Tick Tick Tick

Tick Tick Tick by G. M. Clark Read Free Book Online

Book: Tick Tick Tick by G. M. Clark Read Free Book Online
Authors: G. M. Clark
pale cream was now a stippled grey, the wood frame crumbling in parts. He fumbled in his coat pocket for the keys. Finally, with cold hands he pulled them out, his old knotted fingers shook as he tried to turn the lock. Finally he managed and gave the door a nudge open.
    Stumbling into the hallway he glanced up – startled, his fingers dropped the bag and spilled its contents; a melon rolled by and stopped at a polished boot. The foot snapped up and kicked the door shut – hard. Frankie’s mouth slackened, the face illuminated in utter terror as he saw the knife. Completely frozen now, the mouth still sags but no words come out as gloved hands reach out for him – tick, tick, tick.
    It’s two days later that I get another call. The phone shrills at just after five in the morning. I’m already awake and staring into the darkness, the room masquerading in flickering shadows, alternating between faded greys and a cloak of blackness; my eyes slowly adjust to the changing light as I snatch up the receiver. Connie’s arm is draped softly over my chest, her breathing warm, steady and rhythmic. I can feel her soft naked skin pressing gently against me, similar to the touch of smooth satin; the reassurance of her body’s closeness shrouds me like a warm soothing blanket.
    I’ve been thinking of Kathy Garland; the case occupies my mind day and night. She hadn’t kept any diaries or old letters; everything appeared to turn up a blank. The second neighbourhood canvass was also a complete waste of time; it was as frustrating as hell. We managed to find a couple of old boyfriends, neither of whom had a bad word to say about her – no grudges were held and all had resounding alibis. It’s like banging your head off a brick wall. I’m getting nowhere fast and it’s driving me crazy.
    Connie sleeps while I listen to the voice at the other end giving me the details. Another murder, this time on the other side of town. Possible similarities and can I get my arse down their quickly? Great, just what I want to hear before breakfast. I slip out of bed and Connie slides immediately into my empty space without waking. I yank on some clothes, splash my face with water, run a hand through my hair and grab the nearest coat. I notice this one is also getting worn inside from my nasty habit of stuffing the inside pockets full of pencils, pens and paper – Jeez, I’m just your typical boy scout. I should buy my coats in bulk – save myself a fortune. Keys? I’ve left them in the bedroom, so I tiptoe back in taking one last glance at Connie. She sleeps like the dead. I instantly banish that phrase from my head. Bending over, I drop my lips to her brow, her golden hair fanned around her face like a pale watery halo, her skin so soft and creamy. Jesus, I just want to slip back into that bed and do unmentionable things to her, but instead I pick up my keys and leave. Sometimes life just isn’t fair.
    Once into the Alfa I make a left-hand turn and take off to the other side of the city. The streets are pretty quiet; some early risers are out jogging, their hats pulled down against the biting wind, feet steadily pounding the pavements. Paper vans and trucks deposit their bundles along the way. I pass by Stan’s van, he’s just opening up for the day. He recognises me and throws me a wave – I can’t even stomach the thought of one of his coffees right now, so I just wave back and keep on going. At least I was spared the normal morning sight of teenage drunks lying sprawled on the pavements, surrounded by their own vomit.  Small mercies, I’ll take them every time.
    Pulling over at the block of flats I see Mack standing a few cars back, trying to light a cigarette. He thumps his shoes on the ground, the cold seeping into him while he waits. No media yet – good. Mack nods his greeting while sucking in the nicotine, the smoke curling up above him; he rubs at his eyes as if trying to banish the sleep

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