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Psycho Charlie

What's Charlie got cooking that means he needs to keep his house like a fortress?

He wondered why he had never thought of it before, in all his years of burgling houses, most of them urban, he had never specifically gone out into the countryside to burgle a house. They would seem to be easier than normal dwellings, as the owners would probably own plenty of electrical equipment, such as TV’s, hi-fi’s, etc. Entertainment out in rural areas is more difficult to come by than in the city. There was also the fact that there were not as many prying eyes around, save for that of the insects and birds. There were no signs on any posts that said: ‘Neighbourhood watch’, and escaping out across the fields would be much easier than jumping over walls and fences. This house, though, surprised him. It was a normal looking house, out in the countryside, not too far from civilisation, around two miles. Over the doorway, there was a hi-tech looking security camera, straight from a science-fiction film. Over the windows, there were iron bars, so any burglar, if they managed to gain entry, would have to exit the same way. There was also a larger than normal satellite dish on the roof, facing skyward, next to a conventional aerial. He wondered why this would be so, why the occupier of this house would have such tight security. The obvious question sprung to mind. What are they hiding?

Neil Kendrick had been burgling houses for the past fifteen years, and at 38, he simply couldn’t stop. Some of those years had been spent in prison, one two year stretch, and one four year. He was not deterred, though, he couldn’t give up. He had kleptomania for taking items from houses. In receipt of state benefits, he topped this up by selling what he could from his thieving, hence his expensive watch, bracelet, Mercedes-Benz. He didn’t have that with him. It was back at his expensive house. Here he had brought his expensive transit van, perhaps expecting to walk out of the front door with everything of value the house had. Maybe the house was secure because there was something extremely valuable in there. This was more incentive for him proceed. There was also the challenge of the place. He would find it difficult to get in, and wondered whether he would find something inside to make it worth the effort. He had to try, had to crack this place, as a demonstration to himself of his house breaking skills. Basically, he thought, break into here, and he can break into anywhere.

Parked on the other side of the lane, looking at the front of the house, he wondered whether he might survey the house first, to see just where his point of entry might be. Usually, he didn’t need to give the house the once over, as they were generally standard. Window and door locks and house alarms were all he needed knowledge of when house breaking. He never needed to come back twice. In this case, however, it perhaps might be necessary. He left the vehicle and walked along the garden wall that had high privet hedges spanning around it. The security camera was trained on the front gate, so he knew he was to avoid it. For the moment had the cover, so anybody looking out of any of the windows would not see him. He reached the corner of the privet hedges, but the wall continued and became a normal barrier to the field, stretching into the distance. It branched in a T shape and continued along the side of the house, so he had to scale it in order the see the rear of the house. Moments later, he was keeping himself low, close to the wall to avoid any watchers. When he thought he was relatively safe, he stood up and surveyed the property. He knew it already, but it was the further reinforcement of the fact that this was no ordinary house. The wall surrounding the back yard, or garden, was as tall as the house itself, around thirty feet high, topped by barbed wire and sharp spikes.

After a couple of minutes, he was back behind the wheel of the van, the house more confusing now than previously. The only, and the best way for him to enter was through the front door itself. There were no doors at the sides or leading into the back yard. With the windows being barred, and tightly shut, it seemed like the front door was the only way into and out of the property. He would have to bypass the security camera, and pick the locks. This was indeed a challenge to an experienced burglar, and Neil decided that trying at night-time might be best. Starting the van, he turned it around, and drove back along the country lane, unaware that the security camera had been pointing directly at him.

The moon hung low in the sky, casting a muted blue across the land, with wisps of cloud passing in front of it every now and then, and reflecting from the windscreen of the van, parked much further back than he had been before, because he thought that if the occupant heard the van’s engine, then they might be alerted. So he had pulled onto an embankment and walked the rest of the way to the house. He found the camera to be pointing away to his left, which meant that he could walk in through the gate quickly and close it behind him, which he did. He was soon standing beneath the camera, so that whichever way it pointed, it would not see him. However, it did not seem to be on, as previously it had had a little red light on top. Now it had gone, so it was probably seeing nothing. With a little penlight torch, Neil readied his lock picking equipment and saw that he would be here for a long duration, as he shone his torch on all the security equipment keeping the door shut. There was a numerical keypad that needed a password, three Yale locks and two mortice locks. He took a deep breath of the cold night air and started at the bottom. As the wire went into the locks, his hands couldn’t help but push at the door, and he was surprised as it slowly opened. Whoever owned this place had either forgotten to lock it or knew he was coming. He preferred it if the owner had forgotten, so decided to risk entering. With his penlight torch pointing in front of him, he entered the musty hallway, diluted slightly by the cold air behind him. He decided to close the door behind him, leaving it as it was. The walls had plain green wallpaper that looked as though it had been there for many years. No pictures hung, nor a mirror. There was nothing here of any significance. The torch picked out stairs, and two doors opposite each other.

All was quiet and still, motes of dust lazily drifting in the beam of light. He tried the door on his left and found it was the main living room. There was a large TV, beneath which was the equipment he assumed to be from the satellite on the roof. DVD, Video, and in another corner, a computer, probably linked to the internet. This person was certainly wired to what was going on in the world. There were also shelves of books, and books scattered around the place, along with empty food packets and newspapers. The books he noticed, were mostly scientific, the torch picking out a few titles: ‘Genetic algorithms’, ‘Theoretical aspects of Lithium and Helium’, and ‘Electronics, a student’s guide’. There was nothing else except the electrical equipment to interest Neil, and leaving that room to enter the room opposite, he was surprised at the difference. There was a large table full of newspapers, and cuttings put up around the walls of pictures and headlines. The torch picked out a few: ‘WERE NOT TO BLAME’ and ‘MINISTERS ONE MILLION PAYOUT’, ‘TORY SLEAZE SCANDAL WIDENS’, and ‘SLAP ON WRIST FOR LABOUR’S TRANSPORT SECRETARY'. Neil noticed that the running theme throughout was that they were all government related, and a book on the table was entitled: ‘Who wants to be a Freemason?’. There was nothing worth stealing in there, so he left it and decided to walk through into the kitchen, where he saw nothing out of the ordinary, until he reached the chopping board, where the torch picked out quite starkly what could only be blood splattered across it, and bits of flesh and bone from an unidentifiable species. He thought that perhaps the owner went out into the country and caught their own food. He panned the torch around again, and something caught his eye outside the window, in the back yard. It was a blinking red light. Was it another security camera? He thought. The torch beam picked out something he could not discern, but it wasn’t a camera. He remembered the yard having a high wall and barbed wire, so decided to try the back door, and found it open. The cold washed over him again, and he stepped out into the yard, the torch panning around as he tried to take in what he was looking at, trying to work out just what he was seeing. He saw that there was some kind of tarpaulin, or canvas sheet above him as a make-shift ceiling, stretched across the whole yard. He pointed the torch at the blinking red light and saw that it was coming from some kind of small machine he could not recognise. When the torch picked out several severed heads on the floor, he didn’t have time to recoil in shock as bright lights suddenly came on, like floodlights at a football ground. He turned suddenly, and saw that standing in the doorway from which he had come, was a man in combat trousers, with no top, and a bandana. He had a large, black and brown wiry beard and straggly hair. In one hand, he held a long, double-barrelled shotgun, the other, a blood-stained machete. He walked slowly towards Neil and stopped about four metres away.

"I’ve been expecting you," he said, pointing the shotgun at him.

"What the hell’s going on here?" said Neil, fearfully.

"You work for them, and they’ve sent you to spy on me, just like them". He gestured to the severed heads.

"They come here masquerading as postmen, but I know, see." He tapped the side of his head with the machete. "I know what they really are. They’re spies, working for the government, wanting to get a look at what I’m planning. Just like you. What’s your excuse?". Neil was momentarily stuck for words, his mind racing with confusion and fear.

"I’m a burglar. I’ll admit it. I’m a professional thief and decided to burgle you. Simple as that".

"Professional eh? Would a professional come into a house with the front door already open? That doesn’t sound like a professional to me. See? You’re one of them. I knew it. You’re a government spy, just like the others".

"You’re paranoid; nobody’s after you".

"No-one knows what I’m up to. They can’t see what I’m planning". He gestured upwards. Your satellites may be trying to penetrate through with all your fancy technology, but by the time you invent x-ray vision, it’ll be too late, I’ll have done what I set out to do. Say hello to Charlie. I named him after myself". He gestured behind Neil with the machete, who turned and saw something that he was surprised he had missed earlier, considering it was the most prominent thing in the yard. It was a large metallic sphere with many wires attached. It was a least thirty times the size of an average football. It didn’t take Neil long to work out what it was.

"It’s a nuclear bomb," he said. "It’s a nuclear bomb".

"Correct," said Charlie. "200 kilotons of thermonuclear destruction. It’s ready to go, and I intend to take it down to the houses of parliament and level London." Neil was stuck for words, but eventually said:


"Why?" Charlie said, "Why? I’ll tell you why shall I? For twenty-five years I worked for the government in their research department, helping develop biological weaponry and their deployment methods, as well as helping to expand the knowledge we already know about how fusion and hydrogen bombs work. The bombs we now have in storage are much more powerful and that is thanks to me. I’m the one who helped the government in their research, and what thanks do I get? Nothing that’s what. Chucked out because they said I was mentally unstable. Psycho Charlie, I was called once, by one of my superiors. Well, I soon put him in hospital. I was just so disillusioned with it all. Something didn’t quite fit. I was being used. Yes, that’s the word, used. What with all their secret societies, they were planning to use our research to further their own agendas and leave me out. It’s corrupt. It’s all corrupt, and I’m going to wipe them all out. They won’t have time to get in their nuclear bunkers either. Notice the ordinary man in the street doesn’t have access to one of these bunkers. No, the royal family and suits in parliament are alright aren’t they? I bet they’ve got one each, and I bet they’ve got gas masks. Notice they’re not handing them out? Keeping them for themselves, see? It’s all corrupt, and they sent you to spy on me, didn’t they? Posing as a burglar to try and get information".

"So you’re going to take this to London and set it off?" Charlie nodded.

"I’m gonna buy a lorry, special delivery".

"What about all the innocent people you’ll kill?" Charlie pointed the machete accusingly
at Neil. "Innocent blood is a consequence of war. It’s the price to pay for a better system, one free of sleaze and vice. I’m going to destroy London and destroy the corruption that festers there. I’m going to be doing society a favour and don’t you talk to me about spilling innocent blood. You’re part of that system, the system that’s spilt more innocent blood than this bomb will." Neil shook his head and for a moment he was not aware of his fear.

"You know, I think I agree with whoever fired you. You’re paranoid. You’ve built up such a mistrust of the government that you see everybody as a spy. You think that they, whoever ‘they’ are, are out to get you. You’re suspicious of everything and obsessed by it, and you’ve built this bomb out of your hatred for who you see as your enemy. This is your only answer. The only way you can get revenge for being hard done by, for being expelled for being mentally unbalanced. They were right, you are a psycho." 

"You see," screamed Charlie. "I knew it; you work for them. You’re a secret agent." He swung the machete at Neil’s face, smashing into his cheekbone. Another swing broke the hinge of his jaw and smashed several teeth. Neil staggered back against the bomb, holding up his hands in futile protection against Charlie’s onslaught. Furiously, Charlie hacked at Neil, taking off fingers, ears, and pieces of flesh, blood splattering Charlie and the bomb. When his arm grew tired, he pressed the gun against his stomach and pulled the trigger. Neil’s innards exploded, his spine blown in half, and Charlie’s combat trousers soaked in glistening crimson. With Charlie being of unstable mind, his anger at Neil, whom to him, represented somebody from the government, was such that he wasn’t thinking straight. He hadn’t thought straight for a long time, but here is where straight thinking would have been useful, as Charlie had not thought about the power of the shotgun. The bullets had easily passed through Neil, considering the barrel had been pressed against his stomach. The thin metal of the bomb had easily been blasted through, and its detonation could be triggered by its sulphuric content being exposed to air, which it duly was. For a split second, Neil and Charlie wondered why everything around them went dazzlingly white.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

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