IN FRONT OF ME

This is the fifteenth Episode in the ‘FEAR’ series 

The previous episode is here

FOUR THINGS

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Having pocketed the four things left behind on the garage floor John returned to reception to find a somewhat baffled receptionist. He explained he had thought he had seen a friend with whom he had wanted to talk so had chased after her.  The formalities of checking in were soon completed and John was given his room key and pointed in the direction of his suite. Carly, the receptionist, wished him a comfortable night. John only wished that his night could have been thus.

The price of the suite that John had been booked into, even with a discount, was a little more than he would usually have accepted but there as no way he could spend the night in his own home. He had thought that he would be safer in the Admiral Hotel where no-one would know where to find him, but now he had seen Erin, or at least someone he thought was Erin, he knew he could easily be found should anyone connected with this whole mess want to find him. On  the way to his room he considered moving to another hotel, where he might be safer, but decided he was better off staying where he was. The weather outside was still awful and he had been lucky enough to get a room which he may not manage elsewhere in the overpopulated city. Besides if someone was watching him they would find him wherever he tried to hide. 

Letting himself into his room he quickly checked that he was alone. He thought he may be being a little paranoid, but considering the way the day had panned out for him he preferred caution to whatever the opposite of that might be. He pulled the curtains closed and turned on all the lights, before settling down on the sofa with a couple of the small bottles of whisky which he had liberated from the mini-bar.

Taking off his jacket he emptied his garage-finds onto the coffee table in front of him.  The lipstick didn’t hold much interest for him. He opened it quickly and noticed that it was the colour that both Erin and Karen favoured. Just thinking of her brought a lump to his throat and set the butterflies in his stomach to flight again. It had only been hours since that first dreadful phone call and the scream yet it felt so much longer. The Ikea pencil held no interest at all for John, so he discarded it without further thought.

Picking up the matchbook he noticed that only five of the matches had been used. Turning it over he read the name of the establishment it came from. “Marshalls Bar” wasn’t a place he knew.  For a moment he thought about turning on his phone and checking the address of the place, but still didn’t want to alert anyone who may have placed a trace on his phone. He jumped up and grabbed the television remote control. He was sure it must have internet access included, especially for the price he had paid.

John turned the television on and scrolled through the on-screen menu until he found the internet option. Using the remote control he entered the name of the bar and found out that it was on the edge of town, in the direction of the cabin in the woods. He realised he must have passed it earlier that night. The bar had its own website so he clicked the link and went to that page. Apart from finding out about the bar’s themed evenings and single’s nights he gained no further information that might help in his search.

Setting the matchbook aside he picked up the notebook, feeling sure that it must hold some pertinent information for him. Before opening it he took another quick gulp of the whisky to steel himself against what he might find. The book had alight green cover and was held closed by an elastic strap which he pulled over the pages and opened the book.

Flicking quickly backwards and forwards through the notebook John could see that many of the pages were filled with small closed writing with a few words in block capitals and underlined passages throughout. He picked up his glass of whisky and sat back to read what was written. Within moments he was caught up in the words written on the pages, and was becoming more and more disturbed by what he was finding out. The inoffensive light green colour of the notebook-cover belied the awful truths that were written inside.

The book clearly put Erin in the frame, and proved that she was involved in whatever crime was being committed at John and Karen’s expense. John felt his heart sink as he read on. A lot of the notations didn’t make a lot of sense, but some chilled him to the bone. After having read enough to sicken him he knew he had to be proactive and make the next move.

Putting the notebook down with the other items from his garage collection he emptied his glass of whisky and grabbed his bag. He pulled out his mobile phone and switched it on. He now knew that at least one of the people involved in this heinous plot knew where he was so he had nothing to lose by doing so. As soon as he had typed in the password to open the phone for him it buzzed and rang with the various ringtones alerting him to messages coming in from various applications. He ignored them all and scrolled through his contacts until he came to Erin’s number. With a heavy heart and a stomach full of wild butterflies he tapped the green phone icon which set the dialling of Erin’s mobile phone into action.

After five rings the phone went straight through to the message centre, where Erin’s voice invited him to leave a message after the tone.

“Erin, I am sitting here with the four things in front of me that you dropped in the garage of the hotel. One of those things is your hateful notebook. I’m sure you will want to speak to me now, knowing this. You will know who I am. Call me.”

John tapped the screen to end the call and sat back to wait.

09.16 - In front of me -JOHN

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Filed under Adult, Contemporary, Thriller/Mystery

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