Chapter 35.

The trap is set.

 

 

Strong was happy that Horn understood he had to take risks just as himself and the others were.True, some of the crew could be risking their lives, but that was to be expected in the face of a being that for the most part was still very mysterious.

Strong then called the professor from his office and explained to him that all was well with Horn and that they could begin with the implementation of the plan. Therefore, Saturday was the day that the plan was to be executed and this meant that one day earlier, on Friday, the nitrogen was to be pumped in the tanks and pressurized. All was to be ready by Saturday morning. The professor readily agreed with Strong and promised that all would be done as planned.

Saturday morning arrived. The nitrogen had been pumped in the previous day and all had went well. Slowly the members of the team began to assemble in the room with the professor co-ordinating the whole operation. Strong was one of the first police officers to be on the scene.

“Well detective, satisfied with what you are seeing?” asked the professor.

“Indeed I am,” replied Strong. “You have done a fine job professor. The nitrogen is in the tanks, pressurized, and I see on your table the canisters to be used in case of emergency, correct?”

“You are quite right,” said the professor. “But tell me on your side, have you decided how to arouse the anger of our involuntary subject?”

“I assume that you mean Horn. No, I haven’t decided how to do it. I will probably tell him that we will sedate him immediately, or that I may accuse him of murder as an accessory to the various crimes. Something that will stir in him a desire for vengeance.”

“When is he due to arrive?” asked the professor.

“Any minute now as I told him at what time I would be here and so he should be here shortly.” said Strong.

Just at that moment Horn arrived looking very nervous. He saw the machinery that was in front of him and was impressed; the shiny metallic object looked like a giant egg with its seamless layers overlapping each other. He noticed the hoses connected to the ovoid shape and he let his gaze fall on the top part of it. The hose there was twice as large as the other hoses. He knew that it must be the main nozzle where the nitrogen would be pumped in. Horn advanced slowly towards the professor and Strong. They both looked unsure to him. “All is ready professor?” he asked.

“Indeed Mr. Horn, it was only you that was missing. I simply have to put my assistants on stand-by, and have the various policeman around the trap ready with the canisters and explain to you what you will have to do. Then detective Strong will have a word with you. Isn’t it right detective?” asked the professor with a smile.

Strong looked at the professor in a way that indicated that he did not need more prodding from him, especially now at this crucial time. “Yes Mr. Horn. There is still the matter of how to attract the shadow.” he said. “Mr. Horn, lets go in the back here and talk. I have some bad news for you. It seems that after all you will have to be sedated for a while at least.”

Horn looked at the detective wide-eyed as he obviously was not expecting such news. “Well, I don’t understand. Am I not cooperating with you? Am I not?” asked Horn rhetorically, his anger rising. “Am I not in agreement with you and didn’t we have an understanding? How can you do this to me now?” Horn was now quite agitated, pointing his finger at Strong and making circular movements with his arms. Strong tried to mollify him.

“I agree that you have co-operated with us but it is not enough. We have decided that the risk is too high and so this machinery that you see in front of you is to keep you safe inside. Come, let me show you, you will be comfortable I assure you.” said Strong as he walked towards the machine in the center of the room. Horn looked surprised and devastated.

“What? This will be a holding tank for me? Inside here? Are you crazy, never, no!” shouted Horn at Strong. By that time Horn was clearly angry: he was as red as a beet, with nostrils flaring and still gesticulating wildly as he if he was trying to hit someone. Horn did not understand that Strong was tricking him into the machine and arousing his anger in the process. It was hoped that the shadow would eventually appear with Horn in the egg-shaped contraption.

The professor had seen what was going on, and Strong had given him the signal to prepare himself and the team. It was only a matter of minutes before Strong and Horn would go into the machine to talk and perhaps to have the shadow appear.

But Horn was still discussing the matter with Strong and was refusing to go inside the machine. “Mr. Horn, let us go inside and talk some more and show you your new home.” said Strong in a soothing voice.

Horn said nothing but took two steps in and joined Strong in the machine, looking up and down at the inside of it. The machine was quite different inside as compared to its outside as it was not polished at all inside but was very rough. There were no bed, no lights, just 8 openings around with a large hole on top. Horn could not imagine how someone could lie inside sedated for days on end. He readily believed that he was to be held inside this machine under sedation.

“Look at this, there is no bed, nothing at all. How could I stay inside sedated? You got to be crazy if you think that I’ll submit to this.”

“Mr. Horn, you will simply lay on the floor, curved around the bottom like a dog I’m afraid. We simply have no other choice.” At these words Strong rapidly exited the shiny object and closed the door on Horn but did not seal it. Horn inside was banging on the window, saying that he was still wide awake and that a mistake had been made. From his desk the professor could see the anger and tension rising in Horn. The camera inside the machine clearly showed him to be in an angry mood. Suddenly as Horn calmed down something appeared in the machine with him.

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