Chapter Thirty Five – Room 23

13 Aug

‘I still think it’s a bit over the top’ Rosie looked again at the chair leg that I’d taped to the inside of my jacket. It wasn’t noticeable at a glance, but the seam of my jacket definitely looked straighter than normal.

‘If he tries anything, then I’m prepared.’ I whispered back as a the shiny new block of flats came into sight. They’d been building them all year and I still half-expected to see a building site when we arrived. Interestingly, in this universe, the bricks were slightly darker and the edge of the car park was covered in ink. Other than that, it was fairly unremarkable.

‘What makes you think that he’ll try anything?’

‘What make you think that he won’t?’ I replied, motioning for Rosie to be quiet.

We got up to the door and, as I half-expected, it was locked. There was a keycard reader next to it and we were going nowhere until we could get past it. For half a second, I thought about staving in the door with my chair leg, but it would probably draw too much attention to us, break the chair leg and land us in all sorts of legal trouble. Whilst I was trying to plan something, Rosie walked up to the intercom beside the door and pressed one of the buttons.

‘What did you do that for?’ I hissed at her.

She just smiled and leaned closer to the intercom before saying ‘Delivery.’

I facepalmed. If I’d known that Rosie was going to try something like this, then I’d have looked around for some clothes that vaguely resembled a uniform. As plans went, it was the most the most stupid one I’d ever seen. Even spies in films take the trouble to put on a disguise before pretending to deliver anything.

Still, I heard a crackly voice on the other end of the intercom and then the door clicked. Rosie pushed it open and motioned for me to follow her into the hallway. It was completely empty and I could still smell the magnolia paint on the walls. I looked over both of my shoulders to check for any porters or security cameras, but there weren’t any.

‘Ok, any idea which room he went to?’ I said.

Rosie just nodded and started walking up the stairs. I followed her and kept my hand in my jacket, ready to pull out the chair leg at a moment’s notice. When we got to the second floor, she stopped and pointed to a door by the stairs. Room 23. There was a small note stuck to the middle of the door. It just said ‘open me’. I could feel more than a bit of deja vu.

As I glanced over my shoulder again, Rosie nodded and said ‘It’s unlocked.’

‘How the hell do you know that? Don’t tell me that you’ve been working with him.’ By now, my fingers were around the end of the chair leg. If I’d been betrayed, then I was going to go down swinging.

Rosie looked at me and just said ‘ You’ll understand when you talk to him. You aren’t in any danger.’

I pulled my hand out of my jacket and gestured towards the door. Rosie just rolled her eyes and opened it. The room was completely unfurnished except for a bathtub on a tarpaulin in the middle of the room. As I got closer, I saw that it was filled with ink.

‘Look, Jules is in the other world. You’ll have to climb into the tub and go across that way. Don’t worry, there’s a shower and some spare clothes here and I’ll pull you out if you’re in there for too long.’ Rosie looked at the tub again and poked it with her foot.

‘Hold on, if… Jules… is in the other world, then who answered the door?’ I gripped the end of the chair leg as I saw an alarmed look flash across Rosie’s face. Before she could stutter out an answer, turned around and ran towards the door. I tore the chair leg out of my jacket and held it at arms’ length.

Rosie fumbled with the door handle before getting it open and running. Turning back towards the empty room, I shouted ‘Show yourself! Come on, asshole! I’m not playing around here!’

The ink in the bathtub began to ripple.

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