Tam staggered into a high-ceilinged room. She tried the light switch but nothing happened. Unreadable historical articles lined the walls. There was a high glass case isolated in the centre of the room. It was maybe ten feet high and six wide and had some uniformed dummies inside. It was all glass except for a wooden lid with an ornate rail. Tam dragged a stand full of leaflets to the edge of the exhibit. She climbed the stand pretty nimbly. She grabbed the lip of the glass case and started to pull herself up. But then, the Blob would be able to climb half the height of the case if she left the stand there. She had to go back down, turn it round, climb it again and kick it over as she pulled herself up on top. And all this in near-darkness. It was a farce. And noisy.

The top of the case was dusty as hell. But it looked a long way down. She caught her breath and waited. Waited for what? She realised that her best hope was the platoon of old-aged arsonists. She should just keep quiet and wait for their Deus Ex Machina arrival. There were some noises in the distance. With luck they were as good at searching large, unlit buildings as they were at taking on Epsilon Rex in the open.

A strange hiss came from somewhere in the room. Then a kind of bleating, farting sound. Then a voice that made Tam shiver instantly. It was the most sleazy, creepy thing she had ever heard. It sounded like a stalker with a speech impediment. It said, “It’s okay.” But drawing out the ‘s’ sound and pronouncing the ‘k’ with a click that made it more like a ‘t’. “Eet-ss ohk-taay…” The same unlikely announcement was repeated.

There was a shadow coming in under the door, black as the Grim Reaper. Tam heard the voice again and realised that it was the Omega talking to her. She found it hard to breathe. This was a massive strain on her sanity. She really did not know what was going on any more. Was it intelligent? Could it communicate with her? Was part of Caleb still in there somewhere? She tried to reason it out. To keep a cool head. It wasn’t easy. Part of her was screaming.

The Blob circled the cabinet. It seemed to smell out her blood, but whether it knew her current whereabouts was unsure. Tam gritted her teeth like a vice.

The Omega spoke again. It only had one word this time, as if it was a toddler struggling with philosophical concepts. “Dreams,” it said.

Her mind and body experienced a short-circuit and she gasped, painfully and loud. The Blob heard her, she was sure of it. She started talking to it wildly.

What do you want? Get away from me. You’re never gonna get me, you hear? I’ll fucking blow myself up before I let you. You’re nothing. Go back where you came from. We’re all better than you.”

I… love… you,” said the Omega.

Tam screamed at the thing to shut up. She started crying and shaking at the same time.

I’m… all… right,” the Blob said sadly. It was at the foot of the case and black fingers were searching the glass for something to hold on to. It slithered up the case until it collapsed under its own weight with a slap. Tam looked for something to throw at it. There wasn’t anything. She cried on, while part of her mind thought of jumping off the opposite side of the case. But her feet were traumatised and swollen and she had seen the Blob move short distances fast when it needed to.

Apparently stymied for now, the Blob paused to chat. “Circus,” is said. She was reminded of Peter Lorre, the black-and-white movie actor. Omega Rex sounded like him.

Voices outside. A slice of light under the door. It opened. The Blob pulled back from the case. Clement was in the doorway. He waved a lapping tongue of flame in front of him.

Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death,” he said, “I will fear no evil.” He was not being ironic. He marched forward stiffly and gave a blast from his home-made flamethrower. It was not crafted well enough to be powerful. But the dull fire lashed the Omega like a whip. The reaction was impressive. It convulsed like someone pulling a disgusted face, then more or less threw itself in the opposite direction. It was gone in seconds.

The old guy didn’t seem to even know Tam was in the room, until she gave herself away with a series of sobs that were startling and comical, like cats escaping from a bag.

Come down from there,” said Clement. “I’ve got you in line for medals. Posthumous isn’t the same.”

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