03 March 2008

a new life - part 12


“You’re okay son, “ the impossibly young paramedic grinned at him. “The bus came off worse, you should see it!”

“You were running out of Waterloo Station as if you had the devil on your tail,” said his even younger partner as she shone a pencil beam in his eye.

“… at least I got rid of the gun, didn’t I?” Francis muttered. He felt sick. Had he just woken from a very real nightmare? There were details he could remember easily, like the gun and the 3 shiny keys. But other details hovered maddeningly at the edge of his mind, like niggling thoughts about Jane and her share of the money. Perhaps if he concentrated less directly more details would return… like what the hell had happened to Jane? Memories started swirling in mist. He thought he heard a muffled gunshot and saw a pillow explode. He saw a ghostly shadow digging furiously in a field. Then a veil descended and his mind became blank.

“What’s my name. Where am I?” He was panicking now and trying to stand.

“Whoa, you’re in shock son. Lie still, we’ll get you to hospital pronto. Right, let’s get him in the wagon. One, two, three… lift.”

Francis’ breathing became slow and deliberate. He was falling deep, deep asleep.

***

For seven days he lay on his back on starched hospital sheets. Faces came and went, talking to him sometimes in scolding voices, sometimes pleading and then in gentle, soothing tones. He rose from profound sleep and remained suspended just below waking. He heard and saw but could not control his thoughts.

Sue had been his most frequent visitor. She had taken some time off from the bank after the robbery. Francis’s sudden departure took on new meaning when Detective Black had asked her to view some CCTV footage of her handbag being lifted in the supermarket.

“Yes, that’s Francis,” Sue had confirmed when Black showed her the Supermarket surveillance tape.
“Thank you,” nodded Black. “That’s all I need to know. Oh, and best not to talk about this with any of your work colleagues okay? And certainly not to Francis. We don’t want gossip do we,” he added.

“No officer, I shan’t be talking to anyone,” Sue promised.

***

She was no sleuth but trailing him had been ridiculously easy. Her target was oblivious to his new shadow. The day after he had murdered and buried his wife she had been following him. Even when he had bolted across the crowded thoroughfare at Waterloo Station he had looked back at her without a flicker of recognition. He seemed to be running blindly from everyone and everything.

Unknown to Sue, D.I. Black’s men had been pursuing Francis too but rather more discreetly. However Sue kept running and was in time to see a small backpack being hurled into a locker. She watched from behind a pillar, memorising the lockers, counting up and along the rows. The police gave away their presence with sudden sharp whistles and Sue had watched incredulous as Francis took off again spurting out of the station into the path of a red double-decker bus. Immediately there was a howl of rubber and a sickening thud.

6 comments:

boulies said...

This is all coming together beautifully, PV. I love the fluidity of your descriptions of people, places and events, and how it's all knitting together. So clever the idea of Sue having been following him all along. I never would have suspected anything like this. And also that she was his main visitor.
Can't wait for Part 13. You write a great suspense/mystery/thriller!

Perfect Virgo said...

Boulies - I am pleased you ahould mention "knitting together." THat has been the hardest part of all - making sure the timeline stays accurate has been tricky bearing in mind I chose to relate the story partly in the present and partly in flashbacks. Even in the present Francis has not had total recall until recently so that confused the issue still further.

I hope you will see the big picture when we reach the final instalment. I wrote the story last year but shelved it. Even while re-reading last month, before posting, I spotted a glaring plot-hole. I had to ever so slightly re-write the final three parts to avoid cries of admonishment from my readers!

boulies said...

I think you've done a fine job bringing it all together. I think that flashbacks can be difficult even in film. Sometimes past and present can blur a little, but the reader (or viewer if it's film) just has to have a little patience and if the story's good, it all becomes clarified quickly. That's how I felt your story works here. So no worries PV. It's a great story and I'm riveted by it. Hope you write another story in series after you finish with this one. Please!!!

Neetee said...

I love that you've demonstrated how nothing ever goes unseen.

And in such a fluid way, you draw a great picture of greed and the effect it has upon the dark mind of Francis.

Your writing is a habitual read.

I'll be here waiting for more.

Perfect Virgo said...

Boulies - glad it is all beginning to make sense! I may ring the changes with a return to single posts for a while but I do have other ideas in the pipeline...

Neetee - yes, we all leave a trail, no matter how slight. I am delighted you are spotting all the little nuances I have tried to convey. I never thought of myself as habit-forming before but I like the idea!

cocaine jesus said...

A remarkable twist. Would make a great plot for a TV drama.

Looking forward to the next installment.