Abowie looks up defiantly. “Beyond Ultraviolet; there’s your proof. God it was awful. He made me walk about 2km up a drain filled with cockroaches and spiders and stinking mud. I went with Freddo and Shonky Logic. They were there too. They saw the marks in his accursed hand on the walls. They saw the cache.”
The doctor shakes his head firmly. “Freddo? Shonky Logic? You were accompanied on your supposed subterranean journey by a chocolate frog and an excellent description of your own current tenuous grip on reality?? And if I recall correctly a boy robot from a cartoon went with you to the mythical Slot, hmm?” he ruffles through his notes. “Ja, ist here. A-S-T-R-O.”
Abowie shudders in horror. “The Slot, God I’d forgotten about that. He got so close to getting me with that one. That rock he balanced above the cache must have weighed a ton. If we hadn’t have dislodged it it would have killed both of us.”
“And I did see him once, at Green. Just as I was reaching out for the cache container a truck whistled by on the road just below. It missed me by inches. If I hadn’t stepped back just a moment before he would have had me. He was driving the truck you know.”
“So, you actually saw him?”
“Well yes, I mean no; I didn’t see the driver but it MUST have been him”.
The psychiatrist looks triumphantly over the top of his glasses. “So you admit that you didn’t see him? Have never ACTUALLY seen him? That rather than being your nemesis he is simply a construct of your fevered unconscious mind?”
Defiantly abowie holds his gaze. “What about today then, at Cipher Tin?”
Jumping up the doctor shouts “Ve ask ze qvestions!” He looks suddenly embarrassed as if he has been caught out. He sits down quickly and nervously fingers his watch which has an ornate black Z engraved on it. “My apologies; old habits die hard.” He laughs feebly. “What I meant to say was, ja, I mean yes, tell me about that.”
“I went up there this morning. I solved all of the Cipher caches over the weekend and wanted to see if they were real. After our last session I had begun to believe that perhaps I really was imagining everything after all.”
The analyst nods his head.
“So I got there and at first, apart from being attacked by a huge Z shaped swarm of supernaturally large killer bees, everything was so normal-looking. I followed the instructions and found the cache location. It was a death trap, but so, SO tempting. I could SEE the cache suspended high above a terrifying drop. I just couldn’t resist. It was only when I fell off after the first 66 feet that I realised that I’d never make it to the cache and get back alive.”
To be continued in instalment 3…