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About Literature / Hobbyist Dirk HoderinMale/United Kingdom Groups :iconpnf2-twisted-truths: PnF2-Twisted-Truths
You Cant Fight The Lies
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #72
Angela made sure to keep her sword pointed at his back in subtle ways for the duration of the walk into the town square, keeping close enough to him that he couldn’t easily duck away from her, but keeping at just enough distance that he couldn’t easily turn round and knock it from her grip.
It was also altogether terrifying to see just how easily she managed to make sure nobody noticed that she had a sword pointed at his back to begin with.
Crowe walked ahead by about five paces, so that he could get away easily, should he break free from Angela’s grip.
As per usual, he was wearing an outfit just about as hideous as the last: a black and white chequered suit with a matching tie and shoes, chosen perhaps to irritate him as much as possible.
It was working.
“Let’s see if your friend’s taken our advice” he mused, and Floyd scowled at him as they turned the corner to the town square.
At this time of night, there was hardly anybody milling about and
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #71
As it turned out, it was pretty easy to convince Mr Bradley to let him raid the armoury: all he’d asked of him was to make sure that Crowe ended up dead, and save for the slight implication that Floyd’s survival might be less important, he had objections to that.
A couple of rats in fancy suits came out of the armoury and gave him a courteous nod as they made their way out into the rest of the building, leaving him alone with the weapons designers and the arsenal of swords, knives, axes and armour.
For a fleeting second, he wondered just how far somebody could get if they got hold of some of the stuff in here and just tried to cut a swathe through the building.
He didn’t think it would be a particularly long rampage, given the marines stationed there, but he reasoned it could easily be a much more bloody rampage than it otherwise would be.
But for now, he just wanted to rip two mice apart, and he didn’t need much equipment for that.
One of the technicians notice
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #70
Floyd’s home was only a single stop away on the train, and throughout the entire journey, he fidgeted constantly, brimming with rage at the prospect of anybody having the audacity to attack Floyd in his own home - let alone somebody he should have just killed when he had the chance.
He wasn’t going to be so considerate this time.
As much as he wanted to just head straight to MI6 headquarters and fit himself out with just about every bit of armour he could find, Milo simply had to check his house first, incase his captors were trying to get the better of him and the meeting point was just a distraction.
He screwed his fists up hard as the train slowed down, and he caught sight of a worried-looking woman who shuffled away from him slightly, noticing his barely-contained rage.
He gave her a polite little smile, but it didn’t do a lot of good as the train finally came to a stop, where a large crowd of anxious-looking mice stood waiting.
The moment the door opened and he s
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #69
His coffee had been piping hot when he’d started deliberating over a rhyme, but now he actually came to drink it, Floyd found it had gone stone cold.
It was difficult to put into words quite how he’d felt about the funeral, and as he agonised over how best to make his sentiments fit the rigid and awkward rhyme scheme he’d set himself, Floyd wondered if perhaps poetry wasn’t the best hobby for a spy.
If, perhaps, he’d taken up stamp collecting or wood carving, then maybe he might have fewer late nights like this.
As it was, the noise from the pub below him had finally stopped, and that meant that it was at least kicking out time.
Maybe the quiet would help him focus.
He drank the rest of his coffee down in one go, then got up and walked to the kitchen in his dressing gown to make himself another, all the while throwing words around in his head that might convey his discomfort and also rhyme with despair.
No more than three little bits of cheap instant coffe
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #68
Floyd never actually been to a funeral before, or at least not one like this.
Back in the sleepy little community he’d grown up in, there had only been one christian family, and as far as he could remember, none of them ever seemed to die.
It wasn’t that such faiths were shunned, more that the reliance on human society had brought about a sudden desire for religion amongst the very first rodent colonies, and with that came the inescapable notion that the benevolent god they should all worship was actually a human.
Naturally, this hadn’t sat well with fledgeling rodent society, and having never had a use for gods before, christianity in its default form never really caught on despite the efforts of the various sects to attract followers with more palatable rat gods.
As such, the British Isles had never found a dominant religion, and in the modern day, the act of disposing of the dead was a far more complicated affair than it otherwise might be; with burial instructions
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #67
“Good morning, mister Colby. How’re the wounds?”
Mister Bradley’s tone was as measured and inscrutable as always, but Floyd was rather of the impression that if he had something really bad to say to him, then he would be far more direct about it, and so he relaxed a little as he sat down opposite him and nodded to indicate that he was ready for the debriefing to begin.
“Fur’s covering them up pretty well and they don’t hurt much at all now; I’ll be ready for full duties again by next week.”
Bradley nodded to him, then held out a paw, and Floyd obediently placed a briefcase on the table, followed by his sword.
“Thankyou” Bradley said, then opened the briefcase to look at the large stack of papers within, which he had organised as neatly as he could without the aid of a binder.
“That should be satisfactory, Colby” he said, quietly, before picking his sword up slowly and inspecting it, “If only this was in
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #66
Today the bandages came off.
Milo looked at himself in the mirror as he took hold of the bandages on his right arm and began pulling at them systematically to remove them.
It had been about two months since he’d got back from New York, but thankfully, MI6 had a very generous sick leave policy, and so he’d spent those months in just about as much comfort as he possibly could, having been sent to the hospital just about the moment he got back to the UK.
Floyd had needed a spell in hospital too, but he got away with slightly less severe injuries.
Since getting back, he’d been more or less unable to write his usual paperwork, and so once Floyd was well enough to take public transport, he’d come over to help him fill out the veritable mountain of papers associated with their exploits, though recovering from serious injuries had somewhat put a damper on any other such activities they might have otherwise got up to.
That said though, having so much time away from his d
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #65
A familiar figure clambered into view from the end of the shipping container, and as soon as the figure stood up, Floyd could no longer feel secure in the knowledge that there were truly no supernatural forces at work within the world.
Because beyond sorcery, he could think of no way that Maynard could possibly still be alive.
He watched in complete awe, as the huge rat marched towards them, gripping the mace he’d come to associate with despair and death like the scythe of the grim reaper, and merely babbled incoherently as he held the mace aloft, just inches away from the plane’s nose engine.
Finally, he managed to speak, though his tone of voice was more of a terrified shriek than the strong and authoritative effect he hoped for.
“Get us out of here now! Please! Get us out!”
But Harry was just as stunned as he and Milo were, and before she managed to kick one of the rudder pedals, Maynard had raised the mace into position, and heaved it like a spear into the f
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #64
It was about a minute after Milo finally passed out that Floyd noticed a strange buzzing from behind him.
Almost drowned out by the airport’s incessant din, he turned round to see an entirely different kind of plane coming down to land: one far more suited to his size and which he remembered from the last time he’d been in New York.
A rather ugly-looking plane with three motors came down just over to the side of him, and stopped abruptly, spinning around on its left wheel so that it faced the way it had come by the time it finally stopped.
The motors stopped and the door burst open to reveal Harry - still dressed in her bar staff uniform - who leapt from the cockpit and opened the cargo loading door with a heave, before running over to him.
“Get in, now!” She ordered, and Floyd didn’t even think to argue, as she picked Milo up and hoisted him over her back, then turned and headed back to the plane.
Within a minute, they had loaded Milo onto the back and la
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #63
“You’re bleeding” Floyd breathed.
Milo nodded and moved himself towards the end of the bag, before another suitcase came down behind him and reduced the amount of space that he and Floyd had to themselves to less than either of them was comfortable with.
He laughed weakly at Floyd’s concern and opened the zip just a tiny bit, so that some amount of fresh air could come in.
“You too, sweetie.”
The tiny sliver of light exposed Floyd’s concern, as well as the amount of pain he was in.
Floyd was grimacing, sucking air in through his teeth to cope with the presumably agonising pain, but ultimately he was just a sorry sight to behold.
His suit was absolutely covered in blood from the fight, and a worrying amount of it was his, while his sword hung visibly from his waist and his fur had clumped into ugly little knots from all the sweat, blood and effort.
Even his whiskers were limp, and the look of determination on his face was startling.
Though, his
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #62
Getting back to the Grand Interchange proved tougher than either of them had initially expected.
It didn’t take very long at all for the water pouring out of the wall to cause enough commotion for the humans to shut the entire line down, meaning that the train they’d hopped onto had needed to stop only one station down the line, instead of the two or three that they had hoped for.
From there, it had taken a significant amount of walking to get to a rodent station and then a long time riding the rodent train network all the way to the Grand Interchange.
And finally, once there, they’d had to wait about an hour.
Nonetheless, once the train that went to JFK airport finally did roll in, both of them practically fainted with relief at being able to finally get out of New York.
That late in the day, the only people aboard the train were mostly tourists heading back to their home countries or businessfolk on their way to catch a flight to somewhere far-flung and exotic, and
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #61
Milo blinked his eyes in disbelief, but quickly came back to reality as another explosion ripped the other end of the hangar apart, and the tank emerged, trailing burning bits of drone behind it and causing the other rats and mice around it to scatter every which way.
He was even fairly certain he saw a few Cerberus agents in the rout.
“Oh, the paperwork for this is going to be a nightmare” he said, with an exasperated sigh
Slowly, it began to turn round, rotating its gun as it did so and forcing him to take flight once again, even going so far as picking Floyd up entirely, so as to ensure that his shorter legs didn’t slow them down.
Behind him, he heard the sound of the tank advancing, but just as he expected it would let loose another shell and surely obliterate he and Floyd, he heard it rotating, and he looked back to catch a brief glimpse of one brave fighter running up to it and placing his paw on the side of the tank, before going rigid and dropping to the groun
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #60
The rat swung his axe at him, but Floyd was quicker than he’d expected, and by the time the axe head had reached where he was, Floyd had dived to the ground between his legs, and with a rough grab at the rat’s tail, he pulled himself up from the ground in a flash, before leaping up onto his back and driving his sword through the back of his head.
Still holding onto the back of his neck as he fell, Floyd allowed the man’s body to hit the ground before he jumped up and headed straight for the now fleeing Crowe, drawing another two guards to him.
And away from Milo.
He ran as hard as he could toward the running Crowe, but by the time he’d closed anything like the kind of gap he needed to land a successful strike, one of the guards barred his way, forcing him to sprint to the left, and leap headlong into the crowd.
“Run, Milo!” He shouted as he sailed through the air towards the rapidly emptying front row.
He caught sight of all four of the guards he
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #59
He couldn’t believe his eyes.
Frankly, he was impressed that in the time they had spent on the case, the value of their lives had increased exponentially, but while he felt vindicated seeing a monetary value attached to their exploits, the far more prominent response was fear, of the kind that grips the body in icy clutches and threatens to stop the heart.
For a second or so, Floyd was completely paralysed by the prospect of Milo being hunted down by Cerberus’ agents and the lengths they might go to to kill him.
He was tough, but even Milo wasn’t invincible, and with the wounds he’d sustained so far, he dreaded to think of how a potential attacker might use them against him.
Little flashes of Milo’s lifeless body lying in a heap in his own home clouded his mind and no matter how hard he tried to get them out of his head, the mental image of his face set in a mask of desperation as an indication of his last conscious thoughts, haunted him.
And without so mu
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #58
Once inside, two much larger and more imposing guards escorted them down the last stretch of tunnel to the main complex, and Floyd made sure to pay special attention to the activity going on around him as they were led to their destination.
There was an entirely different atmosphere here now: the amount of guards standing around with their weapons visible was far greater than it had been the last time, and now individuals in red uniforms could be seen walking around among the other workers, and he caught sight of one of them coming out of the hangar where he’d sabotaged a drone, which he recognised instantly as officer Higgins.
A feeling of betrayal stung at him as he watched him going about his duties here like he had when he was at MI6 headquarters.
Higgins had always seemed like a good man, for the little time they spent together in the canteen, in fact, he’d been one of the first people to actually work out that he and Milo were a couple, and had been rather supportive
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Literature
Smell a Rat update #57
The advice Harry had given regarding the navigation of the sewers was thankfully accurate, and so Milo found that the walk through the sewers was at least as short as he could have hoped for.
Though it was unfortunately just as foul an experience as he expected it to be.
Floyd led the way and he followed dutifully, but even through the painkillers he’d taken before they left, he could feel his wounds nagging at him, and he feared what heinous infections might lurk in the rancid water and filthy walls.
And without his armour he felt more vulnerable than ever.
He was completely unprotected against the swords and knives and polearms that awaited him in the Cerberus complex, and without a weapon of his own, his odds in a fight ran down next to zero, making him a nice, big, easy target.
He would also make an exceptionally good bargaining chip if somebody were to hold him down and use him against Floyd.
In fact, as they went through the sewers towards the noise and light that heralded
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so yeah, this is the newest stuff, there's plenty of old stuff to look through too

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This is very well written; the flow and the imagery is especially nice, with the little rhetorical questions and whatnot, that said, I ...

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Here's a thought, DA.

I'm writing a spy thriller about rodents who go round stabbing each other and hiding from humans and whatnot. Perhaps it might be more prudent to recommend, say, James Bond fanfiction or gay romance or maybe a drama about a family of rats trying to live in a postapocalypse or something like that.

I'm really not here to bash "Blank X Reader" stories - seems they're popular on here and all, but I'd very much like it if DA could put some more suitable material in the "more from DA" section, because I'm pretty sure somebody interested in Smell a Rat wouldn't be interested in "Fem!LokiXSad!Reader" stories and vice-versa.

Or maybe it's just that there's so much of all that kind of stuff that it's the overwhelming result in any literature search? I don't know. I'm definitely not about to bash on fanfiction because I've written a load of it myself, but damn, there has to be more to the writing side of this site than "XReader" stories.

Anyhoo, rant over. Go about your business.

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Angela made sure to keep her sword pointed at his back in subtle ways for the duration of the walk into the town square, keeping close enough to him that he couldn’t easily duck away from her, but keeping at just enough distance that he couldn’t easily turn round and knock it from her grip.
It was also altogether terrifying to see just how easily she managed to make sure nobody noticed that she had a sword pointed at his back to begin with.
Crowe walked ahead by about five paces, so that he could get away easily, should he break free from Angela’s grip.
As per usual, he was wearing an outfit just about as hideous as the last: a black and white chequered suit with a matching tie and shoes, chosen perhaps to irritate him as much as possible.
It was working.
“Let’s see if your friend’s taken our advice” he mused, and Floyd scowled at him as they turned the corner to the town square.
At this time of night, there was hardly anybody milling about and the streets were eerily quiet, save for the occasional rumble of trains from adjacent, active stations, all of which made it easier to see Milo casually leaning back on a metal statue, and also to see the rifle that he’d placed behind his leg as he did so.
If he’d picked up on that, then surely one of his captors would, too.
Milo leaned forward from the statue and took a god look at them, then took hold of the rifle by the end of its barrel, so that it almost appeared that he was using it as a walking stick.
His dark blue coat shifted a little in the breeze that came into the station through the old tunnels, and even at the distance he stood at, he could see where a fire had singed his fur, which made him feel worse that anything that his captors had done to him.
“Stop right there” Milo instructed, and duly, they stopped, with Angela keeping her sword trained on her back as Crowe prepared himself to speak with Milo.
Crowe took a breath to speak, but Milo interrupted him, “spare me the details, Crowe. I’ve got a cheque for ten million pounds in my pocket; you didn’t make any demands, so I’m just assuming you want money for Floyd’s release, but really, it doesn’t matter to me what you want. All that matters is whether you choose that I kill you today or about a week after you cash that cheque, and those options are entirely dependent on you releasing Floyd right now.”
Milo glared at Crowe, then picked up the rifle and worked the action, lifting a bullet into the chamber before holding the weapon in a ready position as a clear warning.
“Now what have you done to Floyd?”
Crowe shook his head nonchalantly, “oh, just the usual… we roughed him up a bit, pulled his whiskers out one by one, you know, the usual. Nothing out of the ordinary, certainly.”
Milo took a quick look at him, before turning his attention back to Crowe.
“You’re really not helping your chances of getting that cheque.”
But Crowe just laughed a horrible, sickly laugh and replied “who said I wanted the money?”
He could feel Angela’s smug face behind him as Crowe continued, “No, Milo. If I wanted money I would have just said so, but there’s no amount of money you can give me that could ever replace the empire I had, and you made pretty sure the branding around it all went down the toilet, too. I’m just here right now to watch you suffer.”
Amazingly, Milo seemed to retain his composure, “That was my other assumption.”
Slowly, he reached into his coat to pull out the cheque and held it aloft, then tore it up.
“You see, mister Pitman. It seems you’ve got a choice of your own to make: let my glamorous assistant do the honours for you, or kill him yourself.”
Milo seemed to stop entirely, then looked at him with mournful eyes, before raising the rifle and pointing it at him.
Even from halfway across the town square, he could see Milo fighting back tears as he closed an eye, saw his whiskers sag and saw his trembling paws as he took a long, deep and deliberate breath to calm his nerves.
And he felt safer in that moment than he had for hours.
Milo didn’t tremble when he got upset.
Angela had made sure to tuck herself away behind him, incase Milo tried to shoot her, but neither she nor Crowe seemed to have picked up on Milo’s deception.
But now the question remained what his plan was.
Milo stood there for a little while longer, perfectly pretending to break down at the prospect of shooting him, and just to sell it some more, Floyd called out to him, “do it! Don’t give these assholes the satisfaction!”
Milo now seemed to be choking on his own tongue as he wrapped a finger round the trigger, and in spite of how plainly he could see that Milo was faking it, he felt a genuine little trickle of fear as he seemed to prepare to shoot him.
He’d quite forgotten how convincing Milo could be when he really tried.
He could even see a tear begin to roll down Milo’s face, then he cried out in anguish and pointed the gun to the ground.
“Take me instead!”
Milo wailed his request in the tones of a true broken man, and Floyd was no longer sure that he was completely in control; what could he stand to gain from sacrificing himself?
And then he remembered his lack of family ties and came to the awful realisation that while he had nothing to gain from sacrificing himself, he stood to lose an awful lot less.
Crowe seemed to consider his proposal seriously and, now fearing the worst, Floyd shook his head at him vigorously.
“No! Just get it over with!” He called to Milo, but he stood resolute.
He felt Angela poke her sword into his back just a little, for no reason he could think of other than to be pointlessly antagonistic, and he responded with a growl as he watched Crowe weigh up the pros and cons of letting Milo take his place.
“Okay, sure. I get to see at least one of you die either way. Drop the gun and take his place.”
Smell a Rat update #72
Sorry for missing a couple of uploads. Next week is the last update. Yeah, I know. Last one! Crazy right!? Thanks for staying with me for this stupid project.
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As it turned out, it was pretty easy to convince Mr Bradley to let him raid the armoury: all he’d asked of him was to make sure that Crowe ended up dead, and save for the slight implication that Floyd’s survival might be less important, he had objections to that.
A couple of rats in fancy suits came out of the armoury and gave him a courteous nod as they made their way out into the rest of the building, leaving him alone with the weapons designers and the arsenal of swords, knives, axes and armour.
For a fleeting second, he wondered just how far somebody could get if they got hold of some of the stuff in here and just tried to cut a swathe through the building.
He didn’t think it would be a particularly long rampage, given the marines stationed there, but he reasoned it could easily be a much more bloody rampage than it otherwise would be.
But for now, he just wanted to rip two mice apart, and he didn’t need much equipment for that.
One of the technicians noticed him and turned round to him, and Milo recognised the man as the same one who’d given him the climbing magnets before he’d headed into The Shard.
“Ah, Pitman. Didn’t expect to see you back here so soon. What can I do for you?”
He fixed the man with a hard, cold stare, “All my armour. Now.”
Sensing the urgency in his tone, the man quickly turned tail and scampered over to the full set of armour that had been shipped back from New York, before hurriedly fetching it from its case and returning to him with a look of apology on his face.
Of course. They would have to make a replacement for the compromised breastplate, and as such, the armour was incomplete.
“I’m afraid we haven’t got the replacement back yet” he said, but Milo thanked him anyway, before heading over to his locker and pulling out the gloves.
And about halfway through putting them on, he stopped.
In spite of how reckless and desperate a move Crowe had pulled, it would be entirely possible that they’d anticipated what he would do, down to the letter.
And if that was the case, then Floyd was at far more risk than he felt at all comfortable with.
He needed an ace up his sleeve.
Slowly, he fitted the last glove over the scar on his paw and then turned to the technician, taking one of the legpieces and stripping off as he spoke.
“Do you still have that prototype rifle?”
“I think so, yes” he replied, and Milo made a little smile to himself, “same ammunition?”
Again, the man gave a quiet affirmative, and Milo felt a plan beginning to thoroughly burrow its way into his brain.
“Thankyou, you’ve been most helpful.”
Floyd’s home was only a single stop away on the train, and throughout the entire journey, he fidgeted constantly, brimming with rage at the prospect of anybody having the audacity to attack Floyd in his own home - let alone somebody he should have just killed when he had the chance.
He wasn’t going to be so considerate this time.
As much as he wanted to just head straight to MI6 headquarters and fit himself out with just about every bit of armour he could find, Milo simply had to check his house first, incase his captors were trying to get the better of him and the meeting point was just a distraction.
He screwed his fists up hard as the train slowed down, and he caught sight of a worried-looking woman who shuffled away from him slightly, noticing his barely-contained rage.
He gave her a polite little smile, but it didn’t do a lot of good as the train finally came to a stop, where a large crowd of anxious-looking mice stood waiting.
The moment the door opened and he stepped out, Milo could sense that something was wrong.
The crowd around him was made up exclusively of mice, giving him an uninterrupted view of the entire platform, including the entrance, where yet more mice all poured in, eager to get their place on the train and elbowing and shoving at one another in their haste, while a fine, haze-like dark smoke drifted in with the crowd.
Around him, he heard hushed talk of worry and fire and at the faintest trace of the burning wood smell that teased at his nose, Milo ran as fast as he could through the crowd.
He called out and waved for people to get out of his way, and where he had to, he pushed the occasional innocent bystander aside in his rush to get to the stairs, which he took three at a time.
He heard the mice all talking about him, wondering aloud if he was sound of mind, but right now he couldn’t even begin to care about what they thought of him as he came to the top of the stairs and walked through the entrance that took him out into the alley behind the Two Bears.
Here he could see that the mice were all coming from down the alley, hiding beneath the industrial bins and rushing away from the humans that had amassed at the end of the alley, where the pub that Floyd called his home now stood engulfed in flames and positively drowning in the impenetrable black smoke that came from every window and door, and which spilled into the air like oil on the sea.
He could see down the alley where fire engines and ambulances had amassed, their lights splashing the little alley with their warning colours as the paramedics tended to victims of the fire and the firefighters swarmed about, trying to douse the flames.
And somewhere, in all that, was Floyd’s home.
As much as he logically knew the fire had been set by Angela, he couldn’t help but to run headlong at the burning building, ducking down behind the bins as he made his way to the entrance to Floyd’s house.
Hidden beneath one of the bins lay the entrance to his home, which already had smoke pouring out of it, but now at the end of his wits with worry, Milo took a deep breath and plunged into the building.
The stairs were thankfully just carved out of the brick, and so hadn’t burned away, but once inside, he found himself at a considerable lack of space, which only slowed his progress as he ascended the stairs and forced him to take a lungful of the foul smoke that swirled around him.
He could barely see his own paw infront of him and the smoke stung at his eyes, yet still he pressed on to the top of the staircase.
Floyd’s door would have been here, but now there was just a hole in the wall half his size.
And seething red flames on the other side.
Hastily, Milo ducked down and snarled against the pain and effort as he barged his way into Floyd’s house, then called out for him as he picked his tail up from the searing hot ground.
As he’d suspected, there was no response, but still he pushed forward.
There wasn’t a single thing in Floyd’s house that wasn’t now entirely consumed by the flames, and he felt horrible looking at it all, helpless to save anything.
“Floyd!” he called, but still nothing came back, save for the roar of the fire and the sounds of the commotion down below.
He trembled with worry as he went through the burning house, not even bothering to use the doors, instead opting to just pull his suit over him and push through the walls, until he came to the bathroom, which no longer even had a structure and was just a puddle of molten plastic on the ground within a pile of ash.
And beyond that, he could see the fire eating its way through the floor of the attic.
He was long gone by now.
Taking one last gulp of the horrible smoke, Milo turned back and ran for the door as he heard the attic begin to give way, and as the floor shook, bits and pieces of Floyd’s home rained down on him, singeing his fur and threatening to melt the soles of his shoes as he blundered on.
Dropping his tail, Milo all but dived for the entrance, hoping to fit his much larger frame through the door better if he went through all in one go.
It didn’t help all that much as it turned out, and he still had to awkwardly wriggle through the little hole as the flames began to take hold on his clothes and he was left with no option but to inhale another lungful of the noxious fumes as he stumbled and half-fell down the stairs back out to the sweet, sweet early spring air.
He could feel his head swimming and his lungs burning as he lurched his way down and out into the alley, but he didn’t stop for breath as he turned his attention to the little station that he’d come in from and ran over to it as fast as he could.
Mr Bradley was going to sign off on an equipment withdrawal, whether he liked it or not.
His coffee had been piping hot when he’d started deliberating over a rhyme, but now he actually came to drink it, Floyd found it had gone stone cold.
It was difficult to put into words quite how he’d felt about the funeral, and as he agonised over how best to make his sentiments fit the rigid and awkward rhyme scheme he’d set himself, Floyd wondered if perhaps poetry wasn’t the best hobby for a spy.
If, perhaps, he’d taken up stamp collecting or wood carving, then maybe he might have fewer late nights like this.
As it was, the noise from the pub below him had finally stopped, and that meant that it was at least kicking out time.
Maybe the quiet would help him focus.
He drank the rest of his coffee down in one go, then got up and walked to the kitchen in his dressing gown to make himself another, all the while throwing words around in his head that might convey his discomfort and also rhyme with despair.
No more than three little bits of cheap instant coffee were needed for the drink, and the water that came piped in from the pub’s existing plumbing was piping hot once it had gone through the small heating coil situated just a few centimetres back along the hot water pipe, though there was less steam this time, he noted.
He would probably have to change the battery on that soon.
Floyd took a sip and made his usual groan at the poor quality as he headed back to the living room and took his pen out to write in the book he’d left on the desk.
Contraire worked fairly well, he decided, staring blearily at the little book and willing it to write itself.
Now if only he could come up with a line to make that word work.
He dipped the little pen into his inkwell, hovered it over the start of the line and began to write, sticking his tongue out a little as he did so.
When he came to the end of the line, he put the full stop in and drew a sharp breath as something icy cold, and with a needle-sharp point got pressed up against his neck.
“Stand up. Slowly”
He’d have been happy to never hear that voice again in his life, but there was no mistaking Angela’s voice, and as he looked at her shadow on the ground to his left, he could see the sword she had pointed to his neck.
Momentarily, he felt an urge to reach his paw over to his underarm, but he remembered that his sword was currently being worked on by the armoury, and so he thought better of it.
Instead, he got to his feet just about as slowly as he possibly could, just to spite her.
“Must feel heavy after getting used to that fancy one.” he growled, but Angela remained silent behind him, until he had finally stood up straight.
“Go to the phone and call Milo” she hissed, and without a word of protest, Floyd walked over to the telephone and began punching in numbers.
He considered dialling a takeaway, but realised that might end up getting them involved in trouble they didn’t need to be involved in, but nonetheless, he decided to play up just about as much as he could get away with, given the circumstances.
After all, Angela hadn’t just killed him yet, which meant that she was under strict instructions not to, and he’d be damned if he didn’t take the opportunity to test her patience.
As agonisingly slowly as he could, Floyd put in Milo’s phone number, even going so far as to pretend to have forgotten his phone number midway through, just to draw the whole process out as long as he could.
He felt her press the sword into his neck harder, but he just smiled to himself.
“Patience is a virtue, Angela” he said, coyly, whilst making a grand show of suddenly remembering the phone number he needed.
“Oh of course! Eight, three, six! How could I possibly forget!”
He continued putting the numbers in as slowly as possible, and after a full minute of dragging the process out, he finally pushed the button to place the call.
The phone’s loudspeaker chirped into life and broadcast the repetitive dialing tone, leaving him a moment to make a nice, snide remark at her.
“You know, this seems awfully petty of you” he said, but still Angela ignored him.
After five dial tones, Milo finally picked up and Floyd let out a little breath of relief that there wasn’t some other assassin on the other end, as Milo cheerfully answered.
“Hello” he said, and Floyd decided in that moment to play it as cool as he could, “Oh hi, cupcake, how’re things your end?”
“You’re interrupting the finale of Mayflower so there’s that, otherwise I’m alright, why the late call?”
He shrugged, “I don’t know, to be honest; turns out I’ve got an unexpected guest and she’s being very inconsiderate, I don’t suppose you’d like to have a chat with her, would you?”
There was a long pause and a palpable sense of unease from the other end of the phone, then finally, Milo’s voice came back through loud and clear, “Yes. Yes I would.”
He handed the microphone over to Angela and remained still as she talked to him.
“I have a sword pointed at your boyfriend’s neck. I will kill him right here and now if you don’t follow my instructions to the letter. Do you understand?”
There was another long pause, followed by a perfectly monotone “yes.”
“Good, we understand one another then. If you want to see him alive again, meet me in Kingsby city square in four hours and we’ll negotiate the terms of his release. It’s that simple.”
Floyd snorted with laughter, “so that’s it? You’re ransoming me? That’s your big plan?”
He got a nice reminder of the sword at his neck, but nonetheless, he continued laughing quietly to himself.
“Okay. Whatever you say” Milo replied, quietly, and then Angela hung up.
He continued laughing as he marched him through his kitchen and out to his bathroom, where he could see a huge hole had been cut in his wall, and beyond that, the attic of the Two Bears lay dark and uninviting.
“Move. I’ve got a schedule to keep” she warned, and he complied, but as he walked past his bath and onto the bare floorboards of the pub’s attic, he felt no fear, just something like schadenfreude.
“You realise what you’ve done right? You just held the one person in this world he cares for hostage. I hope you don’t like your tail, because he’s going to rip it right off the first chance he gets.”
Angela didn’t seem fussed, and simply ordered him to stop once they had got a little bit into the attic, before pulling him off to one side, where in the exceptionally dim light, he could just about make out the outline of a box of matches that lay open on the floor.
Still holding him at swordpoint, she reached into the box and pulled out a match, then planted a foot on the box to hold it still as she struck it, bathing him in blinding white light, before she wound it back and hurled it at his home.
It landed on the top of the shoebox, and he watched in horror as the flame took hold, beginning to spread over his home, consuming his little sanctum and all that he owned inside it.
“Now move.”
Floyd never actually been to a funeral before, or at least not one like this.
Back in the sleepy little community he’d grown up in, there had only been one christian family, and as far as he could remember, none of them ever seemed to die.
It wasn’t that such faiths were shunned, more that the reliance on human society had brought about a sudden desire for religion amongst the very first rodent colonies, and with that came the inescapable notion that the benevolent god they should all worship was actually a human.
Naturally, this hadn’t sat well with fledgeling rodent society, and having never had a use for gods before, christianity in its default form never really caught on despite the efforts of the various sects to attract followers with more palatable rat gods.
As such, the British Isles had never found a dominant religion, and in the modern day, the act of disposing of the dead was a far more complicated affair than it otherwise might be; with burial instructions ranging from simply tossing the body into the thames to elaborate, week-long ceremonies, favoured by the wealthy and followers of the numerous tiny cult groups that tended to pop up overnight and then and fade into obscurity just as quickly.
Thankfully though, Milo’s father had followed the same variety of christianity as Petersen, and so as uncomfortable as it was for Milo to be there with him right now, at least he could guide him through the process.
Though he was certain that it was substantially less uncomfortable for him, having finally told his father exactly what he thought of him not more than an hour prior.
“Frederick was a gentle soul, and his wisdom inspired many that knew him...” the priest droned on, but he caught a sly little glance from Milo to tell him that he was probably wrapping things up now, and that if he was patient for just a little longer, a fancy dinner would surely await him.
Which was just as well, because hearing the priest speak lies about Petersen was starting to bother him.
MI6 had incredibly stringent rules on what its officers were allowed to disclose, which boiled down to an almost literal ‘take it to your grave’ approach, meaning that not even the people putting him in the dirt could ever know what he’d gotten up to.
As far as the priest and almost everybody else in the room was concerned, Petersen was a member of Webster and Walker Chartered Accountants, and that made him just the right kind of boring that nobody would ever ask him more about what he did for a living when he told them the stock lie.
For just a moment, he felt positively outraged that MI6 itself hadn’t at least held a service for him where people could talk about what he actually did for a living.
Then he saw his weeping family in the front row, and he realised how selfish the notion was.
“His warm sense of humour was matched only by the warm welcome he gave, and his well documented love of travel took him to the furthest reaches of the globe.”
Were he not trying to blend in, Floyd would have laughed hard at that: the bleak irony was almost too much to bear.
It was true he went around the world, but he spent most of that time snapping necks.
He carefully looked around to see if the three other officers that had come to the funeral had reacted at all to that, but as he expected, they just remained stoic, leaving him to try to focus on the speech as much as he could.
Eventually, after a little while, the priest finally finished his piece, and individuals were encouraged to go up to the closed casket to say their goodbyes.
Milo tapped his foot and subtly nodded towards the casket.
Quietly, Floyd got up from his seat and traversed the hall, and waited patiently behind a couple of mice that had known him in life, but whom he’d never seen before.
As he waited for them to finish up, he suddenly felt himself gripped by an internal conflict: the people crying by the cheap wooden box clearly knew him as a person better than he did, and he envied the love they had for him, but knowing a side to him that they didn’t made him feel a little better about the whole deal.
Petersen made a point of separating his colleagues from the civilians he spent his time with when he wasn’t on assignment, and he lamented the fact, because from the amount of weeping friends he saw, he wished he’d have been able to know him better.
As it stood, it was like appearing for the funeral of his teacher.
The queue moved fairly quickly, but as it did so, he found himself at a loss for what to say, or even if he should say anything at all.
Eventually, it came to his turn, and he felt as if the entire room had gone completely silent as he stood there, looking at the box, almost willing it to speak to him so that he might be able to say something coherent infront of all the onlookers.
Then he took a deep breath and softly whispered.
“We got the bastards.”
And with that, he resumed his place next to Milo, feeling worse than he did when he came in, having now lied to a dead person.

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thefailmaster
Dirk Hoderin
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United Kingdom
I'm a writer with a head full of ideas, a love of tech and a movie collection that's threatening to get out of hand and overwhelm my living room.

As of now, I'm the author of "Smell a Rat" a spy thriller about a rat and a dormouse who are also a gay couple, (because why not) that updates weekly and can be read here or on tumblr, so why not stick around and enjoy yourself some silly spy goodness.

feel free to browse my page at your leisure and please do take the time to leave a comment if you like any of my work, I really appreciate it. and marvel at just how awful my stuff was back then.
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