Mr. Cold (Part Two)
By The Walrus
© 2013 David Jasmin-Green
“Look, you must have a name and an address. Where do you live?”
“My name is Cold Adelline Cold I live in a yellow submarine in the summer and an igloo in the winter I have fried puffin wings for breakfast raw Polar bears steaks for dinner shallots and baked beans with lashings of tomato sauce for tea and anchovy and artichoke sandwiches dripping with melted butter for supper.” The weird statement was uttered in one breath in a flat, emotionless monotone, and the man looked completely befuddled by his outburst. “What did I just say?” he mumbled. “What's happening to me?”
“Aah,” Mike said, and he had no idea what to do next. “Look, you'd better come with me Mr. erm..... Mr. Cold. There's a police car close by, I heard it, but if we don't stumble across it I'll take you home with me, dry you off and warm you up and phone for help. I can't make any calls on my mobile right now, because the storm's interfering with the signal.”
“Home? You'll take me home? How do I know that you're not trying to trick me? How do I know you're not in league with the heinous criminals I've been sent to apprehend?”
“I..... I don't know what you mean, Mr. Cold.”
“The baddies. They're close by, I can smell them.”
“Right. Come on, we're walking this way.” Mike walked a short distance, then he had to turn around and call the man - he was standing there like a spare prick at a wedding in the middle of the track in the rain that had begun to fall again in fat, oddly warm drops. Mr. Cold quickly got the idea, though, and soon they were on their way. They passed nearly all the way through Pouke wood, which was almost two miles across, without saying another word; Mike had no idea what to say, and the 'constable', it seemed, preferred to remain silent. There was a movement in the trees, a deer, Mike thought, and his improbable companion froze.
“They're here,” Mr. Cold or PC Plod or whatever his name was hissed, coming to life all of a sudden. “Over there, two of them, and they're stalking us. You, Michael Newland, are in grave danger, so please don't leave my side. I don't like this place and I want out of here as soon as possible, but I have a job to do first. You have been very helpful, so I'll do my utmost to protect you.”
“Thanks,” Mike whispered, because he sensed that the situation merited whispering. He couldn't recall telling the stranger his name, though.
There was another movement in the undergrowth close by, and the policeman pulled a long barrelled, oddly shaped pistol out of a concealed holster under his jacket. Mike only saw the wan creature that parted the undergrowth and looked at them with its big moon eyes for a second, because Mr. Cold fired his pistol and a blue, crackling surge of energy emerged, vaporising it with a loud crack. “Fuck!” Mike said, the image of the lean, long limbed something permanently etched on his brain. “What hell was that?”
“An escaped felon, a common criminal, that's all you need to know. One down, one to go, and I fear the remaining Ryphon won't be as easy to terminate. I guess it won't hurt to tell you a little bit about my world..... The Ryphons come from my homeland, which I suppose is somewhere far away from here - it's difficult to say, because I don't know where here is. They're not all bad, believe it or not, on the whole we live in harmony with them. My homeland is called Ingerland, we're an island almost a thousand miles long just off the coast of the continent of Gondowa. I'm shipwrecked, marooned..... It has something to do with this storm, I suppose. I've heard of such things happening before on rare occasions, but returnees from other realms are ridiculed and no one believes their outlandish stories. I was travelling with a colleague, a PC Glorious, in search of the two criminals, but when the storm came over we seem to have been separated. Maybe Glorious is still home, maybe the storm took him somewhere else. Who knows?”
Mike's head was full of muddled thoughts. Mr. Cold had to be mad – he had to be – and yet he had seen the pale thing with the enormous eyes, something definitely not of this world. “Exactly. Who knows?” he said.
The second creature attacked sooner than either of them expected, leaping onto Mr. Cold from the dripping branches and knocking him flat on his back. “Oh Jesus,” Mike said, losing control of his bladder, but as he thought earlier, he couldn't get any wetter. The macabre being, illuminated by the orange glow of the clouds and the flickering lightning, looked like a hairless, man-sized gibbon with ridiculously long limbs. It straddled the fallen policeman, its long, bony hands around his neck banging his head repeatedly on the ground (do something do something you silly twat, before it's too late). Mike picked up the only weapon he could find close to hand, which was a stout branch about three feet long, and he whacked the thing on the back of its skull. It gambolled over, its big milky eyes glaring up at him, and it stood up shaking its head like a dazed boxer.
“Die!” the monster yelled in a shrill voice, flying at Mike like a tiger. He managed to give it another whack before it was upon him, but it lifted a wiry forearm to protect its face and he heard an energizing crunch of breaking bones. The creature's good hand closed on his throat, its huge, toothless maw open in triumph, its cold, slimy touch filling him with terror, and it emitted a loud scream. Thankfully Mr. Cold was back on his feet fiddling in the pockets of his coat. He pulled out a long thin dagger and buried it in the back of the Ryphon's neck.
“It's your time to die, scum!” he growled. The thing released Mike and half turned, eyeing the policeman menacingly.
“Katta! Ferrish-attoah! Zind!” the creature growled, pulling out the knife and stepping towards the policeman.
“Step out of the way, Michal Newland, quickly!” Mr. Cold said, drawing his pistol, and the bluish crackle that erupted from the muzzle turned his foe into a pillar of stinking grey-brown smoke that was quickly dispersed by the breeze. “That's it, my mission is complete,” he said, putting away his weapon, picking up the knife and wiping the blade on the grass.
“Fuck!” Mike said. “Fuck, what have I just witnessed? This is insane. What happens now? You saved my life, Mr. Cold.”
“And you saved mine, my friend, so we're even. I have to go now, I have a feeling that if I retrace my steps the storm will take me home. God willing, of course.”
“What happens if it doesn't?” Mike said, listening to the odd siren that had started wailing again in the distance.
“I have no idea..... I suppose I'll have to stay here.”
“Look, if you can't find your way home - wherever home is - stick around here. In the morning I'll take a walk through the woods with the dog, and if you're still here I'll do all I can to help you.”
“Thank you, Michael Newland, you are a good man. And goodbye.....” The policeman turned around and went back along the deserted track, quickly disappearing into the curtain of rain, and Mike never saw him again.