Greg Blunden waited at the rendezvous point that was instructed to him by an unknown source. As the chief reporter for The Beavonpool Mercury, he had been targeted by a campaign of newspaper cuttings sent to him with relation to the deaths of two women in their late twenties. They had each committed a crime shortly before their deaths. The typewritten notes addressed to him, accompany the pieces.
‘FIND THE CONNECTION?’ the first note taunted him. Blunden couldn’t see any on his initial investigation. The two women lived far apart from each other.
‘ARE YOU READY FOR THE THIRD?’ the second note teased him several days later. It was followed up by the latest note that he had received and it gave a date, time and a place to witness the event. This had sparked his curiosity as the two deaths of the women to date were clear cut cases, he had thought. Blunden wasn’t so sure now.
He stood outside Glancys Tearoom that was positioned halfway on a small hilly slope alongside other quaint shops. Blunden was well away from his usual area, the small town of Beavonpool. A series of exclusive scoops raised his profile to the point that he was allowed to venture outside his district with no questions asked by his editor. He looked again at his watch, the meeting minutes away from fulfilment but no sign of his anonymous contact. Greg felt restless, not so much the waiting game but the aroma of freshly baked scones that wafted through the air whenever someone entered or left the tearoom. It tempted his taste buds and several years earlier, he would have succumbed quicker and taken his then portly frame into the establishment. Greg had dropped his weight down a few trouser sizes when his profile increased and the job demanded more of him. He ignored the lingering smell and wondered, was he in for a wind up over the meeting? The minutes were up as in the distance, church bells tolled the latest hour. It was three o’ clock in the afternoon.
A lone woman appeared in view over the top of the slope, walking in the middle of the road. It caught Blunden’s attention. He observed her closely. She wore blue jeans and she had a white top on, finished off by a long unbuttoned black leather overcoat that reached down, just pass her kneecaps. Her hair was a mousy brown in a designed smart bob and he calculated quickly that she was in her twenties as her features became clearer to him.
A car driving up the slope swerved to avoid hitting the woman. She didn’t flinch at its sudden movement. A horn blasted at her by the car driver in anger at her stupidity to be in the road. She walked on, her mind fixated on another matter. As she approached nearer to Blunden, she turned her face towards him and scanned him. A sneered smile formed on her lips in recognition of who he was. The woman thrust her right hand inside the coat and pulled out a shotgun.
‘Bloody hell’ exclaimed Blunden in horror at the sight of the weapon. He immediately dived for refuge behind a parked car. Screams littered the air. People threw themselves out of harms way as Blunden watched them cower on the pavement. He peered nervously over the car, his trembled body shook at the encounter. The woman just continued on her journey, away from him, the gun gripped in her hands. She reached the bottom of the hill and turned the corner into the high street.
A number of pedestrians rose back up on their feet from their crouching positions, some with mobiles drawn to their ears. Blunden knew that they were probably contacting the police. He composed himself quickly and set off on his paces down the slope not wanting to lose sight of the woman. Time was essential for a journalistic scoop before the police took over matters. He turned the corner and she was nowhere to be seen. Further screams alerted him to a shop with people rushing out, fear etched on their faces. Blunden made a beeline for it. The first shot pierced the air that halted him in his tracks. A deathly silence fell on the street. He started to tread carefully after a moment, towards what he now saw as a newsagents shop. He fished out his camera from one of his coat pockets as he approached the shop and peered in the window discreetly. A slain body on the floor caught his eye and he snapped away with his camera.
The woman suddenly appeared in view from behind one of the aisles, and saw him at the window. The gun now aimed in Blunden’s direction. She walked towards him. He ceased the taking of pictures and froze in terror. The maniacal woman surveyed him once more. She gave him another twisted smile and turned the barrel of the shotgun away from his position. It drew towards her mouth.
‘Don’t do it.’ Blunden weakly called out to her from his shocked expression. Without hesitation, she pulled the trigger. Blood splattered onto the window as the woman’s body slumped to the ground. His body trembled violently, an unnecessary death witnessed at such close range. Greg vomited spew to the ground. In the distance, sirens could be heard. Blunden shakily wiped his mouth with his coat sleeve and having heard the sirens drew closer, remembered that he had a job to do. He forced himself into the shop and quickly took close up photos of the two dead bodies. He made a hasty retreat back into the street and saw that a group of people had started to mill together, no doubt ghoul hunters. Greg heard cars screeched to a sharp halt. The police had arrived. He walked swiftly away from the scene in the opposite direction of the police.
Thoughts swam strongly in Blunden’s mind as he escaped the crime scene. Why didn’t the woman kill him? What bothered him more was that this third suicidal death in connection to crimes committed was foretold to him from the notes sent by his mysterious contributor. He was in no doubt now; someone had orchestrated these events. More worryingly, he had been targeted as a pawn in the game.
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