Chapter Sixteen – Less Abstract

25 Jul

‘What?’ I said, leaning closer to Rosie.

‘There’s something going on with this world. The cathedral opening up is just the first sign. I’ve seen and studied that place at every hour of the day and it has never opened before.’ Her eyes got slightly wider.

‘Was there anything rare or valuable in there? Whoever hired me might have been looking for something…. Less abstract.’ I said.

‘Not really. Well, nothing you would be able to carry out of there – unless you had a lorry or something like that.’ Rosie smiled and sipped her tea.

The radio crackled again before the opening notes of “Gimme Shelter” echoed around the cafe. We were probably both looking in the wrong direction or at least I hoped we were. I absolutely hated those cheesy fantasy novels and sci-fi movies where someone ends up in a strange other world and has to save the planet or even, drumroll please, the universe itself!

Seriously, they’re just beyond contrived. They’re nothing more than the same story told in a thousand ways just to make powerless people feel powerful for an hour or two – like they’re a “chosen one” of some kind. But, and I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, Rosie had mentioned that this world was changing and it probably wasn’t for the better. No doubt that I’d have to find the wooden models’ one hidden weakness or some predictable bullshit like that.

No, I told myself, this was real life. It wasn’t a story or a film. Anything could happen and whatever happened would be more chaotic and messy than any film-maker or writer could dare to think about. Reality didn’t have a plot to it with a neat beginning, middle and end. Good didn’t always triumph over evil, cases could be left unsolved and, when it came to mysterious missions, we were much more likely to get it wrong than get it right. Still, it wouldn’t help to have someone with me.

I ordered another coffee and some more rose tea for Rosie before reaching into my jacket pocket and pulling out two hundred quid. Rosie raised an eyebrow as I slid it across the table to her. I just smiled and said: ‘I’d like to hire you, off the books, to help me out with this thing full-time for a couple of days.’

‘Well, I’d have done it for free. But, if you insist.’ She pocketed the money and smiled at me.

‘Anyway, you said that you’d never seen the wooden models before. They seem dangerous, but I don’t know. I mean, I thought that the you-know-what was perfectly harmless when I saw it for the first time.’ I mimed shuffling a deck of cards, Rosie just nodded.

‘Well, that’s the strange thing, when I saw the models for the first time – I didn’t feel anything. If you’ve been here long enough, you can usually get a good sense of anything pretty quickly. Either that, or I’m like one of those psychic phone lines which costs two quid a minute.’ She giggled and moved on to the new cup of tea.

‘So, you got nothing? So, there’s a chance that they might not be as evil as they appear to be.’ I said.

‘Not a clue. They could be anything.’ Rosie shrugged.

‘Well, we found them in the cathedral and I found them in the backroom of The Demon, which is near the cathedral – so it’s safe to assume for the moment that they are sticking to that particular area – or at least most of them are there. All we have to do is to work out why.’

Rosie sipped her tea in silence before finally saying ‘They’re either looking for something or they’re there to do something.’

‘They might not even be relevant to what we’re looking for, but I guess that we should take a closer look. I mean, it could at least give us a few clues.’

‘Yeah, I guess.’ Said Rosie as she finished her tea.

I finished my coffee again and said: ‘We’ll check it out later. If you’re half as tired as you look, you need a rest too.’

She smiled at me and nodded before saying ‘We could meet up here at nine tomorrow morning. I’ll see if I can find anything else in the meantime.’

‘Me too.’ I said.

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