By Sarah-Clare Conlon
Location: Oldham Street
She looked at the sheet of paper again. The first time, she’d merely glanced; now she stared, scared. ‘Missing,’ it said, along with a description of the lost item and a number to call and report any details regarding its whereabouts. There was no picture, just words, in heavy black type. Arial. The ‘Missing’ was bigger than the rest, to make you look, make you stare. She was staring.
The flyers had appeared overnight, suddenly fluttering their whiteness in the breeze of dawn, as abrupt as mayflies or snowdrops, changing the landscape in a fingerclick so she awoke to a whole new place. They were everywhere: sticky-taped to bus stops, cable-tied to posts and poles, drawing-pinned to trees, Blu-Tacked to the insides of early opening newsagents’ windows, scrunched-up in bicycle baskets. Some were clamped under the windscreen wipers of those cars that had not yet been moved, others shoved into the clasp of letterboxes. The one she was studying was glued to a graffitied rollershutter.
She retrieved her phone from a back pocket and jabbed at the Contacts icon. She tapped on the screen, waited a couple of seconds then entered the digits into the memory, saving them as ‘Missing’. The notice had stirred something deep within her, jogged a memory, rung a bell. She felt she had seen the thing that was gone and perhaps if she looked carefully enough, she would see it again. She vowed to keep an eye out, keep an eye on the pavements as she wandered. Perhaps she would find it lolling in a dirty doorhole or imprisoned in one of those weird whirlpools of sticky leaf clumps and chip papers and cat hair and discarded ideas and broken promises.
She took one last glimpse at the sign before running away, back up the street the way she’d come.
‘Missing. Reward offered. Please call 07276 059439 with any information. Last seen in or around the Northern Quarter on Wednesday night. Missing: my sanity.’
Sarah-Clare Conlon is an editor, writer and press officer based in Chorlton. When not telling tales of death and destruction, she can be heard swearing on bikes and boats. http://wordsandfixtures.blogspot.com/Stats: