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I needed a new case fast. Sitting in my dump of an office was not going to earn me money. It had been a while since I was in action, and my office looked like a huge tornado had walked through it. The wallpaper was beginning to peel off and turn yellow. My desk looked like it had seen better days and my floor didn’t even exist due to the sea of papers. I was beginning to get a headache thinking about the state of the place. One glass of whisky should solve that problem.

As I sunk into my leather chair, I turned and looked out of the window. That was the only positive aspect about being in this office. The view was magnificent, especially in the evening when the city lights were on. With darkness covering the city, all its flaws were hidden and for a few hours every night, London looked attractive.

I was beginning to relax when a knock on the door ruined the peace. I muttered a curse and yelled “Come in.” The door slowly creaked open and my annoyance increased. For goodness sake, the door wasn’t that hard to open and the area around it was actually paper free. But my complaints stopped short when I saw who stepped in. This one was a looker. Even just looking at her legs was enough to tell me that this was going to be an interesting client. My eyes travelled from her legs further upwards to find a tight-fitting black pencil skirt that wrapped itself snugly around her legs and hips and a pristine white shirt that clung to the top half of her body, outlining her wonderful figure.

After staring at that for a while, I finally tore my eyes away to look at her face, I wasn’t disappointed. Blessed with such a body, she even had the face to match. Golden blonde hair that was carefully styled framed a face that had a pair of big, crystal-blue eyes, a petite nose and round, full lips. I must have had my mouth hanging open as her luscious lips curved into a dangerous smile that told me she knew she had this affect on men.

Her eyes scanned my shabby office, taking in the peeling wallpaper and the avalanche of files. “You’re needing a spring-cleaning here detective,” she finally said, her voice soft but also with a playful edge to it. I grinned. “Oh it needs much more than that, miss…?” “Jeyman. But I prefer to be called Carla.” “Nice to make your acquaintance, Carla. I’m terribly sorry, I would offer you a seat if there was…” Carla smiled. “No it’s quite alright detective. This will only take a moment.” Her eyes darted nervously around the room, as if she didn’t want to meet my eye. “Well…” she began hesitantly. “For nearly a month now I have had someone stalking me…” her voice faded away and she glanced at me from under her long lashes. I nodded, signalling her to continue. “But this person stalking me is nothing like the usual ones. You know, the ones who constantly call you, leave you gifts like flowers and chocolates.” She seemed to turn pale as she told her story and she began to tremble slightly.

“You can’t imagine, detective, the kind of sick and disgusting things this person leaves outside my door.” She stopped and closed her eyes momentarily. When she opened them, tears were brimming at the edges. I was taken aback. My first impression of this woman was nothing like what it was before. She then reached into her handbag and pulled out a brown envelope. “I hope you don’t think strangely of me detective, but I took a picture of every “gift” he left me.” I gave her a reassuring smile. “You’ve helped me immensely here Carla, by taking the pictures. I assure you that I will out who it is.”

I escorted Carla as far as the door then returned to my desk. I took a deep breath and poured out the contents of the envelope onto my desk. There were about thirteen Polaroid’s and another smaller envelope. I picked up the first one and nearly fell out of my chair. I was disgusted. The picture showed someone’s waste arranged to form the message “Darling Love” with several splatters of blood around it. This was something no lady should encounter. I was also curious as to what the smaller envelope contained, and proceeded to open it. What slid out of it made me whistle. A cheque of five thousand pounds stared at me. Carla must have been extremely desperate, but what puzzled me was why she didn’t go and report it earlier. I mentally kicked myself for forgetting to ask her.

As I was about to look at the next picture, I heard a knock. Was it Carla again? “Come in!” I yelled. My facial expression must have been obvious as my old partner, Tom Hosp, smirked and said “So glad to see you too.” I pretended to not hear him and looked at the second picture instead. “Oh I’m hurt Matt, where’s the welcoming of an old friend?” “Have a seat,” I said. “If you can find one.” I looked down at the next picture. This one was a horror. It looked like someone had butchered a whole generation of pigeons and chopped off their heads and this time the message was “Love You.” Suddenly the Polaroid disappeared from my hands and I looked up in annoyance to find Tom examining it, his mouth the shape of an ‘o’. I sighed. “About half an hour ago, a pretty lady came to me about a nutcase who leaves her “gifts”. Not like ideal thing to give a lady huh.” “Oh man, I’ve seen something like this before.” I perked up. “You have?” “Sure.

About two months ago I had complaints from a few women and a man that they were had all sorts of rubbish arranged into a message.” “What? Men as well?” “Yeah. Seems like this one swings both ways.” “Oh Lord. Did you guys ever find out who did it?” “No. The harassments stopped after they were reported so were never pursued it.” “Now it’s back again. Was there any particular pattern?” “Hmm. They were all very good looking people and had money.” I nodded. “That matches. When they complained, how long had it been happening for?” “For nearly a month, they all said. They didn’t report it straight away though, they thought it would stop after a week.” That answered my question as to why Carla didn’t do something about it as soon as she received her first “gift”. “So thinking about it, the “gifts” that Carla is getting should stop as she’s reported it now, right?” “If her stalker is following her every move, then yes, it should stop. But that would mean that the perp would most likely find someone else to bother.” I started massaging my temples. This case was turning out to be more complicated than I thought.

Tom had finally managed to persuade me to come out for a drink. “Come on! You being cooped up in here all day is degrading your looks,” he joked. I ignored him and focused on my whisky, drinking it slowly and feeling the warmth spread through my body. I didn’t want to drink too much. A clear mind was needed because I had misjudged how much work was needed for this case. I finished the drink and turned to Tom. “I’m heading back to the office. I need time to think about this case. I’ll catch up with you later.” Tom began to protest but I had reached the door, and the cold wind outside drowned out his voice. I quickened my walking pace, as the wind was beginning to get violent. Really, London weather was so unpredictable. One minute you have sunshine, the next a thunderstorm.

From a distance, I noticed that something was not right. I clearly remembered switching off the porch light when I left with Tom. I slowed down my walking and made my steps silent. With Carla coming to me earlier about someone following her, I wasn’t taking any chances. As I got closer, I felt a chill running through my spine. There on the landing in front of me, was blood everywhere and to me it looked like animal guts. I felt my blood run cold at the message: “You’re Next.”



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