woman: Well…that’s…not something we do usually.

Sumac: I need some aerial photographs of an area somewhere between Cochrane and Timmins Ontario.

Woman: Well, we typically operate around the Thunder Bay area only…How soon do you need it?

Sumac: ASAP. See…my boss was taking a flight from Winnipeg to Toronto, and we lost contact with his plane.

Woman: Oh my God!

Sumac: I know. We’re all freaking out right now.

<call waiting indication>

Woman: And you think his plane went down?

Sumac: Yeah, sometime around 4:30, 5:00 this morning. Listen - 

Woman: Oh my God! I hope everyone’s okay!

Sumac: That’s what we need a plane to confirm.

Woman: Okay. Okay. Um…There’s a prospecting company we work with in Timmins. Let me give them a call and get right back to you. Are you looking to go with them?

Sumac: Preferably.

Woman: I’ll see what I can do. Can you get to Timmins in a hurry, if it’s a yes?

Sumac: I’ll find a way.

Woman: Okay, they don’t open until about 10:00. I’ll keep trying until I get through to them. If that doesn’t work, I’ll see if we can get in touch with any S&R planes that might already be deployed.

<call waiting indication>

Sumac: Sounds like a plan. Listen, do you have my number?

Woman: On call display right now. I’m writing it down. God, I hope your boss is okay.

Sumac: Yeah, we’re all pretty frantic right now. Thanks Janet.

Woman: Um – wait…uh…I hate to bring this up, especially at a time like this, but...a charter might cost a little…

Sumac: Don’t care. We’ll expense it. I don’t care how much it costs. I need to find – Anyhow, whatever the cost. We’ll cover it.

Woman: Fair enough. I’ll give you a call back as soon as possible. If you don’t hear back from me in three hours, call me directly.

Sumac: Thanks Janet.


Voicemail on Sumac's private prepaid cellphone

Pine: Su…

<wind blowing>

Pine: <whimpering>

<car passing>

Pine: <unintelligible> God…I can’t…<unintelligible>

<car passing>

Pine: He…put me…unner…uh…in-sigh…cull…cull…unner the…row…road.

<water trickling>

Pine: Took…my…face…broke teeth…<sobbing> Thinks…I’m dead…

<car passing>

Pine: I saw them, Su…<sobbing> I saw so…muh…many…Ow! Ow…ow…ow…<sobbing> I’m sorry, Su. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry I brought you into this…I’m sorry for everyth…<whimpering> I just…<unintelligible>

<car passing, wind blowing, water trickling>

Pine: <unintelligible>

<truck reefer noise>

Pine: The…bonewalkers…he called them…bone…walk

<end of message>

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Call Lost (Episode 25)

Transcribed phone call to Sumac’s privately-owned prepaid phone

Sumac: Hello?

<dead air>

Sumac: Pine? You there?

<brushing noise, static>

Sumac: Pine, tell me you haven’t butt-dialed again. Damn it, you’re eating up my minutes.

Pine: <panting> Oh god oh god –

<repeated brushing noise, as if someone is running>

Pine: <panting> shit –

Sumac: Pine, are you okay? Where are you?

Pine: <distant> You there?

Sumac: Pine, where the hell are you?

Pine: No – hang on a second…

<wind blowing across mouthpiece, a car drives by in the background>

Sumac: Are you near a highway?

Pine: <breathless> Yes.

Sumac: Do you need someone to find you?

Pine: <very close, unintelligible>

<brushing noise, as if someone is putting phone in pocket.>

<silence, static>

<blaring car horn, squealing tires>

Pine: Shit!

<brushing noise, as if someone is running>

Pine: oof –

<breaking of wood>

Pine: Damn it, damn it, oh God –

<footsteps running away over branches or over frosty grass>


<slow, quiet footsteps>

<sniffing sound, as of a large dog>

<Sumac breathing>

Male Voice 1: North. Probably toward that gas station.

Male Voice 2: <unintelligible>

Male Voice 1: Wait. He’s pointing.

Male Voice 2: <unintelligible> for Jay to catch up and <unintelligible>

Male Voice 1: Exactly.

Male Voice 2: <unintelligible> smelling?

Male Voice 1: I don’t know. Wait – shit, he’s off – go after him, I’ll catch up.

<sound of several people running away from cell phone>

Sumac: Oh my God…

<car passing>

Sumac: Oh Pine…Come back…

<Logging truck horn blaring as it passes>

Sumac: Pine, for God’s sake, tell me you’re okay!


<male and female voices>

Sumac: Pine, give me a sign or something.

<skidding tires, automobile collision, shattering glass>

Sumac: …Oh my God…

<child crying in distance>

<Sumac breathing>

<second collision>

<sound of typing>

Sumac: Please God, Anders, be on line…

<man and woman screaming>

<sound of screaming / nails on blackboard>

Sumac: Chloe, come on, come on…! Don’t make me go to Angie for this one…

<footsteps, woman breathing rapidly, shuffling and rustling noises>

Pine: Oh my God.

Sumac: Pine!

Pine: Omigod omigod – Sumac, are you there?

Sumac: Pine, I’m here! Tell me where you are.

Pine: Ontario. Side of a highway.

Sumac: Which highway?

Pine: Transcanadian, I think.

Sumac: I’ve got the map. Talk to me.

Pine: <out of breath> I have to keep moving.

Sumac: Tell me where you are. I’ll get someone to pull you out.

Pine: Oh my God - <sobbing> Oh my God, Sumac, they’re killing those people!

Sumac: Focus, Pine. You can’t do anything for them. Stay with me. Give me a landmark. A town, a sign, anything.

Pine: Uh…oh god…Uh…I don’t know, but they said something about…about a…a factory. Foundry. Whatever. Oh God!

Sumac: Keep your voice down, or they’ll hear you.

Pine: They’re eating those people, Sumac! <sobbing>

Sumac: Focus on me, Pine.

Pine: <whispering> They’re not even dead yet!

Sumac: What was the last road sign you saw?

Pine: Uh…I don’t know…they…the windows were blacked out…I…I gotta keep moving!

Sumac: Walk and talk.

Pine: Gotta move while they’re…oh God…

Sumac: Get off the road but keep it in sight. Don’t run. You know they chase what runs.

Pine: I know.

Sumac: Remember your training.

Pine: I know.

Sumac: Are you hurt?

Pine: Uh…no…just a twisted ankle…

Sumac: The windows were blacked out. In what, a vehicle?

Pine: One of the Wyrd transport vehicles.

Sumac: They kidnapped you?

Pine: Yeah.

Sumac: And you escaped?

Pine: Yeah.

Sumac: That’s because you’re a damned good field agent, still human after fourteen and a half years. Don’t conk out on me yet.

Pine: There’s a sign up ahead.

Sumac: What’s it say?

Pine: I don’t know yet. I’m on the wrong side.

Sumac: Okay, keep talking to me.

Pine: This is huge, Sumac.

Sumac: The sign?

Pine: <panting, stumbling> I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I don’t know what he’s created or how he’s done it, but Sumac –

<car passing>

Pine: Sumac, they’re not human, and they’re not werewolf either.

Sumac: God help me…tell me it’s not vampires.

Pine: It’s not vampires.


Pine: Oh hell, they’re going right into the thick of it –

Sumac: Pine, unless I know where you are, we can’t help you!

Pine: Those cops are headed straight for them –

Sumac: Pine, tell me what the sign says! We need an extraction team out there, and we need situation control, but I can’t send them until you tell me what that sign says!

Pine: I’m going as fast as I can without being seen, dumbass!

Sumac: Then focus on your feet and not on those cops.

<tires squealing, glass shattering>

Pine: I’m almost there. Give me – give me another couple of seconds. God, Sumac, this place feels familiar. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear I was back home, where –


Pine: Oh shit.

Pine: Oh God – oh God – here he comes – Sumac!

<loud noise>

Call lost.