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Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Still no word

I'm watching the sun set over a grey and drab Preston. Gareth is at work, packing meat in a factory somewhere. To be honest without him present in the flat there is very little difference, there is the same level of conversation, the TV is off and the window is open. The steady buzz of traffic is acting almost like a sedative, I have done very little today but for some reason I am exhausted and have a lot on my mind. I rose late, just before noon to the sound of Gareth and his XBOX. Loud noises of gunshots and swearing ensured that I would find it very difficult to get back to sleep. My monosyllabic host left around two this afternoon letting me know that he would be back around midnight. I tried to make small talk regarding the nature of his work but other than information I have already mentioned, he remained tight-lipped and guarded.

At four-thirty I started to feel somewhat peckish. I held little hope for the spartan flat to yield any real sustenance but I checked anyway. The fridge contained a carton of milk, semi-skimmed, some cheese and an open half-eaten tin of baked beans. The small freezer compartment, without the customary flap, contained a bottle of vodka. For a moment I felt a pang of jealousy; Gareth may be lonely, I didn't know, but he seemed to like his own company and value his private space, it seemed so very long since I had that opportunity I changed my mind when I checked the cupboards, tins of vastly out of date spam, soup and spaghetti lined up with little chance of attention. At that point my envy of the bachelors existence evaporated and was replaced with a memory of my life with Emma and the kids, probably the first time I had felt a very real loss. To my eternal shame I buried this feeling by taking my lunch from the freezer. Six gulps later I felt ready to brave the streets of Preston. With Dutch courage I felt that I needed to find out the reason for the inordinate amount of fire elementals present in the city.

Gareth's flat isn't far from the station and as such close to the main shopping area and that meant lots of people. I loitered at an entrance to the Fishergate centre, just outside a Starbucks, pretending to talk on my mobile. To be quite honest I was silently willing the bloody thing to ring, I needed to know what the **ck was going on, what was Patrick doing? It didn't take long before a rather odd looking couple emerged from the coffee shop. I am used to seeing older men with attractive women many decades their junior, how shall I put it, stepping gout together; but this couple was not only opposite but probably against more morale codes (or am I being unfairly sexist?). The woman was well over fifty but dressed like a sixteen year old Jeremy Kyle slapper. Her young man was definitely under twenty but dressed like a grand-dad, I honestly reckoned the he smoked a pipe and sported slippers and cardigan behind closed doors. They both glowed, the ancient whore red, her poor beau yellow. I let them pass me before following at a discreet distance, all the while talking to an imaginary friend. They led me down Fishergate for while then turned down a nondescript street where they ducked into a small, seedy looking bar, I followed.

The interior of the bar was more reminiscent of those I associate with this closest to the railway station. In much the same way as the Mos Eisley bar in the original Star Wars contained horrific and peculiar mutants; the clientele in this bar were none the less exotic or, in their own way mutated. I feigned indifference, bought a pint of Strongbow then sat on a bar stool at the end of a short bar facing the loving couple. She, the painted whore, sipped on a large glass of a neat clear alcohol her free hand down the front of her partners trousers. He, downed several shots of Tequila as he endured the indignation of the barely concealed hand-job, no-one cared. I was compelled to watch as the young victim approached climax, I drank my cider and grimaced as his knees wobbled and his paramour sneered victorious. It seemed that no-one else in the bar noticed as she withdrew her sticky hand, wiped it on a cloth beermat and finished her drink, all the while their glowing auras pulsed and flowed. When they left I drained my glass and saw a look of relief on the barman. Were these types known in the area?

This time the couple walked with some purpose. After a few minutes they entered a tall, four storey building which looks more like a solicitors office than a residence. Indeed, the edifice faced a grassy square which was surrounded by buildings of an identical nature, in fact many bore the shiny brass plaque which was the proof of a doctor, dentist or solicitor. I veered off into the central park and resorted to the pretence of many callers.

Twenty minutes later I felt somewhat disconcerted and worried, there had been over thirty people, all glowing yellow or red, entering the same doorway. Considering the questionable state of my current relationship with the supernatural community I decided to return to Gareth's flat.

I have no shame, now, in admitting that I have depleted my host's supply of vodka. I hope Patrick calls soon.

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