So Near Yet So Far 

 A "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons" Short Story

by Sue Stanhope

 

 

 

He was only fifty six, but looking into his eyes, you would have seen a tiredness of spirit suggesting a much older man.  Staring at the plain white wall ahead of him, his face was almost expressionless except for the occasional flicker of a cheek muscle as perhaps a memory played across his confused mind.

The younger man sat on the chair opposite sighed heavily.  He’s drifted off again, he thought, where does he go?  The look in his eyes was so distant and empty; it unnerved him to see it.  Somehow this wasn’t right, he shouldn’t be here, he felt like he was intruding.  Looking up and beyond the figure sat before him to the window of an anteroom, another man, older again even than his companion looked sternly back at him and nodded.  The younger man rubbed his forehead and returned his glance to the man seated before him.  He didn’t look dangerous, he probably wasn’t.  He seemed more of a danger to himself, it made the precaution of the strait jacket seem so very theatrical, so unnecessary.

“You were saying,” he prompted.  He paused but received no response, not even a flicker of the man’s eyelids.  He glanced hopelessly up to the window again, he received yet another nod.

Frowning, he reached out and gently touched the man’s arm. Instantly the man recoiled; a response at last but not what he’d expected.  Instead of startling the man from a deep, thoughtful reverie, it was as if he’d been aware all along.  Slowly, deliberately he turned his head to face the young man.  The gaze upon him forced him to take a sudden sharp breath; the eyes seemed to burn through him but with nothing behind them. 

“I don’t think I can answer your question.”

“You don’t remember?”

“I don’t understand it.”

“It was a simple question.”

“To you maybe.”

“Do you remember the war?”

The man smiled briefly, his eyes closed. “Did we win?”

The younger man frowned again. “Now I can’t answer yours.”

“How hard can it be?”

“I don’t know who you mean.”

“I see.  Now do you see?”

“No, if you can ask me that, you must be able to answer mine.”

“I can’t.”

“What do you remember?”

“Everything, but there are gaps.”

“What does that mean?”

“Why are you afraid?”

“I’m not.”

“Yes you are.  You’re waiting for me to say something.  I’m unnerving you.”

“I’m waiting for you to answer my question.”

“Your question is impossible to answer.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s not the answer you want to hear.”

“How do you know what I want to hear?”

He smiled again. “Because beneath your fear, you feel something else.  I can’t ease your fears and your other feelings are finding this too hard.  Am I right?”

Yes he was right.

“How can you say all this and…”

“Let me put you out of your misery.  Yes, I remember the war.  I believe we did win,” he sighed, “perhaps you would rather I said that you won?  I am neither a winner nor a loser.  I have no place in this world. I have no memories I wish to recall but no way to block them out either.  You may think I was strong and maybe that is my curse.  My mind won’t let me go, I know you, I know him,” he nodded in the direction of the window, “I know what I’ve done.  Another man, maybe, might have gone insane.  I wish I were that man.  A kind release for a tortured soul. But perhaps I don’t deserve it.”

“I…”

“You have asked me only one question.  Do I remember who I am?  I can’t answer it in the way you want me to answer it.  You perhaps should have phrased it in the past tense, Captain.  I used to be Conrad Turner, now, I don’t know.”

The man half turned his head away.  He appeared unaware of Scarlet’s presence now.  It seemed pointless to stay. 

The Mysterons had lost the war of nerves some years ago now.  Their key agent, abandoned and lost to his tortured memories.  On the brink of madness but unable to find that release, which his desperate soul craved.  Leaving the room, Scarlet gazed back towards the man he’d once called his friend.  The second man placed a sympathetic arm around his shoulders.

“I know,” White said simply, his voice trembled slightly. “I know.” 

 

THE END

 

 

Some events and characters Copyright © of all trademarks materials (Captain Scarlet & the Mysterons, all characters, vehicles, crafts, etc.), owned by ITC/Polygram/Carlton.  Information of the series are all been taken from copyright © materials (books, magazines, videos, T.V.  media, comics, etc) owned by ITC/Polygram/Carlton.

 

 

 

 

OTHER STORIES BY SUE STANHOPE

 

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