Title: The New Professionals - Haunted
Archive: Write first
Summary: Keel and Curtis spend the night in a haunted house.
"We've had a tip-off that these terrorists -" Malone indicated the pictures
on the board behind him "- are coming to London some time in the next two
days. They've received a large sum of money so they'll have a job to do,
most likely setting off a bomb where it can take a great many lives. Our
job is to prevent that."
"How?" Keel asked as their boss paused in his speech. "I mean, we don't
know when they're arriving, who they're working for, or what they're doing
so how are we supposed to catch them?"
"If you stop interrupting and listen to me you'll find out Mr Keel," Malone
snapped and Keel grimaced and glanced at his partner. Curtis twitched an
eyebrow in minute sympathy for the sharp rebuke and in acknowledgement that
Malone was in one of 'those' moods - ie worse than ever. Continuing his
speech to the room of CI5 agents, Malone said, "Going on past information it
seems likely that the gang will contact one - or more - of three people to
help them in their activities."
Beneath the pictures of the four terrorists Malone pinned three more photos.
"These are Greg Marsden, Ben Smith and Adrian Willis. They are to be kept
under constant surveillance. Mr Lee and Ms Birch - you will watch Marsden.
Mr Spencer and Ms Backus - Smith. Mr Keel and Mr Curtis - Willis. Any questions? Good - get on with it."
Keel stood up, gave a feline stretch and moved to grab a blanket from their
supplies, the full moon the only light by which he saw the room. Given its
state of dilapidation that was probably a good thing. He felt a cobweb touch his face and roughly rubbed the clinging strands away.
He bent to check the battery-operated portable heater they had brought with
them, switched it to maximum and, wrapping the blanket round himself, returned to his seat beside Curtis. "I can't believe we're
doing this," he grumbled.
"I know what you mean: it's freezing in here," Curtis agreed, edging closer
to his partner to share body heat, his eyes still fixed on the binoculars
and their view of Willis. The man had been sitting quietly reading with the
curtains open since they had arrived.
Keel shook his head. "Not that - this place. It's Halloween and we're stuck alone in a haunted house!"
Curtis glanced round at him, green eyes amused. "Poor baby: are you afraid
of the dark?"
Keel scowled. "Remind me to laugh at you when you see the ghost."
"Come off it! Did we see any sign of anything ghost-like on our first shift
here? Did Adams and Bennett report seeing anything on their shift?"
"It was daylight then."
Curtis stared at him. "Are you serious?"
"What, you don't believe in the remotest possibility of ghosts existing?"
"I've never had any reason to."
Keel shrugged. "I have."
What do you mean?" Curtis was intrigued despite himself.
"A friend of my family has a ghost living in her house."
Curtis's face fell. "Oh, very funny! This whole conversation was a wind-up, wasn't it?"
"No, I swear, I'm serious. Nora was like an aunt to me and when I was twelve I stayed overnight at her house."
"And saw this ghost I suppose?" Curtis queried in a sceptical voice.
"No, but I felt it. I woke up in the middle of the night, suddenly icy cold, and feeling the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. It was
"What about Nora? What had she seen or felt?"
"A couple of times she caught a glimpse of something pale in the room with
her but when she tried to look properly there was nothing there. And she
said she got this sense of when it was about too - like a change in the atmosphere of the place. Plenty of other people who visited her saw or felt
something strange too." Keel leaned back in his chair, out of the moonlight. His face, previously rendered milky white and serene, turned
into a mass of shadows, his eyes glinting amidst the darkness.
Curtis couldn't seem to look away from his partner. "Did she ever get rid
"No. Nora wasn't religious but she thought maybe it needed a blessing or
something so she got a priest to come round and perform one of those ceremonies ."
"Yeah, that's it. It didn't work, though. The ghost stayed and Nora's accepted it. It's like she thinks of this ghost as a friend."
"Does she know who it is?" Curtis frowned. "Or rather 'was'?"
"Yeah, Nora looked up the history of the house and she believes it's this
woman who had an accident and died there about sixty years ago. Nora reckons she'd been happy in the house and just didn't want to leave it."
"How bizarre." Curtis looked thoughtful. "You're sure you didn't just make
Keel smiled. "If I had that good an imagination I'd write a bestseller and
retire a wealthy man." Curtis laughed at this and then Keel added, "You've
never had anything weird happen to you like that?"
"No, never. I used to love Halloween as a kid but it didn't have anything
to do with the supernatural?"
"So why did you?"
"There was this group of ten of us children who went trick-or-treating. We
split into teams of two and visited about five hundred houses then met to
split the 'proceeds'. It was wonderful - we'd end up with enough sweets and
money to keep us going for six months!"
Keel laughed. "You little scam-artist!"
Curtis grinned back and said in a superior tone, "Not at all. Just highly
Keel glanced through the binoculars and frowned. "What's this guy doing?"
"Here, let me see." Curtis nudged him out of the way and looked towards
Willis himself. "He's holding something and talking to himself. It's -
He squinted to make it out. "It's a photo. Maybe he's talking to that. A
dead wife or lover ." He turned to Keel and then realised with horror what
he'd said. "Oh, God, I'm sorry, Chris; I wasn't thinking."
"Forget it. You needn't make Willis sound like a head case, though: I occasionally talk to my wife as if she were still alive."
Curtis frowned. "You still think of her a lot?"
"All the time. Sometimes I almost believe that she isn't gone, that I'll
open the door of my apartment and she'll be standing there. Funny that I
can picture her here so clearly when she never even visited England." He
raised his eyes to take in his partner's uncertain expression. "Has there
ever been someone really special in your life, Sam?"
Curtis looked out of the window. "There could be."
"You've met someone recently?" Keel didn't know why the idea startled him
"Anyone I know?" Curtis turned, meeting his eyes, and Keel read the answer
there and momentarily forgot how to breathe. "Me? I never, um, thought ."
"It's okay. I didn't expect you to feel the same way," Curtis said with an
unconvincing nonchalance. "It's just that you asked. I suppose you're a
hundred per cent heterosexual anyway."
"No, I messed about a bit with guys when I was younger. I wouldn't rule it
out. I'm not over my wife, though. I don't know if I'll ever be. In other
"You don't have to say that," Curtis said quickly.
"But I mean it," Keel answered and they stared at each other, both taking in
the implications of the conversation.
Curtis broke eye contact first, glancing back through the binoculars. "He's
standing up. Going to answer the door. Damn, if only we could see the front of the house."
"I'll go down and take a look." Keel left the room, sprinting down the stairs and out round the side of the derelict building. Keeping in the
shadows he crept close to the block of flats opposite. Four people were
standing in the doorway of the block. He caught a quick glimpse of Willis
as he met them before he took them inside. Keel got out his walkie-talkie.
"Curtis, you there?"
"Yes, is it them?"
"I think so. I only caught a glimpse of one of their faces but I'm pretty
sure it was one of the terrorists."
"'Pretty sure'?" Curtis queried. "That's not enough. I mean, Malone would
just love it if we call everyone out and it isn't them."
"There were four of them - ring any bells? Who else could they be?"
"Jehovah's Witnesses, salespeople, old school chums ."
"Yeah, yeah, you've made your point," Keel grumbled.
"Hey, they're coming into his flat now!"
"Well, is it them?" Keel asked.
"I don't -" Curtis broke off as he peered through the binoculars, trying to
get a clear view of one of them. Four people. One woman. One man with a
mustache . "Yes, it's them."
"Told you so - get down here!"
"On my way." Curtis checked his gun and picked up a torch to help him find
his way through the pitch darkness of the building.
Keel met him on the ground floor. "I've radioed it in," he told his partner. "Malone said to monitor them but not to make a move until the
other teams arrive."
"Right." Curtis started towards the door then stopped and grabbed Keel's arm. "What's that?"
They both stared in disbelief at the corner of the room where the translucent figure of an old man had appeared. The apparition looked
piercingly at the two immobile men - expression suggesting that it resented
their presence - then it walked across the room at a leisurely pace and vanished into a shadow.
"That-that was ."
"A ghost," Keel confirmed.
"I'm not dreaming?" Curtis checked.
"Are your dreams often about you, me and a ghost?"
"Only the really kinky ones," Curtis replied without thinking, then wondered
how his partner would take the remark.
Keel, however, grinned. "No dream," he said, "and you're going to prove it
by breaking my arm in a minute."
Curtis, realising his fingers were still clenched deep into Keel's wrist,
let go and gave a weak smile. "Sorry."
"You remember when you made fun of me for believing in ghosts and I said I'd
laugh at you when you saw one?"
"Don't remind me," Curtis groaned.
"Well, just for the record: ha-ha!"
"Shut up, Chris." Curtis walked towards the front door - a faint hesitation in his step when he intersected the line the ghost had walked
along. "Come on. We'd better get moving. If we let the terrorists get
away Malone will have our guts for garters."
They moved into position outside the flats and almost at once saw the light
in Willis's flat go off.
"If Malone doesn't want to miss the fun he'd better hurry up," Curtis muttered grimly as he got out his gun.
Keel did the same. "It seemed like such a quiet evening when we arrived
here. Who would have thought we'd have a night of ghosts and terrorists
ahead of us?"
"I think I prefer the terrorists," Curtis said with a slight shudder.
"Don't speak too soon: we haven't captured them yet."
The front door opened and five figures emerged from the block. As they passed by the street light Keel and Curtis got a good look and them - yes,
they were the terrorists and, no, there was still no sign of their CI5 back-up.
Shrugging at each other, Keel moved into sight and yelled out, "Stop where
you are. We're CI5!"
The people immediately ducked behind a car and began shooting.
Keel dropped to the ground and fired back. For the next minute the air was
filled with explosions of gun-fire. In a brief paused, Keel said, "Wouldn't
it be nice if when we said we were CI5 someone said, 'okay, then, I guess we're under arrest' instead of always starting a shoot-up?"
Curtis gave a ferile grin and shot of another round of bullets. "Yes, but
it wouldn't be so much fun!"
Keel glanced at his partner, brow furrowed. "You know, sometimes I worry
about you," he said wryly. He glanced round at the sound of cars and caught
sight of some of their colleagues. "Oh, look, the cavalry!"
The next ten minutes were chaos as the two sides fought. Two of the terrorists made a run for it in opposite directions and Keel ended up in a
fist fight with one of them. Eventually, however, they were all captured,
one of the terrorists with a minor bullet wound but none of the CI5 group
As the terrorists and Willis were led away to vans Chris stretched stiffly,
feeling a hundred new bruises. Curtis walked up to him, looking in about
the same state, his face cut and bruised. "You okay?" Curtis said, rubbing
his partner's back soothingly.
"That feels nice." Keel closed his eyes, enjoying the gentle sensation.
A shout drew their attention back to their colleagues and Backup called them
over. "No rest for the wicked," Curtis said and they exchanged weary glances before moving to join the others.
Malone brought Keel in to interrogate Willis while Curtis up-dated the
police on what had happened. CI5's relationship with the Met was not wonderful but at least they had informed CI5 about the terrorists so they
deserved to know what the outcome had been. He spoke to a DCI who actually
congratulated them - wonders would never cease! Smiling to himself, Curtis
watched interview room one until Malone and Keel appeared with Willis.
Backup moved to speak to Malone and led the prisoner away while the two partners met in the corridor.
"So how did the de-briefing go?" Curtis asked.
"The guy's a total nutter," Keel said. "He said he was going to help blow
up people for the love of his dead girlfriend!"
Curtis grimaced. "How touching!"
"Yeah. It's made me really think about the way I dwell on my wife's death.
I'd really hate to turn out like Willis."
"Well, there's not the slightest chance of that happening," Curtis reassured
him, touching his arm.
"Maybe, but I do think it's time I tried to put the past behind me. Move
on." He took a deep breath. "So, er, do you wanna have dinner with me
Curtis stared at him, his face lighting up as he realised what Keel meant.
"Sure, okay," he said in a belatedly indifferent tone.
"Okay then." There were CI5 agents all around them so Keel couldn't end the conversation with a kiss but he touched his partner's hand, entwining
their fingers for a moment, before pulling back slightly.
Malone walked down the corridor at that moment and glared at them, "What are
you two standing around for? There's work to do!"
"Yes, sir," they said simultaneously, then grinned at each other, and got