Chapter Thirty Four – Red Light

12 Aug

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t sleep. I churned the whole thing over in my mind and tried to make sense of it all. Either the man who hired me was up to no good and the models were on our side or the man who hired me was up to no good and so were the models. However I looked at it, someone was up to no good. Then another thought crossed my mind, almost making me jump out of bed. How far had the ink spread?

I picked up my torch and walked out of my bedroom and opened the front door for a few seconds. The street looked as normal and deserted as it usually does. Apart from the ruby glow of the streetlights, there was nothing unusual on the pavements. I was just being paranoid.

I went back in and lay back down on my cold bed and looked into the gloom again. Although the curtains were closed, I could still see the faint glow of a streetlight in the corner of my eye. I still couldn’t get my head around the fact that they had turned red. Maybe it was a warning of some kind? A danger signal carefully woven into the fabric of the universe? Maybe they just changed the bulbs?

Every answer could be wrong and every answer could be right. Well, whatever the answers were, this universe was dying. And here I was trying to sleep.

Yawning again, I sat up and picked at the plasters on the side of my hand. As I peeled back the corner of one of them, I realised that there was nothing I could do, nowhere I could look. It was all up to Rosie.

Yes, I could wander around the town and maybe I’d even find something. But it would inevitably just raise more questions. It could even be another red herring. Sighing with frustration, I lay down again and closed my eyes. If I lay here like this for long enough, then I’d get to sleep eventually.

Staring at the afterimages behind my closed eyes, I saw the pyramid shape again. Rosie had said that it was a synchronistic virus, something like a song which gets stuck in your head and never quite leaves. Maybe I was looking at all of this in the wrong way? Perhaps there wasn’t a logical series of reasons behind everything? Perhaps things here spread like ideas? Perhaps this whole universe was a virus?

It was all too confusing, so I focused on the glowing green pyramid behind my eyes and tried to go to sleep. Some unknown amount of time later, I felt myself beginning to drift away.

The next thing I heard was a knocking sound outside my room. Rubbing my eyes, I scrambled to my feet and opened the curtains. Rosie was standing outside the door and I could just see a few ink spatters on the road in the distance. If it kept spreading at this rate, the house would be covered in a day or so.

Wandering over to the front door, I unlocked it and let Rosie in. She looked exhausted and smelled of old teabags. Before I could say hello, she put an ink-stained hand on my shoulder and said: ‘I’ve found him.’

‘The guy who hired me?’

‘Yeah, he’s in a flat on the other side of town. I spotted him when I was going through the Caffe Noire’s bins, don’t ask. I’m not sure if he was just visiting someone, but I followed him and waited nearby. He didn’t leave.’

‘Great, give me five minutes and then we’re going.’ I muttered as I went back into my room to look for my jacket, some clean clothes and something I could use as a club.

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