Author: Mark Renney
Tanner had always managed to navigate his way through life unnoticed. He became acutely aware of this when he first began his work as an Eraser. Ordinary looking and extremely reserved, even as a young man Tanner realised that this did not fully account for the uncanny ability he had for melting into the background, for making himself all but invisible.
There was something inside of him, an innate skill, a gift even, albeit one he hadn’t asked for and wasn’t sure that he wanted. He realised also that, given the line of work he had chosen, if he were to hone his skill and nurture this gift it could be very useful.
It seemed apt to Tanner that he, whose job was the disappearing of others, could move around unnoticed, was an invisible man as it were. But whenever Tanner glanced in a mirror nowadays he was shocked by what he saw. He was a little man, short and hunched, the pallor of his skin matching the grey clothes he always wore. His thinning hair was white and his face was deeply creased and lined. He was a ghoul, his was a face that featured in nightmares, that appeared toward the end, just before dawn.
When tracking a suspect Tanner was always diligent; recording everything, scrawling it in a little notebook, all he observed and managed to overhear, no matter how mundane or insignificant it might seem. He believed the details mattered, that they were important, a part of it.
Alone in his apartment, Tanner transcribed from his notebooks, painstakingly filling journal after journal with these details. Over the years he had come to realise that a radical’s routine wasn’t so very different from his own, yet he still persevered, determined not to miss out anything, however trivial.
He always included the date and the time. Time, he felt, was crucial. The time in between, the time spent at a place of employment for instance or visiting a friend. Or simply sitting and reading a newspaper, whether it be on a park bench or in a busy cafeteria. He even made a note of what his suspects ate and, of course, where and when.
Tanner hadn’t ever witnessed one of them stepping guiltily out into the light. Caught anyone in the act, as it were, but all had been found guilty. They had been enemies of the system but Tanner hadn’t yet destroyed their journals and the minutia listed and labelled within was all that remained.