Retrieving the box he stood up and shook it next to his ear.
“Nope. No harm done. Are you all right? You look pretty frantic if you don’t mind my saying.”
Hesitating, Ellen looked around but her stalker was nowhere to be seen. She looked back at the man who had run into her. He had a kind face and seemed genuinely concerned about her.
“Well…it’s a long story, but there’s a man following me. It’s not the first time he’s done it. I don’t know where he is right now, he was right behind me. I was trying to get to the bus stop to get away from him. I lost my phone or I’d call the police. He left this horrible note in my mailbox…”
Stopping as she realized she was pouring out her soul to a complete stranger she blushed, feeling foolish. She looked around, suddenly unwilling to look him in the eyes.
“Hey, look, it’s all right, no need to be embarrassed. That sounds horrible. So the police know about this guy?”
“No. I mean, they came to my apartment when I got the note but – look, I’m sorry, I don’t want to burden you. I have to get to my bus stop.”
“Wait, you say this guy was just following you? He won’t be far away if that’s the case. I really think you should go to the police. If they know the story maybe they can find him. Look, my car is right around the corner. I’ll drive you to the station; it’s only a few blocks. You really should report this. If you need a ride after that I’ll take you wherever you were going. I’m in no hurry.”
“Oh, I couldn’t impose. Really, I’ll be fine. You’re very kind.”
“No, I insist. Really, you shouldn’t be by yourself right now. Let me give you a ride.”
Thinking it over she conceded he was probably right. She didn’t know where he was right now and that was dangerous. Maybe she should go to the police.
“Okay, if you’re sure. Thank you, thank you so much.”
“No problem. My car is right around the corner. Let’s go. My name is Eddie, by the way.”
“Hi Eddie. I’m Ellen.”
They walked around the corner and he used the remote on his keyring to unlock his late model Mercedes and opened the door for her. Getting in he turned and smiled at her.
About to thank him again she noticed an odd smell.
“Eddie, what’s that odour? It smells sort of familiar. I – “
Ellen barely registered the hand that whipped around to her face from the back and covered her mouth and nose with an ether soaked handkerchief. She was unconscious almost immediately.
Smirking at his partner Eddie nodded his approval.
“You’re right, John, she’s very special. It’s going to be a wonderful night.”
John pulled his cutthroat razor from his pocket and cut a thin line across her cheek. Shuddering in anticipation he leaned in to take a deep whiff of the blood that rolled down to her throat; It was dark, rich and, he decided, luscious as he lapped it up with his long thin tongue.
“Yes, Eddie, it most certainly is. Now get us out of here before someone spots us.