MIME: Chapter 1 (preview)

Oily and bitter, the lingering odour of burnt flesh lodged in the back of Elliot’s throat. If he hadn’t known where the smell came from, he might not have thought anything of it.

Fifteen minutes had passed since the first reports had hit social media. Ten minutes since “spontaneous combustion” had started trending and flagged up on Elliot’s searches. Mostly third-hand accounts, but he’d found enough supposed eyewitnesses to convince him it was worth investigating.

Seven minutes since he’d left the Weird News office to drive down Whiteladies Road and across the city centre to the scene. Now, as he approached the waterside edge of Castle Park, that hint of charred human on the breeze made the whole situation more real. He pressed his lips together, swallowed, and headed closer.

A couple of patrol cars were parked on the roadside, alongside a grey Ford Mondeo he suspected was an unmarked police vehicle from the radio equipment visible on the dashboard. Rows of curious people gathered behind railings strung with blue-and-white striped tape. Some held phones above their heads like digital periscopes, trying to glimpse the focus of all the activity before the daylight faded. People loved a morbid circus.

Elliot pushed closer to the front. | Read more…

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