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New Tales of the Mongrel
By Ralph Arata
Whispers of breeze meandered through the Hawthorne and ivy. Its continuous and lonely echo moved east to west traveling with that evening's oh…. so predictable weather. Its light, gentle rustle pricked the ear as if some mythological siren was beckoning to "follow me". A full autumn moon shone low and bright in the English sky adding an eerie visibility by giving form to the shadows in the distance. A calm night, an almost ghostly night, where the spirits might laugh and dance….. a perfect night for tricks or treats.
The English were only beginning to view Halloween as a time of fall celebration, slowly but gradually taking the advertising cues of the larger stores (such as John Lewis and Next) and even local merchants eager for opportunity to improve bottom lines, in yet another improvisation of their American cousins.
It was moving onto midnight. The witching hour when ghouls and goblins would make haste to make mischief.
The Remington XD-3 night vision scope stayed steady in the hands of its seasoned user. Its 20x200 power range was overkill for the distance that the dark figure had to cover to maintain surveillance of his subjects. With another light rustle of the hedgerow, those whispers returned almost beckoning the tall, dark soldier away from his perch. Of course, the soldier was steadfast - almost the picture of death itself as he continued his observations of the human form some 50 meters in front of him. There would no trick or treat tonight. And as for the ghouls and goblins that would stalk and prey normal men, they would not bother this mortal, for these demons of the night knew he was no common human. They knew that he already wore the face of quiet and quick death, the face of deliverance, the face of justice, the face of the Neutralizer!
Ralph Arata a.k.a. the Neutralizer tracked the XD-3 slowly left to right as his subject moved. Yes, his most dangerous adversary, Sir William was back and back with a vengeance.
Only 48 hours before, the Neutralizer had sat in the war room at the "Farm" - a super secret base of operations for the "black ops" division of the US Justice Department. Located in the southern Allegheny Mountains, the Farm was the brain child of the Chief US Fed, John Schroeder who reported directly to the President. Schroeder oversaw those seek and destroy missions that no one else would touch. The "Big Fed" was the go-to man when there were no other options.
Sir William had surfaced again and was in the north of England. Although, his presence, in its own right, was something that the US Government and NATO took very seriously it was the coincidental theft of a neuro-toxin in association with Sir William's "surfacing" that summoned the red flags and the President's assignment to Schroeder.
The Neutralizer's mission was simple; track Sir William until either his association with the neuro-toxin was confirmed or denied. If confirmed, secure the toxin and then take down Sir William…HARD! If denied, then take down Sir William HARD….anyway!!
The last encounter with Sir William had almost cost the Neutralizer his life as the soldier's adversary was former SAS and an expert in close quarters, hand-to-hand fighting.
For this soft probe the Neutralizer armed light. His Berretta 93-R strapped tight under his left armpit in a quick draw holster and the Israeli Dessert Eagle 44 Magnum "hand canon" secured to his right hip. In his boot a 10 inch Tanto double-edged combat knife.
His prized weapon sat a ¼ mile behind him on Brereton Heath Lane just off the A-54 between the Cheshire towns of Congelton and Holmes Chapel. It was a race prepared 1970 MGB roadster. The "B" was innocuous to even the MG enthusiast as it appeared to be the simple 4 cylinder stock model proudly produced for so many years at Abingdon.
The looks of this "B" were only skin deep as Cecil Kimber would not have recognized anything below the sheet metal. A collaboration between Tom "the Doctor" Josefek and Jim "the Bear" Evans who built the car piece by piece back at the Farm. The "B" now sported a new Josefek twist i.e. a V-8 Supercharged Cosworth engine delivering over 275HP and a 6 speed German-built Audi A-3 transmission to maximize torque as the B ran through the gears. It was the ultimate pursuit vehicle.
The Neutralizer watched his subject, Sir William, closely as he sat alone smoking his beloved 5 ¼" New English Market - Rothschild cigar. Sir William preferred a "punch" cigar with a double Maduro wrap!
20 minutes had gone by and nothing! "…….this was not like Sir William", thought the soldier. Something was wrong - very wrong! Combat senses tingled as the hairs on the back of the neck of the Neutralizer rose!
Just then, the Neutralizer heard the rather distant but very clear throaty sound of a 1972 V-12 E-Type Jaguar. One very different to that red MG Midget known as "Mr. Bill" which Sir William now casually leaned against blowing smoke rings into the chilled air.
With that, Sir William looked up and straight towards where the Neutralizer was perched. He waved, got into the red Midget and slowly drove the car onto Moss Lane to head for the A-54. Sir William had done it again - not one but 2 steps ahead of the soldier.
The Neutralizer was blown - but HOW?? There had to be a leak…..somewhere. But now was no time for thought, only pursuit. The Neutralizer rose and ran for the "B" hitting the remote starter and "mute- mode" selector from the small micro processor just under the metal "MGB" insignia that flapped on his key fop.
The soldier was in the running "B" in an instant! No lights at this point to chase with - in "mute- mode" and equipped with a pair of NATO-issue Sikorsky N-101 Night Vision Goggles he would drive unseen and unheard as he attempted to track the very clever and cunning Sir William.
The Neutralizer moved the "B" onto Moss Lane, a "barely" single lane carriage-way. He could see Sir William's tail lights blinking in the distance before him beckoning the soldier to "follow me". This was no mystical signal from some macabre ghost or ghoul, no beckoning from a mythological siren….but just as deadly!
Sir William knew his business…. and he knew the Neutralizer ……… as did the Neutralizer know Sir William!
The only choice was forward. The game was set, the stakes high. And as the Neutralizer cruised forward following Sir William into the next uncertain but surely "deadly" chapter of this mission. As he drove, the soldier's mind took a moment to wonder back through the ghosts of battles past, the faces of those that were saved by the him and those that died at his hands, and his allies, both living and dead. Those that stood by him who had fallen in combat. The Neutralizer's forward vision was focused but his mind continued its course of reflection, of introspection, of almost dreamy sleep………. no throaty exhaust but the erythematic vibration of the unitized MGB body shell and frame. Hmmmmmmmm………. hmmmmmm….. hmmm!
Daaaaadd!! DAD! What are you doing? Are you OK? Are you chanting?????? Are you seeing God?
My 16 year old, Caroline, looked at me, with a smirk on her face. Damn, another boring "Bears" game and I fell asleep. Wow, it's been awhile since I had to take heat for another dream about the being a secret agent!
Not bad at all - can't wait for the next one!
NEXT Neutralizer - "PURSUIT" (Editor's Note: That picture sure looks like Bill Hedrick in his 'younger' days.)