OFFICER Ed Treasure-Smith was sat at his desk, leaning his head on his hand, flicking through page after page of case notes. Just as his eyes began to flicker shut, his pager went off and stated buzzing and vibrating against his hip. He unclipped it from his belt and read the message:
“Please come to Reception”
It was displayed on a colourful OLED display. He loved the new pagers. They were so modern and multi-functional as well as easy to use. In the past year the office had issued and re-issued 3 series of them, and kept the third series until they started to go funny with the screens and you couldn’t read the messages any more. They weren’t very practical either as they kept digging into places and fell of quite a lot. The 5th Series was by far the best. He like this one. Ed got up from his desk, headed down the corridor, past Scott’s office, turned right there and hurried down the glass staircase.
“Amy! What’s the job?” Ed asked as he skipped off the bottom stair and skidded across to the desk to where his girlfriend stood.
“Some people have reported disturbances in a local abandoned factory retail park a couple of minutes away. One claimed they heard a gunshot, so be careful baby ok?”
“Of course. Aren’t I always? Can you upload the directions and shit onto my GPS and pager and I’ll get to it?”
“OK babe. I’ll do that. Take care,” Amy said and leant over the counter and kissed him.
Ed smiled and walked out the building.
Ed had never particularly liked Brislington, and it seemed a bit odd that the call had been directed to the Office when there were several stations in that area.
“Fucking slobs. Can’t be bothered to get of their lazy arses and see to it themselves!” he thought aloud, “and Amy. Next time, could you be a little more precise with the timings! Brislington is hardly ‘a couple of minutes away’ from Clifton!”
“Turn Right,” the GPS stated boldly.
“Well I s’pose 13 minutes isn’t too bad,” he concluded.
As Ed turned left into the Industrial Estate where the disturbances had been reported, he found nothing. No people, no cars and above all. No noise. He immediately became suspicious at the fact that it seemed that nobody had been here for months. The area was completely abandoned. He looked the light grey metal warehouse up and down, noted the few broken window panes at the top of the 15’ structure, then began to do a prowl.
At the very back of the complex there was an abandoned campfire and colourful Graffiti up the walls, portrait-ed by burn marks. Needles and syringes littered the floor, along with empty re-seal plastic bags. The place stank of stale piss and Ed fought back the wave of nausea that had overcome him. He noticed a door that was cleverly disguised as part of the wall. He began to walk over to it, but he soon heard the shuffle of footsteps from inside, and hid behind an industrial sized wheelie-bin.
“Jack! You fucking moron! H said they didn’t want anything to go wrong! That bloody crate my fucking neck!”
“Sorry! Sorry! Sorry’s not gonna bring that crate of Snow back is it?”
“Dar-. No! Please! Pl-“
There was a gunshot and then silence. A flock of birds took off from the top of a nearby building and flew off in an arrow formation.
“Cleat this up!” the voice screamed. A pause. “NOW!”
Ed put his hand against his hip and began to fumble around for his gun. He pulled it out from it’s holster and put it next to his face. The cold metal made him shiver.
A tall, white man with brown hair was standing in the middle of the Warehouse floor. The gun he was holding was pointing directly at the body of Jack Dowling. The barrel of the pistol was still vibrating.
The body was soaked in blood. There was a bullet hole going straight through the front of his head. H had taught him that one, and helped him perfect the execution. His head was surrounded by a Halo of blood. Another hole had gone through his trousers which was now smoking and turning red.
“I always threatened to blow your bollocks off. Didn’t I Jack?...” a pause, “OWEN!” he screamed, “Get rid of him.
Another man it tight white trousers and a black open v-top shirt, came hurrying over. He picked up the body, and flung it over his shoulder, then walked away as though the corpse didn’t way a thing.
Becca Blythe was sat at the Reception desk strumming her fingers on the table.
“Fucking Technology! It’s frozen again! You know this only started happening when they installed that new system software the other week,” she muttered.
“I know! You remind me every day! Well, just re-boot it and phone the Technician,” Amy replied, equally annoyed.
“Yeah I s’pose. Though he was only up here yesterday or the day before,” Becca said as she reached down and pushed the on/off button. The LED lights began to flash on the hard drive and the small LED panel explained its processes. The screen went black and a red light began to flash on the hard drive.
“Fucking piece of Mechanical Shit!” Becca screamed. Then the wave of realisation at what she’d done and the eyes staring at her from around the office. She coughed embarrassedly, smoothed out her blouse and skirt and smiled sweetly at the people in Reception who were staring at her in utter confusion and shock. Amy couldn’t help but giggle to herself. Becca gave a quick smirk too as she picked up the phone and dialled the number.
“Hey, Becca. You know Ed and I?” Amy asked, quietly.
“Mmm Hmm,” Becca nodded as the phone continued to ring. As the Technician on the other end picked up, Becca said: “In a minute ok?”
“Hey, Luke? It’s Becca from Reception. The computers gone spaz again! Could you come and sort it out for me, babe?... Thank you, Luke! You are a babe!” she put the phone down and turned to Amy, the phone started ringing again.
“Take it, Becca. This can wait.”
“Yes! Now pick up the damn phone”
“OK. Bristol Police Force, how can I -. Oh! Hey Polly. Yeah, it’s Becca.”
“Hey Becca. I rang for two reasons really,” replied Polly from Records, two floors up, “One, I decided to do a bit of a clean up because it’s getting a right mess up here. No Gemma that goes in the Filing Cabinet in the corner. And Two because I had a weird moment and, yeah. Anyway, I came up with some files on that Turner person.”
“Lee?!” Becca replied, shocked.
“No! You blonde! The one who attacked Becky. Josie innit?”
“I dunno. Probably.”
“Anyway, I think, Ben or Scott should come and take a look at it.”
“At what?” Becca asked.
“The Files! Becca!” Polly screamed in despair.
“Oh! Right! The files! OK. If you send them down here, then I’ll get them distributed as soon as possible. I don’t think Scott’s in today, but I’ll set a reminder.”
“Great. Thanks Becca. And the other thing was, about the Christmas Party.”
“Oh Yeah! That. Well, if I make some flyers and stick ‘em around the Staff Room and people’s offices, that should remind people. Where’s it gonna be?”
“Erm. How about the Cube in Broadmead, around…. Eight-ish?”
“All right. Do we know when yet?”
“No but I think we’ll organise that closer to the date?”
“OK. Thanks Polly. Just send down the files when you’re ready ok?”
“Sure. Speak later!”
Becca put down the phone and turned to Amy. She was staring at the computer screen, completely out of it.”
“Amy?” Becca coaxed gently.
Amy still just sat there like a lemon, refusing to break the trance between her and the computer.
“Amy,” Becca said a little louder this time and with an added poke. There was a slight flinch from Amy, but was still locked in an apparent hypnotic session with an inanimate object… “AMY WAKE UP!” Becca shouted at her distant friend with a harsh slap on the arm.
“What…?” Amy complained at being woken.
“You were in a trance with the computer screen again!” Becca stated matter-of-factly.
“You will be,” Becca muttered loud enough for Amy just to hear. “Are you sure you’re ok? It’s just, ever since your date with Ed a few months ago, you’ve been acting all strange… funny.”
“Sorry, Becca. I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” Amy lied, “I haven’t been sleeping, I’m not eating. Well, I’m not hungry. I don’t know,” she sobbed.
“Okay,” Becca sighed, “If you’re sure…”
“Becca, just drop it. Please?” Amy asked impatiently.
“Amy!” Becca cried, “I’m just trying to look out for you! Trying to be a mate!”
“I’m sorry, Becca. I - .”
“Just! Forget it ok?”
There were a few moments silence, until Becca got up out of her chair.
“Right. I’m going up to Histology quickly ok? Would it be too much to ask for you to hold down the fort for a while?” Becca asked sarcastically, and irritated.
Amy looked around at the almost deserted Reception.
“Yeah, I’m sure I can manage for a little while. Don’t be long though!” she replied equally sarcastically.
Becca flew out of the desk area and hurried up the flight of stairs to the second floor where all the main staff offices were, without looking back. But when she got to the top, she couldn’t help but look down over the balcony at Amy, tapping away at the Computer Keyboard. To Becca, the Reception area had always been too Hospital clean apart from the one block red rear wall against the mainly whitewashed wall which Becca and Amy had insisted on being painted last year… It was progress… She turned up the corridor past Ben’s office and heading towards the blinded double doors of Michaels at the back, but turned left before she reached it and disappeared up another flight of stairs.