Sunday, 1 January 2017

The Ben Chatham 2017 New Year Special: "DEATH AND ROMANCE"



OK folks, here is the New Year special:

DEATH AND ROMANCE

It was New Years Day in Cambridge and the fog hang heavy like a dulling wine. Ben Chatham gazed languidly out of the window of the Blue Angel Jazz Café at the distant spires of King's College chapel. He sipped his absinthe and sighed:
"Another year gone, another year closer to death". He gave a sad smile as the small jazz ensemble in the corner played 'Melancholy Mood'. Kian, the waiter, approached Ben's table:
"Happy New Year Mr Chatham. Can I get you anything else?"
"No. I don't feel like eating today and please don't wish me a happy new year. How can it be a happy new year when A level Archaeology has been dropped by the examination board," Ben replied sadly. Kian stroked Ben's shoulder:
"I'm sorry to hear that Mr Chatham...." His reply was cut short by the sound of screaming coming from outside in the street. Ben looked out of the window and saw a young woman covered in blood running down the cobbled street waving her arms and screaming. She ran into a student who was carrying a large pile of books, which went flying as both of them fell to the ground. Ben rushed out of the café and went over, comforting the student and helping him to his feet:
"Hi, I'm Ben Chatham. Are you ok?"
" Well I was until this person just knocked me off of my feet. Just look at my books, they've got mud off the street on them now. This is a first edition of E.M Forster's 'A Passage To India'. Thanks anyway, my name is Julian. Julian LeFarge." The student held out his hand and Ben shook it.
"Pleased to meet you Julian, although this is hardly an auspicious start to our acquaintance", Ben replied and they laughed. The young woman meanwhile had staggered to her feet, a middle aged lady having gone over to assist her. Suddenly the young woman launched herself at the other woman, biting deep into her face. The crazed woman then started laughing in an hysterical way before collapsing onto the ground. Ben rushed over and examined her closely as other passers by tended to the injured older lady. Julian went over to Ben:
"What on earth is wrong with that person? he asked.
"I'm afraid that she's dead Julian. And I have a good idea why as well. I need to act quickly. I run an Organisation called Operation Delta which investigates all kinds of paranormal and alien activity. I am the head of the organisation, I emphasise. You are a very attractive young man, how would you like to join this investigation?"
Julian smiled:
"I'd love to, it should be a hoot. Oh and I'm also a highly intelligent and wealthy scholar of literature Ben. I may as well emphasise my range of positive qualities."
They laughed as Ben flagged down a taxi:
"Take me to number 18, Rygate Street. There is a man there whom I need to see about a fish."
The obese taxi driver looked puzzled and huffed:
"...mumble mumble.. get all ¤¤¤¤ing sorts on New Years Day... mumble mumble..."

The taxi arrived at number 18 and Ben and Julian leapt out, Julian tossing the driver a wad of notes:
"Keep the change, I'm rich" he shouted.
"Like the style" Ben stated, laughing. They hammered on the door of the house and an elderly man answered it:
"Who's that I say. I'm busy.... Oh It's you Ben. How jolly nice to see you, come in."
"Hello Professor Briggs. This is Julian by the way, he's clever, rich and gorgeous. There's no time to lose Professor. The fish, do you still have the fish?"
"The fish? Of course I still have it. As if I'd ever part with such a present Ben. Come and see?"
They went into the Professor's study, where a large aquarium took pride of place at the far end of the room. The Professor suddenly gasped:
"I say it's gone! Oh my. Oh by golly. And there's water all down here as well and on the carpet."
Ben helped the Professor to a chair and gazed at the puzzled Julian:
"Some time ago Professor Briggs helped me on a very difficult case. He is the UK's leading zoologist. As a present I let him keep on loan an Osiarian Zanterfish which had been brought to earth in a crashed Osiarian craft. The fish have certain curious properties, they can live forever, barring physical injury, and their skin if eaten produces bleeding from every orifice followed by a frenzied desire to kill and eat anything in sight. I am well aware how bizarre all of this sounds Julian," Ben explained.
Julian laughed:
"One should never fear the weird, just the mundane". The Professor nudged Ben:
"I say, he's a philosopher this one".
"Professor, what could have done this? Do you have a cat or a dog?" Ben asked.
"No, but I've been looking after a stray cat for the past few weeks. Tom I call him. Big grey thing. He just comes in, has a nibble of food and then goes out again. Quite the vagabond. He was here earlier..... Oh dear, Come to think of it, I did leave him alone in here while I made a pot of tea..."
Ben sighed:
"That was very stupid. However I like you and you are an eminent Professor so I'll refrain from making further truthful observations on your failings."
"Thank you Ben, would you and your friend like some tea and lemon cake?"
"No, sorry Professor, we must fly like the wind. I suspect that the cat ate the fish and then went to some other house in the street where it scratched or bit a woman who was infected. We must find that cat before it infects anyone else."
Ben and Julian ran down the street banging on doors and fetching out the neighbours:
"Have you seen a stray grey cat? It's dangerous and infected with a deadly disease", Ben shouted. Suddenly there was a crazed scream coming from one of the back gardens. Ben and Julian ran down the side passage and saw a crazed man covered in blood hacking a woman's corpse with an axe. His children were screaming as the axe came down on their mother's neck. In the corner of the back garden a savage looking cat sat drooling at the mouth. Ben ran from the garden and back out into the street, followed by Julian. He pulled out his mobile and phoned for back up.
Some time later, the Operation Delta team were loading the man's corpse into a van and Paul Farraday and Corinne Shaw had managed to trap the crazed cat using a neck grabber and an RSPCA animal cage. They loaded it into the van also.
"This will do our image with the police no favours at all", Paul tersely stated as several police cars started arriving.
"You had best let me deal with the police Ben. I have built up some good networking connections with senior officers", Corinne stated.
Ben sighed:
"Do your best Corinne. I can't face them myself right now, I find officialdom so tiresome. Please try your best to save the cat and to avoid having to put it down."

Later Ben and Julian were enjoying a drink in the Blue Angel. Ben was telling Julian about his life:
... and so my family now view me as an embarrassment and I have an ex-wife who still thinks that I owe her something even though she gained a property at my expense. I'm entombed in my life. Look I'm sorry for unloading this baggage and boring you Julian. Julian laughed and grabbed Ben's hand:
"You don't need to apologise to me Ben. I think that everyone has a dark basement where they keep all of their demons. One wants to share them, but one is afraid of rejection if one does. I want to let you into mine but I'm afraid".
Ben stroked Julian's chin:
"You are strangely deep for such a young man. Let's go back to my apartment and start 2017 properly......"

THE END

Thursday, 22 December 2016

"The Monsters Within" Part 4

Ok people: here is the final part of this challenging tale:

"THE MONSTERS WITHIN" : Part 4

As the Professor issued his warning several of his assistants, wearing lab coats and carrying guns, entered the room. Ben was led out into the hall and down a flight of stairs to the underground laboratory while Kyle and Katie remained in the drawing room with Professor Garson, who held a gun in one hand and a cognac in the other.  Ben saw, on entering the lab, a much larger apparatus than the other machine.
"You will sit in that chair and let me strap you down", one of Garson's assistants, who physically resembled the actor Boris Karloff, instructed. Ben frowned:
"I am not in the habit of being strapped down by strange men I'll have you understand", Ben wryly stated. The assistant laughed coldly:
"That will disappoint the Professor I'm sure. However enough of this nonsense, we are here to test this machine. The professor is certain that your unconscious mind will be of great experimental use."
The other assistant pushed Ben violently down into the chair.
Meanwhile, back in the drawing room, Garson sipped his cognac and smiled sinisterly at Kyle and Katie:
"You must surely admit that it will be fascinating to see what monsters Ben's unconscious mind will dredge up this time. I should draw back the curtains so that we have a good view of the action." Katie gave him an icy stare:
"What you mean to repeat that horror we witnessed earlier when those wolf things killed that farmer? You really are a piece of shit."
"Oh no MIss Ryan. That was an accident, this will be a real experiment. My assistants are right now guarding a group of children from the local care home down the road. We bunged the manager ten grand to let us have them and they're unlikely to be missed."
"Ere, you mean your gonna let them things loose on a bunch of bleedin' kids?" Kyle exclaimed. Garson chuckled and went over to the curtains, drawing them back to reveal a group of children being led out into the garden and given rounders bats and a ball to play with.
"There is no need to be emotional about this. There have always been sacrifices in the name of science." As Garson spoke the electric side light dimmed a little then came back on:
"Ah, I see my assistants downstairs have flicked the switch so to speak. Ben is now creating from the depths of his unconscious mind."
Kyle leapt up from the sofa with such rapidity that the Professor had no time to raise his gun before Kyle punched him in the teeth, before grabbing the gun:
"Katie you try an' 'elp Ben, I'm gonna get to those kids."
Katie ran out into the hall, grabbing a large poker from the fireplace first. She saw the staircase leading down to the lab and strode feistily down it. As she entered the lab, one of the assistants went for his gun, however Katie jabbed the poker into his left eye and he fell to the floor, writhing in agony. She grabbed the gun and pointed it at the other assistant:
"Turn off that machine and take that headset off Ben now".
"It is too late, once the process has begun, to halt it early could be fatal", the assistant stammered.
Out in the garden, the children were screaming as a large creature, like a cross between a wold and a bear came out of the bushes. It had already caught a rabbit and it bit the head off before tossing the carcass aside. It growled and went for one of the children. Kyle shot it three times in the head and it collapsed to the ground. He herded the screaming kids into a conservatory and shut the door. More creatures appeared out of the woods and they started sniffing around the carcass of the dead animal. Kyle gestured to the children to crouch down low, however the creatures' attention had been grabbed by the sight of Professor Garson staggering to his feet within the house. The frenzied animals ran towards the house and the first one launched itself at the large window of the drawing room, the glass shattering and shards flying everywhere. The creature grabbed Garson's throat in its jaws and bit into it, blood spurting out in a fountain. The other creatures clawed and ripped the room apart before bounding into the rest of the house. Kyle turned to the terrified kids:
"Right' I've gotta leave you 'ere ok. Them things could be about to kill everyone in the house."
In the lab, Katie heard the sound of banging and animalistic howling from upstairs. She scowled:
"Ok shitface you need to hut down that machine now, whatever ben is conjuring up is in the house. Just do it."
"But he could die". Katie paused for a moment in reflection then held up the gun:
"Ben will not die. Ben is resilient. Do it." The assistant flicked down the switches and pulled the headset off Ben's head. Ben gave a scream of agony and slumped down into the chair, limp and cold. Katie grabbed his arm and tested for a pulse:
"Come on Ben, don't give up on me now. You can make it through this Ben, come on."
"I'd give up if I were you miss", the assistant stated.
Upstairs the creatures faded and vanished. Kyle glanced round at the dismembered pieces of Professor Garson that were strewn around the room then went into the hall and down into the lab. He found a distraught Katie whose usual hard composure had melted in the face of her concern for Ben. She shook his limp body, tears welling up in her eyes:
"Come on Ben, don't give up *to the assistant* fucking do something, don't just stand there."
The assistant gave Ben an adrenalin  injection:
"This might help."
Kyle rushed down and lifted Ben's arm:
"Ere I can feel a pulse. Cam on Ben...."
Slowly Ben lifted his eyes open. He looked at Katie and Kyle and sighed listlessly:
"Oh well, this vale of tears called life has dragged me back into it."
Later, Ben, Katie and Kyle were discussing recent events in the Mermaid Wine Bar in Cambridge:
"So how come those creatures like vanished so bleedin' quick?" Kyle asked.
"Clearly because the process wasn't complete unlike the first time. Katie was quite right to stop the experiment even though it risked my life. Thankfully I'm completely fine now and not some dribbling, brain-damaged cabbage. Unfortunately this just gives people yet another excuse to tell me that I should count my blessings or be optimistic about myself or some such nonsense." The others laughed:
"Oh Ben, how could we exist without you. Don't ever change will you", Katie said with a laugh, hugging Ben.
The End.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Monsters Within: Part 3

OK people: Here is part three of this dark story:

"THE MONSTERS WITHIN": Part 3

Ben writhed in agony as Professor Mike Garson held a gun at Kyle and Katie:
"Ere stop this you nutter!" Kyle shouted. The Professor remained calm:
"There is no need for hysterics young man. Anyway, as you can see the process is near completion."
They looked down as the humming noise subsided and Ben lapsed into quiet unconsciousness.
"Look you piece of ¤¤¤¤, I want an explanation for what just happened to Ben," Katie demanded, hand on hip, throwing her blonde hair to one side and fixing Professor Garson with an icy glare. Garson lowered the gun and smiled politely:
"Now look Miss Ryan, I'm sorry I had to resort to a course use of firearm threat. However it was essential that we test the machine. I assure you that Ben here will be perfectly fine again after a short sleep. Anyway, shall we look to see what he has created?"
"I'll give you a bleedin' knuckle sandwich in a minute mate if yer don't....." Kyle stopped his angry tirade short as he glanced at the glass box and saw within it an elaborate gold crown, encrusted with sapphires, rubies, pearls and emeralds:
"Ere it's a friggin crown".
"Oh yes, and you will find that it is as real and authentic as any crown in any museum", the Professor stated, lifting the object from the box.

Later, a recovering Ben was resting on the Professor's sofa in the drawing room as Katie and Kyle sat round the large wood fire. Katie sipped her brandy and frowned:
"We need to get out of here as soon as Ben is fit to walk. Probably a case for UNIT I'd say." Ben lifted his head languidly and sighed, his eyes tired and sad:
"No. We have no evidence yet that this is a UNIT related case. Given how bureaucratic they are we'd get no help from them. So Garson has designed some futuristic technology and used a gun on us to ensure I acted as guinea pig. More a matter for the regular police really. We need to stay and find out more. Anyway, on a more important note, where is my crown?"
Kyle lifted the crown out of a plastic bag near his side and handed it to Ben:
"Trust you to think of creatin' a bleedin' crown for yerrself Ben" he said, laughingly throwing the crown to Ben.
"And trust you to put a priceless gold crown in a Tesco plastic bag Kyle", Ben replied. They both laughed. Ben examined the crown carefully:
"I've always wanted to wear a real crown. I need to be surrounded by beautiful, expensive objects. They act as compensation for all of the loss, hurt and loneliness that I have suffered in my life. I deserve this."
"You will always be a true Prince Ben", Katie remarked and they all laughed. Suddenly they heard a frightful howling from outside the house, like a pack of wolves . It was accompanied by a frightful screaming sound. Kyle rushed to the window and they were horrified to see a man being torn apart in the grounds of the house by several huge wolf-like animals. One of them had ripped his throat out and was gorging itself on the exposed flesh.
"Jeez what the hell are those things? If it ain't a case for UNIT now then what is?" Kyle shouted. As he did so, the Professor entered the room with Payanda, the latter carrying a tray of food.
"Oh come and sit back down by the fire. The entertainment will be better enjoyed in the warm."
"Entertainment? You call that sight entertainment?", Ben exclaimed. The Professor smiled:
"There is no need to be frenetic about this. Now come and sit down, shocks are much better absorbed with the knees bent you know".

Ben and the others returned to the sofa and Ben glared angrily at the Professor:
"Look I demand that you explain immediately and fully exactly what the hell is going on here Garson". The Professor poured Ben a brandy:
"You know you are a most attractive young man when you are angry Ben. Here, have some brandy. It's a curative you know. I do apologise for the experiment earlier being a little demanding however I hope that you will see the bigger picture."
Katie fixed him with a cool stare:
"Cut the genial crap Garson and get to the point."
"The point, Miss Ryan, is that those creatures out there, and isn't it delightful to see wild nature in action, those creatures are the product of Ben's subconscious. My machine has the power to create not just objects projected by the conscious mind, such as Kyle's gold chain and Ben's crown, but also manifestations from the inner mind. The monsters within so to speak. Earlier I let Ben thumb through my library and pick up a book on werewolf cults by Montague Hesketh. That planted the seed of an idea in Ben's mind. And my machine watered that seed. Ben here is a natural sensitive, he has a most superior mind, both conscious and unconscious. Kyle here with his courser, more primitively evolved mind could only manage to conjure up a few supernatural manifestations. But Ben created those creatures out there. Don't worry about the dead man, he was only a local farmer who comes here to supply us with logs for the fire."
"Ere, he was a person with a life. And look dude you'd better cut the primitive mind crap or I'll conjure up a manifestation of my fist hitting your teeth", Kyle shouted. The Professor smiled:
"You know some of my friends at Cambridge would find the combination of your aggressive realness and good looks very exciting, in a bit of rough kind of way. However let us focus on the big picture. I want to see exactly how far I can go with this. To test this technology to the limits. I have designed a larger and more powerful version of the machine which you have seen. And I want Ben to test it." Ben swallowed his brandy and glared at Garson:
"I am not your guinea pig. That last session created those creatures out there and has led to a man's death. More importantly, it rendered me unconscious. I am not prepared to risk harm or either death to myself in order to further your monstrous schemes", Ben firmly stated. Professor Garson frowned:
"Oh that is sad, it really is. I was hoping force would not be necessary. You will do as I say Ben or die. Your choice......."


..............to be continued.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

"The Monsters Within": Part 2

[B]"THE MONSTERS WITHIN: Part 2[/B]
Ben was intrigued:
"Hmmm. I have heard that scientists are working on this kind of technology and that a new industrial revolution is supposedly about to change everything. If this device does what you are claiming it can do then it will indeed revolutionise society."
"If? You doubt it Ben? But surely you saw with your own eyes how your friend here made this gold chain", Professor Garson replied bemusedly.
"I have learned to treat grandiose claims with a healthy pinch of sceptical salt Professor. However I must admit that your demonstration seemed convincing and......"
Ben's response was cut short by the sound of a woman shrieking from upstairs:
"Ahhh , screeeeeeeem, screeeeeeech..."
"What the hell was that?" Katie exclaimed. The Professor gave them a forlorn glance:
"I apologise. That was my mother. She has dementia and gets completely hysterical when the nurse goes in. She was such a sweet lady, but she is in her 90s so won't have much longer to endure the condition."
"Can't you just shove her into a home or something?" Katie asked. Ben frowned:
"Please excuse Katie's blunt manner Professor."
As Ben spoke, the lights suddenly went out, plunging the room into darkness.
"This must be some kind of power failure. Try and locate the door out of the lab Kyle", Ben wisely instructed. Kyle fumbled for the door, however as he did so, Ben felt something touch the side of his face. A hand. A hairy hand.
"Quick Kyle, I think that there is something in here with us. Something non-human...."
Suddenly the lights came back on but dimly and flickering. The Professor was nowhere to be seen. Ben looked at the others:
"I don't like this. Something definitely stroked by face just then. Something animal. I suggest that we explore the house."
They left the lab and wandered out into the old house with its wood panelled walls and paintings of the Professor's family. Ben led the way upstairs, the wooden stairs creaking under their feet. As they walked along the dark landing a strange yellow glow in front of them slowly transformed into the figure of a young boy glowing with a strange yellow light and dressed in urban street wear with a baseball cap turned the wrong way round. Instead of eyes, he had empty black sockets. He pointed at Ben.
"What the hell is that thing?" Katie shouted.
"I fear that it is what is known as a radiant boy Katie. The spirit of a child murdered by its parents and a harbinger of death. The eminent 19th century politician Viscount Castlereagh saw one before he committed suicide by slitting his own throat", Ben explained.  Suddenly the ghostly image vanished and the strange, eerie female shrieking started up again. A door flew open on the landing and an extremely elderly lady dressed in black staggered out , carrying a meat cleaver, and lunged at Ben, trying to hack his skull. However Kyle managed to grab her hand and wrench the cleaver off her. The old woman broke free and ran screeching down the stairs.
"Ere this place is a friggin' loony bin Ben. I say we leg it."
Ben scratched his handsome head and sighed:
"I think you are right Kyle. Come on, let us depart."
However as they walked downstairs to the hall, the Professor appeared from the study with an apologetic demeanour:
"I'm so sorry, please forgive me. It was just a minor power cut. This machinery soaks up a lot of electricity. And don't mind mother, she just gets a little confused."
"A little confused? That old woman is murderously insane," Ben responded.
"Again, I do apologise Ben. Surely a boy of your refinement and taste can understand the need for a family of standing to avoid the scandal of having a relative in the care of a mental health institution. Come now, why don't we all have a drop of brandy."
Later they all sat in the Professor's sitting room as the servant Payanda served them brandy and soul cakes. Ben examined the Professor's extensive book collection and took down a book:
"I see you have a first edition of "Journeys into the Occult" by Montague Hesketh. Wasn't he a believer in an esoteric cult of wolf worshippers?" The Professor smiled:
"He was indeed young Ben. And a believer in the existence of a sacred lineage of werewolves. And who can blame him. I mean who would not want to worship a man who can transform into a powerful wolf at night?"
Katie nudged Ben and whispered:
"I wouldn't mind a man like that between the sheets."
The Professor continued:
"Anyway, Ben I have a proposal. Why don't you have a go with the machine. Try to create something. That way you will know for sure that I wasn't hoaxing you.
Later, back in the lab, Ben was sat in the chair of the machine, with the headset on.
"Ok, I'm not going to reveal in advance what I intend to create. I want no tricks, just to see for sure that this works."
"Fine by me Ben", the Professor said. He activated the machine and Ben started to concentrate. However a strange humming sound began and Ben threw back his head, writhing in obvious agony. Kyle and Katie watched in horror:
"Ere something's wrong here. Stop that thing, It'll kill Ben," Kyle exclaimed. However the Professor pulled out a gun:
"Nether of you move", he coldly stated.......

............. to be continued.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Ben Chatham 2016 Halloween Special: "The Monsters Within"

[B]THE MONSTERS WITHIN: Part One[/B]

Ben Chatham drifted in and out of sleep as the morning sunlight shot through a narrow gap in the curtains, seeming to flaunt its rude intrusion into the cold comfort of Ben's dreams. He groaned as he buried his handsome head deep into the pillow . He did not want to face another day on the treadmill of work while the space beside him in the bed remained empty and bereft. As Ben tried to drift back into sleep, his mobile phone started ringing, the ringtone being David Bowie's "Sense of Doubt". Ben tried to ignore it, however whoever was ringing was persistent. Eventually he flung the bed sheets back, his smooth skin gleaming in the morning light, and he reached for the phone:
"Hello. Look now is not a good time." The voice on the end of the phone was vaguely familiar:
"Oh hello Ben. It's Professor Garson, Mike Garson. From Cambridge." Ben rubbed his eyes:
"Oh, yes I remember. You taught the science module of my Archaeology degree. I couldn't understand what you were talking about most of the time, you were a terrible lecturer. Unprepared and incapable of holding an audience. Anyway, what do you want?"
"Er, I'm sorry Ben if I've caught you at a bad time. Look I've followed your career as an investigator of the paranormal and so on. Look I've been working on a project that I think will interest you greatly...."
Later, Ben, Katie Ryan and Kyle were driving through the Cambridgeshire countryside towards Professor Garson's house with its inbuilt laboratory.
"So why are we bothering with this Ben? You never liked the guy and it's not as if he explained what this damn project is", Katie snapped, applying a fresh later of lipstick and pouting firmly.
"We've got nothing better to do Katie. Which is my life now isn't it?" Ben tersely replied.
"Ben you really need to pull yourself out of this dark mood you're in. It's affecting everyone in the team. We need you", Katie said sharply.
"Yeah right. Lets just get there and humour the old goat for half an hour and then drive to somewhere nice for lunch."
They arrived at Garson's 17th century house and met the professor, who was dressed in a casual brown suit and resembled the actor Peter Cushing. He showed them into a large sitting room with oak-panelled walls and an extensive library on the occult.
"Hey this is like summat out of Harry Potter", Kyle remarked.
"You'll have to excuse my colleague's lowbrow cultural references Professor Garson. Anyway, what is it you want to show us?"
"Oh come now Ben, wouldn't you like a drink and some lunch first. It's so good to see you again. You were one of my brightest and most attractive students you know. I'll ring Payanda."
The Professor rang a gold bell and a tall Indian woman entered the room with a dinner trolley laden with extensive meat dishes, salads and  Indian falafel. She gave Ben and the others a cold look and then strode out of the room.
"Funny woman", Katie remarked.
"Oh don't mind Payanda. It's just her way.  Her family have served mine for generations. Now Ben, please help yourself."
Ben and the others started to choose their dishes and Kyle grinned as he tasted the curry:
"Hmm, hey this is a good 'un Ben. What Barry would call a real ringstinger."
"I'd rather you didn't remind me of him right now Kyle. Or any time for that matter...." As Ben spoke, they heard the sound of a woman screaming from upstairs:
"Ere what the hell is that?" Kyle exclaimed.
"Oh don't worry. It was only my mother. She's.... well she's suffering from an acute form of dementia. She won't be here much longer poor soul. Payanda will see to her. Now eat please", the Professor said firmly.
As Ben ate, the Professor stared intensely at him:
"You are such a handsome young man Ben. Most delicious". Ben felt unnerved.
Later, after Ben had sampled the Professor's excellent French brandy, they were showed into the laboratory.  In the corner was a piece of extensive, futuristic machinery with a seat in the middle. Nearby was a glass box on a table.
"So hear it is Ben. The culmination of a lifetime of research. This is a greater technological leap than the industrial revolution. Now I need a volunteer. How about young Kyle here", the Professor said smiling. Kyle grimaced:
"Yeah like what exactly are you gonna do to me?"
"Oh really young man there is nothing to be afraid of. Now go and sit in that chair and put the headset on. It's perfectly safe."
Kyle grudgingly went and sat in the seat:
"Look I ain't sure I like this...."
"Oh stop whining Kyle. It's so chavvy", Katie snapped.
Kyle put the headset on and a strange humming sound began. The Professor turned to the others:
"This is the device that will create the greatest revolution in production capacity that mankind has ever seen. *To Kyle* Now young man. I want you to visualise an object. Any object. As expensive as you like."
"Yeah ok. I'm thinkin' of some solid gold bling...." As Kyle spoke his head suddenly shot back and the humming sound became intense. Inside the glass box appeared a solid gold chain. The humming subsided. The Professor opened the glass box, took out the chain and handed it to Kyle:
"It is yours. You see, with this device, anything can be made with the power of the mind. There will be no factories, no inequality and no poverty anymore. This machine can make anything......."

Saturday, 8 October 2016

"The Two Bens" Part Ten

OK people, here is the classic final part of this classic anniversary story.

EPISODE TEN: APOCALYPSE


Reality started to implode in on itself as everything became distorted and unreal. Through the misty recesses of his distorted mind Ben could see shapes and colours that he did not recognise. A whole kaleidoscope whirled round inside his head at a fantastic speed as he could hear the colours and see the sounds. His whole life passed before his eyes in an instant and he collapsed to his knees, weeping for the lost opportunities and false dawns. Suddenly the strange sensations began to lift and he saw the alternate Ben was himself distraught and shaking. Ben managed to crawl across to him and hug him:
"It's ok .... that was close but it wasn't the end."
"But next time we won't be so fortunate. We have one more chance that's all", the alternate Ben replied. Kyle dragged himself to his feet as a car pulled up beside them. Corinne Shaw lent out of the window:
"Hey guys, that was too darn close for comfort. I only just managed to slow the car down in time. Come on!"
She flung the car door open and they all jumped in.

A short time later, in London, UNIT forces led by Kate Lethbridge-Stewart were mounting their assault on Buckingham Palace as Corinne, Ben, Ben and Kyle arrived. The car zoomed up to the soldiers and skidded to a hault, throwing up dust. Corinne threw the car door open and strode out, brushing the dust off the shoulders of her power suit. The two Bens and Kyle got out of the car as Kate approached them:
"What is occurring?" Ben asked her.
"We don't seem to be getting anywhere here. They seem to have an endless supply of fresh troops in there."
"Can't you fire off friggin' bazookas into the place or bomb it from the air?" Kyle asked her. Kate frowned at him sternly:
"Young man, that is Buckingham Palace. Her majesty's main royal residence. It is bad enough that we are putting bullet holes into it."
Corinne rounded on her:
"What? You mean to say that you are holding back on those grounds when two universes are at stake?
Kate held her ground:
"Miss Shaw, the fact that we do not let our standards down in moments of crisis is what makes us a great nation."
As she spoke, Shakey Jake's van arrived carrying most of the rest of the Operation Delta team. They all jumped out, including Katie Ryan and Barry Tuck who were both armed with huge futuristic looking guns which were strapped to them with leather belts.
"Where did you acquire those?" Ben asked curiously.
"We raided the old Torchwood warehouse", Katie replied.
"Yeah they're the dog's bollocks these are pal. More friggin' power than a vindaloo fart", Barry Tuck said with a grin. Ben grimaced:
"Please moderate your language Tuck."
Kate Lethbridge Stewart turned angrily to Ben:
"You are not using those things to assault the palace."
Katie Ryan strode in front of her and stared firmly at her, her hand on her hip:
"Shut up or ship out", she firmly stated. They she and Tuck ran towards the palace letting rip with the guns. Futuristic rays shot out and blasted huge holes in the palace walls as a series of huge explosions rang out from inside.

Within the palace, Richard IX sat elegantly on his throne, a slight hint of worry in his demeanour:
"We do not like the sound of these explosions. What is your status report?" He asked his courtiers, who were staring at their futuristic IPhones:
"Not good your majesty. The enemy are using technology beyond their capabilities to blast their way inside", one of then replied.
"Really? Then we will deploy our ultimate defence tactic. Bring me the communicator."

Outside, the two Bens watched as Barry and Katie Ryan blasted their way into the palace, followed by scores of UNIT troops. Ben looked at Kate Lethbridge Stewart with a sense of pride:
"My team may be a disparate bunch but when it comes to achievement and professionalism, you need us."
"Well said Ben", the alternate Ben stated, flicking his golden hair out of his eyes.
Suddenly an audio/visual image appeared in the sky of Richard IX. He began to speak:
"Citizens of London. We are offended by your impertinence. Therefore unless you desist from your attack on us, we will order the immediate execution of your former Queen".
Suddenly the picture changed to the horrifying image of the Queen standing in front of a firing squad on tower green. Everyone went silent with complete shock. As they did so a car sped up and halted. Out got Paul Farraday with Richard IX's brother Giles.
"Ben, we have to get this guy inside the palace. He's the brother of that madman in there and the only one capable of talking some sense into his followers."
Quickly the two Bens ran up to Giles, shook his hand and then ran with him into the burning building , followed by the rest of the team. On seeing Giles, the King's men began to drop their weapons and kneel before him. They walked through the corridors and into the main hall, where Richard IX sat with his councillors. Giles and the two Bens strode forward:
"What is the meaning of this? Did you not hear our message?" Richard IX asked.
Ben stared at him:
"I am horrified and very disappointed that you should threaten our Queen. You are clearly a monarch of refined tastes and elegance however your behaviour is reprehensible."
Giles also spoke:
"Councillors, please listen. Our brother is ill. You must have realised this by now. We stand on the brink of the apocalypse, of total universe collapse. We have over reached ourselves coming here. This world is better on its own. We cannot flood it with our people . Moreover we will destroy both it and ourselves. That is why, for the sake of our brother's mental health, we are assuming the throne."
"Treason, TREASON!" Richard IX shouted. However one by one the councillors kneeled before Giles and a group of soldiers gently seized Richard.

Later, the two Bens were discussing the case in the Blue Angel Jazz Café, while enjoying a celebratory meal. The Bens had ordered the vegan falafel option, which the waiter Kian duly arrived with.
"Thank you Kian. Your service is impeccable as always", Ben stated, stroking Kian's arm. Katie Ryan grimaced with distain.
"... and so we have both decided that for multiple ethical reasons, we are both becoming vegetarians, " Ben stated. Chiara Smith, who now ran the Operation Delta office, gazed proudly at Ben:
"I'm so proud of you for doing this Ben, *to the others* I've been trying to persuade him to go vegan for months. This is the first step."
Barry Tuck took a large gulp of beer and belched loudly:
"You can say what you like love but I ain't goin' veggie, I likes my bacon sarnies and there ain't no beatin' a few beers an' a real ringstinger curry. Mind you I'd be tempted for a nice feel of them jugs of yours *winks at Chiara* *canned audience laughter*"
Corinne Shaw stared at him icily:
"Do you always have to be so crude Tuck?"
"Only banter love, only banter", Tuck replied, biting into a burger.
Paul Farraday seized the chance to change the subject:
"I propose a toast. Not to one Ben but to both Bens. For saving the universes. TO BEN! AND BEN!"
They all stood up and clinked their glasses, toasting Ben.

Shortly afterwards the two Bens slipped away from the meal and into a quiet part of the club. A lone trumpet player was softly playing, "I'm a Fool To Want You".
"So this is it then. Goodbye. It's been great meeting you Ben and I'm delighted to know that there is another version of me that I can feel really proud of," the alternate Ben stated, tears welling up in his eyes. Ben gave him a hug:
"I'll really miss you Ben. I hope you find the inner strength to keep going, as I have. You know that you're the only person who really understands me and that gives me a sense of real solidity knowing that somewhere out there you, or rather I exist. Brave heart Ben!"
"Brave heart Ben", the alternate Ben stated, wiping away tears as he left the club.

THE END

Sunday, 28 August 2016

"The Two Bens" Episode 9



OK people. Here is the penultimate episode of this classic story:


EPISODE NINE: BENS UNITED

The strange shuddering subsided and the two Bens, who had fallen to the ground, staggered to their feet. They looked at each other.
"Yes I know. That was a close one. Each time the displacement will get worse until eventually it passes the point of no return and we get total universe collapse. We've got to stop this mad king of yours", Ben exclaimed.
"Of mine? Hardly Ben", the alternate Ben said with a sad smile. Ben gave him a hug and the two Ben's and Kyle walked to the perimeter fence and sat down on the grass.
"Ok I've just had a text from Paul Farraday. He's sending a car to pick us up and UNIT are also on their way here. Another UNIT force is about to mount an assault on Buckingham Palace", Ben stated.

Ben lay back in the grass and let the sunlight warm his face:
"You know Ben, I've reached a point in my life where I just don't think anything is ever going to change. This is it, the last station reached, the final destination. I'm alone and bored and that's how my life will now be as far as I can see. That awful marriage experience was the last straw, it's knocked the wind out of my sails. I scrape bits of enjoyment wherever I can find it."
The alternate Ben gazed down at Ben and patted his arm:
"Tell me about it. Every guy I've ever been out with has let my down and my life is in a complete rut." The alternate Ben flicked his golden hair out of his sad eyes. Kyle frowned:
"Ere you two are a right barrel of laughs when together, I don't think." Ben looked up at him:
"Did we ask for your opinion Kyle. No. Life must be so easy for people like you. Ordinary, undemanding, lumpen people who drift along easily through life because they don't want much and have no real passions or desires." Kyle shot Ben an angry look:
"Yeah right. Because I'm such a boring lumpen drone that I ain't capable of passions or feelings right?"
"Well you said it", the alternate Ben said tersely. Kyle felt a sudden desire to hit him however he quickly suppressed it and walked towards the road.

Meanwhile in Buckingham Palace, Richard IX was enjoying roast quail with roasted vegatables and a glass of champagne.
"I think we will take afternoon tea in the gardens later before the meeting starts to initiate formal preparations for our coronation as King in this world."
One of the King's advisors leant towards him:
"Sire, what do you desire we do with the former Queen and her family?"
Richard looked up and elegantly wiped his lips with a napkin:
"Oh Thomas must we discuss that now?"
"Well I was just thinking your majesty may wish to have that matter dealt with before the coronation takes place", Thomas replied. King Richard moved his head slightly to the side:
"Yes Thomas you are right. It has to be dealt with. Arrange for the former Queen to, how shall I put it, pass away in the night of 'natural causes' and her heirs to , as it were, disappear within the tower. The people will soon forget them as the masses have short memories in these matters."
The King's brother Giles interjected:
"Look this is madness Richard. The people here will never easily accept you as their ruler, especially if you bump off their royal family. More to the point, are you just going to ignore what happened earlier? Are you? The time displacement? You were warned it would happen. You're risking complete universe collapse. Stop this madness now Richard. And you cannot flood this universe and this England with our people. There isn't room for them here."
King Richard IX threw down his napkin in a rare display of anger:
"You forget once again Giles that you are addressing your King as opposed to just your brother. We have reached the end of our patience with you. We have forgiven every past misdemeanour and slight of yours however you are incorrigable. We are deepy saddened that our brother should treat us with such disrespect. Free movement between our universe and this will enrich this world with our more refined and cultured values."
Richard clicked his fingers and a group of armed guards approached:
"Kindly escort our brother Giles to the Tower of London. Thomas, kindly prepare the necessary papers charging our brother Giles with high treason."
Giles was violently grabbed by the guards:
"This is an outrage. Richard, for God's sake see sense".

Back at the barracks, the Two Bens were lying in the grass discussing medieval history. The alternate Ben was describing the alternate universe royal family line of succession so that Ben could acertain the lineage of Richard IX.
"I think I see now where the break with our history happened. You state that King Edward IV was succeeded by King Edward V, who died young of probable consumption and was succeeded by his brother King Richard III. He reigned until 1522 when he was succeeded by his son Edward VI and so on. No Tudors". Ben stated. The alternate Ben looked puzzled:
"Tudors?"
"Exactly. You avoided them. In this universe Edward V and your Richard III became the Princes in the Tower and their uncle, the Duke of Gloucester, took the throne from them and made himself Richard III. He was defeated in the Battle of Bosworth by Henry Tudor."
The alternate Ben looked puzzled:
"How strange. I seem to recall now that Henry Tudor was a minor exiled nobleman, the Earl of Richmond I think. He never amounted to anything. As for Richard Duke of Gloucester, he was killed by a stray arrow fighting in Scotland the year before Kind Edward IV died".
Ben stood up and grinned:
"And that is the break. Ha! You and I make a great team Ben. *Grinning* poor Kyle doesn't understand a word we've been talking about does he?"
Both Ben's laughed and hugged each other. Suddenly however the shuddering began again and the two Bens and Kyle fell to the floor:
"It's ha.... happen...ing ag....ain. Wo.........rse this time....."

In London, the car carrying Giles to the Tower of London crashed into a wall as the shuddering and time displacement began. Giles managed to crawl from the wreckage as the universe neared total collapse..............


...........to be continued.