60 Penscroft Mansions
Friday 29th April
Thorne hooked his overcoat behind the door. It smelled of the dawn dew and mud. He took a screwdriver from the pocket, throwing it onto the tabletop. He had searched the streets from 4.00am till the first rays of morning sun brought out the early commuter traffic. Now he was relieved to be home.
He had walked the silent pavements in the early hours until the threatening, velvet rain clouds smothering London gave way to porridge grey. With the dawn he knew his time was up. His nightmares usually kept him awake for most of the night but this night he didn’t care. Soon he would sleep forever. Soon his Diana could also be at peace.
He splashed his face with water from the tap, towelled it dry and switched on his television. On the screen he watched Matt Milton emerge from his kitchenette, wearing a dressing gown. Thorne studied him dispassionately, like a vivisectionist watches a beagle smoking in a cage. A muscle spasm over his left eye caused him to flick at his face absently. Thorne switched the TV to a news channel.
He wanted a boiled egg and some soldiers as he did when he was a child. He put a pan of water on the gas ring then struck a match. The gas ignited with a plop! and he dropped three eggs into it. They bobbed on the surface as he smelled the toast starting to burn. Reaching out he flicked up the bar on the toaster. Thorne slashed at the toast savagely, cutting it into strips, now talking to himself in the voice his mother used.
“Don’t ask so many questions, Kenny! Eat your toast. Don’t talk with your mouth full, son.”
The TV News presenter announced cheerily.
‘...and so the great day has arrived. Prince William and Kate will finally take their vows before a world wide audience of billions..’
Thorne devoured his eggs, savagely plunging the strips of burnt toast inside them. Still muttering in the shrill voice of his dead mother.
“Come on, son. It’s seven o’clock. You don’t want to be late for school now. Bring teddy.”
In the cheap lodging house, Kenneth Thorne took out his squat Smith & Wesson and broke open its chamber. He loaded in six .38 Special cartridges and snapped shut the four-inch barrel. With the gun in his raincoat pocket he moved to the door. When he knocked at room eight he already knew Milton was preparing to leave. He had watched him dress for the streets on his TV. Thorne felt he was acting out a play. In his prison cell he had been through this routine many times. He was smiling as Milton opened the door.
“Hello, Matt. Good morning to you.”
Milton shyly returned the smile.
“Oh, hello, Kenny. I was just getting ready for Her Majesty. Do come in.”
“It’s forecast to be sunny out there, Matt. You’ll not need to wrap up against the rain.”
Milton pointed to a large red, white and blue umbrella leaning against the wall, tailored from a Union Jack with smiling portraits of William and Kate in its panels. He slipped on the matching flag waistcoat over his shirt, then an overcoat.
“No problem, Kenny. I’m always prepared for the streets, if it rains or not.”
He nodded to his portrait of the Queen, now pinned to a batten of wood. Slipped over it was a clear polythene bag secured with a rubber band. “I hope she sees me today.”
“I’m sure she will, Matt. Let me give you a lift to the route.
Milton beamed, lifting the portrait on its pole.
“You’re so kind, Kenny. How can I ever repay you?”
Thorne scowled, following him out.
“We’ll think of a way, Matt. Of that I’m sure.”