A Little Night Music
I walked into the virtually empty bar and thick clouds of smoke immediately choked me - A Little Night Music introduction. The room was dark and stuffy and it smelt like the windows hadn’t been opened for years. It took a while for my eyes to adjust to the dim light. At the opposite end of the bar, a lonesome man sat staring at me. I uncomfortably looked around, searching in the dark for the familiar face of my friend.
Realising my friend wasn’t there, I turned and headed towards the door. A low whispery voice came from the opposite end of the bar.
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“Are you looking for someone?” There was something creepy and mysterious about the man- something intimidating that made me nervous.
“Yes, I was looking for my friend. I am meant to be meeting her, but she is late, as usual! I think I will wait outside.”
“Don’t go outside. It can be dangerous on your own. You never know what might creep up behind you and frighten you…………….to death!”
“I think I can fend for myself, but thank you anyway.”
I fled out of the door and almost fell onto the wet, glistening pavement. The orange light of the street lamp was reflected in the puddles, which were dotted across the road. Droplets of rain fell from the heavy, black night skies, and ran down my pale face. I breathed a sigh of relief. I did not like that man one little bit, and instinct told me never to speak to him again.
I reached into my bag and pulled out my umbrella. A car drove past, spraying water from the road onto my feet, and drenching them. As I did up my bag, my purse fell out into a muddy puddle. I bent down to pick it up and noticed something shining in the bushes. It caught my eye and held my gaze. I became mesmerised by the mystical glare. I pushed my hand through the sodden leaves and reached towards the gleaming article. Under my fingers, it was hard and crisp, like a diamond. I pulled at it, but it did not come free in my hands.
What was it that was lurking in the undergrowth? My fingers traced the shape of the thing, and it resembled the structure of a necklace. It was delicately formed with tiny chains linking it all together to create the circular figure. As I felt more, my fingers encountered a soft, smooth, clammy surface, which was wet and cold. The rain was coming down more heavily now, and I was almost blinded by the downpour. I grabbed at the icy surface again and realised what it felt like. I pulled it out of the bush, my heart beating fast. First an arm, then a leg, and then……….
The face was astoundingly familiar. I suddenly stopped in my tracks. My stomach jumped into my mouth. I recognised those pale eyes, those high cheekbones, and those rosy lips. It was my dear friend whom I had arranged to meet.
Her ashen body was covered in scratches and deep plum bruises. Blood had congealed around the wounded areas, and she looked horrific. The clothing she had on was torn around her arms and her stomach. I scanned her body with feelings of disgust, anger, fear and sorrow. The knife that had killed her lay embedded in her side.
I turned and ran back into the smoky bar, forgetting about the man who had scared me previously. I dashed to the pay phone, and had just picked up the receiver when I heard the whispery voice again.
“Is that blood I can see on your hands?”
I hesitated, not knowing how to answer him. I dialled the number of the nearest police station so that I could report her murder.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you. After all, you’re involved now. You are covered in her blood. Your fingerprints are all over her. So, why don’t you put down the phone, and we can have a nice little chat.”
A distant voice answered. “Hello. Grimley police station. How can I help you?”
The creepy man uttered once more. “I told you not to call them.”
I ignored him. It was the most stupid thing I could have done.
“I need to report a murder. I am in the Crooked Chimney Public House just off the High Street, and I need assistance right away. Please, it is a matter of urgency.”
The man threw his glass down onto the table with a massive crash. The remains of his drink splashed over him, soaking his tattered jeans. He forced the small table away from him and made his way towards me. In the darkness, I had not noticed his stature. He was sturdy and thickset, with a pronounced scar on his left cheek. He had small, unattractive eyes and a large hooked nose. His lips were pursed together and his skin was withered and grey. His hair was greasy and scraped back into a small ponytail, and he had stubble on his chin where he had not shaved. His T-shirt was stained and I noticed traces of blood.
His large feet thudded across the dank and dull, alcohol-stained carpet. I retreated a few footsteps, trying not to appear terrified. The telephone receiver fell out of my hand, and hit the wall with a crack. I heard the woman on the other end of the phone speaking, but I could do nothing about it. The man was advancing, and I had to do one thing and one thing only. Escape.
The man’s face was twisted in anger. I did not know why he was so angry with me. I had never even met the man before today. I could see in his eyes that he had killed my friend. He had a shallow look of pain and hurt and revenge, and it seemed he would hurt anyone to make himself feel better.
I felt the brass doorknob behind me and grasped it with my trembling fingers. It twisted slowly in my grip until the heavy wooden door opened. A gust of wind pushed it open, and I edged out of the door. The man slowly edged towards me, his eyes menacing and cruel. As I quickly turned to run out of the door, he grabbed my arm and pulled me back.
“Where do you think you are going?” His voice was angry and brisk. “You are not getting away from me. You are going to take the blame.”
He laughed, and then twisted my arm behind my back. I could not move. I could hardly even breathe. His grip was so tight that it hurt. I could feel his fingers digging harder and harder into my skin. I could hear his heavy breathing right next to my ear. I could smell the alcohol and I could see the blood on his shirt even closer now. It was deep red and very fresh. He threw me up against the wall and kicked me. My legs buckled below me and I fell to the floor in pain. I hit my head on the leg of a nearby table, and I felt my own blood trickling down my cheek. Half unconscious, I felt the blade of a knife cutting through the skin of my legs. I slowly drifted out of consciousness and into a world of helplessness. I could do nothing. The evil man was in control of my body, and I was powerless.
As I regained control of my mental state, I found that I could not move my body at all. Blurry eyed, I scanned the room around me. It was dimly lit and smelt of mould and damp. The ceiling was low and looked as if it was about to collapse. Huge chunks of wallpaper that looked fifty years old were peeling off the walls. I tried to lift up my arms. They were tightly secured with rope, which dug into the skin of my wrists. It was impossible to escape. I was a prisoner.
The man walked into the small room, snarling. The scar on his cheek made him seem eerie and even more unpleasant. He said nothing as he slowly stepped towards me. He advanced like a snake, sliding frighteningly towards me as if moving in on his prey. I couldn’t breathe.
I felt his breath against my face. It smelt even more distinctly of beer. His eyes had an evil glint in them. He showed no emotion; he did not smile and he did not frown. Yet something in his eyes sent fear running through me. The man laughed. Loudly and callously, his malicious laugh filled the dank room and echoed in my ears. I felt so scared.
He drew another small blade from his left pocket and pressed it against my cheek. The metal felt cold and unpleasant. He traced the shape of three sixes on my upper left arm with the point of the knife. Three sixes. The sign of the devil. He lightly ran the tip of the blade across my forehead and down my cheeks. As he ran it down my arm, he started to press harder. At first, he slightly scratched the surface, but then he broke the skin and sliced his way through my arm. It was sheer torture. I could see what he was doing and I could feel the pain. It hurt so much, yet I was unable to move, and unable to stop the agony.
“Why are you doing this to me?” I shouted at the man, blinded by my tears. He carried on as if my voice had just been a breath on the wind. I tried struggling to break free but it did not work. As he lent over me once more, I jerked my knee just hard enough to whack him in his crutch. He winced and squirmed in pain. He dropped the knife just next to my hand. I stretched as hard as I could and managed to pick it up with my fingers. Working quickly, I tried to slice the rope to free my hand.
The rope was thin and brittle, and so the knife cut through reasonably easily. I hurriedly cut the rope around my other hand and around both my legs. I jumped down from the table and tried to escape out of the door. The man grabbed my ankle as I ran, sending me flying across the floor. The impact against the rough carpet knocked the air out of my lungs, leaving me coughing, and gasping for breaths. I tried crawling to the door, but the man stamped on my fingers. I yelled in pain, as my fingers throbbed.
The door was flung open. ” Hands up or I’ll shoot.” An armed police officer stood there, and in her outstretched arm she held a handgun. It was a dull, matte black and had a silver breech. The man grabbed me and pulled me back towards him. He held the knife to my throat.
“Drop the gun or I’ll kill her.”
“Put down your weapon.” Another two policemen ran up behind the women. They were both heavily built with muscular arms and massive feet. Both carried guns similar to the woman.