Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Connection

Joan Pratchett, a report for the Globe, turned away, nauseated, from the rape/murder across the room. She wondered why the police had asked her here.

"What killed her?" she asked the Detective Thompson, who had led her in. "There's not a mark on her."

"We don't know," replied Thompson. "The heart just seems to have stopped. But that's not the worst part. The man next door heard a crash, came rushing over here and found the front door locked. When no one answered his knocks, he called the police. When we got here, there was no one in here but the body."

"Then how did the killer get out?"

Thompson led her to an open bedroom window. Outside was a seven-floor drop.

"An expert rock climber?" she suggested.

"No, we interviewed the people in the area. And this is what we got."

He handed her a photograph showing a man standing in thin air.

"Recognize him?" asked Thompson.

"Yes," she said. "He was that man I interviewed a few months ago. He claimed he was working on a process that would produce a connection between all living things. He thought if this power could be tapped, it could do incredible things. He wanted to use it for the good of all mankind.

"We need to ask you to do something very dangerous. We want you to do a follow-up interview. We will have you rigged with a concealed microphone. We need to see if he has developed this connection and what it can do. There have been other crimes recently which are seemingly impossible. Along with rapes, there were thefts of rare art objects, not easy to fence.They may all be by this same guy. Are you willing to take the risk?"

She glanced back at the woman dead on the bed. "Okay," she said weakly. "I'm willing."

She walked up to the house slowly, trying to appear confident. She reminded herself that the police were listening and had promised to come to her aid if something went wrong.

"Come in, Ms. Pratchett," he said.

"Thank you, Dr. Liverpool," she responded. "I appreciate your granting me this interview. I wanted to follow up on how you were doing with your research."

He led her into a posh living room full of expensive furniture. Around the room were various expensive looking objets d'art. Joan wondered if they might be the ones that had been stolen. The way young man looked at her was unnerving.

"As a matter of fact, I have had some success," began the young man. He opened his sports coat to show around his waist a strange-looking wide belt with various pieces of electronic circuitry on it and a complicated-looking box in the front. "This is my new invention, the connector, which connects me into all living things."

"What can it do?"

He lifted his hands, and various small objects began to float around the room. "I want to use this power for the good of mankind, and I was wondering if you would be willing to help me with the publicity."

"I'm not sure..." Joan began.

"Oh, come now. Surely we can come to some kind of understanding. Besides, that microphone you're wearing is no longer working."

"I need to think about this."

"Oh, don't be shy. you do want to make love to me, don't you?"

"There is nothing I would like less," she blurted out.

"Come, come, be reasonable. We don't want to have to do this the hard way, do we?"

Joan remembered vividly the body of the young woman she had seen earlier. Just then the picture window shattered and the police rushed in. The first officer was thrown against the wall, and the rest began to fire.

Joan shouted, "The belt, get the belt." Three bullets converged on the box in the front. It exploded in a shower of sparks.

She entered his hospital room, knowing he was not expected to make it.

"What happened?" Joan asked. "You said you wanted to help humanity."

"I thought I did, but I was fooling myself. I tapped in into all living things, but that included both good and evil. While the lower beings were. I think, neutral, humans were really conflicted. There was good there, but there was a fundamental evil, a self-centeredness that tainted even the good. There seemed to be some source of good, but it was far away and I could not tap into it. But the biggest problem was me. I found I was not as good as I thought I was. The lure for power, to gratify every urge was just too great."

As the hospital chaplain entered the room, Joan hurried out, tears streaming down her face. 


No comments:

Post a Comment