Monday, 4 October 2010

The Resurrection Bureau - Part 6

Half an hour later Eve sat in the back of a taxi feeling slightly grubby and distinctly uneasy. The taxi driver had done a double take when she had told him the address that the Governor had given her, but then had shrugged and pulled away from the pavement.
The Governor’s brief was short and uninformative. It simply stated:
Sally Sparks, 55b West Green Street.
Miss Sparks has been receiving endowment payments from The Resurrection Bureau for six months. Reports indicate Miss Sparks has recently resigned from her post as a DIY superstore demonstrator.
JJ Crichton

Eve had turned the piece of paper over, but that was all that was written. So she had been sent on a eight hundred mile round trip because a girl had quit her job as a electric drill model. Really?
Outside cold sun filtered through a break in the clouds, revealing large austere buildings and cobbled streets packed with commuters dressed in suits and training shoes. Soon the large buildings gave way to brown, grey, gloomy apartment blocks, stunted, weed filled parkland and dirty single-storey office buildings and schools.
Eve watched the depressing view slide by. As odd as this particular mission was, it was not at all unusual to find yourself in an odd situation working for a charity. Kin her time Eve had found herself running pentathlons, organising bouncey castles and being interviewed by police detectives. Charity work was always, at best, scattergun and chaotic, and at worse a mess of ineptitude and wasted money. But Eve liked it that way. She was never bored, and she was a peerless professional, who took great pleasure in cutting through the bullshit and downright idiocy of her colleagues and got the job done. She had managed, at age only 25, to rise to a position and salary that would have been more fitting for a woman in her mid-forties in private business, and she had done it because charities were mostly run by idiots. Well meaning, affable idiots mostly, but idiots none the less.
‘Here we are, pet,’ the taxi driver said suddenly. ‘You’re sure this is the right place?’
Eve looked out at a dirty red building, the upper stories of which tottered out over the street below. At the top of a cracked cement staircase strewn with discarded beer can was a red door. Holes were hacked into the brick frame of the door, and above one such hole was painted: 55b.
‘Yes,’ Eve answered with a resigned sigh. ‘This is the right place.’
She wasn’t at all surprised that it started raining again as she stepped out of the taxi.

There were no bells or buzzers anywhere around the door. Eve knocked, the sound of her small fist feeble on the thick wood of the old door - but to her surprise her knock received an almost immediate response, the sound of small, quick-moving feet on the bare wood of a staircase.
Eve steadied herself, straightening her suit jacket and running a hand through her frizzy hair. She expected to be met by an overweight depressed hippy, or perhaps a wild eyed teen with piercings wearing pyjamas - and was surprised again. The woman who opened the door was in her mid-forties, her dark hair scraped back into a bun, a puzzled smile on a pretty, olive-shaped face.
'Hello?' she said in a refined, if cautious voice.
'Hello, I'm looking for Sally Sparks?' looking at the woman's silk flower print dress and cream cardigan Eve was almost certain that this woman was not the person she was looking for - and she was proved wrong a third time.
'You must be from the Bureau,' the woman - Sally Sparks - replied with a smile. She held open the door.
Eve stepped into a large rundown porch. A dusty staircase turned into darkness above them.

To be continued...

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