It’s weird being at work in the ‘Deen. It’s a long time since I last had any employment here. Let’s face it. It’s weird working anywhere outside my office or the archives. Maybe I do need to get out more.
I’m writing this now in a coffee shop belonging to a chain named after a popular Liverpudlian comedian. This particular branch has a clear view of Saint Nick’s Tower. Where I just was. On the top floor. Before you ask no the lifts don’t work any more.
I am knackered. My knees feel like they are on fire. My quads (that’s thighs to those of you who don’t work out) feel completely solid. I don’t know which was worse – going up all those bloody stairs or coming back down after I’d had time to stiffen up.
Anyway on to my impressions of the building.
I flashed my Department issue psychotropic ID at the copper guarding the fence (suppressing a powerful urge to say “These are not the Droids you’re looking for”) and slipped in with as little fuss as possible. We definitely don’t want the press taking notice. There are some buildings that feel crowded and busy and full of life even when totally empty. Saint Nick’s tower is not one of them. It’s almost the exact opposite. I’ve never felt such a sense of Absence in a big building.
I have no idea how long it took to get up to the top floor. I deliberately didn’t keep track cause I didn’t want to get any more depressed. It seemed like ages. It was easy to find the right room. It was marked out with so much bright yellow police tape that I wondered if someone had ordered too much and was trying to get rid of the evidence.
I confess I was in a hurry. I wanted to get done, get back down and find a comfy seat and a fuck tonne of coffee. But that doesn’t mean I was going to cut any corners. After all I had no wish to climb all those bloody stairs again. The first thing I did was to have a look at the other offices on the top floor. There were no keys in any of the locks. In fact several of them had already lost their doors, never mind the locks. Each room was bare, dusty empty and smelling faintly of damp and pigeons. There was nothing unusual.
The door of the murder room was marked with boot prints. It hung squint and awkward like a broken arm. The door jam was badly splintered round the lock and there was a hole were one of the hinges had been ripped out. I inched my way in, careful not to touch anything, and looked round the door. They key was still in the lock.
The air in the room was curiously still. This high up there should have been a gale blowing in through the still broken window and howling down the stairwell. It must have been like this for days. I could still see grains of brightly coloured fingerprint powder clinging to the key. In fact it was all over the place. It was a good thing they were knocking the building down because you’d never get the stains out of the carpet.
This room was even deader than the rest of the building. And that was properly weird. A woman fell, jumped or was pushed out of that window. There should be some emotional residue left. Anger, fear, despair – there should have been something. I would have settled for surprise. It was all so boring. I was going to turn and go when I realised there was something familiar about that boredom.
It was too perfectly boring. Too bland. I see it all the time in artifacts and documents. It’s a kind of glamour. I’ve heard some called it a concealment glamour but I always think of it as a ‘nothing to see here’ field. Now calling it a glamour is almost over-stating the case. It’s magic so mundane it barely deserves the name. Some of the ones I’ve seen have been created simply by normal every day folks who just really didn’t want anyone having a closer look at the report they’d just filed.
In fact the weirder the event the easier it is to conceal this way. It’s like the human mind has a blind spot that allows it to ignore stuff that’s just too weird to deal with. If you see this as often as I do you can tell the difference between a natural ‘Nothing to see’ and an artificial one. The one in the room with me was definitely artificial and also not a fresh one. The Glamour had already faded over several days. I estimate that it started either before or during the murder.
And I was sure it was a murder. One look at the windowsill had convinced me of that. I was able to the thing that the cops had not done because the fresh ‘nothing to see’ glamour had left them too stunned. I compared the hight of the window sill with the hight of the victim. There was no way a woman of her height fell out of that window. And she didn’t jump either. Someone pushed her with great force.
Now if only there was some way round the complete lack of other foot prints. And the fact that the door was locked from the inside. And the room being empty when the door was broken down.
Working theory – Dimensionally transcendent assassin. Warped in, pushed her out the window, warped out leaving concealment glamour behind it.
Yeah I don’t like it either.