The police station car park was almost empty when he arrived. He couldn't remember seeing so few cars there; even the pandas were mostly out on patrol. Probably all parked up at Maisies, the twenty-four hour diner just off the M4 roundabout. It had been a regular haunt of the night-shift boys ever since it opened twenty years ago. Day shift had more venues to choose from and in a shift from the tradition of policing several officers had begun patronising the noodle bar on Ashgate, west of the market.
He parked up and tapped the security code into the door keypad. The staff entrance (as opposed to the arresting officer's entrance, which contained multiple gates, a booking office and direct access to the cells) was an unadorned corridor leading to the squad and locker rooms and was overlooked by control and dispatch. There were only two officers in there at this time of night.
He trooped down the corridor to the desk sergeant, imagining a running commentary in the style of a film-noir. “He didn't know what was coming, only that it involved a man who had come back from the dead after twenty years, and a dame who'd filed a missing persons report twenty years ago.”