Thursday, March 1

Four Seasons

When you don't sleep, mornings and evenings lose meaning. Night and day fade, merge, and get confused. Everything becomes an eternal twilight. Things start to lose absolute meaning and shift around on scales. You become constantly part awake and part asleep; part dreaming and part seeing; part in the world, and part out of it. Constancy becomes a myth, a rumour, a dream. How I dream to put my head down and have the world go quiet.

But I can't sleep. Not now. Thompson is out there, somewhere. A kid worth a months rent is held by some unknown gang. I don't know which is more terrifying anymore: the clients, or the jobs.

At some stage in this grey dream, I managed to find a moment of clairty. The letters '4C07' have bounced around my skull for days now, a pneumatic drill bearing on my nerves. But in a moment, a half-forgotten daydream, it makes sense. 4C. The Four Seasons hotel. Room 07. Before doubt can cloud my mind once more, I holster The Twins and drive over. I can only hope that the trail hasn't gone cold.

Midnight, and the road stretches before me, dazzling and burning under streetlights and neon signs. I have to wind the window down to stay awake: the cold air whips and stings my skin, soothing and agonising like a sadists wet dream.

The Four Seasons is a tiny hotel just off the sea front. If I wasn't trying to track down my potential murderer, I might have thought the place quaint. I walk up the steps to find the door locked. No suprise. Luckily enough, I've done this before.

I steal inside, keeping Faith close. Room seven is on the top floor. The floorboards creak, but there's no other sound. I wait on the landing for a moment, listening for sounds of life. A seagull caws somewhere in the distance. I pick the lock and creep inside the room.

It's tiny. Single bed and wardrobe dual in the dark for space. But there's no one here. The bed is neatly made and turned. The wardrobe is empty. The toilet roll in the en suite is fresh and untorn.

I'm about to leave when I notice the newspaper, tucked between the bed and a tiny bedside table. I draw it out and move to the window, straining to read the paper from the fuzzy glow of the streetlight outside. It's dated the 27th, the day of the Chichester Arms stakeout. I flick through the pages, expecting nothing. But someone is smiling on me: a section of adverts has been torn from the personals page.

Thompson you stupid bastard, I hope it's a bodyguard you're looking for.

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