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BlackEagle Girls
and The Ice-Angel of Death

Chapter 13 - The Ice Angel Looms

'Keep the torch covered with your fingers stupid!'

'Yeah sorry, just got to be careful about bumping into seats. Don't wanna make a lot of racket, sound carries on still nights like this.'

'Most of the dudes are dead to the world by now. Big Friday night, big Saturday. Any teachers staying over in school are still out partying or back crawling into bed to crash. This is a good time to do business without getting hassled. Sunday morning they gotta get themselves straight for Monday assembly.'

'What about the staff assigned to weekend ground patrol?'

'Playing cards, watching the box or listening to music as usual, you know that. Anyway the last thing they'd expect is someone taking a walk inside the Chapel. What are we gonna do? Pray? We just have to make sure we aren't spotted getting back to our dorms, that's why the others are keeping watch as usual. Quit with the nerves Beresford, we've done this plenty of times, nuthin's ever happened before. Whitey's keeping tabs on things outside. He'll open up to let us out when we're ready.'

'How long have we got until the pick-up?'

'Twenty minutes. This'll be quick. Come on, there could be a drop as well and I like to keep track of what's coming in.'

'Is it the new stuff? We gettin' the Angel Ice tonight?'

'Keep your cool, If not this time, soon. The stuff's gonna be hard to ship into the country, coming all the way from South America, but it'll arrive and when it does we'll be the storehouse for a while until things chill. Gotta keep it totally secret, get it? No one, but no one's to knows its coming into Hopewell. Anyone lets that out, they end up iced, by me!'

'Can we try a shot when it gets here?'

'Beresford, you totally nut-case? You know there are no drugs in this school. Nobody does drugs here. Not them, not us! We got an agreement.' Tony Ichema, The Ice Man, who Priscilla had nicknamed Sandpaper Voice halted, his hand resting on the timber railing of the pulpit where Priscilla and Monique were crouching.

'Anybody gets tempted, they're wiped out, get it!'

'Yeah sure, I get it, but Monkey and Whitey... '

'Monkey and Whitey do what I tell 'em. Just like you. We got an operation happening here, that's all. We get paid to keep it running. That means control, Man. Like, don't you get it by now? We keep the school clean! No one sets up a scam without us knowing and shutting 'em down. We're good for Hopewell, even if we have to keep minor pests like that bullying first-year bitch Annie Sole in cotton wool. If she didn't have connections, I wouldn't be bothering with any of them little girls, but our side says that we have to take care of her or else her side might get twitchy. And both sides want in on the big action. And the big action is out on the streets where it's always been. So, what we do! We look after her. Keep her happy. This in turn keeps her Big Guys happy and lets them get on with other business away from where she is. We don't want any trouble with other dealers. No drugs in this school is part of the agreement. You want to sample, get out on the streets with all the other suckers and end up like them.'

'They reckon Angel Ice makes you feel like you can fly, like you own the world, like you can see all the dudes everywhere and laugh at them,' Beresford whispered. 'Like you're really an angel, that you can see God and look down on everybody, even the Devil. I've seen... '

'What have you seen stupid! Been on the Internet? You want to get dead do ya? Angel Ice is brand new and loaded with dynamite. Our Family have got an exclusive on this for Australia. It's gonna bust the party dance scene wide open. Only one guy, this smart brain in Cidade de Deus knows how to make it.'

'In where?'

'The City of God. Some dump in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil dummy, South America. That's why it's called Angel Ice. Godfather knows all about it.'

'Aw yeah, Godfather. You talk with him?'

'Kind of. I get told about him when I stay with the Old Man.' Sandpaper Voice wrapped an arm around Beresford's shoulders. 'Smart, that you should be in awe. Godfather can take any of us out any time, just like that!' He smacked his hand on the railing inches from Monique's face. 'Anyhow, there's this Dude in Rochina Four that has a working lab kicking out the stuff; produces plenty, even enough to get as far as Australia.'

'What's Rochina Four?'

'A slum suburb there. The Dude's a doc and an industrial chemist; some kinda scientist, he's The Man. In the daytime he runs a clinic for drug dopes, but at night he experiments. He's one very rich son of a bitch. Makes it both ways, getting them straight and getting them hooked. Exports hot little items like Krank and Tweak, and now his own special new baby, Angel Ice. This stuff is for crazies who believe in God and Holy Hooley! They'll take it by the truckload. Some will get on it and enjoy the ride and some'll try to walk on water or off the top of buildings. Splat! That's what'll happen, and they'll never know. Not our problem. Their choice. Not our choice. Just remember, we touch nothing that comes in or goes out. You want to fool around with anything, even Grass, I get Monkey to whack you. Maybe even the Big Guys step in. You know what happens then; lonely boy, missing his family, messed up exams, messed up mind, hangs himself from tree.
Good bye Beresford.
The guys know how this thing works. Nuthin's changed. We play by the rules and none of us gets hurt. We got a nice little shuttle service that works for our Big Boys in Melbourne and from here all over the country. When the Angel Ice arrives it stays untouched until we're told, then it goes out again and everybody gets rich, except our guys get richer selling it off to the rest.'

'This Dude, what's his name, and how'd he get started?'

'You're asking questions again that you don't need ta know Neil. Come on, this is wasting time, we've got stock to move.'

'Moni? You hear what he said? So that's why Annie is getting taken care of. Her family's on one side and these goons are on the other!'

'Of certain! His hand was just so close to my face! Quickly! Follow them!'

Monique and Priscilla slipped from the pulpit and hurried after the two youths. It was only a matter of a few paces until they reached the door that led into the rear of the chapel. Cautiously pushing it open, Priscilla managed to glimpse a section of the timber panelling at the rear sliding up into place.

'Well-oil-beef-hooked! she exclaimed, 'It really is a false wall! Come on, let's take a closer look.'

'What is it that you just said? And if I think it was what I thought you said then it sounded very naughty,' said Monique, close on her heels.

'It's told to you the other way around and you're meant to say it backwards, I learnt it from Henry, naturally,' Priscilla whispered, smirking in the dark. 'Gee, lucky we have these Night-Sight goggles.'

'Courtesy of a certain little Dogie. Seems like you are going into a coal mine after all,' came Harry's voice from their Hand Activators. 'Now careful how you do it. There are gradients for each of the Senses, and right now you're both still operating on the "No Touchy, No Feely" mode. Means that they can't detect your physical bodies by brushing against you, but now you also have a certain loss of tactile presence. In other words, you don't "feel" so good.'

'Yeah right Harry, nobody likes a smarty you know,' said Priscilla.

'I do, especially the red ones,' came Harry's quick reply.

'Hoo boy! The dog's a real riot. Now, just got to see how this works, no handles or levers, nothing to pull or drag... '

'Perhaps those are not required,' suggested Monique, placing her palms firmly against the panelling and drawing them down. It took some extra effort because of the "No Feely" mode, but eventually with Priscilla's help, the ancient timbers slowly began to move.

'It works on counterweights in the wall cavity, just like sash windows,' said Monique as the upper edge of the panel appeared, allowing them to pull it down with relative ease. There was a soft knocking sound behind the wood, but otherwise the operation was silent.

'Seems like the old miners and settlers of the past knew what they were on about,' said Harry. 'They may not have had modern technology but certainly understood how to conceal their fruits of labour.'

'But whatever for?' asked Monique, peering inside and observing wooden steps that led down a narrow shaft.

'Gold and other valuable goods, I expect,' said Harry's voice from the Hand Activator. 'Prospectors  coming in from the outlying areas, waiting overnight to bring their spoils over the Yarra river and into Melbourne Town. They needed a safe holding place for their wealth, to protect it against Bush Rangers and the light-fingered of those times.'

'Wow, Ned Kelly and Captain Thingy ?' said Priscilla.

'Sure, Captain Thingy, or Thunderbolt or Lightning or whoever he really was. Anyway, from what I have learnt of your country's history there were enough outlaws and vagabonds about to warrant protection. And what did the miners do? Well, put it all back underground of course until they were ready to cross the river and get their gold into the banks. That's all ancient history, now there's another kind of wealth down there: illegal, dangerous poison that kills people, with something else even deadlier coming soon, and it's in your school. What are you both going to do about it?'

'Well, well... We're going down there to get the lay of the land... sorta,' said Priscilla, looking over Monique's shoulder.

'Sorta. Hmm, seems risky with those two juvenile gangsters roaming about. Keep everything de-activated now, and try not to let them walk through you, it's an unpleasant feeling when that happens to your molecular structure.'

'Thank you for the warning, Monsieur Harry,' said Monique, descending the ladder. 'It sounds positively revolting. Come on Priscilla. We want to catch them in the act.'

'Do we?' said Priscilla wrinkling her nose and following.

At the bottom of the steps the girls could see a pale glow of light at a bend just beyond.

'Ohh, it's narrow and smells,' said Priscilla.

'And the smells are not only of the earth,' Monique answered, probing forward.

A few paces along crumbling wooden timbers set into the floor, brought the girls to a cavern-like room, and there they could see a pair of shadowy figures lit by the glow of five candles in holders placed about the interior. Boxes and stacks of plastic-wrapped packages on rough timber shelves were illuminated by the soft, still light.

'Ready to roll?' said The Ice Man.

'Just about, this weed is the last.'

'Right, throw it into the bag and lets get going.' Sand Paper Voice began blowing out the candles, while flicking on the torch he carried and gathering up several satchels.

'They're coming this way, quick we have to get back upstairs and close the panel before they discover it's open!' said Priscilla.

Re-tracing their steps the girls hastened up the ladder and darted into the narrow wash room beyond.

'Oh! All this noise of creaking boards will give us away,' said Monique, as she and Priscilla struggled to grasp the panel and raise it.

'No it won't,' came Harry's confident reply from their Activators, 'the field around you obliterates any sounds you make. You're cool. Now get up to the Chapel door and try to slip through as they leave.'

'Easier said than done,' muttered Priscilla, struggling to run the short distance past the pulpit and down between the rows of forms that led to the Chapel door.

'Come on,' said Monique, supporting her all the way. 'They are already out of the wash room.'

Inside, at the Chapel door, it was a gathering of four, although two of them had no idea that Priscilla and Monique were standing as close as they dared to.

Sandpaper Voice, shielding the glow of the torch he carried, dialled a number on his mobile phone, let it beep and then cancelled. 'No connection, no answer. Just a signal. Won't be long.'

Moments later, the padlock rattled and the Chapel door opened.
'All clear. No one in sight,' said a voice that Priscilla recognised immediately. 'That's Whitey!'

'Quick!' said Monique, shuffling forward and pushing Priscilla in front of her, 'squeeze between them, now!'

'Priscilla had the distinct feeling of a cork being popped as she was propelled between the door and Beresford. She stumbled forward, almost falling down the steps, but managed to stay upright and get out of Monique's path as she too exited alongside The Ice Man.

Grasping each other, together again at the bottom of the steps, the two girls stood shivering in the cold night air.

'What was that?' said Beresford brushing at his arm. 'Felt like something soft fluttering against me.'

'You still twitchy Neil?' muttered Whitey, sarcastically, as he pulled the door shut and clicked the padlock. 'What's buggin' you?'

'Cool it Whitey, I felt somethin' too,' said Sandpaper Voice. 'Probably just the breeze or moths, anyway let's get going. Monkey still at the Quad keeping watch?'

'Yep, he'd let us know if any-body's out on the prowl. Every thing's cool. Want a hand with the stuff?'

'Yeah, grab hold of these while I make a call.'
The three youths began to hurry off on the shortcut that led to the gravel path and the gate in the wall, as The Ice Man again used his mobile to signal.

'Come on Moni, we have to follow them and see what happens,' said Priscilla, starting forward.

'Of course, but are you feeling up to it Cilla?'

'Better, now that we're out of there, hurry, we don't want to miss what happens next.'

Minutes later the pair arrived at the gate to find Sandpaper Voice already unlocking it. 'Nothing like having your own key to your own padlock,' he was boasting.

'Right on Tony, and the dopey teachers never bother to check,' smirked Whitey.

'Yeah, they just think it's all secure without looking closely or even trying a key,' said Beresford, hefting his bags through as the gate creaked open.

Outside, at the curb, Priscilla and Monique could see the outline of a black car and hear the idling of its engine.

'Vito. Right on time. Hanging around a few blocks away waiting for the call, as usual,' said Sandpaper Voice. 'C'mon youse two, get them bags into the boot.'

'What should we do now?' asked Monique.

'Take the licence number? I don't know?' said Priscilla in a quandary.

In the meantime, the two hefting the satchels had deposited them into the boot of the car while Sandpaper Voice was busy conducting a conversation with the driver through the passenger door. Then he turned back to the others saying, 'Done deal. Maybe it gets here next drop. Right Whitey, lock us out and let Monkey off the hook. Neil, you coming with me and Vito. Get in!'

The driver leaned over and opened the rear passenger door.

Beresford seemed hesitant. 'Where are we going?'

'Time you got to meet some people. Come on Neil, you're always nosey. Want to find out how things work? Here's your chance. Don't blow it. You've been on the waiting list for a while. Maybe big things coming. Let's just you and me and Vito head off for a cruise. Whitey and Monkey can take care of everything here. No, not in the back, you can ride up front.' He indicated the seat alongside the dark figure of the driver.

'You sure this is alright?' said Beresford in a tremulous voice, as he entered the vehicle.

'You're gonna have the time of your life,' said Sandpaper Voice, bending into the cabin.

'What are you doing!' said Monique, as Priscilla scrambled into the rear of the car through the still open door.

'Going along for the ride! Come on, they don't know we're here, can't see us or anything, now or never!' said Priscilla, shuffling over to make room.

Monique threw caution to the wind against her better judgement, persuaded by the danger her friend was placing herself in, and followed. Seconds later, Sandpaper Voice shut the rear door and slid into the front seat, effectively sandwiching Beresford between himself and the man at the wheel.

The car pulled away from the curb and drove slowly, making turns left and right through the dark of night and the empty streets. Priscilla and Monique sat rigidly in the back as the journey continued out through Camberwell and Hawthorn and then Kew.

'Where we going exactly Tony?' said Beresford, breaking the silence in the front seat.

'Fitzroy,' answered Sandpaper Voice, 'the scenic route. City looks cool at this time in the early hours. No one around, no cops, no traffic. Relax, enjoy the trip.'

In twenty minutes they were turning off the Chandler Highway onto Yarra Boulevard. The way ahead was deserted and the car began to pick up speed as it negotiated the first bends.

'This is a very winding road,' said Monique concernedly, gripping Priscilla's hand.

'It gets windier,' Priscilla answered, her voice rising.

In a matter of moments the car was rocketing along the straight ways and breaking sharply into the bends.

'Is this really the way to Fitzroy?' asked Beresford, somewhat stiffly as if he was beginning to realise that something wasn't right.

'Sure it is, I told you it's the scenic route,' answered Sandpaper Voice throwing his arm around Beresford's shoulders.

The car gathered speed, screeching through the bends and racing along with such motion that it began to rock violently from side to side, often cornering on two wheels.

'Why are we going so fast!' cried Beresford, as the vehicle, at dangerous speed, spun out and corrected before screaming away again toward the next bend.

'Just a little lesson about keeping control, Neil. That's what it's all about. And finding your limitations. You wanted to know a lot and now your learning. Stay cool, we haven't got to the best part yet,' shouted Sandpaper Voice, his fingers digging into Beresford's shoulder.

At that moment another vehicle, lights dimmed, appeared out of nowhere on the wrong side of the road heading straight for them. Vito, the driver, veered across the road and rocketed past the oncoming vehicle, then corrected, brakes screeching, just before they were all plunged into the trees down the slope beyond. As this happened Priscilla was thrown violently against the rear passenger door when the car spun about, almost facing the direction it had come from. Then, while Vito dragged the steering wheel around and revved the motor, she was thrown back against Monique and then again away so that she struck the passenger door a second time as the car fish-tailed up the road, over-correcting and correcting finally into the drivers control.

'Ohh!' shouted Priscilla, the wind almost knocked out of her.

At that moment, Sandpaper Voice jerked his head around and stared straight at her, his eyes boring into hers. 'What are you doing here, Little Girl?' he snarled, letting go of Beresford and reaching over to grasp Priscilla by her collar. 'This kid must have sneaked in when we were talking Vito,' he said over his shoulder.

For a moment Priscilla was so stunned that she couldn't understand what had happened, then she realised, the activator, I've double-hit the buttons against the door and now they can see and hear me!

'Oh-bloody-hell,' muttered Priscilla, shaking uncontrollably under the pressure of The Ice Man's grip. 'look, I just, I just... was kind of sleep walking or something... '

'Then why the shades kid?'

'The shades? Oh these,' said Priscilla reaching up to touch the Night-Sight goggles, 'like I said, sleep-walking, I guess I put on these sunnies without knowing what I was do... '

'Cut the crap Little Girl, you expect us to believe ya?' snarled The Ice Man.

'Look, I don't know what's going on, please just let me go. I won't say anything... '

That's right sweetheart, you won't, and we are gonna let you go,' answered Sandpaper Voice, and then, back over his shoulder he said, 'Don't know how you got in, but I do know how you're gettin' out. What do you think Vito? We gonna help this Little Girl?'

The driver nodded, staring ahead and working the car through the bends at high speed again so that it shifted wildly from side to side, the brakes squealing into the sharp turns of the road.

'There's a good place not too much further,' said Sandpaper Voice, his fingers tightening on Priscilla's collar. 'Give me your piece Vito.'

The driver took a hand off the wheel and, reaching into his jacket, withdrew a gun as he pulled the car hard across the road so that it ripped into the gravel where the tires bit and the vehicle slewed perilously toward the edge before grinding to a sharp halt.

Sand Paper Voice, The Ice Man, released his grasp and wrenched the pistol out of Vito's hand, pointing it directly at Priscilla. 'Time to say bye-byes Little Girl... '

'No!' shouted Beresford, swinging wildly about and grasping Tony's arm. 'You can't just shoot her!'

In that split second Priscilla re-acted automatically, opening the door and throwing herself out of the car so that she tumbled onto the verge at the edge, then there was no verge, and she plummeted into a void beyond, her scream whipped away by the sudden rush of air that seared her lungs.

'You stupid bastard!' said Tony Ichema, wrestling control of the gun away from Beresford. 'I wasn't going to shoot the kid, just push her off into the river. You know what happens, people lose their footing and fall, get drowned all the time. Looks like she's taken care of that for us... '

'Tony, Tony! Sorry, sorry, I did... I didn't know what you were thinkin', I just got scared that you might make a bad mistake!' Beresford answered, visibly shaking.

'Don't be such a wimp, you weak... ' The Ice Man took in several gulps of air and gave the handgun back to Vito who pocketed it. 'Come on, come on Neil, outta the car!' he exclaimed, throwing open the passenger door. 'Got a torch Vito?'

Vito opened the glove box and handed a flashlight to The Ice Man as he dragged Beresford out by his jacket, drawing him close to the edge and playing the torch back and forward through the ferns that lined the cliff face.

'There, there! Look Neil! See! See that kid floating face-down in the river?' said Tony Ichema, the emotionless Ice Man. 'She's dead meat! And that's you pal, if you stuff up again!'

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