I sat in the corner of the dark room. The battery from my torch had died almost two hours ago and my phone wasn’t far behind.

The chair I had picked faced the door and was near enough to the window that the little light there was left outside crept in though the room was still left too dark to see much or do anything. Every move I made released the scent of chip-pan grease and old body odour from the fabric of the seat. It was the cleanest in the room.

Occasionally, the front door would bang off its frame, broken for where I had forced entry earlier in the evening. The wind now playing erratically with its flimsy boards.

I knew from my earlier torchlit search that this was a little one bedroom apartment. The mail piled up behind the door, that I had almost fallen into the after I had kicked it open, confirmed that it was indeed the house we were looking for.

The power appeared to have been off for about one week. I had found one of the pre-pay meters in the hall cupboard and even the emergency credit had been used.

There was piles of clothing spread about the house, interspaced with dirty plates, old take-away tureens and empty bottle s of ginger and cider.

The kitchen cupboards held a sparse collection of supernoodles and pasta and the fridge was empty but for a now green and fuzzy half bottle of milk and on open can of what used to be beans.

She definitely wasn’t here. And appeared not to have been for the week suggested at. The earlier talk with the neighbours had alluded to this also but considering she was a high risk missing person we had to be sure.

I had found a few scribbled phone numbers and an address in Edinburgh which officers in that division where checking but I was stuck here in this damp, sharply smelling apartment until the council joiner could attend and make the place secure again.

I radioed Control for any possible update, the soft glow of the active radio throwing a little yellowish light over the room, only to be told that no ETA had been given but that we were the fifth job on the list.

Another half hour and there should, hopefully, be someone along to give me a break. That is as long as nothing else was to happen tonight top drag them away.

The earlier excitement of crashing my first door had definitely left me cold and alone in the dark.

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