Harry woke in what he first thought was darkness, but it was just his eyes not quite working as well as they should. The room was dark, smelling of old paper and the mustiness of age and neglect.
It took a few minutes for his eyes to adjust, hoping that the blow to the head hadn’t cause temporary or permanent blindness. It was a room, fully enclosed, very quiet, and lit by a single low wattage bulb over what appeared to be a doorway.
The door was closed, adding to the effect of a confined space.
But instead of being cold and damp, it felt hot and humid, and he blinked away another bead of sweat that ran slowly down his forehead and into his eye and stinging. Others were running down the side of his face.
He was tied up, lying on his hands behind his back making them feel numb, and his legs tied in front of him. Harry wished now he had paid more attention to the Houdini movie to learn his escape moves.
How did he get to this room, and who brought him and tied him up?
Frightened didn't quite describe how he felt.
Harry wriggled his hands and felt the tightly knotted rope dig into his skin. No escape there.
Did Al do it? The last thing he remembered was talking to Al. But Al was in front of him after he turned. The blow had come from behind so Al could not have hit him. Someone else, perhaps an accomplice?
Why would Al do this to him? He was working for him and had a job to do.
Then there was another issue, questions popping into his head faster than an oncoming train. How did they, whoever they were, or for that matter Al, know he had left his car in the car park?
He'd not picked up on the fact he was being followed, a sure sign he needed to work on his surveillance skills.
But, where was Al now?
After another, more concentrated investigation, Harry discovered he was in a sparsely furnished room, with shelves and boxes along two of the walls, and a row of cabinets along the other.
It was an effort to turn around or focus his eyes. Waves of pain ran through his head.
Then he realized there was something on the floor behind him. He worked his body around to take a closer look.
It was a body.
His heart missed a beat. It was his client, Al.
With a bullet hole in his shirt about where Al’s heart would be situated, and a large red stain around it. A very familiar face staring at him from sightless eyes.
There was no doubt about it.
Al was dead.
© Charles Heath 2016-2018