Sunday, March 18


I don't like surprises.

In this job, a surprise tends to be something which blows up, catches fire, stabs you in the back or kicks you in the balls. I deal with the unexpected all the time. The unexpected and the unwarranted pay my bills. But surprises? I spend most of my day trying to avoid them. The more you know, the less you're surprised.

The thing with surprises is that they come when you think there's nothing left to explode.

I'd all but given up on ever tracking down Thompson. His personals page had drawn blank across the column. Thornton had locked me out so quickly it wasn't worth following up. And the smoking trail of corpses has gone cold.

This morning I walked into my office to find a surprise wrapped in shadows, giving off a faint ticking sound which I couldn't quite hear with my ears. I stand and hold the thing in my hand, thinking about how much I hate surprises.

The time bomb is a paper crane, folded every so delicatley into a starkly beautiful form. The white paper almost shines in the dark office. Writing is scrawled across the wings, but I can't read it because of the folds. I listen carefully. It doesn't quite tick. But that doesn't stop a shiver running down my spine. It had been left on my desk. That meant someone had got into my office which I was out.

I really hate surprises.

I carefully unfold the crane. Nothing explodes. Nothing catches fire. The sick feeling in my stomach only gets heavier, waiting for the inevitable bad news.

The note is a message, signed simply "K". It tells me to meet at The Bridge at midnight on Monday if I want to find Thompson.

I stare at the note, and wait for the explosion. Surprises never go my way. But I have to meet this K. If nothing else, I'll figure out how the bastard broke into my office, and break one of his knees as payment.

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