Weapons of Self
James walked out of the library, whistling casually to himself. The streets of Mumbai were well crowded today, and it was not until a few moments later that he noticed people staring at him. They were not Indians, no, but Englishmen. That much could be discerned from their clothing alone. James glanced sideways at a man walking down the side of the street across from him, at the same pace, staring at him.
Another man at the end of the corner of that street was staring at him over a newspaper…An English newspaper that was not printed in Mumbai. “These people clearly cannot do this well,” James thought. He looked into the glass window of a shoppe as he passed by, and behind him, about ten or twenty meters away, was another man. All of them were well-dressed, and there were probably more of them, as the streets were quite crowded. James began to feel tense.
“You are James Peterson,” a woman asked as she walked next to him. James hadn’t even seen her approach. She was not wearing a dress, but brown dress pants and a brown coat. She was trying to make it look as if she were not talking to him, as she was looking down into open book as if she were reading it. James did not answer her. “This is the part where you say, ‘that depends,’” the woman stated.
“That would give it away,” James replied without looking at her.
“You just gave it away,” the woman replied. “Look at the book.” James glanced down at the book. It read: “act calm.” James felt as if his collar were choking him. “Curious that the treasurer of England should suddenly disappear, and then be seen in India. Especially the case when he had witnessed a child nearly hit by an automobile, an automobile that disobeyed the laws of physics by turning sharply away with no driver.”
“How do I know that I can trust you?”
“In here,” the woman stated, and and walked into a shoppe. There were many shelves of everything from clothing to kitchen supplies and so forth. They walked into a corner of the room, and James watched as the men following them stood casually outside the store, waiting for them to come out. “Listen to me,” the woman began sternly. “My name is Mary Chillingsworth, and there is nothing I can tell you that will make you trust me, you will just have to make up your mind: who do you trust, me, or the gentlemen outside who are following you?”
“All right, I assume they are after me because of my abilities?” James clarified.
“Yes,” Mary replied. James could see now that she was a young woman with long brown hair and grey eyes. “The gentlemen chasing you are members of the British government, they want to recruit you for service. I try to save people like you before those men can reach you.”
“You assume I don’t want to join them?”
“If you did, then why did you leave Britain,” Mary inquired rhetorically. “Also, the men outside don’t take no for an answer, so we need to make our escape. There is a ship waiting in the nearest harbor, leaving for Taiwan in fifteen minutes or less. There’s a safe house there, but we need to get on that ship before it leaves. What are your powers?”
“I can manipulate mechanical objects telepathically. You?”
“I can do two things,” Mary began. “I can make people more or less susceptable to sound for a short time, and I can live for hundreds of years, at least. Now follow me.” She ran upstairs before James could ask anything further.
“When were you born?” He shot after her up the stairs.
“1351, England,” she replied. James grunted in acknowledgement. She looked young enough to be in her twenties or thirties. They made it to the top floor of the building, where Mary had stopped.
“Take off your hat,” she demanded.
“It says: ‘I’m English,’” she replied. “Take it off, any chance that they will not see us is one worth taking.” James took off his black top hat and set it on the ground. “Come on.” They crawled through a hatch in the ceiling and climbed onto the roof. By the time James had made the ascent, Mary had already jumped to the roof of the building across from them.
“Oh, bloody-“ James followed her, heaving as he jumped over the alleyway. They jumped to one more rooftop before there was no other place to go. James looked behind him, and two men - one with black hair in a brown suit and one with blonde hair in a grey suit - were jumping across as well.
“Jump,” he shouted to Mary.
“Trust me!” She jumped, and James concentrated and watched as the automobile he had summoned drove down the street just as she landed atop it. He jumped onto the roof as well, and he made it move forward. They raced down the streets, civilians jumping out of the way in order to avoid being hit with the shiny black automobile.
“Oh, great,” Mary moaned as she looked into the sky. The man in the brown suit was jumping from building to building beside them, in bounds that did not seem humanly possible. Mary took a pistol from her coat and fired a few shots at the man, not hitting him, but she sure scared some civilians.
“There,” James pointed as they raced down a hill. “The harbor!”
“Lookout,” Mary shouted, and pointed to a man, an Englishman, in a black suit who stood in the middle of the road. They frantically tried to wave him out of the way, but he just stood there, expressionless. There was no way to swerve around him, and the little car crashed into him, but it did not run him over, it stopped. The man was somehow strong or heavy enough to stop the car. They flew off the roof of the thing and onto the street.
James and Mary shot to their feet, and Mary pointed her pistol at the imposing gentlemen who were now cornering them as the civilians fled the marketplace.
“We don’t want to hurt you,” the man who had stopped the automobile said calmly and even with a smile as he walked slowly toward them. He had brown hair and a moustache, and was evidently the one in charge of the group.
“I know,” James stated. “You want to recruit me to fight for the British Empire, again, and I don’t accept.” He turned to punch the man next to him, who also wore a black suit, but that man held out his hand and James flew through the glass window of the building behind him. He could hear Mary fighting with some of the other people.
James shot back to his feet, and he raised his fists as he confronted the blond-haired man in the grey suit. The man, rather than fighting, just stood there, and then his body began change shape, and he shrank, and it was really quite disgusting. James watched as his clothes fell to the ground, and a large grey wolf emerged from them. It snared its teeth and then lunged at James, knocking him to the ground. It was all he could to to keep the wolf off of his throat. A wooden beam came out of nowhere and slammed the wolf in the side of the head, rendering it unconscious. James looked up to see Marry holding it.
“Fancy to wrestle later?” She said as she tossed the beam aside. It was then that James saw the man in the brown suit charging them, so he grabbed Mary’s gun from the ground and pointed it at the man, but Mary pushed his arm up just as it discharged, and then she punched the man as he ran up with incredible force.
“Whose side are you on, I was going to kill him?” James exclaimed.
“We’re not killing anybody,” Mary protested. “They may not be the good guys, but they’re not the bad guys either.”
“Sorry,” James replied as they ran off. “I fought in the Second Afghan War, ok? That was 1879. I’ve seen my fare share of death.” They ran down the streets, and the finally made it to the pier, but three of the men had somehow gotten there already. These were the man with the black suit and the moustache, the man with the blonde hair (who was only dressed in his grey pants and a partly-buttoned shirt. Evidently, to get completely dressed would have taken too long), and the fast man in the brown suit. They were all unarmed, but it took an observant one to know that they did not necessarily require weapons to kill.
“Yes, I know,” the man in the black suit smiled. “‘How did we get here so fast?’ Well, teleportation comes in handy.”
“Where are the others,” Mary asked.
“Still unconscious,” he replied. “Listen, both of you. We want to recruit you for field intelligence, not the military,” the man smiled. “We are on the same side, Peterson. We only want to protect king and country.”
“Really?” James scoffed. “Because last I checked, I’m not the treasurer anymore.”
“There’s no getting out of this, James,” the man stated as he raised his fists. The man in the brown suit positioned his legs as if he were going to charge them, and the man in the grey suit transformed into a large, green python or anaconda or something, reared and ready to strike. James just stood there, staring at the refinery next to them, staring at the smokestacks, concentrating. By the time the others realized what he was doing, it was too late, as the smokestacks billowed large plumes of jet-black ash, rendering visibility poor. By some miracle, James and Mary made it onto the ship, just as the ash cleared.
The other men were still on the pier, and as the ship left the docks, Mary seemed to concentrate. As the ship’s horn sounded, signaling departure, the men on the pier covered their ears and fell to their knees, trying to block out the noise that Mary had somehow amplified.
“Right then,” Mary looked at him as she clasped her hands together. “So, Taiwan?”