Jackie Steel licked her lips and put down the travel brochure. Exotic Thailand.
A girl could dream. Not quite a girl. Thirty, next birthday. And still single. There had been offers, but she’d brushed them aside. She could never be a “Mumsy” woman, it wasn’t her.
DCI Orson Angers had made it quite clear, as he handed out a new Pocketphone. “You’re a BECS Detective Sergeant now, not PC Plod. On my patch, that means 24-Seven.”
And don’t I know it.
While she lived for her career; loathed criminals, demanded justice, promotion to the Bridleton Elite Crime Squad had its downside. Forget lapping it up in paradise: sun-kissed beaches, the gentle roll of warm surf, barbecued chilli-dogs and handsome waiters attending to her every need. The nearest she’d get to a holiday would be a Bridleton half-marathon, with it pissing down.
Jackie looked out her apartment window into the grey gloom. The rain was beating against the glass: searching for the damp crack in the frame where it could force its way in and rot the wood still further. Not the gentle summer rain, but the cold wintry type. It could even turn to hail, so the weather forecast said. She shivered. No jogging around the streets that night. And she didn’t fancy a judo workout at the gym. Guiltily, she reached for the half-empty bottle of Chardonnay. Just then her Pocketphone rang. She looked at the display.
Not on my night off...
He watched the long-legged spider pounce on its red-eyed victim and sink its fangs into the grey flesh. There were a few more victims buzzing at the bedroom window, but most were feeding in the girl’s stomach. Crawling into the bloody hole that the knife had made.
He wiped the blade on the limp grey sheet and gazed at Serena, if that was her name. The teen prostitute that he had picked up last night. It was her fault; he hadn’t meant to hurt her; just that things got out of control.
He pulled the plug on the bathtub and dried himself. Plenty of Mr. Muscle to clean up with, afterwards. Get washed, fresh clothes, pack body in wheelie-bin, load it into the Ford Cortina, and dump it.
But first, her bag. He unzipped the pockets and emptied the contents onto the bed. Worth taking her Telecom phone, with three missed calls - from Carol. His fifty quid, along with some coins. But the rest – makeup, lipstick, and the open condom pack. No use to him. He swore.
AIDS huh? He felt a pang of anxiety. Serena sure didn’t look to be infected. She was a real cool chick with a body to die for. Pity it turned out like that. Anyway, she was now off the streets. It would be in the public interest.
He opened his bed-sit window and let the flies escape. The plump spider sat resplendent in the middle of its web, surrounded by carcasses twirling in the cool breeze.
Waiting for the next victim.