The Cat From Number 42.

Lucy lay in the darkness of her neighbour’s kitchen, lying still on the floor because it hurt too much to move. The streetlights from out side bleed into the room, she tried to summon the strength to stand but the pain was too much. Lucy just lay there in a pool of her own blood, just waiting for something. She wasn’t sure what she had been waiting for but she had narrowed it down to either rescue or death. Lucy hoped that her housemate Alice would come looking for her once she got home from work. She groaned with a mixture of pain and despair when she remembered that Alice was in Paris until Friday. Lucy knew she would be dead by then if she wasn’t found soon. She hoped the nosey old woman who lived below her neighbour would have heard the bang and a thud; and then rang the police. As she lay there she wondered how she ended up on her neighbour’s kitchen floor in a pool of her own blood.

She knew how it had started…it all started with a cat. A fuzzy ginger ball of fur meowing outside of her front door at two in the morning she would have ignored it or buried her head under her pillow but she knew that the cat belonged to her neighbour. She knew he was on another business trip and she had agreed to look after his cat when he went away. She wasn’t paid for her efforts but he would bring her back a present, and they were always worth feeding the cat for. Reluctantly Lucy rolled out of bed and shuffled sleepily to the front door, sure enough sitting on the other side of the door looking up at her with big green eyes was the neighbours cat. She picked it up, shut the front door and dropped it on the sofa before heading back to bed. She got a little bit of a shock when she woke up the next morning to find the cat sleeping on her pillow as well. Lucy got up and into the shower before getting dressed for work. She picked up both the cat and her briefcase she decided to drop the cat off at her neighbour’s house on her way to work.

Lucy wasn’t sure what her neighbour, John Brown did for a living but he was away a lot so she had keys to his house so that she could sort his mail, feed the cat and water his plants. The cat, Mouse as he had been named because John though it was funny often meowed outside of her door at night because John had gone on some sort of last minute business trip. She unlocked the door and went inside she picked up the post that still lay on the brown ‘welcome home’ mat. She frowned at the letter that had ended up on top of the pile, the address on it was John’s but it had her name on it. The writing on the grubby white envelope was John’s and it looked like he had been in a hurry. There were also some red marks on the envelope, which looked like dried blood. Lucy used her foot to shut the front door and took Mouse and the post into the kitchen. She let Mouse jump out of his arms and on to the counter and then put down her briefcase and the rest of the post. She opened the envelope inside was a small disc that looked like it had come out of a camera and a message written on a napkin. It had a phone number on it, the rest of the message where instructions. They read – Lucy, I need you to do something for me. Ring this number ask for Smith, he will tell you were to meet him. Deliver the disc to him; don’t tell say a word about the disc to anyone. Stay safe.

Confused Lucy pulled her mobile phone out of her pocket. She was going to ring this ‘Smith’ and find out what was going on. She flipped open her phone and noticed the time, she would have to run or she would miss her train. She crammed both her phone and letter into her pocket along with the mysterious disc, grabbed her keys and briefcase off the side and ran out of the front door.

Back in the kitchen, Lucy summoned all of her strength and reached for her kitchen sink. She gripped the rim, and then with all of the strength she had left she managed to pull her self to her feet. It was either room that had started spinning or her head was swimming, because once she was on her feet she felt suddenly felt really dizzy. Holding on to the sink with one hand and reaching for the phone with the other hand. The pain in her stomach was all most too much to bear as she reached for the phone, her fingers had brushed its smooth surface before her legs give in and she crumpled to the floor. Lying in a new position on her side on the floor of her kitchen she once again considered the events that lead her to her current predicament lying in extreme pain on John Brown’s kitchen floor.

Lucy made it to the station just in time to catch her commuter train from Bristol to Cardiff. She managed to find a seat as hoards of commuters who worked in Bristol exited the train. Now that she was safely seated on the train Lucy had time to reflect on what she new about her neighbour, he had lived across the road from her for a year now. She was suddenly stuck with how little she knew about him. She didn’t know what he did for a living, she had never met any of his friends, and she didn’t know if he had a girlfriend or a boyfriend for that matter. She didn’t know where he was from or what school he went too. She didn’t know anything about his family, were his parents still alive? Did he have any siblings? The more she thought about it the more she realised that she barely knew this man at all. She had dinner with him on a couple of occasions they had spent the whole night talking, but he didn’t really say anything at all. In fact the only real things she knew about him were the fact that he owned a cat, enjoyed jellybeans and was a Monty python fan. She had never felt ill of ease in his company nor had he given her any reason to think that he was something other then the ordinary man that he appeared to be. She pulled the crumpled napkin out of her pocket, some of the writing was mugged and there was a drop of dried blood liquid on it. She wondered if John was bleeding when he had written the note, suddenly she felt very ill of ease. She decided to get off at Newport and double back on herself. She would ring John’s ‘Smith’ and find out what had happened to him.

She threw her coat on the sofa and put her briefcase on the desk that stood in her living as she made her way to the kitchen. She opened the fridge and removed the milk, as she closed it she notices the note that Alice had left for her. It has a picture of the Eiffel tower that had been ripped from magazine glue to the top of it. She had written the note in green felt tip pen, Lucy smiled she often said that Alice was a big kid at heart. The note simply read – In the city of love ‘till Friday… don’t call! Love ya, Al. Lucy continued to make herself a cup of tea as she dialled her works number.

“Hi, Its Lucy” she said when Malcolm answered the phone.

“All right Luce, can’t help but notice your not here,” he said.

“Yeah well, vet’s my neighbour’s cat is really ill. I had to take him to the vet in the middle of the night. Of course then I slept through my alarm and ended up missing my train.” She lied.

“Right” said Malcolm slowly. Lucy suspected that he wasn’t entirely convinced.

“So I am going to work from home today, I have the Daniels account and the Johnson account is on Mr Haines’s desk already.”

“Well… I guess we will see you tomorrow then.”

“Thanks Malcolm.”

She hung up the phone and then dialled the number for this ‘Smith’ character; it was a mobile number so Lucy guessed that he was a friend of John’s. “Hello…?” answered an uncertain voice.

“Hello, my name is Lucy I live across the road from John Brown and he asked me to call you” she said, wondering if she should mention the disc.

“Lucy? You feed his cat don’t you?”

“Err… yes, I was just wondering if John is okay?”

“I can’t answer that, do you have something for me?”

“Yes” Lucy felt ill at ease with this whole thing. No one was giving her enough information. “Is John alive?” she asked trying to push him into answering her.

“I can’t answer that, is it a disc?”

“Yes… look I just want to know if he is alive?”

“Is it for a computer, camera or mobile?” he pushed on ignoring her question.

“Is john alright?”

“Answer the question,” he snapped

“No”

“Look you don’t know what your involved in here, it would be best if you just answered the question. I can’t guarantee your safety if you don’t cooperate”

“Are you threatening me?”

“Lucy, can you please just…”

“Camera I think”, she said pulling it out of her coat pocket and examining it once again.

“Have you tried to view the disc at all?”

“No”

“Its safest if you don’t. Do you know Bristol well?”

“Fairly”

“I want you to meet me outside of the council house at twelve o’clock today. I will be sitting on the bench nearest the cathedral. When I see you I will say it’s a nice day today. I want you to respond with I hear its raining in Hawaii, do you understand.”

“Yes” said Lucy quietly she was feeling increasingly unease with this entire situation.

“Remember don’t talk to anyone, thank you” he hung up the phone.

 

Lucy paced her living room while she smoking a cigarette to calm her nerves. Ever since ‘Smith’ had told her not to look at the disc she had inched to do so. She should at least know what she was delivering… right? Lucy picked up the disc and took it up stairs to her bedroom. She removed the disc from her camera and replaced it with the one John had sent her. She started to flick through the images that he had taken. They were of some kind of power station… was it a nuclear facility? All of the signs were in a language that she didn’t understand. She heard the slam of a car door in distance, she put the camera down and went into her housemates’ room to see whom it was. A taxi pulled away from one of the houses on the other side of the street. She noticed that the front door of John’s flat was ajar. Quickly she nipped back to her own room and picked up the disc, she pocketed it as she ran down the stairs. With out really looking she ran across the road and into John’s flat. “John?” she called, a large man who was covered in tattoos and smelt strongly of whiskey or vodka stepped out of the living room blocking her exit. She knew she was in trouble now, why hadn’t she just done as she was told? She backs away from him, remembering the back door she turned and made a dash for it. Lucy had made it over the kitchen’s thrash hold before she felt the sharp pain in her back, she remembered feeling the pain before she heard the gun shot. She fell face first onto John’s kitchen floor. The man roughly search her pocket, he find the disc and thanked her in a strong Russian accent. He called to someone that Lucy didn’t see; as she blacked out she heard the front door slam shut.

Lucy smiled to herself through the pain; the oven clock told her it was five thirty. She had been lying on the kitchen floor for most of the afternoon. She started to laugh, maybe it was the lost of blood or the fact that Lucy had just remembered the disc that John had sent her was still in her camera and the Russian who shot her for it had some lovely photographs of her last holiday and her brother’s wedding. The room was growing darker and darker; Lucy knew some how that it wouldn’t be long now before she died. At least she would be with her Grandfather. The front door burst open and a man ran into the kitchen. Lucy could sirens and flashing blue lights filled the hallway, she didn’t recognise the man until he spoke.

“Lucy, don’t worry we are going to get you out of here”… it was ‘Smith’.