A splash of gold glinted against the dark crimson, a single highlight in the shadows of the dimly lit room. The sounds of battle were almost inaudible, so deadened and muffled by the metres of concrete above that they teetered on the edge of perception. What little light emitted from a few tapering candles seemed drawn to only that single shimmer of gold, revealing little else. It battled with the shadows to trace the carved feathers of a golden eagle; its two heads turned blankly away from one another. Suspended in glory on a field of blood red, the eagle stared sightlessly out across a room furnished with very little else – a single chair, a simple bed, a neat stack of documents, a closed case. If rooms reveal their occupants, this room gave away precious little information. Order. Precision. Focus. Clarity. Nothing but the bare minimum. The bare minimum - and the eagle flying in its sky of blood. Silence brooded in the shadows as the eagle stared unseeing into the void.
A violent shaft of sound intruded abruptly into the chamber, roaring with the raucous cacophony of war. It lasted only as long as the narrow opening and closing of a door. Then silence sulked back out of the shadowed corners, giving ground only to the steady click, click, click of metal heels cracking against the floor. A darkened figure strode across the room, breaking the silence afresh with each harsh step, and stooped to gather up the stack of documents. Impatiently she flicked through them, dropping each file back onto the table with a deliberate thump. A look of disgust twisted her beautiful features. The eagle seemed in the dim light to mirror her distaste, glaring down its judgement from the shadows.
She let out a long breath, staring at the files with eyes narrowed. Abruptly, she turned on her heel and strode back to fling the heavy door wide open. A barrage of noise exploded into the chamber, flickering the candles with its volume and beating silence back into the corners. Even over the discordant cacophony, her voice carried harsh and strong:
Boots crashed down the corridor at a measured jog. A woman dressed for battle halted at the doorway and snapped a smart salute.
The flicker of a frown crossed the Sergeant’s features, but she obeyed without question, stepping quickly into the room and closing the heavy door behind her.
To be continued....