Author: tepid sponge bath PM
Erm, this was written for a biology elective, but it involved a character from Ill Tidings, so I thought it's be at home here.Rated: Fiction T - English - Words: 1,090 - Favs: 1 - Published: 08-11-05 - id: 1983336
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It was raining. A man in a grey suit stood outside the airport. He looked at his very large, very expensive wristwatch. Ten minutes past four in the afternoon. It was disgraceful, it was. The hired help got worse every year – let them think for themselves and they walked all over you.
A black Bentley came into view.
Finally, thought Ysadril.
The car pulled over smoothly, its tires barely missing scraping against the pavement. A chauffer in a black uniform got out from the driver's side, and stepped lightly onto the sidewalk. He opened the door for Ysadril. Ysadril frowned at him.
"You were supposed to be here fifteen minutes ago," he said, grumpily.
"I was delayed, sir."
"Delayed eh? I suppose it was the traffic?" Ysadril's voice dripped sarcasm.
"The traffic and the rain, sir." The chauffeur reached out to take Ysadril's briefcase from him as he got into the Bentley. Ysadril all but slapped his hand away. The man didn't as much as shrug. He simply shut the door after Ysadril, walked back to his side of the automobile and started the car.
Ten minutes passed before Ysadril noticed anything.
"Hang on," he said. "You're not Thomson."
Thomson was his regular driver.
Ysadril tensed. He looked rather as though he had tried to turn pale more quickly than the rate at which capillaries constricted would allow – his face was a patch of red and white splotches.
"Who are you?"
"My name is Charles, sir."
Fear was rapidly replaced by irritation.
"I only address my drivers by their surnames," said Ysadril coldly, leaning back in his seat.
"My last name is Darling, sir."
Ysadril still hadn't quite regained his calm. His heart was beating faster than usual, and he was breathing harder. Blasted sympathetic nervous system, he thought. He was also feeling that he had heard the conversation he had just had in a joke somewhere, and he didn't appreciate it.
Saturnine wasn't comfortable. It wasn't the job he minded, nor was it the use of the get-closer-to-target-by-pretending-to-be-a-driver ploy, which was getting to be as common as nematodes. What was bothering Saturnine was the fact that he was wearing black. He tried to avoid the color if he could. That and the name he was using for the assignment was ridiculous. The sooner this job was over, the better. It would be a pity, though. The target was turning out to be less thick than he had appeared to be.
He essayed a look at Ysadril in the rearview mirror. The man was scared. He might not look like he was only putting on a forced calm, but there was no mistaking those dilated pupils.
"So," he said, "you're from our Side, right?"
"Our Side, sir," repeated Saturnine. "Our Side wants the briefcase so badly that they sent me to make sure we get it."
There was a pause before he added, "Sir."
Saturnine made a right turn at a side street, and stopped to let a stray cat cross the road. Ysadril was a diabetic. His own immune system was attacking the cells in his pancreas that produced insulin. He needed several daily injections of insulin to survive.
They were back on the main road again. Saturnine hardly noticed. His mind was busy calculating. Ysadril's next insulin injection was supposed to be given at 4:30 pm. There was still a long stretch of aimless driving ahead of them.
At 4:20, Ysadril became visibly nervous. Saturnine watched as he cast worried glances at his ostentatious wristwatch.
"Why are we taking so long?" he demanded, in a voice reminiscent of a whine.
"Traffic, sir." It was true. Saturnine had deliberately looked for the worst traffic jams there were in the city at the time.
"Can't you move around it?"
"I'll try to, sir." He obligingly made a left turn at the next street corner. That brought them to a much smaller street, which led to another crowded wide road. In the middle of a knot of unmoving cars, Saturnine ran down the list of causes in his head. Lack of insulin…increased stress…
"I think we're going to be late, sir."
Ysadril actually groaned.
"There's nothing I can do, sir."
Saturnine's eyes flicked towards the rearview mirror again. Ysadril was starting to look flushed.
"You're not looking well, sir."
Ysadril swore at him. Very nastily.
"I think I remember a shortcut somewhere around here, sir."
A few more turns and various cuts through alleyways, and the Bentley was at a conveniently empty parking lot, adjacent to a conveniently empty storehouse. Ysadril at this time was too preoccupied with his hurting stomach that seemed to be trying to heave all of its contents out of the wrong end. It took him some time to realize they had stopped.
"Charles," he began, "what do you think you're doing?"
"Helping my Side."
Saturnine flicked the radio on. The strains of Puccini's Nessun Dorma came from the speakers. It made for much better listening than listless patter. He saw Ysadril – who was looking less and less focused – feel for something in his coat pocket. Saturnine sighed. It was a smart move on Ysadril's part, having a pocket-sized container for his insulin that could keep the hormone at the right temperature. Quite ingenious, in fact, considering that he had designed and built it himself. Saturnine removed the contraption from his own pocket, having relieved Ysadril of it at the airport, and hurled it out the window. It made a satisfying shattering noise as it hit the ground.
Several minutes later, Ysadril was steadily losing his hold to this world. Saturnine got out of the car, and retrieved a long, white trench coat from the Bentley's trunk. He put it on, opened the back door, and reached over to take the briefcase from Ysadril's inert form. He caught a whiff of Ysadril's fruity-smelling breath as he pulled the briefcase out of the car. Saturnine closed the car door, and began to walk away. The deed was as good as done.
It had been one of the easier jobs.
Anonymous. "Hyperglycemia." University of Iowa Health Care. 2005. (August 11, 2005).
Campbell, Neil A., Jane B. Reece, and Lawrence G. Mitchell. 1999. Biology. 5th ed. U.S.A. Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.