For a moment Jo hesitated, she had only caught a glimpse of the man, she could not be sure he was in fact the killer from
The weather was beating down on her, the rain and wind plastering her hair to her face so she was continuously forced to release her right hand from its clasp on her neck to push errant locks of hair out or her field of vision. Each time she did so the neck of her jacket blew open, pouring another torrent of freezing water to soak her skin. Her left hand clasped her mobile phone inside her pocket, every few steps she started to withdraw the phone with the intention of calling the police, but she always thrust it back. Without proof what would she say? “I can see a man who looks somewhat like someone I saw murder a woman in
The conversation ran through her head, she could imagine the person on the other end of the phone humouring her, patiently agreeing while in reality bemoaning another crackpot call.
Better she felt to check she was correct. Unlike herself the man appeared utterly composed, the inclement weather having no affect on his bearing or his path. He strode confidently, his umbrella held high and looking every inch distinguished gentlemen in a pale linen suit.
Jo stumbled after him, the wind catching her off balance before she recovered herself and started up the street. At the junction he briefly glanced both ways before crossing 20 metres in from of her. She quickened her step, reaching the junction and stepping out only to hear a squealing of brakes and a black shape slide past just as she threw herself backwards in terror, her phone slipping from her hand to clatter on the floor..
A horn sounded and a wave was thrown up, splashing mud and water to douse any dry inch of skin she may have had left. The black cab that had so narrowly avoided her sped past, the driver shaking his fist in the rear view mirror. Jo stood there shaking, her already unsteady nerves shattered, her mind screaming at her not to pursue this folly. She reached down to pick up her phone, finding it in three pieces, the Phone itself, now sporting a cracked screen, and the battery she lifted and placed in her pocket, the battery cover itself had bounced away. She stood for a moment, looking around her, finally spotting the cover in the street a second before a second black cab crushed it beneath its wheel.
“Shit!” Looking up Jo realised she had lost track of the man, quickly she crossed the street and lifting her hand to protect her eyes from the rain she stood on her toes, trying to see which way he had gone. The rain however, aided by the mad few shoppers braving the weather, frustrated her. She swore again before starting to jog in the same direction she was facing up
Slowing down she started to match his pace, to her surprise he walked straight past the entrance to the museum, continuing a further distance to turn right into Bury place. This street she knew well, several pubs and a variety of shops selling both faux antiques in an effort to part tourists from their money. In amongst these however were a few genuine dealers, and it was into one of these that the man strode. Jo continued walking, striding past the entrance to look through the dirty sheet window.
This shop appeared to specialise in coins and stamps, its window display consisting of shelves displaying a wide variety of both. A handwritten sign taped to the window stated “We buy your unwanted gold.” Through the grime Jo could see the man shaking off his umbrella and speaking to the surly man who sat behind a counter before her steps carried her past.
Swiftly she crossed the road, choosing the first pub she could see and stepped inside. By now the cold was intense, with the dull grey of the brooding clouds starting to fade into darkness. Shivering Jo ordered a coffee at the bar and moved over to find a seat near the window where she could see across the road. Pulling off her jacket she rubbed her arms and legs, trying to regain some of the circulation and warmth which was slow in coming. A few sips of the piping hot coffee and she started to feel more in control, removing her phone and battery from her pocket she assembled it tried to power it on. The face of the phone lit up for a moment, before fading back into dull green and Jo swore, she removed the sim card, placed it in her jeans pocket and dropped the phone onto the table.
The doorway across the street remained closed, occasionally Jo could see movement through the window, but no one entered or left in the 20 minutes it took to drink her coffee. Debating with herself as to her intentions Jo ordered another coffee, passing coins across to the barman and carrying it back to her table. The lights in the coin shop were extinguished and a glance at her watch told Jo that it was gone 6 pm, but still no one entered or exited the building.
She reached for her phone, debating whether to discard it or not, before leaving it where it sat and pulled on her coat. Crossing the street she peered in through the window, noting the darkness inside. It was only when she noticed the security shutters on the windows we still raised and the coins still on display that she realised something was strange. Curiously she walked over to the door and pulled on it, she was not surprised that it was unlocked and opened silently.
Taking a deep breath, and berating herself for stupidity Jo stepped into the dark shop. For an instant the rain and wind followed her in, with a gust slamming the door closed, the noise bringing a small scream to her lips that she struggled to stifle. Freezing she stood silently, breathing deeply and trying to listen above the sound of her frantic heart. For a long moment only the sound of the rain and wind could be heard and Jo moved into the store, the streetlamps shining through the window providing scant illumination. The store itself was very small, a cluttered room piled high with boxes and shelves, with a doorway behind the counter being the only other exit.
With her heart hammering, Jo approached the door and leaning forward placed her ear against it. For long moments she heard nothing, taking a deep breath she pushed it open a crack. It was silent and dark in the room beyond, and pushed the door open another foot before the door was halted by something soft. She slid herself into the gap and found herself tripping over something beneath her feet. Behind the wind and rain increase in pitch as someone opened the front door.