In the car-park of the halls of residence, Adam Leonard pulled up in his second hand Citroen Saxo VTR, and took out his sports bag. He locked it and walked through an archway, up a flight of stone steps and along to his apartment where his girlfriend, Danielle Alden, was standing outside, looking anxious. She saw him and came rushing across.
“Adam! Adam! You’ve arrived,” she said as a statement. Her face was flushed with scarlet. It looked as though she had been crying.
“Hey, hey, what’s wrong?” he said, grabbing both her hands.
“I know it’s upsetting,” he continued. “Stuart was good friend. I’m sorry he’s gone, but…..hey, look at this. I got something to show you”. He set about revealing his right upper arm.
“Adam, there’s a man in our flat”.
“Look,” he said, showing her his new tattoo. The arm was reddened, the image three by five inches on the skin. It was of a dagger, wrapped around by a serpent, which in turn was wrapped by a ribbon. On that ribbon, the words: ‘Danielle forever’ were inscribed. He frowned and looked at her sternly.
“What did you just say? There’s someone in our flat? Who? What are they doing there?” A tear trickled down Danielle’s face.
“He…he knocked. I opened the door, he asked for you. I said you weren’t in, so he just pushes in and goes into the living room and stands there. I tried to ask him what he was doing, and all he said was: ‘waiting for Adam’, that’s it. I asked him again and he said the same thing. I left, then. I didn’t like to say any more. He looks like one ‘o them rough types, so I got out of there. That was ten minutes ago. What are we going to do?”
“Have you called the police?” She shook her head.
“No, my phones in there. I’m not going back in to get it while he’s there. I was waiting for you as I knew you were due home now. Maybe you know him or something”. He took from his pocket his mobile telephone and gave it to her.
“I think you should ring them”. He then walked to the flat entrance.
“I’ll sort this. Actually don’t call the police yet. It might not be necessary”. He then turned and walked inside the flat. Danielle stared at the contraption, at her passport photograph as his wallpaper. She looked in fear at the doorway.
Adam walked into the front room and was confronted by a scruffy individual who looked like he slept rough, but was not quite scruffy enough to be labelled a vagabond, or drifter. He wore a cream jacket, and well worn jeans. His hair was short, black and wiry. He looked like the type of person whom on first sight could be judged to be completely untrustworthy, and somebody whose life revolved around being on the other side of the law. The first impression of such a person could simply be: ‘criminal’. It was he who spoke before Adam.
“Are you Adam Leonard?”
“Who are you and what do you want?”
“Are you Adam Leonard?”
“Yes. Now who are you and what are you doing…..?” The man raised his right hand, and Adam saw that it held a gun. For one whole second, only the whites of the man’s eyes were visible. He fired the PPK Calibre 9mm, and the bullet entered above Adam’s left eye. It lodged in his brain. The man fired again, shattering his teeth. Adam was propelled back, collapsing back into the hallway. The intruder walked across to him and levelled the gun four inches from between his eyes. He fired, the bullet splitting his cranium apart. He fired again, and kept on firing. Adam’s head collapsed across the carpet, and the man kept pulling the trigger, even when all the bullets were spent. He looked at the gun as though there should be more ammunition, and then at the glistening mass of flesh and bone. He stood, then turned and left the flat. He walked past Danielle, not giving her a glance.
She nervously looked at the man as he left, trembling as though she was out in freezing cold. Edging her way to the doorway, she was about to call for Adam, but saw him lying in the hallway. She first noticed his tattoo, which now had lost all meaning, then saw his head. Two hundred metres away, a student wearing an old fashioned cassette walkman heard her scream.
The man walked along pavements and across roads in the direction of his sister’s house where he had promised to be earlier. He checked his watch and saw that he was 25 minutes late. She was usually accepting of him when he was late, and he knew that she didn’t like it, but rarely said anything. He did not liked to disappoint, and never had a reputation for poor time-keeping, but this time she may give voice to her opinion. He speeded up. Passers-by looked at him with surprise as they saw his face and jacket spattered with blood, as well as the fact that he still openly carried the gun.
As he neared a telephone box outside of a wine bar, he stopped and looked down at the weapon. There were two people waiting to use the telephone, and a couple standing outside the entrance to the bar. They looked like they were deciding whether or not to go in. He put the gun to side of his head and pulled the trigger. It simply clicked, and he frowned at it, then dropped it. His breathing grew more rapid and he looked around, panic increasing. The other people were all staring at him with apprehension. He placed one hand on the back of his head, the other on his jaw. He forcefully tried to snap his neck, but it didn’t work. He tried again, but failed. He grabbed his throat and squeezed as tightly as he could. His face gradually began to turn blue and his eyes bulged, but a forceful cough released his grip and he looked frantically around again. He was beginning to tremble. Near the entrance to the wine bar, somebody had left half a pint of lager. He strode across to it, leaned down and tipped it on its side and then stood on it. The glass broke easily, and he picked up the base and had no hesitation in sending it into his neck. The glass carved easily through his veins, and he repeatedly stabbed until half of his hand went into his neck on each successive strike. People screamed, and ran, but he did not notice. Blood showered the pavement, and when he no longer had the strength to lift his arm, when no more blood reached his brain, he collapsed forward into a carpet of crimson.