Sunday, 6 January 2013

SILHOUETTES - Sixteenth instalment

SILHOUETTES - Sixteenth instalment - Chapter thirty-two. For more information on this novel, click Here.


The girl's leg was a mess, he had untied her and tried to tend to the broken limb, but the pain was too much and she had passed out. She was breathing steady though, so he thought it best to leave her. He had to think what to do. Shamus was dead, no getting away from that fact. The girl needed attention, no doubt about that also. But he was wanted by the police so he couldn't afford to get involved in this. He meticulously went over the house, rubbing away at any surface he thought he may have touched. He washed the bat and dried it till free of blood and brain matter. No need to panic, as long as he took his time and thought everything through. Probably no one who saw him arrive would recognize who he was as he was capped and hooded. He would leave shortly the same way. When a safe distance he would phone an ambulance for the girl, the ambulance people could call the police. Nothing was too bad yet, no need for panic.

A quick search and he found a pile of bank notes in a roll under a loose floorboard, a handy couple of hundred pounds, he estimated. He pocketed this. He also found an envelope full of photos of pornographic images of children, he put the envelope back where it was and left the floorboard uncovered to save the police too much trouble finding the stash. He had a notion they wouldn't bother with an intensive investigation knowing the victim was a paedophile. After another quick look around the house, he opened the front door a peep, glanced out, and seeing no one in the street or glancing out of a window, he quickly darted to the road leaving the front door ajar. Once there he turned, head down, and strode fast and purposely to the end of the street, kept the same pace till he was around half a mile from the house of Shamus, the House of Shame.

He crossed over when he spied a public phone box, dialled the emergency number, asked for an ambulance, and gave the address, he gave his name as a concerned citizen and put the phone down. The number would be traced of course, but he wiped the phone free of prints, and started down the street again at a pace. No CCTV he noted as he sped along. Soon he was down by the river, near where the attack of the dog belonging to the old man occurred. He hoped the old bastard was as dead as Shamus. He pulled the bat from his jacket where he had it hidden, and launched it into the river. He knew it would float, but where to, didn't matter, for any trace of him would be gone, and if not, the water would wash it clean away.

There was no need to panic, he kept saying to himself, life goes on, a mantra, he knew, but it worked all the same, if he didn't panic he could cope, if he could cope he could work, and he had some catching up to do with his work. The alien had escaped detection and was on the loose. He would go home, rest for a few hours, then get back on track. He could pick up the trail when his target left for work in the morning and take it from there. Everything else could be worked out in the background, there was nothing too disturbing really, the mugging would be forgotten about, other more serious crimes would come to light, the death of his uncle for one, and the spotlight would no longer be on a grimy poor resolution image of himself. It would all work out alright. He would get guidance. Shamus was a bad idea, he hated having to think what to do, and look at the result when he did so.

It was after one a.m. now, the streets were empty, and he suddenly felt brittle, vulnerable. Occasionally a car passed by, usually a night cab or a delivery van or a late night commuter. He kept his head down and sauntered along, too much had happened already in the last twelve hours for him to have to contend with anything else. At last he turned into his own street. He stopped. Along the street, two-hundred metres or so, just adjacent to his front door, was a police car. The interior light was illuminated and there were two police officers in the front seat. He shrunk back into a patch of shadow between streetlights, a hedged garden fence behind him, and watched for a few minutes. They seemed to be waiting for him. But how could that be? His heart began racing, and palpitating, he could feel it struggle within him, he began to hyper-ventilate, a panic attack was imminent, his pills were at home, he hunkered down at the side of the street, as far in shadow as he could get and struggled to breathe, trying to force himself not to panic, no need to panic, everything was alright, no need to panic. Then a weight was lifted. The interior light went out, the engine started, and the police car drove off down the street. Why were they there? Were they even there for any reason to do with him? They were gone, that's all that mattered. He got to his feet, glanced up and down the street, no one, no vehicles, not even a cat loomed about. He got to his own gate, entered his own front door, and locked it behind him. His relief was palpable. Until he saw the note.

He lifted the piece of card and folded it and placed it in his pocket. Nothing to do with him until he had sorted out everything else. He carefully checked the flat to ensure he had had no internal visitors, checked on the room containing Suzi, and when he was sure nothing was other than when he had left the last time, he found his tablets, swallowed a couple of the Chlorpromazine then made himself a strong cup of coffee. He would be awake for the night he now knew, there was too much to think through and get done before the morning. He couldn't risk not thinking everything through for that way led to panic, and he could not risk that, especially when there was no need. He had no guidance, he would have to cope.

Three cups of coffee later, the pills had worked and the caffeine had him fully awake and aware, he decided he could face the note in his pocket. It was a small A5 card, emblazoned with Strathclyde Police and their logo across the top, a few sentences with some tick boxes next to them, and a few dotted lines for writing underneath. The ticked box was next to the sentence, 'Could you please contact the Officer below as a matter of urgency as you may be of assistance.' No more than that.

The officer below was a Detective Sergeant Adrian Hartless, CID, and his phone number was illegibly scrawled under his name.

No need to panic, thought Simon, he may be able to talk his way out of this yet. Obviously someone had seen the news report, spotted it was him in the CCTV footage, and contacted the police. A fucking nosy neighbour perhaps. It didn't matter, but he wouldn't get peace until he got in touch with this Detective Sergeant, and as he didn't want them back at his door he would have to be the one to get in touch with them, and as soon as possible.

He had all this to think about, plus he had sex on the brain as well. Ever since he had thought Shamus had Julie in the room, her body came to his vision every second minute it seemed. She was a poor sod, not quite junkie, but had definite drug and alcohol related problems, one kid at home, one in care, and she had to rely on sick bastards like Shamus to get by. Whether it because she was his first, or because she opened up to him about her life, probably because he was so young, he didn't know. He never had real friends, not at school, and not in the neighbourhood, other kids seemed to be wary of him though he gave them no cause, and the few attempts he had made at making friends had usually backfired to his detriment and despair. So, just as Julie opened up to him, he would sometimes open up to her, though nothing too weird, nothing to frighten her. He supposed they had become friends even though she was only there for his indulgence in a sexual act at his uncle's expense. Still, he wondered sometimes, if he ever met her in the street, would they perhaps chat and go for a coffee and socialise outwith the constraints of a financial transaction?

He went through to the room where Suzi was laid out, but the smell had returned and was actually making him gag. He looked at Suzi. Her eyes were closed, but he could sense she was watching him all the same. She smelled disgusting now, and he couldn't compel himself to get the cleaning and embalming stuff out again and fix her up. Everything was going wrong.

'There hath he lain for ages, and will lie,'
he understood was Tennyson telling him to stay where he was until he was sixteen. Once he had attained that age, he could then go out into the world and make his mark. And this is exactly what he had done. Tennyson had been kind of lackadaisical though on his visits of late. Just when you needed him most was when he was least likely to appear. That was precisely why he had gone to Shamus to seek advice, and now look what happened. He had to think for himself, but he could not afford to think for himself. It was a conundrum that had followed him throughout life.

He went through to the living room and turned on the news channel. The local news was updated every hour, so he could at least appraise himself of exactly how deep in the shit he was. It was perhaps too early for news on Shamus and the kid, but he should get an update on the Suzi Tonner disappearance and maybe even the status of the old man, though by now that may be classified as old news, providing of course the old bastard hadn't snuffed it.

It was five in the morning when he woke up. He was on the floor against the wall. Tennyson was pacing about the room, occasionally looking over at him, but saying nothing. At moments he shook a pointed finger at him as if he was going to utter a warning, or berate him about something, but then resumed the pacing. The TV was still on and a newscaster was speaking about something he couldn't quite make out, oil prices in the middle-east, a video of Arabs rioting in some city square. Tennyson had turned down the volume. He alternated pawing at his beard, and pointing a finger, while he paced. Simon could sense his disappointment, he watched silently, afraid to open his mouth. Every other problem he had at that moment was put to the background, he had upset Tennyson, somehow.

The volume of the TV increased a little, the announcer was speaking in a halting tone, a rhythmic and almost melodic baritone began.

'The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
 About his shadowy sides; above him swell.'

At this stage in time Tennyson was again pointing at him, and waggling his finger in time to the metre of the verse. There was wrath in his stance, he physically shook with a rage, his eyes were bright and piercing, but they were also cold.

'Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
 Then once by man and angels to be seen.'

The television went dead at this point. So did the lamp in the corner illuminating the room. Silence, sudden and stark, and dark, but for some filtered light coming through the curtains from the dawning light. Nothing, except the wagging finger, and then, as though a spectre that was slowly fading, it dispersed into nothing, along with the arm and then the body, and the full ghostly figure of Tennyson, until the whole aspect of the man was gone, faded into nothing. Simon understood now though, as he stared wide-eyed into empty space. He was the Kraken, and he had been lazy. And he had also forgotten to top up the electricity meter.

Next instalment coming soon...
To read this novel from the start go here.

Copyright © Stevie Mach 2013 All rights reserved

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