Sunday, 18 May 2008


Plastic bags and empty cans hover just below the water's surface, caught between sinking and floating in the dark, opaque water that reflects a sky the colour of dead televisions. It is always worse after a heavy rain washes the worst of the crap into the canals. Jay stands inside the yellow tape, oblivious to the activity of the officers around him and the small crowd, a mixture of the homeless and the going home, as he watches the body floating, upside down while caught in a slow invisible spin of current. Except that the man is dead he cannot tell anything now. He turns himself slowly, the ball and heel of opposite feet keeping a measured friction while he examines the abbreviated landscape around him, removing everyone else from the scene. He sees the movement before he sees the thing itself. His focus pins it to the wall. A black scrawl against the brick, a symbol that forms a gateway. Jay shivers. He ducks under the tape and walks to the foot of the bridge where it was trying to escape. His fingers reach out to touch it. There is the smell of rotting plum and the movement of flies. The image still does not move but it begins to fade, falling through purple and blues like an old man's tattoo. The smell of tobacco tells him that that the DCI is standing behind him.

“What you looking at?” The DCI asks.

“Just thought I saw something.” Jay replies. “But there's nothing here now.”

The DCI lets out a slow stream of smoke.

“The recovery boys are here, they're going to get the body out for us now. Better go pay our respects, eh?”

Jay nods and follows the DCI back through the cordon.

Ripped off William Gibson for the first line.

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