Continuing the Story
Vicky walked down the dismal streets, night was falling fast now and it felt like there was a frost in the air. Why did her mysterious blackmailers want her to go to the canal lock? She kept her head down trying to ignore the world as she walked on, she wondered if she was being tailed. She was certain somewhere she was being watched. She’d handed them the documents but she new that wasn’t the end of it, even as handed them over.
Arthur was too late as he returned to the shop, it was being closed up. He’d try a bluff. “Excuse me, I can see you are locking up but I think I left my car keys in there.”
“I didn’t spot anything,” said the owner. “You were sat with Andy weren’t you?”
“I don’t know his name,” he lied.
“He’s Andy, nice chap.” Answered the owner.
“About five times a week, brings the prayer group over on Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons ”
Prayer group? That was a surprise. “Church goer is he?”
“I believe he is an ordained pastor.”
“Ha you never would have guessed,” laughed Arthur. This put a slight spin on things, he remembered his cover and rummaged through his pockets. “Gee I am an idiot, they were in my pocket all the time.”
“Oh we have all been there,” smiled the owner. Arthur doffed an imaginary hat and moved on.
So if he was a church practitioner it was possible he was as much of a victim as Vicky, or he could be using his divine status as a cover. He wondered if Vicky knew this? He’d visit her at school tomorrow and see if he could extract a little more information
It was fogged and cold by the canal. The place was deserted, not a soul in sight. A wave of paranoia waved over her as she looked at the murky canal waters, was this the end of the road. Tomorrow’s headline HEADTEACHER’S BODY FOUND DUMPED IN CANAL. How long a period of morning until the scandal broke? HEADTEACHER PHOTOED IN LOVE NEST, the tabloids would have a field day and would literally be on show to every parent, teacher and pupil at the school. She punched the wall in frustration, why was she stupid enough to think it’d just be a bit of fun. No doubt Andy would at least get his just deserts, it’d be difficult to explain away that one.
“Very strange place for a young lady to be on her own,” said a voice from behind her. She turned and saw a figure silhouetted in the fog, faced obscured by a hood and scarf.
“I was just out for a walk,” she said feebly. She switched her phone into Facebook and started a live transmission.
“Yes, walking in the English fog is mysterious isn’t it?” Replied the figure.
“English fog…? You aren’t local I take it.’
“Oh I am as English as they come, but I have been overseas for a very very long time.” He coughed throatily, “the climate here doesn’t do my chest any favours.”
“Is lurking around in the fog a good idea then?”
“Lurking? Oh I am not lurking young lady. I am waiting… Waiting in the dark for someone to come along.”
Vicky started edging back down the bath. From behind the man a light was now visible on the water, a barge was on its way.
“Oh I will be on my way then,” she said trying not to sound as scared as she felt.
“Off you go then,” the man said. Vicky scrambled backwards along the path, turned and broke into a brisk walk. The barge was now level with the man. He turned to look at it and smiled. Strange weather for a barge to be out.
Vicky returned home, her heart thumping like a bad impression of Buddy Rich playing Drum Boogie. She locked the front door ran upstairs, stripped and leapt into the shower trying to wash the evening’s experience away from her.
It was a bright morning despite the heavy fog and Arthur for some reason had a spring in his step as he walked towards the school building. As he approached he knew something was up, the teenagers were gathered at the bottom of the car park and two police cars were parked up, he strolled down and was met by I uniformed officer. “Sorry sir, we can’t allow members of the public in.”
“That’s ok Wilmot,” said a familiar voice from the crowd. “He’s one of us. Sort of. Let’s say a top cop.” Fighting his way through the crowd was Chief Inspector Parton, he smiled warmly at Arthur and heartily shock his hand.
“The yard?” Asked the starstruck officer.
“In a way yes,” answered Parton guiding Arthur through the crowd.
“What happened?” Asked Arthur.
“Break in,” replied Parton, “and a minor act of arson.” He took Arthur to the crime scene.
“Not a lot of damage,” observed Arthur.
“No, the sprinklers went on straight away and the brigade called on auto.”
“Not as far as we can tell,” answered Parton. “Probably just yobbos out for a thrill.”
“Yes that is most likely,” agreed Arthur trying to sound convincing.
“Anything you want me to look into?” Asked Arthur.
“Don’t think so,” answered Parton.
Vicky sat in her office chewing on a pen nervously, that fire wasn’t an accident she was sure. Was it a show of strength? If so, what was their next move? The phone rang, she composed herself and answered the phone. “Headmistress’s office, Ms Armstrong speaking.”
“This is Lambert, what was that video on Facebook about?”
“Video?” She asked, her heart skipped a beat .
“Yes, that guy by the canal. Who was he?”
Vicky sighed a breath of relief, “just some nutter I think. I was uncomfortable so I put him on camera just in case.”
“Righto.” He concluded and put the phone down.
There was a knock on the door and Inspector Parton and an ide entered. “Excuse miss, but we’d like to ask you a few questions about the fire.”