Cold night. Misty. Steven Shearsmith's breath fogged the air in front of him. He heard the blood pounding through his ears as he pressed close to the rough brick wall on the corner of the street and spied on the scantily-clad girl.
She wore a short jacket of stripy brown fur that seemed two sizes too small for her. It didn't even reach her midriff and couldn't have provided much benefit against the chill night air. That wasn't really the point. The jacket was open at the front and the shiny orange material of her bra--all she wore underneath--was stretched taut over the curves of her large breasts.
Steven liked big boobs.
The girl wore a short skirt of the same shiny orange material. It gleamed in the orange glow of the streetlight above her and clung tightly to the lush curves of her behind. It was so short it failed to adequately cover the pink cheeks of her buttocks.
Steven liked a perfect peach of an ass.
She was clearly a streetwalker. The only people that walked these misty streets and dark alleyways after the sun went down were prostitutes and their clients.
Steven tightened his hand around the object he had in his pocket, careful not to prick his finger on the point.
She was alone. The cold and the fear had driven the others away. Fear, because five girls had vanished from this area in the past five months. Their bodies had yet to be discovered. A wolf stalked these streets.
The girl didn't seem to be bothered by either this or the cold. Other than the elaborate tattoos spiralling over her pale skin she didn't look much like the other working girls Steven was used to seeing. She was a lot more attractive for starters. Classy. Chic. Aloof. Along with her short fur jacket and tight orange miniskirt, she wore long orange gloves and stylish boots that were laced up to her knees. Her black hair was cut in a fashionable bob that framed her perfect features. As she posed against the lamppost Steven thought she looked more like an actress or model than a woman of the night. He wondered what she was doing here.
His heart fluttered momentarily at her beauty and he stamped down on it. He had work to do. No distractions.
The one weird thing about her was her sunglasses. It was the middle of the night. There was no sun. Why was she wearing sunglasses? And such a large pair too.
A light bulb dinged in Steven's head.
A black eye. She was hiding a black eye. Someone--a customer, pimp--had clocked her a good one and left a bruise. That's why she was on the streets, and why Steven hadn't seen her before. She wouldn't be able to see her usual clients--rich business types, probably--like that, but the punters here wouldn't care.
Steven was so proud of his deductive prowess he stopped paying close attention to his surroundings. His foot nudged against a discarded beer bottle and knocked it over with a clatter that sounded--to Steven--as loud as a siren.
"Who's there?" The girl turned and stared in his direction.
Steven ducked back behind the corner and pressed his back flat against the wall. He squeezed his hand around the narrow object in his pocket. He held his breath. Even though his heart sounded like a drum to him, he knew only he could hear it. Wait. Be quiet. Give it a few moments and the girl would put it down to her imagination playing tricks on her.
"Come out. I know you're there."
No, she didn't. She was bluffing, trying to sound bold to mask her fear. In a few moments she'd put it down to her imagination and go back to waiting beneath the streetlight.
"We can play hide and seek all night ... if you're willing to pay," the girl said, her voice mischievous and seductive.
Steven couldn't place her accent. Polish, or maybe Russian. Exotic. Sexy.
Stay put. Stay quiet. She'd realise it was only her imagination.
Steven waited for a while, long enough for his thudding heart to subside from somewhere around his throat to back in his chest where it belonged. No more challenges came from the girl. She must have decided it was a cat or rat and put it out of her mind. Steven leaned around the corner for a peek...
... and saw a flat black pair of sunglasses staring back at him. The girl leant casually against the lamppost and stared directly at him. Her bee-stung red lips turned up in a smile.
"There you are," she said.
Steven froze, uncertain of what to do.
"Come over here, so I can see you," the girl said.
Steven shuffled out of the darkness.
The girl wasn't intimidated by his appearance at all. Even though five girls had vanished without a trace from these streets over the past month, she wasn't frightened of him in the slightest, instead looking at him with an amused little half-smile on her lips. Steven was used to that. No one ever took him seriously. He tightened his grip on the object in his pocket.
"What are you doing here?" the girl asked. "You don't look like you're here for sex or companionship."
Her wraparound shades hid her eyes completely. Steven couldn't read her expression at all, but he had the queer feeling her gaze was boring right through him like X-Rays.
"I-I-I..." he stammered.
He started to pull out the object in his pocket.
A car pulled up out of the gloom, stopping right under the streetlight the girl leant against. At the sight of its headlights Steven bolted like a startled deer.
Reece Pemberton opened the passenger door and let the girl in off the street. He was surprised at how attractive she was. She'd looked fine when he'd glimpsed her through the windscreen, but up close she looked even better. Beneath her fur coat her petite figure was curvy in all the right places and slim in all the others. Her black hair was cut in the style of a chic starlet. She looked like Hollywood's idea of a streetwalker and--in Pemberton's experience--Hollywood was usually way off when it came to these things.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
The girl turned to him and raised a quizzical eyebrow.
Ah that explains it, Steven thought, seeing the large pair of sunglasses she was wearing, even though it was pushing on to midnight outside.
"I saw that fellow and thought you might be in trouble."
"Why would you think I might be in trouble?" the girl asked.
"Don't you follow the news?"
"No," the girl said. She looked every inch the insouciant starlet. "Far too dreary and depressing."
"There's a killer on the loose. The press have dubbed him the Wolf of Whitechurch. Five girls have gone missing over the last few months."
The girl's lips parted in an open-mouthed expression of shock. She glanced out of the window. The ferrety-looking man with greasy ginger hair had already disappeared back into the darkness.
"I thought it was quiet," she said.
"Lucky for you I happened to be driving by on my way home from the clinic," Pemberton said.
"Clinic? Are you a doctor?"
"Yes," Pemberton replied. "Dr Reece Pemberton. I work at the sex clinic a couple of streets back. It's a charity thing. We hand out contraceptives, give the girls regular checks for STDs, that kind of thing. If we can't keep them off the streets we at least try to make it safer for them. I don't think I've seen you around before."
"I don't normally work here," the girl said. "It's a temporary thing."
And had something to do with those sunglasses, no doubt, Steven thought.
He glanced down the full length of the girl's body. She had a phenomenal figure. It was rare to see such a pair of firm, round breasts on a slim frame like hers without the aid of a surgeon's knife. It was a shame she'd chosen to despoil her lovely body with tattoos. The youngsters didn't seem to appreciate what they had nowadays.
"Um," the girl said. "Thanks for helping, but can you drop me off at that corner up there."
... so I can find a real paying customer. She was too polite to say it but Pemberton knew she was thinking it.
"Actually, I have a teensy little confession to make," Pemberton said. He reached across and placed a hand on her thigh, let it slide inwards. "I wasn't just driving home through these streets."
"Really," the girl said. One warm hand settled over Pemberton's wandering hand while her other crawled across the gap into the doctor's lap. "Does the good doctor like to take his work home?" she breathed in a sultry voice.
"Don't think bad of me," Pemberton said with a cheeky smile. "I have needs like every other man."
"I don't think bad of you at all," the girl said. "You're my knight. I could be dead right now if it wasn't for you. It's only fair I reward you."
Her hand brushed against Pemberton's crotch.
"Do you mind if we go to my home?" he asked. "It's not far from here and I prefer to be in more comfortable surroundings. I'll pay a little extra."
"Sure," the girl said.
"What's your name?" Pemberton asked.
"Nicole," the girl replied. Beneath her opaque black shades her lush red lips turned up in a suggestive smile.
Steven fumbled with his pockets. Why did they have to make them so damn tight?
He had to remember that.
He'd read the characters off the number plate of the silver-grey BMW the girl had climbed into.
No. No. It was already starting to slip away.
He gripped the object in his pocket and tried to pull it out. The point of the pencil was caught under a fold.
He got the pencil out. He rummaged in his other pocket and found a crumpled up page of notepaper. He stood in the orange glow of one of the streetlights.
.... There is more of this story ...