Shell Shocked (The Cosmic Carapace, #1)
knew it was fishy! I knew it was fishy!”
    He stormed across the room and walked to the large round window, leaning on its curved sill breathlessly.
    Spencer and Becky walked across to meet Norbert and the twins in the middle of the room.
    “What’s going on?” asked Becky.
    All four of them looked nervous as Esme replied.
    “Norbert’s friend had told him he’d seen Colin being taken onto a boat in the docks by some men. We all rushed down there and there was this guy saying he’d seen it too and that the ship had sailed off... but....we could see he wasn’t telling the truth. He was trying to lead us off on a wild goose chase. So we... used the persuader.” She lifted a metal handle which formed two prongs at one end. He flipped a switch on the side in way of demonstration and a light blue bolt of electricity sparked between the two small spheres at the end of each prong.
    Eva continued from her sister.
    “He told us someone had paid him and his brother to tell anyone asking that that was what had happened. His brother had taken a boat out a little way and was to lead anybody who tried to chase him out to sea.”
    “I don’t understand?” said Becky.
    “I do," said Spencer. “It was a distraction wasn’t it? Spangler knows.”
    They all turned to look at the figure who was now striding up and down in front of the window, occasionally smashing a fist into its sill and muttering constantly.
    Eva continued. "He was... you know... the other one, then he changed and was furious. Kept saying ‘he didn’t listen’, but we don’t know who he means."
    “I think he’s talking to himself," said Spencer slowly.
    “Well obviously.” said Becky curtly.
    “No, I mean he’s talking about himself, the other side of him.”
    They all looked from Spangler to Spencer, but he didn’t expand further, he continued to stare at the old man pacing with a slight frowned expression. Norbert broke the spell.
    "I'll murder that Leggy ‘Arold if I see ‘im again! The bleeding liar! Now they’ve gone and taken it and I'll never get me bits and bobs!” His hat was spinning fast in his hands.
    “Taken what?” asked Becky sharply.
    They all looked at the floor. Giving Spencer the impression of four puppies trying to decide who should explain the funny smell coming from the wardrobe.
    Suddenly Norbert wailed.
    ”The device! The one you go to the other places with! It’s all my fault!” He pulled a stained and sodden hanky from his breast pocket and blew a loud parp into it.
    “No!” burst Becky “It can’t have... oh god.” There was another awkward silence.
    Spencer became aware that Spangler had become quiet as well. He looked across and saw the old man leaning once more, but he wasn’t agitated and mumbling anymore. He was still and quiet apart from the rise and fall of his back as his breathing slowed. He slowly stood up and turned towards him. The scowl had gone, the eyes had reverted to their piercing, warm blue sparkle rather than the cold blue ice they had appeared as just moments ago. He was the Spangler Spencer had first met again.
    “Come now!” he said as he approached. “Do not worry, we will find it again I am sure! We have each other, and what a fine team we are!”
    “They took the tortoises as well," said Becky softly.
    Spangler’s smile flickered. For a fleeting moment it looked as though his entire face had flashed back to the angry, cold, hard face he had had previously. His eyes wandered to the tortoise pen and quickly darted back, he raised his smile again.
    “No matter, no matter. Let’s concentrate on finding Colin and the device shall we?” he said in a business like manner and promptly walked off and out of the large side door to the rest house.
    Everyone seemed to have frozen for a moment before Becky spoke quietly.
    “Where the hell do we even start looking?!”
    Spencer stepped forward.
    “Norbert, go and find your friend... ‘Leggy’ was it?”
    “Leggy ‘Arold yeah,” spat

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