He liked that name. Classy, sophisticated; a real catch; and she turned him on. He felt a tingling inside: anticipation. She would be a real challenge. It was as if all the others had been just practice runs. He switched channels, trying to locate more sensationalism, but drew a blank. Never mind, it could wait; Tania’s story would be plastered all over the front page of the Argus.
He went and made himself another cup of coffee; he needed to stay awake. Plenty of “Simpsons” in the BT telephone book, but he needed an address. He sat down on a hard kitchen chair, and started his search.
Planning a kill: so much more pleasurable...
At dawn the following morning he was discretely parked in a small secluded cul-de–sac near Stonehouse Court Hotel: from Bridleton it was a quick trip down the M5 to the Stroud exit, across two roundabouts, under a railway bridge, and he was there.
It had been simple. Simpson T, a freelance reporter, according to the TV station he’d phoned – and according to the phone book, Tania Simpson was living in one of the three renovated stone cottages on the site, one of which had a “To Let” sign outside. A couple of cars were outside the cottages, one a Land Rover and the other a Mercedes saloon. He had his thermos full of hot coffee to keep him going until she surfaced – he hoped.
He pulled his woollen hat over his ears and settled down to wait. It wasn’t long. He recognised her straight away, dressed in a trendy outdoor jacket with her tight jeans tucked into calf-length leather boots. She had a black dog with her; a male Pitbull – evil looking animal.
He leered. First the dog, then...
She seemed oblivious to his presence: maybe a few locals parked in the same spot, or she just wasn’t interested. He watched them trot briskly towards the canal; presumably an early morning routine. She lit a fag, blew a cloud of blue-grey smoke into the air while the dog dumped against a tree. Then they were out of sight. He wasn’t going to risk following; just noted the details in his notebook.
Plenty of time.
He learnt a lot that morning, but he needed to know more: if it was a regular pattern. No guarantees that her daily schedule would be consistent in her line of work, but from what he had in mind – late at night or early morning would be ideal.
He was back in a different place at eight that night, leaving it late to make sure he wasn’t obstructing anyone’s preferred parking spot. Her cottage was dark, no Land Rover outside and no light inside.
He had plans for the car. He knew a man, who had a mate, who - immediate cash sale, new plates, perfect for a bank job or whatever. He had darker plans for the beast, a closer relationship with its owner. Even if the Pitbull was pedigree and worth a few bob, he hated them – dirty, slobbering brutes with attitude.
Tania would love his plan...
She returned at ten. The cold, starry night lit up her silhouette as she emerged from her Land Rover. Alone – that was promising – no man in tow. A quick walk around in the snow with Caesar, he heard her call the beast. Fifteen minutes later, the lights were turned off; he waited a while until satisfied that she wasn’t going anywhere before returning to Bridleton. He was there again when she took Caesar out the following morning. It was the same routine, regular as clockwork.
Plenty of time.
Her neighbour was the main concern, although he was an elderly man with a young tart in tow who came loaded up with groceries on Friday night and left Sunday afternoon. Possibly a week-end retreat, which was what the estate agent told him on the phone - did he want details of the remaining holiday-home?
He said he’d think about it.
It would have to be Sunday evening, after the couple had left. He’d wait for Tania to open the door to walk the dog, and he’d strike.
With a cosh.