Each progress report had a snippet of conspiricy reflecting the overarching theme of the convention. So this progress report’s short story is…
TWENTY3: MORTUARY REPORT
Wolff read the name on the top of the report impassively, running his fingertips over the pad as he examined each page of data in turn.
Pascal, F. W.
There was a string of intelligence information available to go with the name, but a brief glance at the most recent pages confirmed what Wolff had already suspected. Pascal was a midcity executive
>>standing in a glass-fronted elevator, watching floor after floor cramped apartments rush by
with an impeccable security record. An ordiniary life in a nondescript profession. He lived on the forty seventh floor of his building,
>>apartment 4709. He takes a keycard from his wallet and swipes it on the lock, waiting for the sensors on the doorknob to recognise his fingerprints. After a few seconds the door opens with a soft click, and he quietly enters into a cool, gentle corridor.
‘What was the wife’s name?’ Wolff asked. The technician turned from his workstation.
‘Julia Pascal. She took his name.’
Wolff narrowed his eyes at the tecnician, who accepted the warning and fell silent.
>>He walks down the hallway, step by deliberate step. At the end of the passage, his wife steps into view within the living room. She smiles as he approaches, and he returns the greeting. She begins to speak, but he isn’t listening to her words.
‘Where is she?’ Wolff asked.
‘Next room. They haven’t pieced all of her together yet.’
‘What did he use?’
>>From his coat pocket he tkes a long, thick knife – the kind used by butchers in the lower markets. He holds it behind him, where she can’t see it. He keeps smiling.
Wolff turned the blade over in his hands, examining its surface passively. The blood had already been removed and the knife sterilised. For a second he saw his own reflection an the metal, like a mirror, before he replaced it on the tray before him
>>Her lips are still moving. She’s saying words, but they don’t matter. All that matters are the words. Words all around and in his head. He keeps smiling as she reaches forth to embrace him.
He opens his arms, and grins like a madman.
‘He stabbed her in the face first,’ explained the technician, ‘and then another fifteen times in the stomach, four in the neck and nine in the chest. Four of those grazed off the ribcage.’
Wolff shot the man a look. ‘I can read that.’ he growled. ‘Tell me about the intercept.’
‘Law Corporation got there first. There should be a video record available on the report.’
Wolff squinted at the pad suspiciously before gently stabbing an icon. It unfolded to fill a quarter of the screen, a little window with a dodgy frame rate and inaccurate colour. The view was that of a camers mounted on the shoulder of an enfourcer,
>>as I’m running down the corridor to the apartment door. There’s still screaming going on inside, and it takes us a few seconds to blow the door open with a plastic charge.
By the time we get in there the screaming’s stopped. We go in through the smoke, masks in place, to find the guy sitting cross-legged at the end of the hallway. Infront of him was a mess of human remains – it was a wonder it managed to keep screaming for so long.
A shallow wave of blood washes past him, but he doesn’t move.
As I get closer, I realise that he’s whistling. He looks up to see me eye to eye. He smiles.
‘All good children must do what they’re told.’ he tells me wisely, then lunges forth with a knife.
Four of us shoot him on rapid fire, untill it’s difficult to tell the difference between him and his victim.
Wolff closed the window, and raised his gaze to observe the body with cold, dead eyes.
‘That’s the third one like this today,’ the technician said, ‘what’s causing this to happen?’
‘Nothing.’ said Wolff. ‘Nothing’s happening.’
One look into those cold, black eyes and the technician desperately tried to believe him.
no author given