Chapter 7

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We enter a long corridor which has a much more modern feel to it than the stone courtyard

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We enter a long corridor which has a much more modern feel to it than the stone courtyard.

It employs the same colour scheme as the office: white floor, with jet black swirls stencilled onto the walls. It is dimly lit by faux candle lamps, and doors line the hallway.

Cal heads to the one right at the end - his footsteps echoing against the linoleum. I walk behind him and we enter the room.

I blink a couple of times as my eyes adjust to their surroundings.

We're in a huge, dark space. Artificial beams of light funnel through the darkness causing faded pools of white to collect on the black floor tiles. A vast screen takes up almost the entirety of the opposite wall, surrounded by hundreds of smaller monitors. On each one I can see a variety of different people going about their daily business; having coffee at an espresso bar, eating an ice-cream in the park, queuing at the till in Walmart, and some even sleeping in their beds.

The whole place smells like warm electricity.

Cal walks over to some kind of black control desk in the centre of the room.

It is standing height, and on it I can see a joystick, a keyboard, and a range of red and amber buttons. He clicks something and the screens fade into darkness.

"What is this place?" I say awefully "Who are all these people? Do they know you're watching them? You're a dating service not the freaking CIA."

Cal doesn't look at me. He types something into the keyboard and a serial number appears in the middle of the central screen.

"Is that so?" he replies lazily

I frown and approach the desk behind him.

"You haven't answered my question."

I see his eyebrows furrow as he stares straight ahead at the screen.

"We're not a dating service. We're cupids. How many times must I tell you?"

He looks down at me, his eyes blazing silver in the darkness.

"I'm not supposed to be telling you any of this," he continues, clearly annoyed "But as you persist - monitoring our clients is often necessary when setting up a match. We use some very advanced statistical algorithms to ensure our clients end up in the right place, at the right time. But unfortunately statistics can not always predict human behaviour. Manual interference is sometimes required."

I roll my eyes. I have no idea what he is talking about.

"Now," he says, looking at the screen once more "I'm about to show you something a little shocking. Something that you may not be prepared to see. But I have little choice."

He clicks enter on the keyboard and a scene begins to materialise in black and white on the largest monitor. He clicks another button; the screen zooms in on a person in the crowd.

I inhale sharply and feel a sudden jolt in my heart. My skin feels hot and cold as a mixture of feelings battle inside me.

Bright eyes, dimpled cheeks, halfway through a laugh; I'd recognise that face anywhere.

It's my mother.

But how can it be?

My mother died three years ago.

My mother died three years ago

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