Wednesday, 1 January 2014


The journey was uneventful and took exactly 22 minutes by the timer on his phone.  He opened up a notes application and recorded his start and finish, and the time it took.  Then he sat back in his seat and looked around.
He was parked on the top level of a mini multi-storey carpark; there were three floors in total, with the lowest being the ground floor.  The ground floor had been nearly empty, the first floor had looked to be completely full, and this floor was nearly empty again.  He decided that this meant that the entrance to the building that everyone used must be on the first floor; he could see glass paned automatic sliding doors from here though, so there must be an way in or out on this floor.  The car-park was a decent size for the Unreal City, it looked like it could accommodate just under a hundred cars or so, with forty of them taking up the middle section of the tarmac and the rest arranged around the outside.  He’d parked in an outside corner, not too far from the next nearest car, but as far away from the doors as he could get and with the car pointed towards the exit ramp.  Just in case.
Most of the cars looked middle-class to him, but he’d had to have lessons in the subtle classes of the classless society of the Unreal City.  They tended to the boxy, they all had four or five doors, and many of them looked as though they were well-used.  They tended to be clean, though he could see a wheel-arch with some mud-spatters around the rim.  He suspected that there was a teenage boy somewhere who would be being made to explain himself when that was spotted by the driver.  The colours were white, grey, navy blue or black; there were no greens, reds or even metallic hues anywhere to be seen.  Presumably there were on the lower level, but he couldn’t be bothered going down there just to check on something as innocuous as that.  Car colour simply wasn’t an interesting or suspicious thing.
He got out, and strolled to the automatic doors, passing closely enough to two of the other cars to look inside.  The first was definitely a family-owned car of some kind; there was a stuffed toy on the back shelf, the thin moulded plastic that covered over the back-seat from the boot so that you could take the shopping home without the kids reaching over and helping themselves.  There was a box of tissues, Kleenex he thought, on the middle of the back-seat, and the driver’s seat had one of those uncomfortable bead covers on it that were supposed to be good for your back, or posture, or something.  The second struck him as slightly odd though; the back-seat was empty and actually slightly dusty as though it was never used, and though the car was slightly rusty overall, the lock on the boot was shiny and looked as though it had been replaced recently.  He considered noting down the licence plate and running a check on it, and then decided that it was too much effort.  He was only here to find out how a woman had died, not to conduct a full investigation.  If he spent too much time here and couldn’t justify it with results, he’d be paid only for the time that the agency deemed had been spent on the case, and then he’d be put through a ‘debrief’ where the importance of doing what was asked of you and no more was explained to him again.  With Powerpoint slides, just to drive the message home.

He walked up to the automatic doors and noticed that there was a second’s delay before they opened.  He wondered if they were automatic at all, but went in anyway.

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