The woman in question had expressive blue eyes and sculpted high cheekbones that preserve beauty indefinitely. Sadly for John, her attention was turned towards Emma.
“I hope you will forgive me interrupting your conversation. My name is Katherine Broster and I’m trying to reach Miss Ann Miller. I’ve looked at the guest list and someone informed me it might be you?” She looked at Emma intently.
Emma Peel nodded. This was indeed her choice of name for this evening. She thought she vaguely resembled the American dancer and actress and doubted anyone would question her real identity unless asked to perform tap dancing steps. Besides, Ann Miller had stopped making movies over a decade ago and Emma could put on a terrific American accent. She stood smiling at her and simply said: “Yes, that’s me”
Katherine Broster seemed relieved by this admission as if she had just found the missing needle in a haystack. “I have a gentleman on the phone for you Miss Miller.”
“Oh!” Emma said, a note of surprise creeping into her voice “Do you know who this is?”
“I’m afraid he hasn’t given me his name. All I know is that it’s a rather urgent matter. Would you mind following me to somewhere more private where you can discuss this freely?”
Emma Peel approved the suggestion but doubted the interruption was genuine. The Boss was not aware of her stage name for this evening. John Steed wasn’t either but he had already left and was knocking a couple of drinks down at the reception’s open bar. Katherine Broster had been clearly sent for a purpose.
Emma glanced around the room and couldn’t catch sight of Warren Beatty anymore. A thought somewhat outrageous crossed her mind. She kept it to herself and followed the young woman out of the room. They walked down a flight of stairs and through a long corridor before going down another iron stairway until they reached a passage lit by bare electric light bulbs. Warning signals buzzed in Emma’s head but she kept her cool. She tried to imagine she was going to a secret rendezvous. She tried to imagine she was meeting the handsome American actor. And if it wasn’t him, she could easily defend herself anyway.
Katherine Broster finally stopped and to Emma’s surprise, there was a phone standing on a small derelict wooden table. She asked Emma to wait by the phone while she transferred the call from the room next door. Emma was nervous. The place gave her the creeps and she had no idea where she was.
She tried to rationalise the situation, maybe they had escalated the security procedures to a different level this evening? Emma patiently waited for the call to be transferred but nothing came. She picked up the receiver but the line was dead. She walked towards the other room where Katherine Broster left but the door was locked. She called for her – repeatedly – but no answer came. She looked around but she was trapped in an underground basement. If this was the place Mr Beatty had in mind for a tête à tête, she would certainly have a word with him about the oddity of his technique and his dreadful choice of location.
Suddenly she heard a strange noise coming from the back of the corridor. She struggled to discern the shadow from afar but instinctively knew it wasn’t Warren Beatty or a presence she was familiar with. Someone tall and imposing was swiftly coming towards her, his movements unnatural and jerky. As the shadow drew closer, her intent gaze moved from the metallic sheen of his clothes to the greyish skin tone of his complexion before settling on his eyes. Emma suddenly stiffened and her heartbeat quickened. His eyes had no eyelids and looked demonic in the dimly-lit underground tunnel.
This wasn’t a human being but a rather hideous imitation – a humanlike machine with sharp mechanical movements and claw-like hands that were spread like talons as it moved even closer to her. She fled in terror to the other end of the corridor, running and trying to find a place to hide or escape. But the machine was fast and hunting her through every section until it gripped her shoulder. Metallic fingers stabbed into her flesh as she was swung around. Emma was now trapped in a narrow passageway. She reached out to protect herself and desperately attempted a few expert karate moves.
But she was progressively losing the fight, unable to reach and hurt the thick armour of its metallic body. Its long, hard and cold hands went up to her throat and she felt a tight knot and a desire to scream as she opened her mouth – but no sound came out. The creature’s expressionless face calmly watched her eyes filling with terror with each pressure of its metallic fingers around her neck.
Emma’s face was motionless with fear and she slowly felt the life force leaving her body before eventually collapsing to the ground. The machine knelt down and moved closer to Emma’s face. There was no fear anymore now. Just emptiness.
FOR PART 3, CLICK HERE!
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The wacky story was written by myself and the amazing pictures were done by Marius Els who also used Photoshops brushes by Diana’s Creations.