To The Park

As I finally finished the damn puzzle, a new Internet window popped up to congratulate me. It said:

 

Look for me

In 20 minutes at

The park near the

Garbage recycling plant.

By now you should be leaving, idiot. It’s

The one with the

Pond, in case you get lost.

 

My grip tightened around the phone. The asshole called me an idiot. If he was trying to piss me off, it was working. My gaze drifted toward my gun on the bed. It would be so easy to surprise him. I shook my head. It was pointless. If I killed him, everyone else would hunt me down. It wasn’t worth it – at least, not until I could cover my tracks.

I grabbed the gun anyway and tucked it into the holster in my waistband. Then, I threw my white shirt on and a jacket on top of that. My gun was invisible. Even if I wasn’t going to kill Styx, that didn’t mean I was willing to meet him unarmed. It was already a little weird that he was dragging me out of my hotel. Between that and the puzzle, he must have been as bored as I was.

Bored or not, he was still a prick. I pocketed my phone and quickly walked to the door. A quick look through the peephole showed that the hallway was empty, so I stepped out into it and made my way to the elevator. I was on the eleventh floor, so there was no way in Hell I was taking the stairs.

When I finally made it outside and stepped onto the sidewalk, I just shook my head. The fall air was cold, but it didn’t bother me. What sucked was the gray, overcast sky that seemed to coat everything in a depressing haze. There were large buildings all around me, but the city felt dead. People walked down the sidewalk like zombies, no emotions or thoughts visible on their faces. The cars, too, seemed to drive slowly and aimlessly down the road no matter where I looked.

I grunted and tried to ignore it all. I couldn’t wait until our job was done and I could leave. With that thought, I realized I didn’t have time to dick around and throw a pity party. I was supposed to meet Styx in twenty minutes, but I’d already wasted eight. It was time to get moving.

I took off at a fast jog down the sidewalk. Some of the zombies shot me pissed off looks, but most of them pretended not to even notice.

I was breathing hard by the time I made it to the park. The damn place had been further than I thought. I glanced at my watch. It didn’t matter; I was still on time.

As I started to look for Styx, the first thing that caught my eyes were the leaves. They were all vibrant shades of orange and red. It was the first color I’d seen in the whole city.

To my left was a small playground with a swing set, a slide, and some monkey bars. To the right were two small, wooden shelters with benches inside of each that people could use for cookouts. Both the playground and the shelters were empty, so I continued forward down the blacktop path that led around the area.

Directly in front of me was the pond Styx had mentioned in his note. Two people were walking their dogs around it and another couple, who couldn’t have been older than fourteen, walked hand in hand around it, too. Gag me. The only other person nearby was a priest with short, red hair who sat on a bench and stared out at the pond.

Where the hell was Styx? I was on time.

Suddenly, it hit me. That son of a bitch. His note didn’t actually say anything about meeting him. What was his game?

I opened my phone back up and stared at his message one more time. What did he want me to do?

Look for me

In 20 minutes at

The park near the

Garbage recycling plant.

By now you should be leaving, idiot. It’s

The one with the

Pond, in case you get lost.

Where will you check?

Trash Can Bench Shelters Playground