Chapter 3

Viv walked in the front lobby and grabbed a cup of coffee.  They didn’t have a Starbucks cart around the back of the North Medical Tower so she opted just to walk in the front and grab something.  Walking up to the front counter, she told him her name and he grabbed her a visitor card.  As she sipped her coffee, the guard looked up and pointed at a man passing by.

“Oh, I’m sorry, sir.  Go right ahead,” the guard said to the man.

Viv glanced up over her coffee and caught a glimpse of the man as he past.  Shoulder length black hair, scruffy beard, but a nicely tailored suit.  She had never seen him before, but then at least five thousand people worked at the three Duibne Towers.  Patiently she waited for the guard to finish writing her pass out, but he was pinching the bridge of his nose, shaking his head with a grimace.

“Headache?” Viv asked politely.

“Yes ma’am, a whopper all of the sudden.”  He finished writing down her information and handed her her security badge.  “Just take the elevators to my right.  The card will let you down to the lower levels.”

“Aye, Captain,” Viv said with a smile and took her card.  Rounding the corner, she walked the long hallway to the elevators and stood with a large group.  Most of the cars were packed or going up, but finally one freed up and she stepped into it, pressing the button for sub-level four where Charlie was recovering.  A man slipped in just before the doors closed; the same one from before with the black hair.  Taking off his sunglasses, he held them in his hand as he turned and looked at Viv.

“Hi,” he said quietly, nodding.

Viv only smiled at him, leaning back against the right side of the elevator.  As she waited for the car to descend, Viv looked down at the floor and inhaled deeply.

Wow, she thought to herself.  The dark haired man smelled of hard liquor, not just on his breath but it was coming out of his pores.  He was freshly showered with what smelled like hotel soap and his suit was dry cleaned, but the alcohol was overwhelming.  She took a breath through her mouth and tried tasting beyond that stink.  There were faint traces of…ink, the desert – dry arid dirt like Simon almost, and the ocean?  That was weird, she thought.  Salt water.

The elevator reached sub-level floor and slowed its descent, opening the doors slowly.  The man took a step and then stopped, looking at her.  He held a hand out silently and politely.

“Thanks,” she said moving out of the car first and turning right.  Viv didn’t bother to look back, but then she didn’t have to with the reflective steel walls.  She watched as the man stepped out of the car and looked at her walk away for a few moments, and then he turned left, heading toward the labs.

“Weird,” she mumbled as she walked the long hallway toward Charlie’s room.