TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK
TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK
The fan recessed in the wall spun slowly, its bent blade striking the casing irregularly, annoyingly.
Bruce held his head in his hand. How long had it been? He remembered, Paradise Records. Jimmy Masters. He laughed.
Something was different. He listened hard; nothing, just that fucking fan. The wailing sirens wailed no more. His phone lay useless in his pocket, no battery left, a dead weight. What time was it?
On he crawled, further into the carcass of the building, incline after turn, edging silently through the blackness. His stomach growled as he forged on, blindly.
At last a light appeared, faint in the distance. He could taste fresh air, or what passed for it in the city. Rotten carbonated piss, refined, our crowning achievement as a species, burning and belching our precious life away up towering chimneys. Perhaps one day it would blot out the Sun. Bruce laughed at the thought. He felt delirious.
A shaft stretched above him, twice his height. Daylight latticed around him as he stood. He remembered the movies. Hands and feet braced against the walls, he shuffled vertically toward escape, his metal arm hissing with the strain.
As he reached the final stretch, the vent wall in front of him caved away with a metallic shriek beneath his touch. The sheet metal landed hard beneath him with a harsh clatter as he fell the few feet to the hot tarmac. Blinded by the sunlight, Bruce lay dazed for moment.
A warm oozing sensation brought him to his senses. His fingers probed the problem area. No cut. He drew his warm fingers in front of his eyes; fresh blood.
Twisting to his knees, he saw the carnage that lay in his wake. A pigeons grey head sat grotesquely, beak twitching, an eye turned skyward, severed at the neck at the edge of the panel. Blood spread from beneath the metal. He wrenched it up, slicing his good hand open.
A birds nest lay broken, the contorted young pigeons squashed flat with their mother; a bloody waste of scattered feathers.
Bruce recovered them gently with the sheet. A tear welled in his eye for the young birds. He too would never fly. For a few seconds he was lost, until his throbbing hand reminded him of the gravity of the situation. He had to smile. His objective was complete. Jimmy was dead, that fat fuck.
He sat down against the low wall separating the rooftop from the sheer drop and slipped Jimmy’s wallet from his pocket. It contained four credit cards and a thousand, twenty four pounds in cash. A receipt for a Thai massage, several in fact.
“Bet he doesn’t show those to his wife.”
Bruce thought aloud. It was good to hear a voice again, even his own. He kept digging the fat wallet.
A book of sandwich vouchers. A coffee stirrer, two buttons.
“A real boy scout.”
A condom, unused but opened. A coffee stained letter, handwritten in purple ink. Bruce unfolded it.
I loved you, you fat prick. Why did you have to go and shit on my heart? What you’ve done is disgusting. I never fucked Mastah Blastah, you’re wrong.
I hope you die. It’s only fair.
Love, somebody you used to xxx”
Bitter. Bruce threw the wallet down. This was promising. He turned the letter over looking for a name, to no avail. A passport photograph of a man and a woman had tumbled from the empty leather. Bruce picked it up. It was Jimmy, and who? She had shoulder length blonde hair and a great smile; the mystery blonde. He turned it over in his palm. The back was marked with the same purple scrawl.
“Better times. Sophie xxx”
There was a phone number.