The light flickered on and off as Kesfanu cowered under the table. Shadows became darkness and darkness became shadows all around her. It was cold. Every time the light came on there was a little tink noise. Tink. Tink tink. The walls glowed blue when the light came on. All around tables and chairs lay upturned. At the serving hatch a cauldron of custard lay on its side, thick lumpy custard dripping slowly on the floor. White papers lay scattered all around. A piece of the cardboard ceiling hung by a tether. The kitchen’s blue lights were the only permanent, if dull, source of light.
Kesfanu looked around her some more. The small window in the kitchen, through which she had climbed, bumped quietly in the wind. The table she had used to block the door sat still. Through the door’s window she saw only darkness. Feeling safer she got up from beneath the table. There were no windows in the cafeteria. Surrounded as it was by classrooms and conference rooms. As the light momentarily flicked on she saw dried blobs of blood. Her knuckles throbbed with pain as she remembered punching him in the face. They had taken her away shortly after.
Many of their coats were slung over the small plastic chairs. Bags and briefcases sat beside them. The light flicked off. The soft glow of the kitchen light helped her feel her way along the table. The doctor had been sitting opposite her and four chairs to the left. She remembered his smile. Tink, tink, tink. The light came back on. Quickly she found his seat. The doctor’s leather bag remained. It was rectangular with two big thick handles. It opened along the middle to form a gaping maw. Inside his medical box filled with syringes was gone. She fished around and found a torch and a scalpel.
The light went off. Kesfanu put the scalpel in her jeans pocket and flashed the torch around looking for her own coat. The coat lay in a heap in the corner parallel to the door and across the room from the kitchen. She picked it up and put it on to protect her from the cold. Outside the wind began to whistle. Tink, tink, tink…. Tink. The light came back on. There turned out to be nothing in her pockets. Not even her mobile phone which she’d left in there. There was however a piece of card. Even before withdrawing it she knew what it was.
The card was the size of a business card. On the front it advertised a Veterinary clinic based in the local Industrial estate. Slowly she turned it over. The message, written in black felt-tip pen remained intact. She had last seen the card in the morning and had dropped it into a bin outside of the local supermarket. The card just said, If you want to escape, meet me in the school cafeteria at nine, Suhayi.