Like a heartbeat the sounds of boots on tarmac echoed in his ears, getting faster and faster as the adrenaline pulsed through his veins. The sounds of dogs barking, of heavy footfalls and the thrum of motorcycles was almost too much to bear.
He slid under a gap in the fence as bright lights swept over the wooded expanse leaving strange shadows towering along the hard, dusty floor.
Slipping through the trees, every snap of a twig and flap of wings spurred him on to run faster until his legs burned with pain and his breath became sharp and ragged. He would have stopped, but that wasn’t an option. So he kept on running.
All that was a distant memory that flooded his nightmares making him drown in sweat when he woke up to the bright moonlight in his new home. He had to get out of his homeland, he couldn’t stay there what with the police on his tail and a very angry criminal underworld wanting to kill him for being a snitch.
God what a waste, he thought, a well-off banker but you had to go toss it all away for a little extra money on the side, and what for..?
Godfrey sighed and leant against the bed’s backboard. Once the sun rose he would get out of this hotel... then what, just keep running away?
The room was swathed in darkness, only a shaft of light from the window, that lodged itself in the floor, revealing the contents of the room.
It was simple, a bed, side tables, chest of drawers, open draw and a wardrobe built into the wall. The door was open as were the wardrobe doors (consisting of many vertical, wooden slats).
Godfrey slipped from under the covers and walked round the side of the bed. In a quick motion he opened the wardrobe. Empty.
He whipped round. Empty.
He exited the bedroom into a small hallway were at the end, a door led to the front room. On the floor before the door lay a small, handwritten, unstamped letter.
Godfrey ran towards it.
Picking up the letter, he read the front; for the attention of Mr Godfrey De Vries.
He went back to the bedroom and from the drawers pulled out a letter opener.
Slicing off the top, he dropped the thin piece of paper into his hand.
Would you like to play a game?
1. Michelle Sanchez
2. Elias Heikkinen
3. Tony Blake
4. Kamali Ncube
5. Ebisawa Hitomi
6. Alexi Bogdanov
7. Mei Yu
8. Thiago Torres
9. Vahide Younan
Kill these people and we can get rid of all of your problems, you could be rich and go home. Proof is in the envelope.
Godfrey’s stomach lurched, gagging. Through strangled breath he cried, “what kind of sick joke is this?” Inside was a bank statement dated today and an audio cassette. He pressed play.
'"Detective Collins, if my client accepts my offer and succeeds, you will let him go. I have built a little trust fund that will go straight into his coffers. If he does succeed, a similar trust fund will go to you."
"Indeed, I understand. Inform me when this is done and I'll succumb to your offer sir."
"Pleasure doing business."
The cassette stopped, still making an eerie whirring noise.
A crash in the kitchen caught his attention. Gripping the knife tightly, he moved towards the sound.
“I’ve been looking for you, the boss isn’t very happy you know.”