Bitter 202

Britta woke up in her regular cell in the Temple of Roha. Sister Florence was outside her room, on her knees. She was scrubbing the exact same spot as last time.

“Sister Florence, can you tell me how to get to the Town Hall?”

“Oh yes, deary. It’s just over there.” She pointed and Britta’s map flashed in the top right of her vision. It was becoming a normal thing to get directions straight to the magic map in the corner of her eye.

She followed the sparkling trail towards the posh part of town. There was a section of nearly identical buildings in a semicircle, with a grand mansion in the middle. She had passed it before and assumed it was a stately home of some kind. It had broad stone steps and white columns across the front.

There were quite a few people outside, including a man with a mop. He was washing a large red patch off the flagstones. It had been some time since Freddy had fallen to his death, so she would have expected the blood to have been cleaned well before now. Unless the game wanted her to see it. Or someone else had died in the meantime.

She was glad Freddy’s body wasn’t still here. She wouldn’t have liked to have seen them scraping up what was left of him. It probably would have been very gory and detailed.

Inside, there was a board listing the various departments and where they could be found. There were offices for road planning, waste collection and parks. Just like any local council. The mayor’s offices were on the top floor.

There was a couple of guards in the main foyer and a man behind a counter, but they ignored her. People seemed to be moving around freely, even though a death had occurred only recently. Britta tried not to look out of place and headed up the stairs.

It was four floors to the top, and she was met by a much more opulent reception area. An attractive young woman who didn’t appear to be entirely human (she had crimson eyes and extremely long fingernails that didn’t look fake) sat behind a desk.

“Yes? Do you have an appointment?” she asked in an unsettlingly deep voice.

“No,” said Britta. “Can I make one?”

The woman smiled, displaying an endless set of very small, pointed teeth. “What is it you wish to speak to the mayor about?”

“About the man who fell out of his window. He was a friend of mine.”

The large doors behind the receptionist opened and the mayor appeared. It seemed a bit convenient for him to pop out at that moment, just as he had when Stan was here. Perhaps it was part of his programming to make himself available whenever a player dropped by.

“Oh, Miss Beyoncé, isn’t it?”

It also seemed odd that he would remember her from their one meeting in the post office, when he had mistakenly thought the B in her name stood for Beyoncé.

“Hello, Mr Mayor. Nice to see you again.”

“Delores, be a love and get me a beverage from McDonald’s. They’re extremely delicious and very reasonably priced.”

Britta wasn’t sure how to react. Was that an ad? She still hadn’t visited McDonald’s herself, but she knew there was one in the market square. Was this how they drummed up business?

The receptionist rose. She was very tall (although everyone was from Britta’s perspective) and wearing a tight leather skirt that didn’t really seem to fit the time period. Of course the specific time period was never, so you couldn’t really argue it was against historical accuracy.

“You have something you’d like to talk to me about?” asked the Mayor. He was being very convivial, his smile stretching all the way across his very broad chin.

Britta nodded. “It’s to do with Freddy Garbolum.”

“Yes, I heard you say he was a friend of yours. Very sad. Why don’t you come in?” He held the door open for her.

The room was very grand. The desk was bigger than her bed and the chair behind it was like a throne. He showed her to a smaller chair and then took up residence in the bigger one.

“Are you a friend of the family?” asked the mayor.

“Yes,” said Britta.  Which was sort of true.

“They must be very upset. I know they’ll be keen to seek justice against the young man who committed this terrible act.”

Britta hadn’t thought of that. The Garbolums were a bunch of gangsters. They would probably want revenge against Stan.

“He’s already in jail,” said Britta.

“Indeed, but that’s not the sort of justice I mean. I doubt being in jail will stop them getting to him. It might actually make it easier. I believe many members of the Garbolum ‘family’ are already incarcerated in the very same guard house.”

There was a self-satisfied smile on the mayor’s lips which sent a chill down Britta’s spine. Here was a guy you shouldn’t mess with. Britta looked around the office. The windows was unbroken and there were no bits of glass anywhere. The inside crew had cleaned up a lot quicker than the outside one.

Britta returned her attention to the mayor, and decided to mess with him. “I don’t think Stan killed Freddy. I think you did.”

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