Author : Morrow Brady

Through my VR glasses, I opened the file and a 3D computer model of an office tower loomed before me. This century old relic, designed by a long dead Architect, was my job for today.

I worked my way down the building, systematically walking through each floor. Each 3D building element was interrogated and its information informed the recycling schedule of the drone demolition crew. By late morning, I had reached the concrete jungle of the underground car park. 

At sub-level three, I approached three store rooms located near the lift core. Their steel doors were added to the work list of the drone crew responsible for reclaiming metal for recycling. I entered the third store room. It was sparse, except for electrical fittings and timber veneer shelving. Piecing through the specifications of each 3D object, I noticed a data discrepancy in a wall mounted light fitting. Under its warranty, where a time period was supposed to be, was a web-link. I frowned and clicked the web-link.

“Enter Light Fitting Identification Number ___” Said the simple text on display.

I puzzled at the odd workflow but switched back to the model and copied the light fitting’s number into the web page.

“Set light mounting height to 1500mm” Displayed the new text.

I cursed the convoluted processes of the dead Architect, then switched back to the model and selected the light. The computer model listed the mounting height at 1800mm. My OCD for closure, drove me to change the light fitting’s mounting height in the 3D model to 1500mm and to my delight, a fourth hidden room faded into the plan view of the model. Intrigued, I looked for a door in but found none. So I switched to god-mode to walk directly through the wall into the room.

“Limit of Model Boundary. Access Denied” Said the error message.

Frustrated, I removed my VR glasses and went for an early lunch. From the street-side café, I gazed across the park where my eyes settling on a tall tree. A concentration of bare winter branches revealed an empty bird nest. I had looked at that leafy tree all summer, but it wasn’t until autumn that it revealed its secret.

That was when a thought emerged.

I put on the VR glasses and linked to the control system of the tower’s onsite demolition unit that had been delivered a week before. I watched through the on-board camera of a survey drone, as it cleared its docking niche. A decayed tower of stained concrete and broken windows loomed before me.

As the drone descended down the abandoned lift-shift, rusted doors rose from darkness. It emerged onto the third sub-level. Inside the store rooms were crammed with old furniture and the walls stained from water damage and graffiti. The timber laminate on the shelving had peeled away long ago.

In the third store room, the light fitting waited impatiently. I manoeuvred the drone’s manipulator arm and yanked the light downward. It hinged toward the floor and an audible clunk sounded. The entire wall cracked and swivelled about its centre, sweeping blackened dust and debris in its path. Slowly, I orbited the drone around the wall and entered a room that lay silent for over a century.

It was empty.

Spinning the drone slowly, the far wall rotated into view. I trembled as I began to read the scribble of a long dead Architect.

“725, 5TH AVENUE – 2 OF 7”

And that is how my journey started.