Lost In Translation by Nils Durban

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SUMMARY: Entry in Feb.'09 Flash Fic contest.

Eleanor sat in the back of the Landy, surrounded in darkness and tentatively sipping coffee from a Thermos cup, the idling diesel engine adding a steady bass thrum to the soft rock ballad that oozed from the single working speaker.
"It's not that I don't like him, not at all. And it's not that I don't trust him," she said, "It's just something about him that makes it impossible to get close, not that I want to or anything! But, I mean, the not eating thing, and the skulking around at all hours. It doesn't seem normal and, before you say it, I know that we're not really in a ‘normal' line of business, I know it attracts a lot of oddballs and geeks, but he doesn't really seem to be one of those either," she sighed deeply, "I expect you think I'm mad, don't you, Greg?" she waited, "Greg?"
She leant forwards and punched him in the shoulder, causing him to stir suddenly from his slumber, "What? What the...?"
"How can you possibly sleep?"
"Erm, because I'm tired?" he yawned. "Were you saying something?"
"Just to myself," she said, "as usual."


Ten minutes later the Transit pulled up alongside and Eric got out and walked over to them. Greg wound the window down, "got everything?"
"Yes," Eric replied, "I think so, but the EMP's on the blink again so we'll have to do without."
"Fine, never got anything meaningful from it anyway."
Eric looked in back, "Hello Eleanor."
"Hi Eric," she answered, and then, after an awkward silence, "well, can we get going already?"


"There's nothing to worry about, Mrs McCreadie," Greg assured the elderly lady, "your daughter's seen all our insurance documents. Nothing at all will be disturbed."
"Well, not by us." Eleanor mumbled under her breath.
"But it's you I'm worried about," the old woman said, "you don't know what it's like."
"Let me assure you, we're used to this kind of thing. Please, don't worry about us."
"Can we use your TV?" Eric interjected.
Mrs McCreadie looked at him for the first time, slightly puzzled, "I guess."
Greg helped her down the steps of the front porch and across the darkness of the garden towards the car parked at the kerbside, "here she is, waiting for you."
On the porch, Eric looked up to the heavens, "a full moon."
"Yeah," Eleanor smirked, "pity we're not hunting werewolves."


She followed Greg back down the creaking staircase, "the detectors are all set," she announced, "Eric?"
"Here," came his voice from behind the television, "trying to find an adaptor to fit this old set."
They made there way over to examine the equipment he had rigged in front of the TV.
"ITC?" Greg asked.
"Yes, have you used it before?"
"Dabbled a bit. Always found myself sceptical of it to be honest."
Eleanor laughed, "you, a sceptic? Right! Anyway, what's ICT?"
"ITC," Eric corrected, "Instrumental TransCommunication. By modulating the frequency of the set and creating a feedback loop with the recorder whilst angling the camera ninety degrees away it should be possible to pick up both visual and audible ultra frequency activity."
Eleanor looked at Greg with a face that said "translation please?"
"It's like a white noise recorder, only with pictures too," he explained.
"Oh, goody."


During her shift she sat upright in her sleeping bag and stared into the shimmering screen of the tuned out television.

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