The shadow, Horn and Strong.
The professor had been taken aback at how quickly detective Strong had exited the trap. He had hoped for a signal of some sorts but none had come. And then, as he was watching the scene on his screen, the shadow had appeared with Horn. There was definitely a presence with him but it was not yet solid. The professor put his hand up to Strong and pointed at the machine indicating that it was not the time to take Horn out. Within a few seconds the shadow assumed a corporeal form just as Horn had indicated that it could. The professor was astonished at what he saw on his screen.
“Now! Get him out!” shouted the professor at Strong. The three other policeman present had assumed a defensive position at the entrance of the machine, prepared to counteract the shadow with their canisters of nitrogen.
Strong opened the hatch rapidly, surprising Horn as he was looking at the shadow. He grabbed Horn by the arm and violently threw him out. The shadow had not moved in the few seconds that all that had taken place, still immobile in the center of the machine but looking in a puzzling way when Strong and Horn had exited the trap. Strong and the others quickly closed the door and sealed the hatch signalling immediately to the professor to start the pumps. The liquid nitrogen began to pour into the machine from the top and the sides, attacking the being who was still in its solid state. The professor looked at the screen to see what was going on but a heavy cloud obscured what he could see. He only saw arms flailing here and there but not the head of the being.
The pumps had done the job and liquid nitrogen was poured in for many minutes until the egg shaped machine was deemed to be full. Still the professor could not see inside as too much vapor was present. He left the liquid nitrogen settle in the machine for 15 minutes and began to wait. Meanwhile Horn and Strong were talking near the professor by the screen, both apprehensive about what would happen next.
“Its a dirty trick that you pulled there, getting me all worked up against you.” said Horn, still shocked at the turn of events.
“I didn’t have much choice. I had to get you angry at me at the right moment. Had I told you about the plan and warned you it might not have worked as your anger might not have risen high enough.” replied Strong smiling.
“Still, you risked my life. What if the shadow had seized me before you did, then what?” asked a still shaken Horn.
“I guess we’ll never know and that’s a good thing in my opinion.” said Strong, grinning.
“Gentleman”, said the professor, ” I will now operate the pumps in reverse to evacuate the nitrogen still in the machine and we’ll see if the being has been vitrified or if it did have the time to escape as a gas.” the professor said. The hum of the machines began to be heard again and slowly the machine was emptied of its deadly liquid. The screen showed that slowly the fog was dissipating being evacuated by the pumps. The three men were avidly looking at the screen, trying hard to discern what had happened to the being. Slowly the fog lifted and a head, and then the whole body of the being was visible. Clearly it had been vitrified by the liquid as it was still upright with its arms extended. Its face had an expression of surprise and horror, but it was still without any features and still looked as black as the night.
The machine continued to evacuate the liquid for another 15 minutes and by then everyone knew that the being was dead, without a doubt. To be sure of this, they had to open the hatch and let air from outside come in. That would probably shatter the being in a million pieces due to the difference in pressure between the inside of the machine and the outside according to the professor.
Strong indicated to the other policeman to stand around the hatch just in case the being had not been neutralized. The professor slowly opened the hatch and as it opened they heard a loud shattering noise. The hatch was then completely opened and what they saw confirmed the death of the being; a million pieces of glass littered the floor of the machine. Just as the professor had expected the body of the being had shattered. Everywhere one looked inside the machine shiny pieces of glass were present. At the sight of this the policeman retreated knowing full well that they were not required anymore. The professor looked at Strong who looked back at him. Relief was in his eyes.
“You know, pulling out Mr. Horn at the last minute as you did was fraught with danger. The being could have retained you and Mr.Horn inside, and the pumps could not have been activated.”
“Yes, I know, I was lucky that the being just froze. I guess it was caught by surprise and probably didn’t understand what I was doing, or why.” said Strong.
Everyone was looking at the pieces of the being laying on the floor. Everyone looked at it in awe. The being had been defeated by the ingenuity of many men pulling their minds together. It was not a certainty that the being could be killed, but the attempt had to be made and it worked.
Fisher approached Strong and congratulated him on ending this nightmare. “Yes indeed, it is finished. But who could have predicted that such a thing could happen, and what else lies in store for us. Humanity may still be at risk from totally unknown beings that could threaten it. I find this a sobering thought.” said Strong.
“Tell me detective Strong, what are we to do with the remains of the being, you know, all those lovely pieces of reflecting glass containing body parts?” asked the professor, who obviously in the name of science wanted to be the custodian of them.
Strong looked at him and at the pieces lying on the floor and said, “Professor, they are all yours. Let science examine what is left of this being and study him. It might become useful someday if another of these beings reappears.”
The professor smiled and put his hands together happy that he had what he wanted. He looked at the floor of the machine and bent down to pick up one of the pieces of the being. It was the left eye. It was looking straight up at the professor as he was examining it and then turned left as it saw Horn approach. The professor was shocked by this and promptly dropped the eye, shattering it to another million pieces. He looked to see where detective Strong was to alert him but he was walking towards the exit along with Fisher oblivious to what had happened.
Well this is the final installment of my book and I hope that you have liked it. My next book is not quite ready so for the next few weeks I will start putting up some essays that reflect some of my thinking on life and society in general. See you next week!