Something is happenning in the city, comething sinister. Jay Bridge, an urban shaman, is determined to find it, and put a stop to it.
A light, grey drizzle, of the sort for which Manchester was famous, hung in the chilly night air, coating the pavements with a slick, oily dampness. I pulled my overcoat close around myself but it was useless; the rain wasn't even falling like normal rain does, it just permeated the very air itself, inside and out. Looking up at the orange street-lights, I could see the air thick with water droplets, going nowhere.
I leaned against a lamp-post, smoking, and waiting.
Despite the late hour the streets were still busy, the pubs were already well into closing time but their customers would find most of the clubs still open for another hour or two. They passed by in groups, mostly divided by gender. On one side, gaggles of girls in short skirts and tall shoes, giggling and screaming after a few too many of whatever brightly coloured, over-sweet drink was currently fashionable. On the other, the guys that watched them, mostly dressed in smart designer clothing that was likely fake, their mobile phones loudly pumping out something they presumed to call music.
A metro-link tram rattled by, stopping at the street-side platform, a few people got on, no-one got off. I glanced at my watch. That would be the last one for the night. As it pulled away, blue sparks leaped from the overhead cables, leaving the air smelling of ozone.
My cigarette finished, I flicked the stub into the gutter and closed my eyes, letting out a long, slow breath. As I did so, I focussed my concentration inward, for the task ahead. There was the usual moment of vertigo, and moment of tension that relaxed as the vertigo passed away. Good. It would not do to have a seizure out here in the rain. I opened my eyes again, and knew that the passers by would no longer see me.
I was still there of course, and still visible, nothing so fancy as an invisibility spell. Such things as that take far more power than I posses. This was a much simpler thing, a persuasion of sorts. The people in the street would still see me, they just wouldn't notice, wouldn't remember. I had made myself completely insignificant. Allowing myself a brief smile I crossed the tram-tracks towards the library.
Manchester Central Library was housed in a large circular building of pale grey stone and neo-classical architecture. I ignored the high columns of the main entrance, and instead headed to the right, into a curved passage between the library and the town hall. There was a side entrance here. I knew it would be locked and wired for security.
"Hey, Becky," I whispered under my breath, trying to avoid being too loud and break the insignificance spell I'd put on myself. "You there?"