Ashley rang Dominic to say that she planned to work late and would be home later than usual. She switched off her mobile. It was past four. Most of the pupils had gone home at half past three though some remained behind for clubs and things. In fact her friend Maddeline had run a dance drama club at her school. Ashley swallowed. How terrible that Maddeline had been murdered. What kind of evil person would do such a thing? Ashley had had two days leave from work after her friend's murder but had decided to come back after that. She wanted something to focus on and needed to try to retain normality. She knew Maddeline's school had closed for one day following the incident but had since reopened. Thank God the murderer had not infiltrated the school and killed her there.
Still, according to what she could gather from the papers, the killer was in the habit of visiting his victim's home after nine at night. Although Dominic had planned to pay a visit to his brother, he had cancelled it in order to stay with Ashley and had told his boss there was no question of his working overtime until the murderer was apprehended. Both her brother in law and her husband's boss had been understanding. Ashley rubbed the whiteboard clean and then settled down with all the excersise books she needed to mark in front of her. It was going to be a long day this but if she got it out of the way today, she didn't have to worry about it at the weeekend. Besides, she would perhaps be safer if she stayed in school for as long as she could given the situation and either she or Dominic had to work overtime occasionally.
He parked his car in the street a few yards away from the school where Ashley worked, first making sure there was no double yellow line there. He guessed she was probably working overtime. He had heard that most women asked to anyway if they possibly could, not having any idea that he had changed his modus operandi. He pocketed the ignition key before switching off the engine and stepping out of the car. Locking the car door, he pocketed the car keys too, before walking briskly up to the school.
It was after five now and all the after school clubs had finished. Most teachers had gone home with the exception of the headmaster and Mrs Bellwood. He didn't worry though. He had observed on his last visit that the headmaster's office was miles away from Mrs Bellwood's classroom. He walked in through the gates before discreetly hiding behind a bush. Using the trees to shelter him, he edged his way sideways towards the main building and peered through the window. The receptionist was still there, but as he watched he saw the headmaster go up to her. Luckily for him the window was open slightly and he listened intently.
The headmaster told the receptionist that she could go home. He didn't think anyone would visit the school now since it was now half past five and there was no parents evening or any other meeting. The receptionist thanked him and went to get her coat. The headmaster then returned to his office, asking her to ask the porter to close the school gates after she left so no-one without a key could enter. She agreed. When he saw that the headmaster had left and the receptionist was collecting her coat and bag, he decided to chance it. He swiftly entered and then crouched down behind one of the reception chairs. The receptionist appeared to have noticed nothing. She buttoned her coat, put on her handbag, made sure the computer was turned off and then left through the main door.
Internally sighing with relief, he waited a few minutes. He heard nothing. Then he stood up. Heading for the reception table, he signed himself in as a visitor, putting down an earlier time. If anyone saw him before or after the murder, he could simply make out that he was a visitor who had got locked in by mistake. However, he would take care not to be seen for his own sake. He had to handle everything differently this time. He had no mask or costume now. He was simply himself.