The sound comes again, only there's something wrong about it. It seems meant - planned; intended to draw me in, to force me to make a mistake.
I will take a risk over waiting now. Waiting, I allow this other person time to plan; to play, to set me up. Time will do nothing for me. I can't see far into the room and one corner is completely hidden from my line of sight.
I take another deep breath and then, without hesitation or giving any warning, charge into the bathroom in a flat-out run. I hit the open door hard with my shoulder and it bangs against the wall, bouncing on its hinges and shuddering.
Something flaps in the corner of my eye. I make a grab for it in the dim light, and the window-blind flies up with a clatter. The small room is invaded by sudden, brilliant light and I stare into every empty corner in astonishment. I am alone.
I'm breathing hard, my pulse racing, my stomach churning with unease and irritation. What the hell? There was someone here! There was - I know it. I'm growing more and more confused, angry with myself. I know I heard that sound. I did hear it. Didn't I? I can't be imagining this.
I'm not an imaginative guy. It doesn't pay to be, doing this job. If I was I'd wake up every night in a sweat from the nightmares. If I was I'd surely be doing something different with my life. I'm good at switching this stuff off because I get a lot of practice: Like if my head was a house it would be full of bricked-up spaces, all piled high with stuff I've consciously decided I never want to see or think about again. I manage, mostly, not to.
This is a joke.
"Ok," I say aloud. "You got me. Come out. I'm sick of playing this game. You come out now because if I have to come looking you better pray I don't find you!"
But what else can I try? I now just want to leave, I want to be out of Mr.Hobart's depressing filth. I want to be home. I want a shower to wash away the stench and awfulness of this place. I want it behind me. To hell with him. I don't care where he's got to - he can stay there. I'm done.
I take two steps, heading out of the bathroom, and the floor gives way under my feet.