Friday, 5 April 2013

Dead sheep

I looked around Blue’s flat when my vision stopped swimming and the blur had cleared up.  The floor was still covered with drying and dried blood, and small clouds of flies hovered here and there, dipping down from time to time to feed.  The smell wasn’t too bad yet, but I suspected that Monkeybutt’s men had used some deodorant while they were in here; cheaper than masks, probably sourced from a Monkeybutt company, and bad for the environment.  I shifted slightly, and realised from the tacky, pulling sensation that I’d landed in a puddle of semi-dry blood.  It didn’t seem worth moving for the moment though.
The pulp paperbacks were gone, so Monkeybutt or her men had taken them.  It seemed a bit odd as they could hardly be evidence, but maybe they’d taken them out to the van to read while they were on stakeout.  The dead sheep were still there, at the foot of the bed.  I could see from this angle that they’d both had their throats cut, presumably to get decent spray on the blood and cover as much of the room as possible.  The sheep-killers looked to have been sending a message, though why to Blue was still a mystery.  He was a grotty little lowlife, it was unlikely he had any money or possessions worth threatening him over.  So what did that leave?  Information?
The bed looked odd.  I blinked and looked at it again, trying to work out what was wrong.  It was a double bed with filthy sheets and a blood-stained duvet.  The sheets were wrinkled and pulled away from one corner of the mattress, which also looked filthy.  There were crumbs – well, I hoped they were crumbs – scattered on them where the duvet didn’t cover them up, and there were three pillows, all missing pillowcases.  I suspected Monkeybutt again, taking things that she hoped she could make a case from.  She was probably having them analysed for DNA to find out who Blue was sleeping with.  I could have told her if she’d asked: Blue didn’t bring people back to his flat because he was ashamed of it.  All of his conquests (and the last one I knew of was three years ago and the poor kid was both blind and blind drunk) usually ended up in a dark alleyway somewhere listening to him whisper that outdoor sex was more erotic.  I tilted my head to the side, and the bed straightened up, and suddenly it was obvious.  The bed was lopsided, one corner raised up more than the other three.  I straightened my head again and studied the corners.
It was the bottom right leg, closest to the wall, that was too long.  I guessed that the safest leg – top right, pushed into the corner made by the walls – was a little too awkward for him because he’d have to drag the bed out to get to it.  Bottom right was conveniently close to where I was sprawled, so I took a closer look, pushing the duvet out of the way.  The leg looked normal until I ran my thumbnail down its length and it caught about a inch away from the bottom on a nearly-invisible seam.  I sighed, and stood up, shook myself a little, and then sat back down, cross-legged.  I had to bite back a moan from the effort of bending my knees like that, but once they’d locked in place I felt a little better.  Then I lifted the bed.  The long leg dropped neatly out, revealing that it had been poking through the bed-frame and up into a hole made in the mattress, and was actually as long as my forearm.
I wanted to open it there and then and find out what Blue had that needed hiding like this, but I was acutely aware that Dan Drough and his officers would be send back by Monkeybutt in short order, possibly with riot shields if she was feeling generous, and that I’d barely looked around the flat.  I slipped the bed-leg down my trouser leg, gripped the edge of the bed to haul myself upright, and stared around the room some more.
There was nothing in the way of decoration or ornament, and there was no musical instrument either.  Or scores for that matter.  I frowned then, thinking back; had I seen any when I’d been here the first time?  The more I thought, the more I was sure that I hadn’t.  I could imagine Blue having his horn with him if he’d been out, but where was the rest of the stuff?  There wasn’t enough here, like maybe he’d already skipped out before the sheep-killers arrived?  Did he know he was running out of time?  And did that mean that the bed-leg down my leg was already empty?
I walked, a little stiff-legged thanks to the bed-leg, over to the only other door in the room, and opened it into a bathroom.  There was a toilet, a sink, a bath and a closed-over shower-curtain.  I pulled the curtain back, the rings whisking against the bar, and found a mirror on the wall and a sheep’s head in the bath.  I met its gaze for a moment, and then pulled the curtain back.  Nothing here then.  I turned to go, and then I turned back again.  I scanned the room again, and frowned.  No towels, and there were no cupboards in this place to put them either.  So where were they?  Had Monkeybutt taken them as evidence?
I left the bathroom and considered the front-door.  I knew Monkeybutt had it wired up, but what did it connect to?  I didn’t really want to risk my life again on the bricks outside the window.  Then I spotted the wire on the inside, and traced it over to the duvet, which when pulled back revealed a radio transmitter.  It was a matter of moment to remove the battery, and then I opened the front-door.  Looking around Blue’s impoverished room I finally found a heavy glass ash-tray on the floor and used it to smash the lock on the outside to look like someone had forced entry, then left the door open and walked off.  If Blue was coming back, I was sure he’d thank me.
I remembered about how slippery the floor was only after I’d taken two steps in the direction of the stairwell.

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