Author : Timothy Goss

Mr Lipscombe finished his sandwich.

The bars to the metal cage rattled as he secured the lock. It was a necessary precaution; things were not always as they should be, he remembered especially with new blood.

The cage was constructed for maximum security and built into the fabric of the house. The previous owner, Mr Haslebacher had seen to that. He called it his ‘life’s work’ when Lipscombe inherited it on his 31st birthday, nearly forty years ago. Haslebacher vanished later that day.

“Ms Baker, my housekeeper will look after your physical needs.” Haslebacher had said with an enigmatic smile. “Everything else you require is in here.” He motioned to the contraption and the cage in the small library.

Haslebacher said he was an old friend of Lipscombe father. Said they had served in the Middle East together and that Lipscombe senior had saved his life.

Young Lipscombe had never heard of Haslebacher and his father had spoken of his adventures in the Middle East often. Had he the wrong man?

“Nonsense!” Haslebacher bellowed slapping the young man’s shoulder. “You’re the spitting image of your father. If I didn’t know better I’d say it was him standing before me, as he did so many times before.”

Haslebacher explained that he had no heir and given Lipscombe senior’s heroism it was only seemed right for young Lipscombe to inherit the lot, Ms Baker included:

“Because of your father’s bravery,” he emphasised, “I bequeath you my worldly goods.”

Lipscombe smiled at the memories, “So long ago.” He mumbled picking a small slither of lettuce from between yellowing front teeth.

The library door opened.

“A Mr Goren to see you.” Said an elderly woman with a thinly pitched voice.

“Thank you Ms Baker.” Lipscombe said, sensing the young man’s unease reminding him of his own all those years ago.

“It’s powered by organic energy,” Haslebacher said, “Namely that created by a human body.” attempting an explanation. “Unfortunately it has to be human, dogs and cats just don’t have the juice. I know I’ve tried.”

Lipscombe remembered his questions, his hesitation, his disbelief.

“Try it.” Haslebacher said full of expectation, “We can use it together.” He added with growing excitement.

His first experience of the contraption stood out above all other memories, like a first sexual experience or death of a parent. From its perch it peered at the rest of his thoughts judging everything.

When Haslebacher plugged himself in, the room physically shifted. Lipscombe moved toward the cage, it appeared to be the safest place and he was perturbed his host had locked him out.

“Stand away from the bars.” Hastlebacher yelled, the life visibly draining from his features.

The atmosphere thickened making it difficult to move and Lipscombe became aware of a dull drone emanating from the cage. He took a difficult step forward to get a clearer view.

Haslebacher was no longer visible but neither was the interior of the cage just a black void existed now as if his optic nerves were blocked from registering the image.

Everything began to vibrate. Lipscombe fell to the floor, every muscle in his body pulsed. Closing his eyes everything changed instantly and he saw the most beautiful formless colours expanding before him. He sensed Haslebacher’s presence and the old man took his hand guiding him through the void between this and that.

“Please sit.” Lipscombe said with growing excitement.

The young man obeyed.

“Excuse the strange scene Mr Goren.” Lipscombe continued, “If you give me chance I will explain. You see, I’m an old friend of your father’s.” he said and smiled.

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