Chapter Nine: The one I mustn’t kill.
If the task of discovering who my hunter was was Herculean in nature, then my next task was certainly Slyphilian.
Yet ironically I had less to do.
I already knew that he was Simon Wallace, that he was fifty nine years old, that he was f X heigh and X weight, with X eyes and X hair and , most importantly, that he was in the game. These were things that I still hadn’t discovered about my hunter.
Yet these weren’t really important.
What I had to know is if he was active or not.
The active hunters should die. That is what I had decided. If the active ones die, then the ones that are passive will remain safe and need not worryabout being forced to kill or about being killed. They may live out their lives peacefully.
Discovering an active hunter was what made this task like rolling a rock uphill.
It would be a constant effort of surveillance. I really shouldn’t just be spending these two days at it really. In fact, this won’t do at all, but I have no choice. Not only is it unlikely that he’ll kill before the end of the week end, he might have in fact already
killed in the past few days. On top of that, even though I’ve have to endure constantly in my watching efforts, if those very efforts are noticed, it might unsettle him. I have to be realistic here, if a bounty sees a hunter coming for him he will of course try to defend himself, even if that hunter, like me, has no ill intentions twards them, (as long as they are passive).
But of course he will try and attack me of he sees me coming.
I would do the same. I have done the same.
I just have to make sure I don’t let him roll down that hill if that’s the case.
With only three stops arund the M1 and M25, I reach Andover by half past one. Part of me wants to sleep but I hold it off. Through multimap I found the exact location of the street and it doesn’t take me much longer to get there. By two o’clock I am three blocks away from 42 New Lane. The semi detached three bedroom house looks calm and idyllic as I expected.
It would be so much easier to just storm in there and ask him u front. N, that would actually make things impossible. He’d deny it and I’d have no proof. It’ll be just a waste.
I head out on foot to a nearby park that I saw along the way, wandering down New Lane in the process This was troublesome. The place wasn’t like the city. It was a small suberan landscape that seemed to have a natural barrier preventing lots of city folk migrating through it. It would be too unnatural for me to just hang around here like this and if I sat in my car I was bound to be spotted as well. It felt wrong just parking it where I had done.
The plan of staking out the house just wasn’t going to work. I headed for the swings and thought it out, rocking backwards and forwards as my mind played with the scenario. I needed to find him first. There was just no point continuing until I knew he was here. For all I knew he had gone off on holiday and had even missed the envelope. As long as he’s out of the country, it wouldn’t matter much.
Confirming he;s here is the first step. Then beyond that is determining his ntentions. I can’t interrogate him without revealing myself though. Should I be honest and just check in with him. No, that’s stupid. He may see me as free game or even follow me back home and get ready in case he ever receives me as a bounty. Should I kidnap him? That would work, wouldn’t him. Hold him hostage and beat the information out of him. It’s a little risqué, but if he’s a passive it’s for the best really. A little bruising and he gets to stay alive a turn longer. But then he is an old man.
I eat the health bar I bought from the petrol station and take my time in rocking back and forth. This just wasn’t going to work.
It takes me another five minutes before I am finally able to let myself grin.
It may have been problematic to sit outside his house and wait suspiciously for a couple of hours, but the ajoining road wasn’t as much of a problem.
After first confirming that they were in by the presence of the red Peugeot out in front, I sit by and wait for as long as necessary, keeping myself awake with talk show radio and debates that can appreciate. It takes two hours before he disappears again and I smile to see him disappear in the car.
Waiting a few moments in case he forgot anything, I unbuckle my seatbelt and head over to the huse. The open window confirms that someone is in and I knock on the door and wait, the only part of my plan that can really fail now is if he comes back in the next hour or that he’s told everything to his wife.
Mrs. Wallace is thin, spindely old lady that looks like she’d snap in half if so much as a breeze hit h-
“Hello? I’m afraid we don’t buy from the…”
Is that what I look like to you?
“Oh no, I’m nothing like that, though I can of expect it from his. I’m Emily Fisher. I work with Mr. Connolley. Well, for I think, I’m not sure.”
“Oh, I’m afraid Simon’s just nipped out to his bingo session I’m afraid. He won’t be back for another two hours.”
Bingo? That was perfect, in so many ways.
“Actually,” I interrupt, sniffing to myself and looking away. “It’s you I need to see, Mrs. Wallace. You see, I’m in a bit of a jam.”
Woman can be eternally politer than men, and always less suspicious. It isn’t long before I’m sipper some earl grey tea and pinching a digestive I know I shouldn’t have. We distract each other with small talk about ten minutes, as I ‘calm down’.
“Now, are you going to tell me what the matter is dear?” she finally asks me after a discussion of the auction show that she likes to watch. “Or do I have to lose all my digestive.”
I take one last one with a complacement smile, and wolf it down in the most Victorian manner possible. Taking our time is what’s necessary here.
“It’s a little difficult to explain, Mrs. Wallace…”
“Please, call me Irene.”
“Irene,” I correct myself. “You see, I only started working at the office last weekand they’ve been so busy wha with it being summer that I don’t think I’ve had the time to learn the job properly. No, I shouldn’t make excuses,” I quickly mumble to myself. “I’ve messed up big time here and I really don’t want to get fired on the first week. I really like this job and I want to keep working there.”
“Calm down,” she stops me with a reassuring smile. “Whaetever it is you’ve done I’m sure it’s not worth firing you over. Like you said, you only started last week. Ad I don’t see what this has to do with me or Simon. He’s just a salames men, isn’t he? He’s not your manager.”
Uh oh, that has to change.
No wait, that works perfect.
“That’s just it. He’s taken a file home that he wasn’t supposed to. Now I’ve supposed to have sent that file off to the head office. It’s got to be there by Monday or elsethe sale won’t go through and I’ve already screwed up so many times and I just know ‘m going to get fired.” Pouring on the waterworks, I watch her contort in uncertainty. Whether this is working or not is hard to tell but I just need to push that little further.
“Calm down dear. I’m sure if you just explain yourself to Simon he’ll swap the files with you and they’ll be no problem. Simon isn’t the sort who’d go round telling on people like that.”
“Oh really, thank you,” I hug her emotionally and she seems freaked out to hug me right back. “Is it alright if we call him now?”
Yes of course, though I don’t know why you didn’t just contact him yourself.”
“I was kind of afraid to let him know. Simon’s such good friends with the manager. He might let it slip if he found out I screwed up. Are you certain it’s alright to tell him?’
“I’ve nevr known Simon to be a tattletale,” she says, standing up and moving to the phonebook. In a flash I dip the powder into her drink, seeing the white coloured contents saturate into the creamy brown and disappear. I was nearly done.
“Here he is,” she says, passing the book to me with a smile. “Do you want to use our phone or…”
“I have my own thank you,” I reply and take it out, dialing incoherent numbers as I watch her gulp down the next stage of her tea. A few misdirected phone calls later and she’s snoozing away.
An hour passes, and I sit there besides her, eventually trying to shake her awake. She comes to and looks at me confused.
“Oh, I’m sorry dear.”
“It’s okay,” I reply timidly. “I wasn’t able to reach him. He must have it switched off or something. I can try again later.”
“Good grief have I been asleep that long,” she says as she observes the clock on the mantelpiece. “I am sorry dear. “
“It’s alright,” I tell her, finally giving up on the phone and putting it away. “I figured I’d have to wait, since it would look strange that disappeared without telling you. You might of thought I took something.”
“Oh I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“It’s okay,” I carry on regardless, no longer needing to hear her speak. “I just thought I’d let you know I didn’t take anything or touch anything. You can check while I’m here if you want.”
As if she felt forced, the old woman does so, getting round her house faster than she would an open field. She apparently checks every place she can think of, and I stay with her all the same.
“Well, I’m convinced. No one seems to have entered the bedroom, and the safe in the study hasn’t been opened or emptied. You really are too paranoid dear.”
“You’re right, but if I could,” I asked one last thing. “Please don’t tell Mr. Wallace I’ve been here trying to contact him. I think I have panicked a little. It’s not really that important and I can tell him on Monday.”
“Of course dear,” she replies, looking relieved to see me straightened up. Help her take the cups out and we talk a little more about how silly I am and I tell an anecdote that I always make a mountain out of a molehill and I secure her silence, and we say our goodbyes. I live just as Mr. Simon Wallace turns the corner.
It was risky, but it was the best way. Now I don’t even have to continue watching Mr. Wallace. In fact, such an action was a waste of time. I don’t need to watch Mr. Wallace a all. I just need to watch Ms. Gillespie, born 29/07/1965, with hazel eyes and chestnut brown hair, as well as a height of four foot eleven and a weight of one hundred and ten pounds.
If she should happen to die by the end of the month, then so will Mr. Simon Wallace.