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The Women

Die Last

“Let’s open it up,” I shouted, ducking under the perimeter tape.

A fireman from the station on Shaftesbury Avenue fell into step beside me. He grinned at me, bleary with exhaustion and I guessed he must have been kept on after pulling the graveyard shift. Over one shoulder he carried bright red bolt cutters, four feet long, and as we reached the lorry, he swung them down and set the steel jaws against the rust-dappled lock that secured the back door.

He looked at me, nodded briefly, and put his back into it.

The cheap lock crumbled at first bite.

We both grabbed one door and pulled it open.

I stared into the darkness and the cold hit me first. The temperature in the street was in the low single digits. But in the back of that lorry, it was somewhere below freezing.

I climbed inside just as my eyes cleared.

And that is when I saw the women.