Chapter 34.

Strong and Horn discuss the plan.



Strong went back to the station and found Horn playing cards with one of the policeman, seemingly in a good mood despite the fact that he was being held in custody against his will.

“Well Mr. Horn, are you winning yet?” asked Strong.

“I am in fact. But tell me how is the plan going.” asked Horn, hoping to be able to spend time under house arrest in his house rather than in a police station.

“Very well indeed. In fact, this is why I am here now to speak with you about the plan. Please, let’s go in my office for some privacy.” said Strong.

Both men entered the small office with barely enough space to move around. The desk of the detective was littered with papers and drawings and a box containing a half-eaten pizza was lying on top. Strong tried to tidy up the desk rapidly, flinging the pizza box with the pizza in the garbage bin. He finally looked at Horn who watched with amusement how quickly the desk had been tidied up.

“Mr. Horn. Everything is set up. The trap has been constructed and we simply have to decide when to bring in the nitrogen. I have suggested to the professor that this Saturday would be the best day, as there are fewer people in the university and so, less chances of people being harmed. You would therefore be transported on Saturday morning. And things would develop from then on.” said Strong.

“But detective, how will the shadow be attracted to the trap. How will he go in and why would he?” asked Horn.

Strong knew that he had to come clean and tell Horn the details. He feared his reaction but he had no choice. Furthermore, he knew that he would be taking as great a chance as Horn. “You see, you will be the bait. You will have to be inside the trap with the door open of course, and when the shadow appears, you would have to get out quickly before the doors are closed and the nitrogen is pumped in.” Strong said, looking intently at Horn and waiting for his reaction which he knew would be one of incredulity.

“What? You want me to go in the trap and then get out? But you still have not told me how the shadow will be attracted in the trap.”

“Well for now I will keep that a secret as it is best for both of us I think. We might still change our plans up to the last minute.”

“You know that I could die in that cylinder, don’t you?” said Horn.

“I know. The risk exists but we will all be running some risks, some perhaps more than others it is true, be we have no choice. We have to end this thing once and for all. This being cannot continue killing honest citizens indiscriminately and you know that as well I do.” said Strong in a firm voice.

Horn was looking at him and then chuckled. “I say that with your little plan of yours you can get rid of the problem in two ways; either the plan succeeds and the shadow is killed or I am killed along with the shadow, accidentally of course. Or the shadow kills me first and then by killing me the shadow can then be killed. Which plan is it” he asked sarcastically.

“I understand your concern,” said Strong, ” but I must stress that you are an important piece of the puzzle in the plan for it to work. We need you there in the trap. Yes there are personal risks for you but we will run the same risks as the shadow could escape and turn its fury on us, don’t you think?” asked Strong, trying to impress on Horn that the risk of personal injury would not fall only on his shoulders.

“I suppose that you are right on that score,” said Horn. “But I still don’t understand how the shadow will be attracted in the trap.”

“Look, for now assume that the shadow will be attracted and let’s agree to move forward with the plan. Will you go along with it as it stands now?” asked Strong. He knew that if Horn refused he would have no choice but to try enforce an artificial coma on him. The citizens of the city had to be protected at all cost.

Horn looked intently at Strong. He feared that things would go wrong and he feared for his life but if others were willing to risk their lives he could not refuse them that chance. “Fine. Let’s go with it as is.” He extended his hand and shook hands with Strong who was all smiles.


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