on December 1, 2013
Genres: Mystery, New Adult
Amazon • Goodreads
Dream cars have no registration plate...
One evening, Adam’s mum pops out for the milk and doesn’t come back, launching a frantic nationwide search. Yet after weeks with no leads, the television crews drift away, the police start asking hairy questions, and Adam’s dad starts seeing someone else. Adam’s life is falling apart. But then he meets Skye, who it seems has misplaced a parent too, and things start to look up. That is, until a body is found...
Tuesday after training, Adam watches as a boy with sloping shoulders makes his way down the street. Wearing a grey hoodie, dark jeans and canvas kung fu shoes, the boy’s hands are buried deep in the pockets of his sweatshirt. He walks with deliberate intent, his head down. Any of Adam’s neighbours chancing a look out of their front window right now would see only his lean shape and hurried gait, his face, reduced to the occasional flash of broad nose, concealed in the depths of the hood.
This boy is Adam’s prey.
Adam haunts him, moving soundlessly from tree to fence, keeping his distance, watching and waiting. Something in his demeanour had alerted Adam the moment the boy emerged from the dairy. He isn’t from around here, Adam’s sure about that. And he isn’t a regular customer either: he hasn’t turned up on the other evenings Adam’s held vigil outside the dairy. Perhaps it’d been the boy’s furtive glances left and right, or the fact that he hadn’t bothered to buy anything in spite of hurrying into the store only minutes before Mr Singh closed up. Whatever it was, Adam felt compelled to follow him. Grateful to be still wearing his running shoes, Adam crosses the road and takes up a position behind a lemon bush in Mrs Steele’s front yard. As he pulls a branch aside to better track the boy, it occurs to Adam that in real life surveillance is less sexy and more prickly than it is on TV. He peers through the thicket of woody stems.
Unaware he’s being watched, the hoodie boy pads down the street. Outside Mr Wilson’s house he stops and looks about. He pulls a can from inside his clothes, pulls off the cap, shakes it quietly. Adam almost smiles. Contractors from the council came only days ago to paint out the tagging on the transformer. This guy’s back to do the deed again. Adam can hardly believe his luck.
The lemon branch flicks back, the leaves rustling as they hit Adam’s jacket. The small sound pierces the hushed gloom of the street. Startled, the boy looks about, his head darting left and right, still shrouded in the hood. Adam jumps back into the shadows of Mrs Steele’s house. He stands still and doesn’t dare to breathe. A car drives past. The boy stuffs the can into his sweat pocket and sits on Mr Wilson’s concrete fence, dangling his feet and rocking to music on an imaginary iPod.
He looks as if he’s waiting for a mate or a bus or something. When the car has turned into the next street, the boy slips off the fence and whips out his can again. This time he doesn’t muck around. The deed is done within seconds: a smear of illegible script in fuck-you red and with a final flamboyant flourish through the centre. He steps back to admire his handiwork for a moment, then flings the can into Mr Wilson’s flowerbed before setting off down the road.