Turning into the pathway he stopped still and stared into the black.
Sodium lighting in the street was doing little to penetrate the narrow passage and he could only see a few feet of heavy stone wall disappearing into nothingness.
Straining his ears after the dash along the pavement, urging the blood fizzing around his head to stop, he could only make out distant traffic from the London Road until he heard the faint scrape of a footstep up ahead.
He fished out his phone and flicked on the torch. Slowly at first he advanced, the phone illuminating a small circle of light just in front of him. The ground was littered with leaves in various stages of decay, the gauzy halo of lamplight reflected pale greens, white golds and tans. The foliage tangled with broken twigs and heavy rainfall from earlier in the day, all of which squished underneath his shoes. The smell of wet fauna and the cold, smokey aroma of evenings suddenly lengthened filled the air, and it almost felt like the damp and decomposing vegetation underfoot would seep through his leather soles and up his body, bringing with it anxiety, low self-esteem and a sense of doom lapping at his soul. Doctors might call it Seasonal Affective Disorder. Kenna managers knew the sensation simply as ‘the season’.
He ducked under an arched stone bridge, his trepidation and nerves echoing from the grimy walls. Stood upright the other side he paused and listened. Was that another footstep?
He ran. Slowly at first as he bowed to dodge a second arch, but then in full strides, the ends of his breath visible in the jolting ring of torchlight. Hanging birch leaves brushed his head and shoots of ivy lashed his eyes.
If he failed to catch the fleeing form before the end of the lane he knew it would be gone for weeks, only to reappear fleetingly just before the February transfer window.
Surfacing at the other end of the passageway he slowed to the disappointed jog/walk of a commuter styling out just missing the 76 to Waterloo.
That was it. In the quiet street opposite Rowlands Pharmacy – hands on his knees, long deep breaths inflating and collapsing his shoulders – he knew the chase was futile.
Kenna week 6
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