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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7

This Exquisite Dance - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by CrystalWren
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 3

Precisely one week after New Years’ day, in the Londe family home an electrical wire blew, plunging the house into darkness. Well, it wasn’t actually darkness because it was the middle of the day, but there was the vacuuming to be done, and there was wood to be carved in the hobby shed down the end of the backyard. After the prerequisite fiddling in the fuse box was completed by the alpha male of the family, said male declared that it wasn’t a blown fuse, it had to be something to do with the wiring in the ceiling of the house. It was probably just some wires that had been chewed on by a rat. The decision was made to call an electrician immediately.

Guess whom the rat was?

Our boy Remy had been a busy lad in the time between Christmas and New Year. First, he had tapped into the Londe family phone system, diverting all phone calls made between certain times of the day past a hide-out he had set up in an empty house that was for sale down the street. It was a relatively simple process, and he simply spent most of the time refining it. He monitored each phone call, and memorised the phone numbers called. By the time that particular section of research, as Remy preferred to call it, he knew what hair salon his mo- mo- moth- that woman frequented, when she went to church, what she did there, what sorts of friends she had (not many). As for her husband, he knew what times he went to the pub with his friends (again, there weren’t many) what hardware store he used to supply his woodcarving hobby and what times each week he and his wife grocery shopping. Neither of them drove, so it was necessary to take a taxi, which they called from home. Remy also passed the time he was waiting for any in coming and out going calls memorising the numbers of any and all electricians in local and beyond areas. This wasn’t as hard as it sounds. As a consequence of his thief training Remy had near perfect recall. If you asked him what he was doing three years ago to the day, he could tell you not only what he was doing, but who he was doing it with, where he was doing it, what it was like, naming to the nearest round number the exact count of dust particles that were on the furniture, and also describing the weather. Phone numbers were easy. Finally, he was ready to make his move. Whilst the pair was out grocery shopping together, he sneaked into their house and set a timed miniature explosive on one of the major wires that connected the city electricity grid to the house. Risky, doing an operation like that in broad daylight- nosy neighbours were more risky than security guards any day- but that couldn’t be helped. Nobody saw a thing anyway, so that was all right. He was the best, after all. And when the explosive went off, the expected phone call went out and he was pleased (but not surprised) that it was one of the electricians with one of the first numbers he had committed to memory.

"Hello, Gatt Electrical, Jerry speaking, how may I help you?" said Remy pleasantly, in a perfect formal British accent.

Bernard Londe was thrown slightly off centre. He knew the store owner- drank with his every day, in fact. And he also knew the man’s employees. He had not known that there were any new employees at Gatt Electrical, and said so.

"I’m a hitchhiker over from England. Mr Gatt was kind enough to give me some part time work for a few days. What can I do for you?"

The old man rallied his thoughts. "Uhm, the power’s gone off in my house. I don’t think it’s the fuse box. It might be the wiring…" he trailed off, uncertainly.

"No problem sir, I’ll see to it myself. Name? Address?"

The old man gave out the relevant details, reassured by the nearly mesmerising voice. He was told that ‘Jerry’ would be around in just a few moments. He hung up, satisfied that all was in capable hands.

Just a few houses away, Remy carefully set the receiver down in its socket. He could have used one of those fancy headsets, but he had found that they just didn’t have the right sound. An ordinary phone was always better. He rubbed his hands together. Everything was going perfectly. So why was he shaking?

Gambit was an expert in ‘going under cover’ so to speak. So to maintain the cover of being an honest tradesman, he was two hours late. The time he had delayed hadn’t been wasted. He had left his listening station he had set up for himself in the empty house, and made his way fairly rapidly to the hotel room where he had first stayed when he came to this town- it was remarkable the amount of ‘no questions’ he had been able to buy off the nearly impoverished manager. He had gotten dressed in a reasonable facsimile of a Gatt uniform, and did a few aerobic exercises to acquire the faint sweaty aroma of a ‘real man’. Then he loaded all the appropriate paraphernalia of an electrician onto the front seat of his anonymous blue van and drove to the house of his soon-to-be victims. They were waiting for him on the front verandah when he drove up.

"Thanks for coming," said Bernard, shaking the hand of the person he believed to be ‘Jerry’.

"No problem," replied Jerry, with an utterly disarming smile. He was wearing a pair of mirrored sunglasses to go with those blue overalls and that smooth British accent overlayed every word.

"Do you- do you think there will be any difficultly fixin’ the power?" said Angele. There was something nagging at the back of her mind, but she couldn’t quite decide what it was.

Jerry turned the full force of his charming grin upon her. "No, Madam, no at all. As your husband said, it’s probably just the wiring. I’ll have it fixed in no time."

"Oh… good," she said. The thing that was bothering her suddenly seemed very far away, and unimportant. It was something about this mans’ voice, so soothing. It was as if it promised that everything would be okay…

Now that the woman was taken care of, Jerry turned his attention to her husband. "Where do you think the problem is?" he asked.

Being a typical male, the old man tried to pretend that he knew what was wrong with the power, but under the force of Jerry’s mirrored gaze, he finally had to admit that:

"I have no idea."

That established he led Jerry into the house and up to the roof where the wires lay exposed over the beams. The insulation was fibreglass batts, and Jerry winced when he saw them. Tiny filaments of the fibreglass would drift into that air and onto his skin. They were too fine to actually pierce the skin, but they would itch until he had a shower and they washed off. He gently shooed the old man out of his way, and set to work on the wiring.

Now that he was alone, Remy allowed ‘Jerry’ to fade into the back of his mind with the rest of the persona’s he used at times. He knew exactly what and where the problem was; after all, he was the one who had created it. He could fix it in five minutes flat. But our boy Remy was never one to waste an opportunity. He had the time and the means to do a lot of things to this house, and best of all he could never be caught at it, and he didn’t have to be quiet because they already knew he was there… Remy grinned, flourished a pair of wire cutters, and set to work.

Three hours later the old man stuck his head through the access hole in the ceiling. The electrician was doing something arcane involving a spanner, a screwdriver, and a length of copper wiring.

"Are you finished?" he inquired politely. "Only, my wife wants to make some lunch, and the kettle’s not working, so…" his voice trailed off meaningfully.

Jerry jumped, and looked startled.

"Sorry. Did I surprise you?"

Jerry smiled his trademarked grin and shook his head. "Nah, it’s a bit hard to sneak up on me."

Bernard looked doubtful. "You jumped," he pointed out. Then he frowned. "Sorry to ask this, but- why are you still wearing those sunglasses?"

"I have an eye condition," said that smooth, soothing voice. "Light hurts my eyes."

The voice washed over him in a gentle wave. All of a sudden it seemed unimportant that the light in the ceiling was already dim. As a matter of fact, everything seemed unimportant.

A tide of peace swept over Bernard, and a stupid smile settled on his face. He swayed a little on the ladder.

Whoops, thought Remy behind the cover of Electrician Jerry. I think I gave him a bit too much.

"Are you all right?" Jerry’s voice broke through the fog that surrounded the old man.

"Hmm? Wha’? What’s goin’ on?" In his daze, his distinct Cajun accent showed up behind the schooled ordinary American one. Instantly, Remy lost all kindliness towards that man in front of him. In playing the character Jerry, Remy had been able to forget most of his animosity towards the elderly pair in the joys of the successful pinch. But the Cajun accent remained him of what he was doing, and, most importantly, why he was doing it. Jerry left, and what remained was Gambit, and Gambit was not a happy little Vegimemiter. With an effort, Gambit restrained the urge to leap on the old man and throttle him. He turned his face to the wall and pretended to pack up his tools.

"You know," he said, "I would really love a cup of coffee."

The old man blinked, and tried to return to reality from the pink, fluffy clouds of peacefulness. "Yes, ah, right. I’ll ask my wife to make you a cup." Something occurred to him. "The power?"

"It’ll be back on in a few moments. I just have to switch it on at the fuse box."

The voice was distinctly unfriendly.

Aware that the atmosphere had changed, and not knowing why, the old man blinked. "Sure," he said. He started to go back down the ladder. Then he stopped. "Are- is everything all right?"

Remy looked up, and smiled a long, slow smile that had no charm in it whatsoever. In fact, it reminded the old man of a cat who has just had a small, juicy bird flutter down directly onto the lawn in front of it.

"Everything," Remy purred, "is just fine."

"S-s-sure." Bernard went- or fled, might be the better word- down the ladder. He had the most unsettling feeling he had escaped.

Escaped what?

The power was back one as promised. Jerry was packing up his tools and carrying them back to the van, and Bernard and his wife were sharing a greatly appreciated hot pot of tea between them. The old man stirred in a teaspoonful of sugar, and then helped drown it in milk. He noticed that his hands were shaking. There was something very unsettling about that electrician, So smooth one minute, downright scary the next. And Bernard was certain he had seen him somewhere before. He gulped down the tea, and was just reaching for the pot again when a slight creak from the floorboards in the hallway announced a third person. Jerry the electrician stood in the doorway, leaning on the doorjamb with his arms crossed and one foot tucked behind the other ankle. He was smirking at some personal joke- and by the looks of it, that joke was not a nice one. The overly familiar posture and the way the man was just standing there startled Bernard. It was as if he owned the house, not them.

Bernard cleared his throat. "Would you like some tea?" he asked.

Jerry laughed softly. " ‘Would you like some tea?’" he mimicked. "To tell you the truth, when I imagined speaking to you ‘would you like some tea’ was just about the only sentence I didn’t imagine you saying."

"I beg your pardon?" The old man wasn’t dumb. He knew that there was something strange going on- he wasn’t stupid- but he was well aware of the young man’s obvious strength and fitness. If the worst came, there was simply no way he could beat him in any sort of fight. The alarm bells were ringing in his head, almost deafening, and beneath it all was an almost overpowering instinct to run, run now. He tried to get himself under control. This is all in my imagination, he said to himself. Calm down. This is all perfectly explainable. For his wife’s part, she seemed to have frozen.

The young man arched an eyebrow. "You heard me," he drawled. He stepped forward, and in two strides reached the kitchen table. He grabbed a spare seat, reversed it, and sat on it with the back of the chair to his chest. He leaned forward, the movement serving to accentuate the muscles under his overalls. "This place is a lot smaller than I imagined. Shabby. Worn down." He looked directly at the pair. "A bit like you."

"Now see here!" Bernard surged to his feet, knocking his chair over with a loud and satisfying bang. The old woman began to cry, silently, tears trickling down her face. "How dare you come into our house and say things like that! You’re just the electrician! You have no right!"

Angele began to whimper. She tugged at the old man’s shirt in a futile effort to make him sit down. "Please sit down," she begged, "Bernard, sit down, please, please, just sit down."

But Bernard was not to be persuaded. "How dare you!" he said again. "What gives you the right?"

"I have every right," said the stranger in a voice like ice. "You owe me."

"And just what do we owe you? Are you insane?"

The electrician scratched his head, and a trace of mocking humour entered his smooth English voice. "Weeellll, I did fix you power. Admittedly, I was the one who wrecked in the first place…" his voice trailed off, and he titled his head to one side, smiling crookedly.


"I said I wrecked your power. Are you deaf?"

Bernard was beyond speech. He spluttered incoherently for a second, then managed to get some words out. "What kind of madman are you?"

"I assure you, I am in complete control of my senses." The voice had become extremely formal, and the ice entered the tone once more.

Bernard felt utterly helpless. The stranger across from him was surely mad, he would surely kill them all. But bravely, he drew himself up and ordered the younger man to leave his house. "Get out!" he added in thundering tones. But the subject of this firm dismissal just laughed at him.

All through this Angele cried softly, tears running over her hands were she had covered her face with them.

Suddenly the old man felt totally and utterly hopeless. "Please," he said softly, "just leave."


"Who are you? Why are you doing this?" his voice rose again with new strength.

Angele tugged at his shirt again. "Please Bernard, please," she begged.

The young man smiled nastily. "She knows," he said. "Don’t you, love?" he looked directly at the old woman. She just shook her head and cried harder. He laughed softly, as if there was some joke unbeknownst to everybody except himself. He touched the side of his sunglasses that he still wore with his hand.

"What is he talking about?" The old man looked at his wife, desperately looking for an explanation for this madness.

"Oh Bernard, can’t you see? Can’t you see who he looks like? "

"Looks like who? All I see is a psychopathic madman!"

Remy grinned. He took off his sunglasses to reveal his burning, red eyes. "Why father," he said mildly. "What a thing to say."


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