A Fatal Complaint

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Andrew Smith sighed as he looked up at the grey sky. “Hard to believe it’s only 3. Doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon”
Michael, The Head of Human Resources, glanced up and shook his head. “Forecast said it would last for another couple of days. Anyway, I’ve gotta go. Train leaves in half an hour”
He stepped down into the street and hailed a taxi. “See you Monday, Andrew!”
“Good bye” Andrew turned his collar up started the walk home.
He’d only gone a few steps before he noticed them. Two men, standing on the corner of the street, in the shadows of the awning of a shoe store. Something about them made him quicken his pace; duck his head as he passed them. He knew instinctively that they followed him as he turned the corner onto West Street, that same instinct told him to cross the street, catch a taxi, do anything to shake them off his tail. He joined the crowd at the traffic lights, pushing through the sea of people to try and gain that extra metre over his pursuers. He turned corner after corner, twisting, doubling back, walking for what felt like hours, his feet slipping on the wet concrete. Suddenly, as he stopped for a second under a lamppost, he realised they had gone. He’d lost them! He sagged against the metal pole; his legs seemed to have gone limp. Further up the street, someone came out of a shop, his face shadowed by a large blue umbrella. He walked into a pool of light from a street light and Andrew saw his face, only for an instant, until he stepped back into the shadow. But it was enough. It was a boy, only about seventeen, with dark eyes and light brown hair which only just cleared his eyes. Andrew felt a rush of fear. A part of him realised how absurd this all was, that he was terrified of this, kid, but then he remembered back, back to when he had appeared on his front step, about two weeks ago.
“My name’s Tristan. You borrowed some money from a friend of mine. He wants it back”
He had almost laughed. “Broyden sends kids to pick up his money? Are you sure he actually wants it back?”
Tristan smiled; there was something about that smile that unnerved Andrew, it turned the boy into something savage, almost animal.
He shivered, but hid it. He tried to be disdainful “Don’t your parents mind you being out so late?”
The smile vanished. “My parents had an…accident, a long time ago. If you’re not careful, so will you. Goodnight” he smiled suddenly, turned and walked back down the path to a black Lexus.

He’d left the centre of town now, there were hardly anyone in the street. Andrew looked up and realised the two men from before were closing in from the front. He turned around, and almost bumped into Tristan.
In one last-ditch attempt at freedom, Andrew dodged down an alley, hoping to find a way back to the main road, but it was a dead end. He backed up against the stone wall. The two men had disappeared, but Tristan was walking nonchalantly down towards him, resting the umbrella on his shoulder as if it was a parasol.
He stopped about two feet away, swinging the umbrella down and folding it up in one smooth movement. Andrew flinched and he chuckled.
“This isn’t Soviet Russia, Andrew.”
“What?”
“Never mind”
He took a step closer, slipped a hand around Andrew’s shoulders.
“Next time,” he whispered, “Pay up”
He half turned, as if to walk away, and-
The knife came up so fast Andrew never felt it. He slumped against the wall until his legs gave way and he collapsed onto the grimy asphalt.
Tristan slipped the knife back into his coat pocket carefully, making sure there was no blood visible on his shirt, unfurled the umbrella and walked out of the alley to a black Lexus waiting on the corner.





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