Tunnels, tunnels, tunnels. Why did my life always seem to lead me back to tunnels? Tunnels with dank blood-stained cells. Dark, smoke filled tunnels. Running from vampires in tunnels. Tunnels with trains. Fleeing mysterious assailants in tunnels. Running and tunnels. Endless, torturous tunnels.
I sped off the platform, doing my best not to appear too panicked and unhinged as the last thing I needed was to alert security to what was happening. Oh yes, I needed help, but theirs was not the kind of help I wanted. How easy would it be for them to link me back to the crazed knife-wielding redhead of Hyde Park Corner? And then, what about the murder of a young girl in Belgravia? I wasn’t convinced that ghost had yet been laid to rest.
Cutting past people, I reached the escalator and began walking as fast as I could on the left hand side. Nearing the top, I glanced back to see Green Eyes and Brown Eyes following on the left hand side, but instead of speeding up the steps, they took the escalator in a calm, collected manner. Just two normals guys going casually about their day.
Nothing to see here, ladies and gents.
I had no doubt in my mind that this was a hunt yet they seemed like the most unlikeliest of hunters. Nothing about them screamed serial killer. Nothing about them screamed bogeyman. Although that didn’t stop them from being the bogeyman’s henchmen. And who am I? Nothing. A nobody. I knew no one in the human world apart from those that worked at the bookstore and I was pretty sure none of them wished me any harm. These hunters were obviously some vampire’s pets. But whose? There was only one vampire who wanted me now. Only one willing to do whatever it took to save his own skin. How foolish had we been to think we had escaped his clutches?
I knew Sebastian. Knew him enough to know he hadn’t given up his search. He always got his own way. Always.
I tripped off the end of the escalator and headed towards the turnstiles, where I swiped my Oyster card across the scanner. Green Eyes and Brown Eyes were still there, taking separate turnstiles at a leisurely place; their faces a picture of maddening calm.
I didn’t know what to do. Could I lose them in the Oxford Street crowds? Could I slip into a shop unseen? Or should I head towards work and shroud myself in the protective cocoon of the bookstore? The faces of my colleagues flitted across my mind. I could see them melding with other faces; faces from my past, faces of people who had been my friends and who I had led into danger. Faces of people who now lay in the ground or burned to nothing. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t lead my hunters there, although part of me knew instinctively that these guys already knew where I worked. They had been following me. Of course they had. How else could they have known I would be on the tube at this particular time?
As I took the steps up to the street above and the daylight hit me full force, the realisation of the situation blinded me almost as much as the dazzling sun did. If my hunters had been following me, then they didn’t just know where I worked; they also knew where I lived and that meant the others were in just as much danger as I was.
Glancing across the road, I made a quick decision on the route I would take to try and escape Sebastian’s pets. I zipped across the road, narrowly missing the front end of a double decker bus and almost falling straight into the path of a cyclist, who shouted a stream of obscenities at me, and somehow I made it to the other side unscathed. Looking back, I saw Green Eyes and Brown Eyes about to cross the road and finally I felt relieved to see their masks of calm slip and anxiety mark their faces when they saw my chosen destination.
“That’s right, you bastards,” I smirked “have fun catching me in the chaos that is Topshop. And it’s sale time too!”
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2012