Man in the Empty Suit

Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell

Book: Man in the Empty Suit by Sean Ferrell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sean Ferrell
anything like I was.” As I said it, I realized I wasn’t sure it was true. “Just tell him. Please.”
    She nodded and held out her hand. I took it, and she gave me a gentle squeeze. “Good luck.”

THE BODY’S ROOM was locked. I wanted to break in the door, but we were only two floors removed from the party—an unexplained crash would bring me running.
    If the Elders all assumed I had this under control, their confidence was misplaced. They relied on logic that I knew would eventually fail. For them the fact that they were even here mitigated the threat of the death. But I understood that the adjustment of a single element had more drastic changes. My nose had broken and not broken, and I’d both casually recognized this and drawn attention to it. The latter adjustment had brought about the hunt for answers that the Inventor was now involved in, the stampede of children, the modification of my—our—childhoods. Elements could change, be twisted, and have impacts beyond my imagining. This meant that the death could still happen. I was confidentit would. And Seventy’s confidence, his assurance, even his presence mystified me.
    I found a doorway down the hall from the Body’s room and crouched in the shadows. Two floors up, electricity blazed, but this floor wallowed in darkness. I watched the door and counted minutes, listened to water trickle in the walls. Lily would have reached Seventy by now and would have made herself clear. He was old. He walked with a cane. He’d navigate slowly up the steps. I waited ten minutes. I would wait ten more, I thought, then leave. Five minutes into the second ten, the stairwell door opened, revealing the silhouettes of Seventy and Screwdriver. I, for reasons I chose to ignore, reached into my pocket and held the gun.
    Screwdriver reached the Body’s door first. He keyed the lock and opened it, turned on the light and held the door open for Seventy. I stepped out of the dark and approached them. Screwdriver saw me first and gave a simple nod. I nodded back. He was a few years older than me, but I saw in his face a grim determination I knew I’d always lacked. I wondered if it was being forged now.
    Seventy was not as warm to me. “What the fuck have you been doing?”
    “Trying to find out why I die. How was dinner?”
    Screwdriver laughed. Seventy shot him a glare but then started to laugh himself. “You know the meatballs are all dried out.” His smile fell, and he looked older than seventy. Perhaps he should have been labeled Eighty? I’d stick with Seventy until I knew for sure.
    “Everything has gone to shit down there,” he said. “The Youngsters are out of control. They’re actually threateningpeople. They’ve laid off now, but for a while it looked like us against them. And they keep multiplying. There were never this many here before.”
    “And they’re young.” Screwdriver crossed his arms, and I noticed dirt smeared across his shirtsleeves. I wondered where he’d been. “There were never kids here.”
    “They know that something is up,” I said. “They want in.”
    Seventy shook his head. “Christ, no. Don’t tell them anything. And what the fuck happened to your head?”
    “I was hit.”
    Screwdriver grunted. Seventy worried the knob of his cane. “Who hit you?” he asked, trying to keep his voice calm.
    “The Inventor.”
    Seventy nodded. “We were a bit arrogant back then. He must have figured out that you were up to something.”
    “Not him. I think he’s answering to someone else.”
    “Who?”
    “The Nose, maybe. Look. I know you brought in Lily. She shouldn’t have been here in the first place, but now that things are falling apart, we need to get her out of here.”
    Seventy stared at the floor. “I didn’t bring her.”
    I didn’t expect an answer, but I asked anyway. “Who did?”
    I looked from Seventy to Screwdriver. Screwdriver pointed down at the Body. I’d forgotten he was there. I drew back the sheet. He had nothing

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