Wolf On The Northern Line
She’s young. About 24 with a blue cardigan and low heeled shoes. She’s reading The Evening Standard, biting at her cracked lower lip.
I chose her when her phone ran out of battery at Euston. She hasn’t noticed me. Which is ironic given the front page. The police are idiots. Any editor will tell you no one really looks at the front page. There’s an urge to rip it open, stare inside. The main image lasts seconds.
I peer at the photofit under her little hand. It’s crude, could be any man on this carriage. Late fifties, tall, professional. Doesn’t see the sun since that promotion in March. A mask to nobody.
She gets off at Golders Green. I do the same. She’s wearing black tights that are a little too large, and I see her pull at her thigh as she climbs up the stairs. This is one of my favourite games. Guessing what is underneath. I’ll correct my assumptions later.
She hasn’t registered that I am behind her until we are at the crossing. She looks at me briefly, but I don’t meet her gaze, simply stare up at the green light. Reassured, she continues.
I slow down, enjoying the dance. The road splits up to a residential area with trees. This used to be easier, but now everyone flat shares. A woman alone is either old or unpleasant. Not this one, poor thing. Silly girl. Never say your living situation in public.
She turns around, still uncertain, frightened. She quickens her step. So do I. But we are still too close to the main road, so I cross to slow her down.
She stops under a lamp post, her dark hair illuminated like fire. She spins on her heel, staring into the dark. Nothing. Relieved, she sprints round the alleyway.
So do I.
Now she knows she is my prey. Wide eyed like a doe, she stumbles up the crumbling brick and rattles at the lock with her keys. Too late. I push the door above her head and force her into the hall.
“Don’t scream.” I say calmly. “Go upstairs, and behave. And I’ll let you go.” She doesn’t believe me but there isn’t really another option.
She goes up to the landing. First floor, just like she said. Too late, I realise she isn’t crying.
The door swings open. A man sits there in a vest top, holding a kitchen knife, grinning in a way only a man who never sleeps can.
“Good job baby,” he says, as she locks the door behind me. “Get me the bleach. That’s what you gave my Sally, isn’t it?”