The God Machine Chronicles: Session 1: The Rust Of Ages

Written by Chris (alcoholandaphorism)

Nearly a year ago. The event called only the Incident. The event forgotten by most. The subject of seemingly reasonless nightmares for some others.  Sanjiv Mangat, descending the steps one by one, eyes surveying the entrance down into the London Underground. The walls clinical and white, graffiti recently erased.  As he eases his way through the crowd he thinks of his work today. The Health and Safety inspection of the station he is responsible for.  He is thinking of that  one step, slightly loose as he came down. The slight wobble that needs to be attended to.

Gwil Short, slumped against the windows of the circle line tube car, hands grasped upon metal pole that reaches out to the roof. Heading to the next station he is due at, still garbed in his London Underground overalls that come with his Janitor job. His mind is elsewhere, with his duties back home. His mind is with his responsibilities to the faith, but his eyes roam the crowd around him. The intercom speak outs announcing the next station, and Gwil glances at the intercom with a frown.  The announcer has missed a stop. The next stop, the unannounced stop, is just coming up and the train isn’t slowing down. Nobody around him shifts their eye line from the spot they are fixed in, avoiding the gaze of their other commuter.

Sanjiv looks again at the maintenance panel, clip board in hand.  There had been reports of arcing electricity, odd smells. None of this was visible now. He marks down for an engineer to come out and moves on to the next reported incident. As he pushes away from the wall his palm comes away rust red with dust, an imprint left on the wall.  He notices and marks again down on his board, but takes no further action at this time.

It wouldn’t have made a difference. Nothing would have.

Gwil, debating with himself the merits of hunting out a fellow staff member to ask about the next station, does not see the flakes pealing off the side of the train facing the station. Red flakes, bending against the wind that peal them off and cast them down into the darkness of the tunnel.  The side of the train pocked and rust red, coming off in shaven flecks and dancing on the darkness.  The station is close and Gwil settles back against the wall. Too late now, even if he caught a guard it would be too late to stop the train. He settles instead for looking out to catch the surprised expressions of commuters left stranded at their station.

It’s odd that he never heard screams, Sanjiv remembers in nightmares. The first sign of the situation was the crowd running towards him.  The panicked mass.  He couldn’t stop it, but he could guide it. Keep it moving, keep the run from becoming a rout that would trample bodies underfoot. Radio in hand, ready to report back, he moves against the crowd, trying to find the source. To find if any are hurt in the stampede.  He feels something upon his scalp, and his finger flick to his dark hair, picking out a single fleck of dust, his eyes dart to the pock marked ceiling, clinical white turned brown and scarred. When he looks down once more he sees what caused the flight. He sees…

Gwil stares open mouthed, in the seconds of the train’s passing. The seconds of vision of the station that should be their stop. The walls peal away in strips of rust. White panels shattering as they fall from the walls. Static binary haze flickers as a darkness behind, and in that darkness cods and gears, old and creaking, move against each other. The cogs that move reality. The commuters move jerkily with each cog’s rotation. Fluorescent lights turning a dark brown, casting the entire scene in shadow. A commuter turns to face Gwil through the glass. Flesh tanned bronze, peeling away in rust strips. All of them, all the commuters peeling away until there are just clockwork structures in the shape of skeletons. The cogs that were once people fall apart and shatter to dust.

Then the train’s motion takes it past the station and Gwil is left staring at his horrified reflection as the tunnels around fall back to gloom.

Sanjiv sees the lights that arc across collapsing corridors. The machinery working behind them. The corridor that seems to lead to nothing, an empty gate. Entranced he stares, unmoving and for a moment he sees what is behind the darkness. A hint of what is happening at the stations centre. His mind recoils, providing the only image it can to contain his sanity. An intervention of Shiva himself. Then he blinks in the sunlight. Standing in the streets of London.  People walking happily in the sunlight. Only barest memories of what has occurred.

There was a station here once, it’s gone now.

London underground, like a termite mound that riddles the city. Its bridges, escalators and white panelled walkways familiar to almost all that live in or visit the city.  Hundreds of thousands travel its passages every day. They see but the barest fraction of it. They don’t see past the blue doors that they pass without a second glance, don’t think of what is beyond the signs that warn of danger and potential death. What is beyond the signs marked “Staff Only”. The shower cubicles, patch panels, meeting rooms and endless corridors lit by fluorescent tubes that are seen only by those who work within them.

All these miles built by human hand. Built to meet a plan that no one individual could see in its entirety. It grew, the underground merging with the overground lines, crossing over the journeys of the buses and the newly opened cable cars that pass over the river Thames. The endless miles where natural light has never shone. There are tales from those who work here, tales from the darkness. Tales from the engineers who walk the life ways of the tube network and maintain them.

One of the biggest proponent of such tales is a former worker of the tube lines, a man known as Dave Chigwall. A man who was present, like several others, at “The Incident”.  No one clearly remembered that day. Its warnings came in dreams of rust and fear, in the shuddering that came in the daylight at the sound of ticking clockwork. There is a small group of those who felt something.  The people who, to this day, can point at a tube map where there is no station. Where there has never been a station. Yet they have vague memories of an event there. They all point independently, but their fingers touch the same place. A white space on the map. An emptiness that fills with half formed images of people who never existed. Who are never missed as they never lived.

They do not remember, but that cannot fully forget. Dave Chigwall sought the truth in the tales of the dark. Sought reason for the nightmares and disjointed images. It cost him his job but it gave him theories. Theories he advanced to the others, huddled together in their support group,  where they try to make sense from an event that, best they call tell, never occurred.

Dave brought tales, almost Fortean tales, conspiracies to explain away the fear. Others may have ignored, laughed or shied away, but he searched on. It has been some time since the group last met. Since they hoped they had put it behind them.

Today, phones rang and chirped with a message. From Dave Chigwzll. Declaring he knows the truth. Something that will make GCHQ data mining, The illuminati interference, the communist data satellites, make them all pale to insignificance.

Some of the group think Dave needs professional help, some of the group think they need professional help. Some answer, ready to meet in the morning, after the shift on the underground ends. Those who cant turn away.

It’s unusual Gwil Short thinks as he checks out after a long night shift. Dave has asked to meet at a Japanese Restaurant near Goodge Street Station rather than the support groups usual meeting point.  He’s not sure if that means anything or is just another sign of Dave’s paranoid mind.  Bundling the janitor overalls into a locker he pulls back on his usual garb, brown cracked leather jacket over frayed checked shirt and black jeans.  It goes with his look, hair shaved down to barest stubble, small pocked scars evident in his skull.  Finally, he looks down at his hands, whiter than usual under the lights of the underground, slight marks on them from the days work. He pulls a small snuff box from his pockets, the elaborate designs and antique craftmanship out of line with the rest of his possessions. He pulls out the wiping cloths he stores within and dabs rubbing alcohol onto them from a hip flask, wiping across his hands, leaving them immaculately clean in stark contrast to the grime of the rest of his body.

That done he steps out onto the streets of London in the early hours of the morning, people still drifting back from the night’s drinking before. There are several hours until the meeting but he’s happy to walk. Something about the underground haunts him today. The less time he stays under there the better

Sanjiv Mangat feels sceptical as he looks at the text.  Dave is a nice bloke, but his theories, his wild theories do not match what Sanjiv remembers from that day. The day of the incident. It was like an act of Shiva, not a mere machination of government.  Dave always viewed it as the tube workers being used as a pool of unwilling test subjects. Neuro linguistic programming being used to implant the fake memories they have.  Sanjiv has pointed out that for that to be true, either such a large area would have had to have been covered that many more people should have been affected, or in reverse, not enough people would have been covered to simulate the event. Either way it does not make sense, but he humours Dave. Something happened that day, and the few of them who remember are all they have for support.

Sanjiv’s night of work is done. He no longer has to spend hours in the eerily deserted corridors of the tube by night, under identical lights and between identical white walls, watched by the blinking eye of cctv.  He slips away the clipboard, shelves appropriately the notes, and sends the last e-mails before returning home.  He has a few hours before the meeting. A few hours to play with his dog, to clean up and release a little of the day’s stress. Splashing water on his face he stares at the mirror and sees himself stare back. A short, five foot six man with short black hair, the sign of his early thirty years visible on his face.  He smiles slightly, and mutters to himself, a mix of Derby and London accent that causes confusion to anyone ignorant enough to assume anything about him from his Indian heritage. Only a few short hours until the meeting.

Gwil doesn’t mind the long walk across London overground.  The light of this Tuesday morning slowly rising. The family of the faith have had much call for him recently, and it’s a welcome break to walk out here in the street.  People still  don’t match his eyes here, it I London after all, but it feels less personal.  His breath starts to steam in the air, September time and the cold is making itself felt already. Life just continues around him. The beeping of cabs, the staggering of people coming back, and the tired faces of those heading out for the first time. For not the first time Gwil wonders how they do it so easily, fit into the crowd, or maybe if they all feel as alienated as he, but hide it better.

He nurses a coffee grabbed at haste from Jagjit Choudhury’s newspaper stand, not stopping for the usual chat. He didn’t really feel in the mood today.  That doesn’t stop other newspaper vendors from bothering him, trying to hawk their wares and sensationalist headlines.  Gwil almost welcomes when he reaches Goodge street.  The office of the “Church of Scientology” passes his eye line, causing a cynical smile.  He may not always get along with the hierarchy of his faith, but he would trust them a thousand times over the hucksters of that business.

The restaurant is a short walk from Goodge street station, the sterile uniformity of the tube station out of place wedged amongst the pomposity of the Edwardian structures that surround it, building built in worship of the glory of the British empire. Yet another false faith to Gwil’s mind, no less manipulative than that of scientology. A plane whining overhead almost drowns out the chirp of an arriving text.  Looking with bored glance to his cheap ten quid phone of grey plastic and dim green screen Gwin spies a message from Trisha. Another survivor of “The Incident”, but that is not what the message is about. Instead comes a message about “The last outrage perpetuated by the government against people from the working class background – hope to see you for Dave’s wrongful dismissal tribunal”.  After quickly consulting a scrawled note for checking spelling Gwil thumbs out his reply “No Hablo Ingles – wrong number!” and hits send, a petty smile on his face.

That done Gwil starts down the stone stairs to the basement door that leads to the Japanese restaurant that is their meeting place.  Slipping off his shoes and into the plastic slippers provided he steps up onto the raised wooden partition that is the main eating area.  The room is small, and only a small wooden wall and curtains separate the cooking area from the main restaurant. The wooden walls are stained dark, either from the natural colour of the wood, or years of misuse. Working silently, the Asian, possibly Japanese but Gwil couldn’t tell, chefs prepare stacks of bento boxes to be sold later in the day. Slipping his knees under a low table, Gwil sips on green tea and orders some steamed buns to eat as he waits for the others.

Sanjiv gets a slightly more formal text as he approaches the restaurant, Trisha confirming the working times for the health an safety team, and confirming that she will “Meet them anyway”.  Knowing that Trisha will be at the meeting soon Sanjiv delays replying, instead musing about a “Mr Grey” that Dave has mentioned recently. Mr Grey apparently knows a lot about “Them” who are behind the incident, and has been feeding a  lot of the theories to Dave, reinforcing his conspiracy theories. The waitress at the restaurant gives a perfunctory, bored, glance up  as Sanjiv enters, before turning back to the television tucked away in the corner.

Sitting down opposite Gwil, Sanjiv waves a greeting “Morning”

“So. Two of us now?” Gwil replies with a sullen shrug “Think any others going to turn up?”

“Trisha said she would. Dave definitely will. Ryan has a shift today, I don’t know about the others”

Gwil frowns “Think they still care? Think they even still remember? It’s not the thing you think you would forget, but look at us? We mostly have”

“I know..bits” Sanjiv says “It is strange. Some bits are crystal clear. Others missing completely. You  know, I can remember the exact way the walls fell apart, yet details after that are still fuzzy”

“Well, hope Dave turns up anyway. I could be happily getting blotto on rotgut and not have to remember this, but I’m here”

The sound of wind-chimes from an opening door breaks the conversation momentarily as Trisha Morris enters. Still in her TFL outfit under an unflattering anorak.  Heavily built and loaded down under rucksack and umbrella the late fifties woman huffs and puffs down the stairs to the restaurant. The waitress looks up at the woman with short hair tied back in a bob who greets her with a broad Essex accent

“Pot of tea please luv, none of that green tea stuff either, proper stuff”

The waitress rolls here eyes, bringing out a pot of  tea moments later “Proper enough for you luv?” she asks.

Ignoring the comment Trisha moves up to join the others, depositing the rucksack down beside them and slumping down beside the table.  Spying their shoeless feet, she quickly removes hers as well, and proceeds to start rubbing her feet.

“Bloody feet. Been on them all day” She smiles broadly “All right Sanjiv luv, hows it going?” looking over to Gwil she adds “Oh, did you get my text? Got some fella who thought it was a Spanish number”

“Nope” Gwil answers “No signal round here. Must have been crossed lines or something”

“”Oh. Dave here yet? Do you remember what he was going about last time? Something about leeches drinking the blood of the pigeons of London? Wonder some days if we just made this all up.  Spend by days working, going from pillar to post, now I have bloody nightmares of cogs and gears.” A short pause “Maybe Dave had the right idea, should go to the pub after this” she sighs and looks to Gwil again “Have you heard anything about hs appeal against dismissal?”

Gwil just shrugs.

“Not really” Sanjiv answers instead “Not heard anything from the grapevine”

“We tried to fight it. Management got a right stonk on, throwing him out and trying to take his pension. I’m worried about him being alone, after his wife left him he had no one.” Looking to Gwil again she adds “Tell me you’ve stopped drinking with him?”

“I thought you wanted someone with him”

“Someone productive I meant”

“Oh thanks”

“You know what I mean Gwil, anyway have you filled in those union application forms I gave you yet?”

“Listen, we’re getting distracted” Gwil says, changing the subject “Were here to talk about Dave”

The television in the corner continues to roll out the morning news, furtherer austerity measures announced by the government. The rolling news ticker at the bottom of the screen relaying the atrocities occurring around the world.

“I had to clean someone off the line again” Trisha mutters “Another jumper. No one ever thinks about the impact of what they put in place do they?”

“Where was this? Sanjiv asks

“Liverpool street. It’s always Liverpool street”

“That tends to be outside my immediate area, Joe deals with that stretch of the line”

“Always someone else’s area. That’s why we need to stick together. For everything we fought so hard for”

“It is a sad state of affairs” Sanjiv says

“Dave’s still not here, anyone thought about texting him?”Trisha looks to them

“Not yet, I’ll do it” Gwil says

“While you are it, could I grab you number then, I must have the wrong one”

“Hold on, no signal down here” Gwil says, ignoring Trisha’s request “I’ll head up and try from the street”

With Gwil’s departure Sanjiv and Trisha sit alone, Trisha letting out a deep sigh. Sensing the reason Sanjiv speaks “Yeah, I know Gwil can seem a grouchy one, but he just finished an overnight shift. It can get to the best of us”

“It’s more than that. It’s all of this. I don’t want to have to talk about this any more. This Incident. I don’t want to remember it any more”

“Truth be told, I don’t know what to make of it myself. I know the stories I grew up on and they seem to fit. You just never expect to see them first hand. These are things of legend, not what happens right in front of you on a Friday afternoon.”

Trisha bites back an answer for a moment, pensive. “I never had time for religion. Never went to church. My husband used to bang on every Sunday. Now its this, my life, or I’m going insane.  Maybe it’s time for a new job. Away from the memories”

“I tried that myself but I’m stuck in a rut” Sanjiv says.

“You should get out now, while the goings good”

“I cam here, to England as a child, land of possibility.  Was a good for a while, company doing well. Then company went down the drain.  This place a was a lateral move and I’ve stagnated since then”

Trisha nods “I’ve tried to make a difference, but look at our friend Gwil. If I can’t even get him to join what hope have I?”

Outside the aforementioned Gwil stands with a cheap grey brick of a phone clamped to his ear. Glad to be away from the nagging questions. “Come on Dave, pick up”

The crackle of the line picking up silences him. Muffled breathing on the line, a stifled cough in the background, but no one speaks.

“Hey, have I woke you up or something?” Gwil says

“What’s your name?”

“What? Its me!”

“Your name!”

“Shit, it’s Gwil. You know me”

Your full name. Say your full name”

“Say my name? We aren’t having sex you know! Fuck you”

“Your name!”

“Gwil Short you mad bastard”

Dave’s voice on the other end calms slightly “Ok. I had to check I’m being watched. Its..”

The line goes dead. The tone of a dial up modem server disconnect, rising and rising until it shrieks like a squeal of agony.  The phone clatters off the ground as Gwil clamps his hands across his ears in pain.  Monochrome digits flash across the phone’s screen amongst static.

The door to the restaurant bangs open as Gwil shoves through leaping down the last few steps “Trisha. You want to help someone? Get moving! Come on. Now!”

Confused, Trisha holds a hand up “Hold on”

“MOVE!. Dave sounded like was off his tits on something. Think he’s in trouble” Slamming change down on the counter to cover his meal Gwil spins round and bounds back up the steps “Come on, move!”

Gwil doesn’t stop moving until he’s on the tube, the train heading out towards Dave’s residence. The others pestering with questions, but at least have followed.  With a slight shake of his hands Gwil looks own at the phone again. Normal. For now.

“It wasn’t the phone it was…no it was the phone. Not the”

“Gwil, what happened?” Trisha interjects

“Get out of my face!”

“Gwil calm down”


Shaking Trisha backs off, angry. Sanjiv waves his hand, indicating for her to back off for a moment.  The emotions she is wrestling with evident on her face she slumps down in the tube seats, away from Gwil.

“Sorry” mutters Gwil “It happened again. Something, I remember it as rust on the phone. Something”

“You saw rust?” Trisha asks.

“No. I don’t think so. It was something else, I think, but when I think about it I remember rust.”  looking at the phone he sees a blinking advert for a game just downloaded “Sugar Smash Saga” Holding the phone out for the others to see Gwil continues “I’m being stupid aren’t I? That’s all it was. Stupid promotional game downloading. That’s all it was” He looks for others for confirmation and reassurance, finding none. No one mentions the fact that Gwil’s ancient phone is far from capable of downloading, let alone running that game.

The train passes tube stations in silence. Walthamstow, Black Horse Road, Walthamstow Central where they finally emerge back back into a modernised bus terminal. Digital TV screen splashing giant images above their heads of the atrocities in Syria. Blinking against the light they spy the tower blocks rising up in the distance and start their walk to Dave’s home.

It does not take long to reach the small flat that is Dave’s accommodation. They know it is similar to the others around here, the kitchen built into the front room to maximise use of space. Standard for London. They can see none of this for themselves though as the door rattles locked at their attempts to gain entry.

“I’m not sure about this” Trisha says

“What?” Gwil says” You wanted to help, be one big friendly family, all union in, but lets not actually go help someone who needs it eh?”

Ignoring the argument that looks to start up Sanjiv raps twice loudly on the door, to no response.  “Might be a way in around the back “ Gwil offers, looking for a side alley.  Unusually there’s a row of hedges around the back that blocks line of sight to a side entrance.  Quickly glancing around to make sure no one is looking Gwil slips a pair of tension tools out and starts working at the lock. The door frame is slightly warped, obviously unused for a while, but after several grunts and shoves the door pops open, leaving Gwil stumbling to the inside.

The first thing that hits is the smell. The second the heat.  Gagging back Gwil glances around the room lit only by weak shafts of light that push past the curtains.. A droning buzz  rattling around his skull, an itch you cant scratch. There are things daubed on the walls, series of numbers in binary.  Drawn in ketchup, mustard, whatever came to hand. Dried and flecking, the stench rising off them is everywhere. Chalk markers, ballpoint pen dragged through wallpaper as much a scar as an ink trail.  Pictures of flying saucers and crude depictions of greys.  Newspaper clippings scattered over tables and wall.  A map diagram.  Arrows all pointing to one point.  The point all survivors of “the Incident” point to. The half remembered station. One newspaper clipping stands out.

Dave - FT The World

Gwil’s mind runs through what he needs to in face of this. Keep calm. Trisha is spooked outside already. Keep calm, keep her from coming inside. By the time he has finished the thought he realises he has already barrelled out through the front door and let loose a stream of vomit onto the pavement. Everyone leaps from the unexpected opening of the door, and the splashing liquid.

Gingerly stepping past Gwil, who slumps uselessly against the floor,  Trisha looks into the room, into someone’s psychotic breakdown given physical form. Hand over her mouth Trisha stumbles back, tears pushing at her eyes “Dave? Dave what the hell?”

Holding on just barely Gwil mutters “Side door was open, got in”

Cars move past, parents walking down the street in the early morning daylight. Normal, everyday existence as the shell shocked group stand and collapse, staring into a record of all the nightmares and fears one man faced. Sanjiv, coping better than the rest, suggests calling the transport police, but gets no answer.  Gwil mutters to himself, teachings of the faith. Teachings of nature, red in tooth and claw. This is just another expression, he can handle this. It does little to comfort him and he grasps his hands around his legs, huddling together.
People are starting to stare now, the intrusion into their everyday life. A bus stops at the  traffic lights, its occupants staring out. Families cross the street to avoid passing by the shell shocked three.

Stepping back to the doorway Sanjov looks inside, to the swarming flies that seem to infect every nook and cranny, flies vomiting upon the food traces and lapping upon them.  “This cannot be sanitary” he says, half to himself. Pressing forwards he examines the room, there is only one doorway to a second room.

“Sanjiv. Is Dave in there?” Gwil asks

“Not that I’ve seen”

“Have you looked?”

“I’ll go now” Steeling himself Sanjiv moved as quickly through the rooms as he can.  There’s a computer, powered up, reams of printed paper by its side. A dial tone rising from a discarded land line phone handset on the floor. Keeping his eyes up and watching, Sanjiv kneels to scoop the phone from the ground, dialling 1471 for last number. Hitting redial he is confronted by an engaged tone and the slow realisation that the number is the number of the phone he is dialling. Dave’s own home phone number. Seeing no sign of Dave, Sanjiv places down the headset and heads out to the others.

Outside is he greeted by a shame faced Gwil who is still unable to convince his limbs to move back towards the room “He’s not there is is” Gwil asks”

“There must be some clue” Trisha says “Did he pack a bag. Was there any damage anywhere? Was he broken into? Was it a  Burglary?“

“No damage, just a state of chaos” Sanjiv replies, taking a hesitant half step towards the door “He’s one of us. We can do this” One step towards the doorway, then another taking him inside. Pausing there, taking in the room again.

He waits, taking shallow breaths, trying to avoid the stink of the room, as a hand settles on his shoulder

“Don’t worry, I’m here” Trisha says, the two of them slowly stepping in. Spying the computer screen she shakes her head “my god. This is fucking mad, I knew he was crazy but…..”

Dave's Desktop

A sense of creeping unease returns to Gwil as he stares at the error message, then to the e-mails beside it.

Dear Mr Chigwell,

There are some things that you should know.

There are some people who mumble about “the stitches” when they think they’re alone. These people are not real.

Three American state capitals and twelve world national capitals are not native to this Earth. They have infiltrated our municipal grids and displaced the true capitals.

Un chien andalou was produced under divine inspiration. Its purpose has not yet been achieved.

All hereditary monarchs in recent history have worn a ring inscribed with one of three symbols. They are forbidden to remove it once worn.

There’s a cult in Nagasaki who worship the atomic bomb. They believe it be Amaterasu’s blessing and hunt survivors of the original atomic detonations for their blood.

Twitter is training. It’s Newspeak for the Twenty-First century. Lose the words, lose the meaning, lose the ability to communicate. Listen to how people actually speak these days.

There is war in Heaven. This is the natural state; this is how God makes decisions, by setting angels, aspects of His being, against each other to battle for the fate of creation. The result has always been echoed in the natural world, but you know the occult rule? As above, so below. As below, so above! We can influence the tides of the war through our own actions here on Earth.

Avoid the smilers.

Everything is an opportunity David. You are important to us. We know you remember.

Yours sincerely,

Mister Gray

“Mr Grey. Mr bloody Grey. Sending messages like that. Egging him on. Might as well have smacked him in the head with a hammer, it does the same end” Gwil growls.

“Can we search for other mails by the same guy?” Sanjiv asks, in response Gwil shoves the keyboard over “Be my guest”. A quick search brings back pages and pages of mail filled with seemingly meaningless binary.

The investigation breaks as the land line rings in the middle of the floor. The three look at it for long silent moments, until Sanjiv scoops it up. “Hello?”

“Mr Chigwell, is that you” A female voice, unfamiliar.

“I’m afraid he is unavailable, can I take a message?”

“I’m his case worker, at the jobs centre, he should be here now with his completed questionnaire. Is he on his way do you know?”

“I’m not sure, we just found his door unlocked. He was meant to be meeting us in London before this”

Wide eyed Gwil mimes a finger across his throat and mouths “Lie. Fucking lie already!”

“Listen” the case worker continues oblivious”I e-mailed him, I need to make my quota this month. If he isn;t there right now, can you make sure it gets filled in.  You would be a life saver”

Sanjiv puts down the phone “It was just the jobs centre”

“Yeah” Gwil, looks no happier “On what could be a missing person case. If the cops get involved we are so fucked now”

“Not necessarily, there will be a record of our call from London, the story will pan out”

“We haven’t done anything. We will be fine” Trisha adds

“Yeah right, have you met a cop before?.We’ll have three lumps in our skull before they even ask the first question. Innocent or not doesn’t mean anything” Gwil says with increased agitation.

“Ryan’s a cop”

“Transport police, that’s different. She’s one of us!”

“Maybe Dave’s at the job centre now” Trisha offers, breaking up the argument

“I doubt it” Sanjiv looks to the phone “he would have been there by now if he intended to. We should probably call the cops”

“and tell them what?” Gwil says “That while we were waiting to meet with a conspiracy theory nut we decided to walk into his house without permission, a house he has mysteriously vanished from. Just disappeared? Yeah that will work”

“We have to do something” Trisha says and Gwil pauses, remembering her backing him up  as he tried to enter the house. Following him in despite the fact she was at least as afraid as he.

“Right. You’re right. Maybe he is just late to the job centre, maybe they can help.  You should head over there. Have a word.  Give us a text every ten minutes, if we don’t get one we will assume something’s wrong and come after you”

“Ok, but what is your phone number, I’ll need to get it..”

“You have my number” Gwil says with an evil smile.

Trisha pauses for a moment then glares as comprehension hits
“What” Gwil says “Like that’s the worse thing that has happened today”

Trisha stands and looks to Sanjiv. “Are you staying here or…?” she leaves the question open

“I’ll go with you” Sanjiv replies, much to Trisha’s relief.

“Right then” Gwil mutters as the two heads for the door “Alone. Here. Shit”

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