Make him leave

“Look,” you say. “You can’t stay here. You know you’re not allowed in here in the first place. Isn’t there some sort of hostel you usually stay in on nights like this?”

“I don’t like it there. S’noisy, and they take my things.” He burrows back into his bags, settling back down again, but you can’t let him stay. It’s your job at risk, and both of you know it, even if he’s not capable of rationalising that at the moment. You shine the torch back in his face, and he twists away like you’ve just hit him.

You feel terrible, and you don’t like him for manipulating you in this way. “Get your things together and get out.” He’ll leave if you’re firm, Metcalf had said, and this is you being firm. “You simply can’t stay here.” You’re not going to beg or plead – you have the authority to ask him to go, and the expectation of him going. And he has somewhere to go, rather than here.

You keep the torch beam in his face, and he eventually relents. He gathers up his sheets of plastic and the few blankets he has, together with a couple of bags. One clinks and rattles as he picks it up: it’s either the empties, or the ones he’s saving for later. He grumbles all the time, but you stand and wait, and eventually he’s ready.

He moves at a shuffle towards the roller doors. You don’t quite know how to operate them, but suppose it can’t be that difficult. You walk behind him, and shine your light ahead of him. There’s a box on a pole next to the exit: it works on a key card, and you remember that you have one of the those on the bunch of keys. You slot it into place, press the button, and the door slowly clacks and clatters upwards.

The wind instantly steals in, carrying with it a heavy wash of rain. You feel awful as you watch Davy bow his head and struggle to make headway into the gale. Eventually he clears the doors, and you press the button to close them. They grind downwards, and gasp as they come to a halt, still leaving a gap at the bottom. If Davy can come and go as he pleases, you’re pretty sure anyone can.

So now you’re in a building that you’re supposed to keep secure, that you know isn’t. Metcalf will need to know about this first thing in the morning. There’s a lock on the bottom door, though, and after a few minutes with the keys, you find the right one, and turn it once you’re through.

If you’ve checked the rest of the building, it’s time for some coffee. And probably a biscuit.

If not, then you probably need to do that first.