Chapter Twenty Two – Found

31 Jul

‘You’ve found it already! Wow, you’re even better than I thought.’ He leant against the door and smiled at us, Rosie smiled back at him and I just stared in his general direction.

‘Found what?’ I muttered, before looking down at the bottle of ink which was cradled in my right arm. He just nodded.

I handed it over to him and said ‘What do you want with this stuff anyway? There’s lots of it about, in fact, it seems to be spreading.’

‘Ah, I’ve been asked to recover a sample for someone. I can’t say who, but thanks for helping me out.’ He waved at me and started walking away.

I followed him – even though I was covered in cola and ink, I deserved more than this. ‘Hey! Come back! You’ve got to get me out of this world.’

He said something which I didn’t hear before he turned off into a side street. By the time I’d ran over to it, he’d already disappeared. I just stared down the empty road and tried to work out where he could have hidden, but there were just too many places to check.

When I got back to Rosie, she just smiled at me and said: ‘So, it looks like we’ll be collecting more of that stuff.’ I just nodded and went inside to find a funnel, another bottle and some old clothes. In a way, I was glad that the case was over, but I just couldn’t shake the nagging worry that whoever hired me wanted that ink for reasons I probably wouldn’t like. Still, after emptying the pockets, putting my jacket and clothes into the washing machine and giving Rosie some of my old clothes, we decided to head back to the cathedral.

Getting a sample of the ink was surprisingly easy this time round and we were able to fill three bottles with the stuff in less than five minutes. To my surpsrise, no-one even bothered to look at us while we were doing all of this. I guess that, in a town like this, a couple of people messing about with funnels in the middle of the street was probably one of the more ordinary everyday occurrences.

The washing machine was still churning and rumbling when we got back. Rosie slumped on the sofa and turned the TV, taking care to avoid the channel with the pyramid patterns on it. I went straight for the fridge and rifled through it until I found one of Rachel’s old petri dishes. It was filled with a green and blue microcosm of what I could only assume was a whole world of bacteria and mould. Still, it was probably the most useful thing in the whole house at the moment.

I walked over to the bathroom and ran the hot tap until vast clouds of steam started to pour out of the sink. Then cracking open the petri dish, I filled it with lavender liquid soap before dropping it into the sink and flinching. Scalding hot water sprayed everywhere, a few drops of it stung the back of my neck. But, after a minute or two. I closed my eyes waded through the dense steam cloud and, somehow managed to turn the tap off without burning myself.

As I emerged from the bathroom with the petri dish, Rosie looked over at me and just said: ‘Why didn’t you just put it into the dishwasher?’

I glared at her before filling the dish with a thick film of ink and snapping the cover back on it before taping the edges shut. Leaving it on the table to settle, I sat next to Rosie and watched the last ten minutes of documentary about luminous deep sea fish in silence. When the credits rolled, I turned to her and said: ‘So, what do you think of the mystery man who hired me? I think he’s up to no good.’

Rosie thought about it for a second ‘I think he looks… Well, ordinary really.’

‘Suspiciously ordinary?’

‘Suspiciously ordinary would probably be something like those wooden things that were in the cathedral. No, he looked just rough enough around the edges to be genuine. But, the person who hired him seems like a bit of a mystery. We’re going to find out who that person is, aren’t we?’ Rosie sighed and slumped further back on the sofa.

‘It’s ok, you’ve helped me find what I’ve been looking for. I’ll check the rest out on my own if you like?’

Rosie sighed again and just said: ‘No. Now I’m curious too.’

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