Chapter Twenty Six – Lots

4 Aug

It just stood there for what seemed like five minutes. I have to say that I felt slightly stupid, to say the least. Just as I was about to turn away, I heard a low, mechanical creaking. Rosie gasped. The wooden model raised the pencil above it’s head and started tottering towards the dark shop window. When it was about a foot away, it started to stab at the window with the pencil.

Even though the pencil quickly snapped in half, the model kept pounding on the window with it’s wooden fist. The noise echoed around the street, but no-one even glanced in our direction. Feeling nervous, trembling fear, I stepped closer and tried to pull it away or at least topple it over. Nothing happened, it was as if it had glued itself to the pavement after putting down roots.

As I tried again, I noticed a few small hairline cracks in the window. Rosie shouted : ‘Look at the door!’

I stepped back and stared at the door. Thin lines of ink were running down the frame and the window. The shop was completely filled with ink. Beside me, the pounding got louder and louder. I heard the screeching of cracking glass. It wouldn’t be long before the whole window would spiderweb into a thousand tiny pieces. I turned to Rosie and opened my mouth. But, before I could say anything, she just nodded and started running.

I followed closely. We dodged pedestrians in strange clothes who didn’t seem in the least bit interested in two people running away from something. I almost felt sick – if anyone of them died, then it would indirectly be my fault. But then I remembered that the ink just copies things. Still, getting nearly drowned by a tidal wave of ink couldn’t be good for anyone.

We heard the window shatter just as The Caffe Noire came into sight. It was quieter than I expected – just a faint plink and whoosh that I really had to strain my ears to hear over my pounding heartbeat and the rumbling of passing cars.

Rosie leant against the wall of the pub next to The Caffe Noire to catch her breath and I joined her. We’d failed. We’d screwed up. We’d fucked up. And now probably a large part of the high street was covered with ink.

‘We have to go back and take a look.’ I muttered between breaths.

‘Are you crazy? If anyone sees us there and remembers that we were standing next to the dummy, then we could be in serious trouble.’

‘I don’t think anyone saw us.’

‘I can’t take the chance, Claura. If you want to check it out, then go ahead. I’m getting some tea.’

I nodded and started walking back to the clothes shop. I could understand what she was feeling, I felt the same freezing paranoia, but I just had to see. If I didn’t, then I’d be haunted with melodramatic images of people gasping and choking under a giant wave of dark ink. People coughing it up in the streets as they tried to stand on broken legs and drag their dead away. Yes, on one level, I knew I’d just see a messy street and a few annoyed people, but I had to be sure.

When I was about five streets away, I saw the first tendrils of ink on the pavement. They were less than half a centimetre wide, but they kept tracing their way across the in my direction. The guilt was already gnawing it’s way through my gut, I hadn’t expected to see the ink this far away from the shop. Still, at least there wasn’t too much of it and I couldn’t hear any sirens.

The ink kept rolling towards me as I walked down the street. As I neared the end of the street, I froze as the realisation dawned on me –this street was angled slightly uphill.

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