I head out to town to see Arbon and Amoe, try and pick up some information about this mysterous CCNR. It means nothing to me, and I'm walking blinder than blind. Arbon has been one of my best informants lately. If I can catch him in the right mood, I'm bound to gather some information.
I stop by the office, darkened and locked up, to gather my mail. I open it while walking down the quiter streets in the North Laines. In these sheltered streets, footsteps echo a long way, and there's no crowds to hide secret threats. I tear open the first letter - another dangerously low bank statement - and listen to the scream of the ripping envelope, deafening in that absolute silence. But I'm alone, and can forgot about watching my back for five merciful minutes.
Locked in this shroud of safety, this blanket of apparent invunerability, I barely hear the soft tick, tick, tick when I peel open the second letter. Something dark grips my stomach with frigid tentacles, and I stop, alterted to an unseen danger. I hear the ticks in the silence. The tentacles tighten in my gut, a chill creeps up my back like a cadaverous lover's touch, and still I can't see the danger.
Then the ticking strikes a slight discord, and I realise I'm not wearing my watch. It's all I can do to hurl the thin paper envelope away from me and crash to the ground. The letterbomb erupts suuddenly, violently, heat and noise washing over me like the waves of the river Styx, crashing over me in firey plumes while the Ferryman tows another victim to an eternity of torment.
I open my eyes, and thank all the powers on the Earth that I'm not the Ferryman's victim today. I wearily pull myself to my feet. The bomb must have been from Thompson. He's getting bolder. He knows that I'm not going to quit, and is taking stronger measures to get in my way. This is the first direct contact I've had from him since staring into the suprised whites of his beady eyes all those weeks ago in The Chichester.
So. Nothing to do but carry on with the day's business. I only hope that the other letter wasn't anything important. With a little luck, it'll just be another unpaid bill notice.
Arbon isn't in Churchill Square, his normal haunt. I walk around for a while, trying to find him. No sign, he must have earned a day off. Lucky kid. But he works hard enough, earns his breaks.
I turn and head for home. I pass the office - still dark, still standing. It's safer for me to avoid it for a few days.
Besides, I've plenty of whiskey at home.