Steps of a Killer by Karen J Mossman
Hampstead Heath is beautiful in the early morning sunlight. The dew sparkled on the grass giving it a magical appeal. Where I stood, the ground was elevated and I could see the city. People were waking or heading off to work. It was just a normal day for them.
For a moment, I looked over at the trees and breathed deeply. I could feel her. Exhaling, I took another breath and my feet moved in her footsteps. Briefly, my eyes closed as I advanced. This was where she was, where she walked, stumbled and broke into a run. Her feet became mine as I moved with her towards the trees.
I entered a pathway surrounded by trees and knew beyond a doubt this is where she was killed.
My heart is thumped. My breath was jagged and the adrenaline is surged through my veins as I entered a pathway surrounded by trees. Beyond doubt I knew this was where she was killed.
I become her as a sob escaped me. I felt him following behind. Moving quickly, I stumbled, my head whipped around and his shadow attacked me. Crying out, I threw my arms forward hoping to knock him away. Instead we rolled together on the ground. Me and a shadow from the past.
We came to a stop having hit an obstacle. A shaft of sunlight hits the trees and a beam of light illuminated his face.
Later, I sit alone in the Dandelion café sipping my drink and staring out of the window. The high street is full of shoppers. They carry their bulging bags and have no idea a killer could be amongst them. He probably looked like an average man on his way to do his business, to the pub for a drink, or to meet friends. They don’t know what he did. Or the life he took for his personal gratification.
My fingers worked the fabric in my hand, a bit of cloth that came from an evidence bag.
I felt the girl in my core. Her hopes and dreams for a future she will never have. Poor girl. Poor, poor girl.
Coldness enveloped me and for a second everything went silent. I took a sharp intake of breath – he was here! I felt him strongly.
My mind returned to the café and the surrounding people come back into focus. “Excuse me? Is anyone using this chair?” My blood runs cold. It’s the face of the man I grappled with in the forest.
I shook my head, too stunned to speak. He moved the chair to a different table and joins an older man. They chat and I stared at his profile.
His forehead jutted out a little and his hair is side parted, his nose was sharp and long, and he had a slight double chin.
How can he sit there looking like any normal guy?
Pulling out my phone, I selected Seb’s name and listened to it ring. Seb was my brother and a police detective.
“Cassie,” he answered.
“I’ve got him,” I state.
“Right here. I’m looking at him.” I was staring at the side of his head, unable to take my eyes from him, unable to fathom how normal he looked when he carries such a terrible secret. I suppose I expected him to look the monster he is.
“Where Cassie? Where are you?”
“The Dandelion café.”
“Okay, I’m on my way.” The phone went dead.
The man’s companion got up and I heard him say, “Thanks for the coffee.” My eyes burned into the side of the killer’s head. He glanced around as he raised the cup to his mouth.
My blood boiled. How dare he just sit there and act normally! He thinks no one knows what he had done but he is wrong. I know! I couldn’t help myself as I stood and moved over to his table to sat in the empty seat. He looked surprised as I said nothing.
“Can I help you?” he asked sounding like a regular guy. Normal voice open expression, friendly even.
Seb was going to be annoyed. He says I’m a loose cannon and unable to contain my feelings. He’s right. I shouldn’t be taking risks like this.
“I know,” I said quietly.
He stared at me and says, “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”
I wish I could throw the fabric I still have clutched in my fist at him, asking if he remembers it, but because of where it came from, I can’t.
“Yes, you do. I can see it in your eyes.”
He continued to stare, and I could hear the sound of him breathing. “I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”
“No, I haven’t. I know who you are, or rather what you are.”
His Adam’s apple bobs. “And what’s that?”
I looked around. “Do you want me to say it out loud?”
He leaned forward and I flinched as my back pressed into the chair. In a whisper, he said, “You’re crazy, I don’t know you.”
As his breath washed over me, I realised she wasn’t the first one he’s killed.
The shock of his evil breath made me rise to my feet. I shouldn’t have confronted him. He stood up too, scraping his chair on the floor.
Glancing out of the window I urged Seb to hurry. The man gives me a hard stare and strides out the door.
Damn! I rushed after him while putting the phone to my ear and pressed redial.
Seb’s voice comes through and I heard he is on hands-free. His blues and twos echoed down the phone and in the distance, as he approached.
“Can you still see him?” he asked after I explained.
“No, he’s gone. Where are you?”
“Two minutes. I’ll be two minutes. Stay there,” he said urgently, and hung up.
Moving away from the doorway, I looked up and down the high street, stopping sideways to look at the reflections in the shop windows hoping to spot him.
I felt his presence.
Spinning around, he was right behind me. Something sharp pressed against my skin.
“Keep walking,” he commanded. His touch consumed me. My psyche flooded and I saw everything he had done. How those poor girls suffered! I couldn’t do anything except walk with him. I knew beyond a doubt he would plunge the knife without conscience and disappear into the crowd before I even hit the floor.
Where the hell was Seb?
He walked me into an alleyway, and out of sight behind a large dustbin.
Seb! The sirens approached.
The blade was against my throat and his other hand was pulling at my skirt and underwear.
“How did you know?” His fetid breath covered my face.
“I know everything,” I told him as the blade broke the skin and I panicked.
“You know nothing!” he hissed.
“I know if you don’t let go, that man over there will kill you.”
He laughed, but still checked as Seb came skidding over. Grabbing him by the neck of his jacket, he threw him to the floor. With a knee in his back, Seb cuffed him.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
I pushed my clothes back into position and wiped the trickle of blood from my neck, Seb yelled at me again. “Yes!” I retorted, and he talked into his radio.
People gathered, wondering what was going on. They shouted in our direction, aiming phones. I tried to keep my face hidden. Seb yelled at them to stay back.
The man, the killer, is struggling on the ground trying to break loose. Seb was having trouble holding on to him. I couldn’t do anything to help as the guy swung round and pulled Seb with him. More sirens got louder as Seb fought to keep a hold on him.
Relief flooded through me as cops spilled into the alleyway. They relieved Seb of his prisoner and he strode towards me.
“You bloody fool!” he said moving my hand from my neck, shaking his head. “Get that looked at. God, Cass, what the hell were you thinking?”
“I’m sorry,” I said, feeling shaken.
The killer threw us a strange look as they carted him off. My brother, Seb, and I are used to those looks. People often look at us strangely because we look so alike
“At least you’ve got him,” I said as we walked back up to the road.
“Have to link him with the crime yet.”
“Him attacking me will give you time to do that.”
“Don’t tell me my job,” he snapped, and I knew I’m wasn’t off the hook yet, although, he rarely stays mad for long.
An ambulance pulled up and I was glad to get inside, away from the curious eyes and stares. It is just a scratch and a plaster was all that is needed.
Seb drove me home and I took the tongue-lashing, as is par for the course. You see, Seb and I are twins, identical, and it’s unusual for a girl and a boy to be as much alike as we are.
He was a seeker, he always finds what he’s looking for, especially when it’s me. He can zone in on where I am, so I never get lost. Seb has no psychic power, but we work well as a team.
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