Monday, 22 May 2017
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“Carmichael has gone.” the line went dead. Richmond dropped his phone like it was on fire and stamped on it again and again until it was smashed.
“Breathe,” Richmond said to himself as he walked into the bedroom and took the holdall out from beneath his bed. “Breathe.” The flat suddenly felt small. Richmond picked up his laptop and threw it with all his might onto the floor, he then picked it up again and this time hurled it at the wall, then he put his foot through it and put two pieces in his pocket leaving the rest on the floor. He opened the front door and without looking back, he stepped into the unknown.
He smiled at the doorman, nodded at the old woman who cleaned the steps outside his block and then crossed the road and headed towards the metro station.
The screen of the ticket machine baffled him; he didn’t want to use the translation button so tried to remember which was a single journey. He hit a button and the wrong price appeared on screen, he pressed the cancel button and tried again, he heard a tut from behind him. The right amount appeared, so he fed in the coins and grabbed his ticket leaving his monthly ticket in the used ticket bin. The metro stations were never empty, but at least it wasn’t rush hour. He jumped on the first train that came in and then as soon as he got to the next station, he got off and cross over to the other platform, just getting on a train before the doors shut. Now, he sat down and looked around. Two stops later he got off again and headed for the train on the opposite platform. He sat down, put his bag between his legs and half-closed his eyes, pretending to sleep.
No one looked a threat around him, but who knew who was who. The boy with the music bleeding through the huge headphones looked at him for a second longer than normal but that was normal here. The old lady with the shopping bag and what appeared to be slippers on her feet stared at the moving advert by the door. The young couple explored each other’s tonsils, paying him no heed. The train rumbled on, stopping to spew out passengers and digest more, all of them looking like normal people going about their normal business, but each one of them a potential threat.
When they arrived at the airport, Richmond stood up slowly and let the other passengers disembark first. He then stooped to tie his shoelace ensuring he was the last on the platform and no one was behind him. He dropped one of the pieces of laptop in a bin before taking the escalator.
The departure board took ages to flick into the English. He scanned the places and decided Denmark was a likely destination, so went to the SAS ticket office. Paying in cash would raise suspicions, but he didn’t have a card for Olaf Petersen, despite having a passport in that name.
“Do you have any luggage?” the woman asked him at check-in.
“No, just this.” Richmond held up his holdall.
The check-in woman looked at him, people didn’t do long haul without luggage.
“I’m going to a funeral,” he said, “just three days.”
She nodded and gave him his boarding card. “You need to hurry,” she said. “The gate closes in forty minutes.”
He handed his documents to the woman on the passport control. His papers looked tiny in the woman’s hands. She flicked through the pages, examining each one.
“Thank you,” she said and hammered a stamp on an empty page, before giving the passport back to him.
Richmond told himself to breathe, before dropping the second piece of his computer into the bins provided for passengers with things not meant to go through security and then took his belt off and emptied his pockets.
I’m just Olaf Petersen, going to Copenhagen for a funeral, he reminded himself. He smiled as the guard waved him through. No alarm sounded, now, if his bag was fine, he’d be one step away from freedom.
Richmond saw his holdall being pawed by a security guard.
“Yes,” Richmond said.
The guard put his hand in the side pocket and pulled out three passports.
“I think you better come with me,” the man said and Richmond knew it was his death sentence.
Posted by Gareth at 10:25