CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE
2 Days till the Global Unveiling of Bluetannia: Lugh looked out of the window of the Prime Minister’s car as the English landscape passed him by. He could feel the sense of nerves in the pit of his chest at the completion of his long gestating plan within his grasp. Right now was the tour with the sanguine name “Road to Energy Independence.” It was concocted by one of Charon’s converted to provide “a ray of light” to the populace and distract them from the chaos to come. It would cover three cities in three days, promoting the litany of benefits that will come with the use of Bluetannia.
The first stop was Bishop’s Hall Park in Brentwood. Charon, in his Prime Ministerial form, spoke before a crowd of fifty for thirty minutes about how parks like these will remain beautiful and pollution free for generations to come thanks in part to the Bluetannia. He also talked about how family’s will be freed from the financial burden of the petrol pump and be able to provide for their children’s education and go on holiday more, feeding in to every aspect of the economy.
That night, there was a town hall where he fielded questions from the locals about the details of his beautiful words. There were also questions from Labour supporters about allegations of police brutality in the press. Allegations that had first surfaced in the pages of the Guardian, which annoyed him considerably. Charon looked out from the car next to Lugh as the daytime country scenery along the A12 passed by.
“Gods, these humans complain a lot,” He opined with an exasperated sigh turning to Lugh as he read over a stack of papers placed. “Were they as bad when you were human?”
Before Lugh could answer, the ear’s of the lone human in the car perked up in fear. She was one of the Prime Minister’s chief personal assistants. Lugh looked up from his work and saw the woman’s eyes grow wide and she started moving slowly away from the two of them.
“The Prime Minister doesn’t mean that, Martha. He’s a little bit on edge,” Lugh reassuringly uttered as the woman reached for her phone. “Especially after the whole town hall incident.”
“Well, w—we can schedule a brief rest for them,” Martha said, moving back from the lined seat covering of the door. “Perhaps in between the speech at Wildford Lodge and the town hall tonight at Chelmsford Cathedral.”
Charon nodded his approval looking out from the window again. “That sounds perfectly fine.”
“Try to keep on script next time, Charon,” Lugh whispered a few moments later, moving back towards him as the assistant went about her business. “Don’t forget it was you who talked about instilling the people with hope and optimism. No sense turning yourself into a hypocrite before the unveiling.”
“I know. But why should I listen to you,” Charon uttered condescendingly. “You’re only one of his doppelgangers. The ‘original’ didn’t even have the sense to accompany me on this sodding tour.”
“Someone had to be back in the city to recite the spell,” the doppelganger fired back in a controlled rage. “Doing it at the site itself would be too much of a hassle.”
“I still don’t see why he couldn’t get one of you doppelgangers to do the job.”
“That is because only the original has the power to do it,” Lugh explained in a calmer tone of voice. “We can only mimic the physical form and characteristics of the original. We do not have his magical qualities.”
Charon chuckled, shaking his head in disbelief as the first signs of the cityscape appeared behind him. “For the life of me, I’ll never understand you Gaelic brood.”
The multi-car convoy arrived ten minutes later at the front gate of Wildford Lodge Prepatory in the middle of Chelmsford. They were greeted by a cheering crowd of seventy-five people who waved flags and holding banners, proclaiming the continued successes of the party. Charon looked out at the crowd from his window and smiled like a kid in a candy store as the cars arrived at the school’s front entrance. “I should have gone into politics ages ago. The idol worship is outstanding!”
The assistant was the first to step out of the car. She gripped her clipboard and walked through the onlookers who tried to barge inside the car, clearing a path for her boss to walk. Before Charon was able to unbuckle himself and dive in to the cheering masses, Lugh grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back inside.
“Don’t forget,” he said over the sound of French horns in the background. “Speak of the future and the benefit to the children of Great Britain. You should also proclaim fossil fuels as a forgotten relic in the history books.”
“Yes, I know. I did not forget,” Charon scoffed, shooing Lugh’s hand away and making his way back out of the car. “After awhile, these speeches become easier to recite than training a Cerberus!”
A couple of feet into the long journey, he shook many hands and kissed the heads of many babies. The pattern continued with different townspeople as he made his way with his staff up to the makeshift platform where the speech would occur in front of the school. Lugh looked on a few steps behind him, examining the scene as it unfolded and making sure it all went smoothly.
Ghede watched the scene undetected in the back of the crowd following Charon’s path to the stage. She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out her notepad, flipping briefly through the pieces of yellow notebook paper to review the prior day’s business. So far, there was nothing of use that he could send back to the others. But it was still early, she thought closing the notepad again. She then pocketed the notepad and glided out into a crowd in a black mist.
Ghede hovered invisibly over the crowd for a short period of time looking for the perfect person to inhabit. Near the edge of the stage, he saw a middle aged man with his wife and daughter cheering along with the others. He was wearing a casual dress shirt and khaki shorts standing within a foot of meeting Charon. He was as plain and ordinary as a divot of grass. In short, she thought, he was perfect.
It took just under a minute for her to slip in and gain control of the portly middle aged man’s body. The only affectation the man was a shiver and a twitch in his left hand as the process quickly completed itself. Ghede quickly situated herself in the new body and focused on Charon and his entourage as they were within seconds of meeting each other.
“I love you, Mr. Prime Minister,” Ghede said cheerfully through the middle aged man’s refined staccato voice as he approached. “I can’t wait to work for the Party in the next election to make sure we don’t lose our way as a nation.”
“Thank you, sir,” Charon answered with a perfectly tuned smile, shaking the man’s hand firmly. “I have no doubt your work will be a valuable asset towards continuing to make this a much stronger and truly greater Great Britain.”
As they shook hands, Ghede saw the fiery orange glow of Charon burning in his eyes. A byproduct of possession which varied depending on the entity. In this case, the orange glow representing the fires of Hades itself. Just before she let go of his hand, a flash of information rushed into her mind. It was a vision of the future, albeit one with very little detail. The only concrete thing she could grasp on to was an image of a glowing cast-iron suitcase lying on top of a table in a café.
Ghede let go of his hand shortly after. The two of them went silent for a couple of moments. They then exchanged pleasantries before he was hurried by Lugh back down the walkway. As she briefly caught sight of him in his bureaucratic form, the memories of their fight back in Valencia were rekindled in her mind.
“You do the Queen and country proud, Lucas,” She barked out as Lugh moved a few feet away from her. “Gods bless you, mon homme!” Ghede checked the human’s analog watch to see if there was enough time before having to change bodies. Twenty seconds shy of ten minutes. Damn!
Lugh gazed behind him where the middle aged man had collapsed to the ground catching his wife and child by surprise. So, this is what déjà vu feels like, he thought. There was little time to investigate his concerns though as the crowd started to move to where he stood. He jogged back up the line to join Charon and the rest of the entourage as they ascended up to the platform.
The local marching band from the school was already on stage, playing Queen’s “The Show Must Go On” from a set of risers on the platform. Charon reached the top of the platform followed by Lugh and the rest of his entourage. The crowd was sprawled out as far as the eye could see. Each one of them cheering and holding more of the signs supporting the Prime Minister and the Party.
“Did you notice something suspicious with one of the people in the crowd?” Lugh whispered to Charon as they moved to the podium.
“Which one are you referring to,” he whispered back looking out at the crowd. “They all look the same to me.”
“The middle aged man near the stage,” Lugh quickly answered. “I felt something strange just before I walked away from him. I think some refer to it as déjà vu.”
Charon looked unconvinced by the statement as he started to walk back around the podium. “Are you sure those doppelganger senses are not just misfiring?”
“I haven’t felt this way since I saw Ghede in Valencia.” he fired back.
The half smile turned into a look of pure mocking disbelief at Lugh’s theory as he stopped in the middle of the podium. “What possible reason would the ghost have to come here? She knows that she would be discovered in a second with all the bodies dropping like flies.”
“Bridget must have sent her here for information,” Lugh retorted, standing at the edge of the podium next to Charon. “The Guardian must be planning their response after our raid offensive.”
“And we shall be ready for them,” he smiled and patted him a couple of times on his right shoulder. “Now, let’s not keep these humans waiting!”
Lugh reluctantly relented and made his way over to the row of white folding chairs behind the podium. Charon meanwhile drank in the last few moments of applause and cheers from the crowd.
“Thank you! Thank you!” He said complimentary as the music slowly faded. Their applause peaked momentarily before settling down to a comfortable level. “You folks here in Chelmsford have given a lot of energy to these tired bones. I feel like a kid again!”
Lugh watched from his seat as the audience let out a hearty and deep laugh that reverberated throughout the front of the school. As the laughter died down a few seconds later, Charon settled into a groove reciting the speech that talked of the better world we will be leaving our children thanks to Bluetannia. A few minutes into the speech that was being well received from what he could see, the doppelganger’s phone started to ring.
“How is Charon doing up there?” The original Lugh asked from the confines of his Flat in central London, watching the speech.
“He’s doing fine, Original,” the doppelganger replied in a way that would not arouse too much attention from the other staff members next to him. “We’ve just arrived at the first speech in Chelmsford.”
“The Prepatory School. I can see that,” he muttered watching the TV. He then paced around the living room floor in a slow, measured manner. “Have you seen any protesters in the crowd?”
“No sir. None so far.”
Lugh nodded approvingly at the development standing next to his black leather upholstered couch. He watched as Charon energized the crowd with his rhetoric, igniting chants of “Turner! Turner!” from the gullible populace. “What was it the two of you were discussing before the speech began?” He asked, leaning on the back of the couch.
The doppelganger paused slightly upon hearing the question which drew uptick in suspicion from the Original Lugh. “Is it something that I should be concerned about?”
“There was one incident here a short while ago as he mingled with the citizenry.” The doppelganger blurted out.
Lugh groaned in frustration, walking toward painting on the wall. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” He replied to the growing irksomeness of the others next to him on the platform. “I was trying to get him down the walkway as quick as I could. As I got a few feet out of the area, the man yelled something to me.”
“What did he say?” Lugh asked.
The doppelganger paused for a brief moment, wiping the sweat off his brow. “You do Queen and country proud, Lucas. Gods bless you, mon homme!”
The last two words, ‘mon homme,’ froze Lugh in place. His fist balled up in a quiet rage that was felt through the many miles and satellite relays back to the doppelganger. “Excellent work, sir,” he uttered, trying to calm himself down. “If you see her again, dispose of her immediately. Are we clear?”
“Yes, sir.” The doppelganger replied before hanging up.
Lugh hung up shortly after and pocketed his Molltach. He then sighed and walked over to the writing desk in his bedroom. On top of it was a stainless steel suitcase with a black handle which drooped on the wooden desktop like a price tag. He opened the complicated lock of the case and looked inside as a green glow hit his face up to the roof of his bedroom. “Very soon...we shall rise!”