The night shift. Beyond the station walls the city of London remained alive, an urban landscape that rarely slept. Inside Blackwall the majority of Blue Watch slept soundly. Pearce sat in his office, sorting through his paper work. The Green Watch Commander had left him various notes, one of which concerned the 'hot boxes' located at the back of the drill yard. The metal compartments were used for training and could be set up to simulate various fire conditions using gas as fuel. As such they were a very controlled environment to work in. According to the note, the hot boxes weren't working and Green Watch 'had not had time' to attempt to fix them and would be 'extremely grateful' if Blue Watch could look into the problem before Green came back on shift the next day. Pearce sighed and glanced at his watch. He would grab a coffee, head out to look at the boxes then return to the paper work...yet more bloody paper work.
On entering the mess he was surprised to find Rob standing at the window, a steaming mug in one hand, the other in his pocket. The Irishman turned slightly to glance at Pearce over his shoulder before his gaze returned to the window,
"Rob? What are you doing up?"
"Can't sleep, there's a fresh pot of brew on the bench" Rob said simply, motioning with his head towards the kitchen. Pearce poured himself a cup, savouring the smell before putting the cup to his lips. Ah bliss, nothing beat a good cup of coffee. Rob was still staring out the window.
Rob chuckled lightly,
"Nah, not really" he said turning away from the widow and leaning against the wall, a gentle smile on his lips,
"Too much on my mind, that's my problem Geoff. What's yours?"
Geoff took another swig of coffee,
"The mountain of paper work on my desk...and on top of that Green have left a note saying that the hot boxes are buggered, I'm on my way out to see if I can fix them"
Rob pushed himself away from the wall,
"I can do that if you like Geoff"
"Sure, I need a distraction and I love a good challenge"
Pearce regarded him critically for a moment as Rob treated him to an enthusiastic grin,
"Well...ok then, full PPE and make sure you isolate the gas"
Rob dropped his cup in the sink and trotted towards the door,
"No problem Sub, Hyper's on the case!"
Pearce shook his head,
"I'm sure he is" he mumbled as the door closed.
Rob made his way through the dark, soot stained interior of the steel hot boxes searching for the panel that hid the main gas shut of valve. Old, battered furniture was strewn around the floor space and the doors creaked and groaned on their rusted hinges. The main lighting cast a dim, dingy, yellow glow around the space forcing Rob to use his torch. He eventually found the panel and managed to turn the gas off. As he shut the panel the lights flickered then died completely. Rob sighed and stood up,
"Bloody sparks" he muttered and picked up to tool box he had brought with him. Blackwall's hot boxes had a reputation for breaking down, faulty electrics and strange goings on. In his time at Blackwall, Rob had heard stories of ghosts, every fire station had them...apparently, but Rob didn't believe in all that mumbo jumbo...he just thought the electrics were shit. He turned, heading for the next room and felt a chill pass through him. He shivered but thought nothing of it, the night had been threatening rain and the storms pushed the cold air in front of them as they moved up the river. Pulling the neck of his tunic closer, Rob began to look for the fault in the system, shining his torch amongst the network of pipes. Behind him the door creaked. Rob glanced over his shoulder, shining his torch towards the door. The beam cut a swath through the darkness but didn't pick out a figure. Rob shrugged and returned to his task. The door slammed shut, the bang echoing round the steel shell. Hyper jumped to his feet, his heart hammering in his chest,
He strode over to the door and found it wouldn't budge. He put his shoulder into the metal but still the door wouldn't move,
"Come on guys, not funny...guys?"
Silence. No giggling or shuffling footsteps.
Behind him the tool kit clinked, a spanner skidded across the floor, bouncing off of his boot. Rob swung the torch beam around the room, determined to catch one of his colleagues in the act. He was feeling cold again, his breath crystallising in front of him. The beam of light picked something out on the wall and he frowned as he moved towards it. Writing, shaky and hesitant, scratched into the soot stained wall. He was positive it wasn't there before.
'C o li n'
"Colin? Who the –"
His torch went out, plunging him into pitch darkness,
"Oh for fucks sake!"
Holding out his hands in front of him, he shuffled towards the wall. Eventually his hands touched the cold steel. He was well and truly stuck, he hadn't brought a radio or a phone with him. He would have to shout and hope someone in the station would hear him, but as he drew breath a movement in the darkness made him stop. Straining his eyes he could make a deeper area of blackness, vaguely man shaped, as it moved like a broken puppet along the far wall. Rob stood stunned, his back pressed against the wall. Slowly he began to recite the Lord's Prayer, feeling stupid at the same time as being too scared to try and rationalise what he was seeing. The shape stopped as if scrutinizing him, and then it rushed forward. Rob tired to duck away, but found he was pinned, he couldn't move! His chest constricted with fear, he couldn't breathe. Blood pounded in his ears as complete darkness filled his vision, pain flared behind his eyes and he felt himself slide down the wall as consciousness slipped away.