Sally’s heart raced as her quickening footsteps echoed off the graffiti covered walls of the pedestrian underpass. She almost fell as she changed direction to avoid discarded condoms and syringes lying on the ground. Sally could hear the heavy sound of footsteps a little way behind and caught a glimpse of a blue jacket with a flash of red as she glanced over her shoulder. And then she was out . . . out of the underpass and into the grey afternoon; but it felt like sunshine after her ordeal. Sally slowed to her normal pace and after catching her breath she said “Thank God” as she entered the High Street. It was full of Saturday shoppers and groups of teenagers milling around. Flustered and still a little panicky Sally said “Excuse me” to an elderly couple on one of the many benches. “Ok if I sit here?”
“Hello dear” the old lady replied, “Of course you can.” She said, putting her bag on her lap and shuffling along the seat.
And then Sally saw him again. There was no mistake. “Oh shite” she said, under her breath as she recognised the blue quilted puffer jacket and red scarf the man two benches down was wearing. She fumbled in her bag and found her mobile “Where’s my purse?” she said “No, where the hell is it.” In quite a state Sally started to text her boyfriend and all the while she discreetly kept looking over at the man as he took the Guardian newspaper from a plastic carrier bag. “Oh my God” Sally muttered to herself when she saw the black patch over his left eye partially covering an angry scar. He adjusted his hat to sit at an angle; it reminded her of how hitmen wore them in prohibition movies. He opened his newspaper and Sally grimaced, argh that’s gross she thought as she saw the deformity where his left hand little finger should have been. She glanced down at her mobile - I'm being followed - send. Sally pulled her coat tight about herself as she clutched her phone in one hand and folded her arms tightly across her chest as the man reached down into his plastic bag; he stood up and started to walk towards……
© Julian Clarke 2017