There was an ugly concrete structure way out in the desert, it was surrounded by flying men who glowed in neon colours, and Derek was too far down the road to do anything useful.
Derek was tired and disappointed. And dusty, he was also dusty. He looked back over his shoulder and saw the horizon starting to lighten. That, more than anything else, settled it; he would try to break in now, before he added ‘hot’ and ‘sweaty’ to his list.
The flying men weren’t guarding the building; they were just saving time on their various tasks, or spinning around and enjoying the shear sensation of flight. None of them noticed Derek as he ran up to the side of the building.
Derek felt a little put out. He glanced up and looked around strangely. If he had known that the flying men were so averse to looking down then he would have just stayed on the roof of the truck.
There were lots of windows along the ground floor of the building; some of them didn’t even have glass.
Derek still didn’t like being out in the open; he sped up and dived through the closest window.
He was in a bunk room of some kind. The walls were covered with pictures of naked ladies and the room had the odd smell of old socks.
Then something hit Derek, and he stopped. This was far too easy.
There was no one in the room. No obvious lines or tripwires; just empty beds and old socks.
Derek felt like someone was watching him. He took a step back. He stood for a long time; just watching and listening, but he didn’t see anything, and he didn’t hear anything.
Eventually he took a step forward, and then another step forward, and so forth until he walked out the door.
There was a long corridor outside the door. It was made of cold concrete and had no markings to show the way. To his left it stretched around a corner, and to his right it went up a small flight of stairs. There were rooms leading off in every direction, but there was no one else around.
Derek didn’t feel safe and his head withdrew back into the room. But there was nowhere to go but forward. So Derek stepped out into the hallway and picked a direction at random.
Five minutes later he was still picking directions at random.
Derek was sick of the insanity of it all. He stared up at the ceiling and made a ‘Why god, why?’ gesture. The corridors didn’t actually seem to lead anywhere; they just kept going round in circles.
As he was walking Derek had a sudden sense of déjà vu.
Feeling suspicious and narrowing his eyes, Derek opened the door closest to him.
It was the room he had started form.
Derek took a deep breath, and let it out again, and he gently shut the door.
The corridor ahead of him stretched away with doors on both sides
Derek’s mind felt very focused, and he ignored the emotion to either side of it. Keeping himself straight to attention he marched down the corridor, opening every door on his right as he did so.
Door number one was a broom closet.
There was an occupied shower room behind door number two (Derek closed this door carefully)
Door number three held a quilting machine
Behind door number four Derek found the garage.
Derek perked up; the garage was clearly important. He walked in and looked around.
The garage was in a poor state of repair. The concrete was cracked and several hardy weeds were trying to push their way through. There were a pile of drums against the wall, some of them had warning labels, and none of them were sealed. The floor was slick with oil and the air was so greasy that Derek could feel it congealing on his skin.
The Garage was mostly empty but the tuck was there, and its door was open.
Derek stood up straight and looked at the truck carefully. Finding it open was a bit luckier than the universe liked to let him get away with. In the end it was the fact that he didn’t want to keep standing in the open that made him get into the cab.
The floor of the cab was covered in pie wrappers and empty drinks cans. Derek waded across the cab and sat in the driver’s seat.
The keys were still in the ignition.
Derek had the same weird feeling that he got whenever he looked a piece of modern art. He slumped a little bit and stared at the keys in the ignition. All the components were sensical it was just that they had no business being together.
Derek turned in the seat and kicked at the detritus on the floor.
It completely failed to uncover a sleeping man.
Derek turned completely in the seat and looked behind it.
There was no dog there
Derek got out of the cab, walked to the back of the truck and checked the trailer.
No family of illegal immigrants looked up at him.
Derek closed the doors and thought carefully. Then he climbed so that he could see the top of the truck.
A startled pigeon flapped away and hit him on the nose, but there was nothing else up there.
Derek climbed back down with a lot on his mind. He took a couple steps back and looked at the truck.
The truck just stood there, looking inert and harmless.
Derek felt unsure; like he was standing on unstable ground, in the dark. He ran his fingers through his hair and made a fist. It just didn’t seem right for the truck to be there.
Derek ran through the plan in his head. All he had to do was find Laurie, drive the truck to her, get her in and drive back to the city. It was a risky plan, but it was better than their usual ones, and it definitely shouldn’t be this easy.
There was a crashing sound somewhere around the other side of the building, followed by the sound of furious voices.
Derek perked up again, and stood up straighter. This sounded more like his kind of thing.
There was more yelling and suddenly the flying people were streaming past the garage door. One of them; a man who was glowing neon yellow and yelling into a walky-talky, caught sight of Derek and looped back around to land in the garage.
“Who the fuck are you?” he asked
Derek felt enormously gratified. He beamed as he jumped into the cab. ‘Finally’ he thought, as he turned the key and revved the engine.