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  • Writer's pictureMatt Johnston

Requiem for the messenger (Flash Fiction)

Updated: Jul 16, 2018

The scene aped that of a morbid extra terrestrial landing. While the makeshift barrier of tape which looped around trees and lamp posts which signified the outer limits of the toxicity she watched the diligent swarm of plastic humanoids moving with stunted but meticulous purpose; yellow ants erecting a plastic commune of evidence tents and decontamination chambers, tending to the delicate needs of their metallic queen, a battered green hatchback at the heart of their industry.

The clacking rattle of the latest commuter train forced her to take in her surrounding; a wind swept car park on a cold and grey morning, a place of tired concrete, rusting fences and cracked brick walls of declining local industry.

The young PC to her left began informing her of what she already knew. He spoke quickly, and with an enthusiasm that betrayed an indifference to the suffering and loneliness which had brought them there.

“Yes marm, it is definitely hot. There’s gray chemicals in a big plastic bucket in the foot well of the passenger seat, empty bottles of toilet cleaner, other household chemicals, and what appears to be masking tape over the air vents.”

“Hydrogen Sulfide poisoning” she thought, the latest in the macabre history of methodologies. She recalled attending a briefing where the method was once been described to her as being ‘fashionable’ and once again cast her eyes around the moribund decay of her surroundings.

Back at the car plastic sheeting were laid out, the car door opened and the slow process of extracting the driver had begun.

“Do we have a name yet?” she asked, her thoughts returning to the uneventful morning she had had before she had received the call. Someone, somewhere, would probably also be having an uneventful morning until two of her officers arrived.

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