The gap was a strange anomaly.
You can only see it at night, when the streetlamps come on, and even then, you can only see it from a few square meters almost half a kilometre away.
To understand this, you need to understand the layout of this part of town.
The most important factor was that no one had had any forethought when designing the town which resulted in the airport smack in the middle of a fairly residential area with only the main highway through the city separating them. Along both sides of the highway, the road was lit by the typical bright orange street lamps.
If you drove along the highway, nothing would look out of the ordinary. The road stayed underneath you, straight and flat. The lamps shone above you. Reality was solid and, well, real.
If, however, you were within a particular few square meters in a mechanics workshop on the far side of the airport, then roughly 100 meters of the highway just disappeared.
Detective Dan McAndrews stood outside the mechanics gate and waited for them to open for the day. He paced across the driveway sipping his already too cold coffee, wondering whether or not having a smoke now would still smell up his clothes by the time he got home.
“Detective?” one of the officers with him called. “They're here.”
McAndrews turned and saw the company branded car drive up and park across the road from him. He shelved the smoke idea and downed the rest of the coffee before walking over to the vehicle. “Gerard Boles?” he asked the driver.
“Yeah, what’s up?”
“I’m Detective McAndrews. We’re investigating a disappearance in the gap.”
“This bullshit again,” Boles muttered under his breath.
“What was that Mr Boles?”
“Nothing, Detective. I've told your people before that whatever that gap is, it has nothing to do with us.”
“And yet anytime anyone calls something weird in, we end up at the gap and then here.”
“Stupid weird bullshit. We’re selling this place. We’ve lost so much work because of this.”
“Has anything unusual happened here over the last 24 hours?” the Detective continued, ignoring the mechanics comment.
“Nope,” Boles said, standing right in the middle of the gap space, which had been marked off in bright orange paint on the ground. He stared directly into where the gap was, not that anything looked different at this time of day.
“Mr Boles, this is a serious situation, I need your cooperation.”
“And you have it, Detective. I don't know anything. If I could, I would dig this patch of ground up and dump it somewhere else and be rid of this.”
“I understand. Please call me if anything weird does happen.”
“I'm sure I will.”
Jeremy sat against the streetlamp and puffed on his smoke. He was facing down the highway to where everyone knew the gap was. He checked his watch and tilted his head up to see the orange light above blink on. He stood up and walked along the side of the highway, looking for something that would give him a clue as to what the gap was. He glanced over the airport in the mechanics direction. The streetlamp outside the workshop was a dim white and flickered slightly. Other than that, the rest of the street was out of sight. He frowned. He should be able to see Jade standing there with a camera. He pulled out his phone and dialled her. Before it rung even once, it disconnected.
Out of service area, it said. “Fuck you,” he said to it and put it back in his pocket. He walked back to his car and drove around the airport and pulled up next to Jade, who was standing in the streetlight with the camera out as they had arranged.
“What’s up?” she asked.
“How long have you been here?”
“Twenty or so. I got here while you were smoking, waiting for the light to come on. Why?”
“Couldn't see you from the gap.”
“You sure you were looking at the right light?”
“Yeah, the white, flickery one,” he said pointing up at the solid orange lamp above their heads. “Oh,” he said. “Well, that might explain some of it.”
McAndrews sat back in his chair and stared at the phone which he had just hung up. A long string of swears erupted from his mouth and he smashed both his fists onto the desk.
“Are you OK?” one of the other cops asked from just outside his door.
“Fine. Stupid gap bullshit,” he paused, obviously making up his mind about something. “Get the damn car. We’re going to the mechanics.”
The two cops drove the 20 minutes from the station to the mechanics in absolute silence. When they arrived, a little after 7.30, they found two young people sitting on the outside of the gap space talking quietly to each other. McAndrews got out and slammed the door. He pulled out a cigarette and stalked over to the couple. “Well?” he asked before either could say anything.
“The gap isn't what we thought.”
“What did we think it was?” the other cop asked but any answer was waved away by McAndrews.
“Just tell us what happened,” the detective said, taking another drag on his smoke, calming slightly.
“I was over there, in the gap, looking over here towards the workshop. Jade was here with a camera recording me. From her end, everything went as we expected: I walked into the gap and she lost sight of me and the camera recorded nothing. But from my side, when I was in the gap and I looked back here, everything was different. The streetlamps were white and flickery and none of the building lights or airport lights were on. I don't even know if there was anything between the gap and here. It just seemed black.”
“Well, we know the airport isn't affected by the gap, so I don't think that holds up.”
“Not in general, no, but what if there's something connecting these two spots, the gap and this square here, that just cuts across the airport at night?”
“Are you saying you figured out what the gap is?”
“He thinks it’s a gate,” the cop said.
“And it’s open,” Jeremy said with a grin.