Non classé, prose, short story, writing

Negatives (#5)

Five minutes. Nothing. Ten minutes. Nothing. Fifteen. Still nothing.
I waited and waited. Then waited some more. The corner of Lemire and Asken was a busy one, crowd equals invisibility Wilson had repeated many times. People bumped into one another, not apologizing for anything – we don’t apologize at all these days. It’s like politeness has vanished, another remnant of a different time gone and burried. Someone tried to grab something in the back pocket of my trousers, I let them try. I didn’t want to be someone’s roadblock, you want to do something, good for you, go do it. There’s enough things out there to stop you, yourself included. I simply hoped they were happy with my paper tissues.
For all the people that crossed the street and passed before me at that moment, none seemed particularly dislikeable. I considered everyone to have a personal story, feelings, strong, broken, didn’t matter. All of them have a history, I thought, for that I will never be able to them as targets. Just other versions of me. Things I probably never was or will be, paths I’ve never taken, would never do. It always felt like a long shot to me, but he kept saying it was easier that way. To forget, not to think about it. To see people, not as people. As things, objects – targets, that word I could never forget. Is it easier? Hell no. A coward’s move, that’s what it is.
There was no sign of Kingsley, even twenty minutes after the hour. I decided to head to his offices, and confront him in person. He could not escape that, no matter how many goons he tried to protect himself with. I crossed the street and zigzagged between cars, moved forward by a desire to get to the truth. Truth was never easy to reach, and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the understatement of the year. In all of these years lurking in Wilson’s shadow, I had come to realize how intangible everything was. A man’s truth is another man’s biggest lie, or something along those lines. But the fact remained : nothing was ever graspable; you could feel it, yes I’ll give you that, get really close to it, I’ll give you that too, but never ever reach it – that, was impossible. Just the usual realization of the human condition, you know? I get those on a daily basis now.
Unwillingly, I stopped in front of a bakery : it smelled of fresh croissants. And for a moment there, I felt happy, a bit hungry too, but happy mostly. There is always something about smells, a way that it moves and removes you so powerfully that you think you’ve been softly ripped off the ground. My phone rang, it felt like a car running me over.
“What?”
“Dude, where are you?” Jason said.
“Why?”
“Haven’t heard I’m guessing…”
“What?”
“Kingsley’s dead”
The floor started to crumble beneath my feet.
“Wait what? When? How?”
“Dude you live in a cave? It’s all over the news, suicide … apparently. He jumped.”
“From his office?”
“Yup”
“God damnit …”
“I know, right?”
“Alright, I’m going to head down there, see what’s what. Can you come by the office later?”
“Sure, see you there.”
I hung up, glanced at the croissants one last time, and went up the street.
Why would the man who hired me commit suicide? Nothing in the whole story makes sense, I thought. As I got nearer the offices, there were small groups of people gathered, gossiping. Most of them looked horrified, some were pointing towards Kinglsey’s office window, now just a hole up in the sky. The police had secured the area, all I could see from where I stood was the shattered glass on the ground, and some blood. Not a lot of it, but enough. On the right, removed from the central scene, a shape was lying under a white sheet, I went closer to it.
“Restricted area sir, you can’t be here.”
“I’m a P.I, I worked for the victim.”
“Then I’ll guess we’ll be in touch soon, move along please.”
“Have you found anything? A note? Papers?”
“None that I’m aware of. Move along now, please.”
I stepped back, and waited for my moment. It didn’t take long : a bunch of suits, employees I guessed, came and created a fuss. That was enough to distract Serious Cop and let me get a good glance at Kingsley. I moved toward the body in a flash, and removed the sheet. There wasn’t much remaining of his head, but his features were certainly enough to assure me that it was indeed Kingsley lying here. I searched him and didn’t find anything. His eye caught mine, and I remained there for a moment, watching that poor singular gaze, stuck like that for eternity. There isn’t anything I can do for you now, you idiot, I thought. I patted him on the broken shoulder, and as I did, something drew my attention. Strange red marks on his neck. Fingers.
“HEY! I TOLD YOU YOU CAN’T BE HERE”
I didn’t bother answering, and just stepped back quickly. I then proceeded to put my hood on, and decided to go back to the office. I didn’t know much, that was an undeniable fact, but whatever I didn’t know killed Kingsley. I felt drawn to it. I hate mysteries, they bug me.

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