A Liquid Diet – Pt. 3

Continued from here.

Ten minutes later Sam was across town and staring up at the converted warehouse. What had once held bails of fabric was now the “in” place to live. Each one of the loft apartments cost more than she would see in twenty years on the force. She chuckled to herself. It wasn’t like she’d want to live in one of them anyway. She much preferred living above Howerton’s Market. It was just as large a space and that part of downtown had real character. It felt more alive than Hipsterville ever would.

Her PDA said that the “Person of Interest’s” name was Seth Jansen. A single hair did not a grounds for arrest make, at least not in this case, but she’d get as much as she could from him on a “friendly” basis. If it didn’t stay friendly, well she had downed another serving of synth and that plus the semi-automatic pistol at her side should take down even a fellow Shreck.

According to her information Seth lived on the fifth floor. She walked to the front door and noted that this was a secure building. There was a list of apartment numbers, each with a button beside it. The door wouldn’t open unless you were buzzed in. Hopefully Seth would be home catching America’s Next Top Superstar and wasn’t out cruising for his next snack. She thumbed the white button for a second and waited.

Seconds ticked by as a warm breezed kicked up behind her. She gave it almost a full minute before buzzing again, this time really laying it on. If he was asleep before ten o’clock on a Sunday night then maybe he was a good boy. Or just maybe he had been out too late the night before. Again there was no answer. She reviewed her options. Not coming up with many that didn’t involve going back to the precinct house, she thumbed Seth’s next door neighbor, one D. Blythe.

After a few seconds, a tremulous voice answered. “Yes? Who is it?”

Sam held her badge up to the video camera briefly. “Police. We need to speak to Mr. Jansen.”

The voice, possibly female, cut her off. “Sorry dear. There’s no Mr. Jansen here.”

“I know. He’s your next door neighbor. I was hoping you could help me out. We need to speak to him and he’s not answering his buzzer. Do you know if he is home?”

There was a pause and the sound of someone fumbling. “Police? Oh dear. Is everything okay? Seth is such a good boy. He helps us with our groceries.”

“Ma’am, if you’ll just buzz me up I can check on him.” Sam worked hard to keep any trace of annoyance out of her voice.

“Of course, of course.” A loud electronic buzz snapped through the air.

Sam caught the door before it stopped and levered it open. It was a heavy thing. She had no trouble with it, but could see why Seth’s ancient sounding neighbor might. She crossed the lobby and pushed the button for the elevator. It suddenly occurred to her that she didn’t know if she would be able to get to the floor where Seth and his friendly neighbor lived. If there were any problem though, she’d just call the lady again. Worst case scenario there were ways for her to get around that.

The elevator arrived with a chime and slid open. She entered and pressed five. The door slid shut without complaint.

“So much for security.” Then she noticed the camera in the upper right corner of the elevator. A little red light winked at her. Four charms later and the elevator stopped with a lurch. The door remained resolutely shut. After a few seconds, each one ticking buy as her annoyance level increased. The light on the camera flashed green and there was another buzz like she heard downstairs.

The doors slid open revealing a shrivelled apple doll of a woman who could be anywhere between sixty and a hundred. A black, expensive looking house coat fell straight to the floor, concealing her body shape. She wasn’t more than five feet tall.

“Hello dear.” Her voice was a little more melodious when cutting through the air.

Sam nodded. “Ma’am.” Just to be clear she flashed the badge again and then hung it around her neck from a cleverly concealed chain. “Thanks for letting me in. I can take it from here.”

Mrs. Blythe wasn’t so easily put off. “Nonsense, dear. I want to know if the young man is okay.”

Sam shrugged her shoulders. “Alright ma’am. Just to be clear though, I am going to need you to return to your apartment after you show me to Mr. Jansen’s door.”

That mollified her a little. She practically glided through the well lit hallway. The ceilings here stretched upwards for twelve feet or more, golden stone tile making the whole space light and airy. A few turns and they arrived at the address listed in Sam’s PDA.

“Now dear, I feel I just have to tell you that the boy keeps some odd hours. I don’t complain because he’s a quiet enough neighbor. No loud music and no…” She looked around for anyone that might be listening. “And no floozies.” The last word whispered. “I hope he’s okay.”

“I’m sure he will be ma’am. If not, then it’s good that I’m here. I’ll take care of him.”

With an uncertain nod, Mrs. Blyth turned and walked down the hall.

Sam waited for her to be out of sight before she unsnapped the catch on her holster. No sense in drawing the weapon just yet, but if she needed it to be out, even a split second made a difference. She stepped up the the door, sensible shoes barely making a sound. That was when the smell hit her. There was blood on the other side of this door and quite a bit of it.

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