06 February 2008

a new life - part 7

Day after day he returned to the gardens on Victoria Embankment. He knew if he left before midday there was little danger of an accidental encounter with his former work colleagues piling across to escape the office for an hour. He stared at today's early scattering of people on the benches. He shook his head in exasperation at the sheer lack of normal human responsibilities. Sweet wrappers blew across the grass, cigarette ends were flicked onto the flowerbeds. He closed his eyes and squeezed them tightly shut.

Within seconds he was sleeping fitfully… jerking and grunting as he dreamed. He was back in mid-summer waiting for dark to fall…
“You can do this Frank,” his wife’s voice insisted. “Come on, we’ve been over it again and again.” Jane had always been an insistent woman.

And it had been impossibly easy. He had worked in the damned bank for years and he knew the layout blindfold. For one heart-stopping second the newly ground door key stuck a little but the front door gave softly and he was in. He padded to the alarm console and tapped the code. The code was changed once a month. The red light turned green and began blinking. Within ten seconds he had trotted nimbly downstairs in the blanket of darkness and was standing by the cash safe.

He thrust his two keys into their slots on the safe door and heard the reassuring clunk, clunk as he turned them.

Now he span the wheel, listening to the huge bolts withdraw then pulled on the door’s massive weight. It swung slowly but easily and admitted him into the soft warm darkness within. Once inside Francis pulled a torch from his pocket and snapped on the yellow beam.

“Jackpot,” he breathed almost inaudibly. The shelves were stacked with neat blocks of notes ready, he knew, for collection tomorrow. He pulled a canvas bag from inside his jacket and shook it out. From inside that he pulled another and began filling them both carefully and systematically. In under three minutes he had cleared £240,000 from the shelves in twenties and fifties. It took up much less room than even his experience had estimated. His packing was neat and faultless.

Francis closed the safe door, locked it and hauled the two bags upstairs to the front door. They were heavy but not excessively so. Standing unceremoniously on a table in the banking hall he could see over the frosted glass and onto a rain-swept street beyond. Rain, thank heaven for sweet summer rain…

... now in the park, a late autumn drizzle fell soft and cold. It had already soaked through his shirt. He awoke as it began to rain harder. It was early afternoon and the office workers had come and gone. Had they seen him? Francis found himself not really caring.

“I think I might be rich!” He said aloud to the empty benches. He rubbed his new goatee and walked through the park to take shelter under mighty beech trees. Below the vivid red and brown canopy he pondered his recurring dreams of the three keys, the stack of money and the gunshot. He couldn’t deny they were genuine memories. The snooping detective smelled a rat and St Agnes’ Home wasn’t a safe haven any more.


cocaine jesus said...

splinters of information, shards of memory. all spilling out an forming such an amazing thriller. truly enthralled by this web you are weaving.

gunshot? what gunshot? surely not murder as well as theft.

"I needed money 'cause I had none
I fought the law and the law won
I left my baby and it feels so bad
Guess my race is run
She's the best girl that I ever had
I fought the law and the law won"

fathorse said...


don't stop now!

Keep it comin' PV......

Michelle Dawn said...

Oh, if you're Frank am I Jane? Can we play Bonnie and Clyde?

Maybe I'm not Jane. I don't think of myself as insistent. I'm being egocentric. I want to be in your story.

It's still a great story. Even if I'm not in it!


fathorse said...

I want to be in it too. I'll be the incredibly sexy tramp that finds frank sleeping on a bench when he escapes from the mentalist home and takes him deep underground to the Kingdom of the Tramps...

But it's not that kind of story. Keep the idea though, PV. I believe it's a winner :)

Perfect Virgo said...

MD - you'll be in the next one babe, promise.

FH - an intriguing twist to the plot! Are you sure you aren't just after his money?

Perfect Virgo said...

CJ - very glad you're enjoying this and the slightly fractured style I chose to use. I am hoping this gives what will be seen in the end to be a fairly simple story an air of mystery as it's revealed from different angles, bit by bit.
PS: I love the Clash cover.

MD - you'll be in the next one babe, promise.

FH - an intriguing twist to the plot! Are you sure you aren't just after his money? #;-)

boulies said...

Wow! What a memory he's stumbled onto! Really great scenario you've set up here. I knew someone once with amnesia from a motorcycle accident. He was a totally different person when he lost his memory. And not in a good way either. He actually became sinister and criminal minded. Amnesia is a strange thing and a very interesting subject to investigate as you have done here. Anxiously waiting to see what unfolds next. A captivating tale!

Queen Neetee said...

Very well written!!

The volley that takes place in Francis's mind between memory and present life is weighed out with exactness by the devious latent hands of that madman.

I'll be here - excitedly - to continue to see what happens!

Perfect Virgo said...

Boulies - thanks for sharing that real life story with me. If I have managed an accuarate portrayal of the effect amnesia can have then I am delighted.

Neetee - Francis is a devious rascal now that we are beginning to see his true colours. His memory loss was real enough but he seems to be using it now as a convenient cloak for his wicked activities.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.