فصل 07

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  • زمان مطالعه 7 دقیقه
  • سطح خیلی ساده

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Chapter seven

Night caller

I was going to Tokyo the next day to find Naoko Kawaguchi, so I decided to go straight home after the talk with Mrs Ito. I wanted to listen to some jazz music, relax in a hot bath and have an early night.

As I opened the door of the flat, I reached out my hand to switch on the light. Suddenly I felt an arm swing sharply round my neck from behind, stopping me breathing. Then I felt a knee in the bottom of my back. The force of the knee pushed me into the living room and I fell face down on the floor. The attacker got on top of me and pulled my arm up behind my back so hard that it hurt - a lot. I made an effort not to cry out. I struggled but could hardly move a centimetre. The surprise of the attack made it very effective. I tried to get up but it was no use; I was trapped. The body on top of me was light - it felt like a small man - or a woman - but very strong. Then I felt a sharp pain across the side of my face and I felt like I was falling into water. I couldn’t feel anything any more.

I didn’t know how long I had been lying there when I woke up. The room was going round and round and I was very cold. I was shaking with cold. I could hear the saxophone upstairs and I crawled on my hands and knees towards the kitchen, where I knew there was a brush. It took a long time; I felt weak. Finally, after what seemed like hours, I managed to reach the brush. I got hold of it and tried to stand up, leaning on the handle. I felt shaky but I managed to push the handle of the brush up towards the living room ceiling and knock. I heard the sax stop but then start again. I knocked” again.

‘Come on, Tim!’ I said under my breath. Then, thankfully, after about five minutes, the sax finally stopped and I heard footsteps coming down towards my flat. I crawled on my knees to the door as he stopped outside and called, ‘Kate, are you OK?’

‘Tim,’ I said weakly, through the closed door, ‘wait, I’m just opening it.’ I managed, somehow, to get to my feet.

‘Christ! What’s happened to you?’ Tim, who’s a big guy, picked me up and carried me towards my bed.

Once I was warm under the bedcovers he said:

‘I’d better call the doctor - you’ve been unconscious.’

‘No, don’t! It’s OK. I’ll be fine. I’d rather leave it. Just get me an ice pack,’ I replied.

‘Whatever you say,’ Tim looked worried and went off to the kitchen.

Half an hour later, I was lying there drinking whisky and hot water with an ice pack round the right side of my head, feeling like I might die. I felt so bad that I thought it might be nice to die. I tried to tell Tim what had happened but I was feeling confused and in the end I gave up and just rested.

‘I’ll sleep here tonight, on the sofa,’ said Tim, ‘just in case he comes back.’

‘Or she,’ I said, thinking that Tim would have little chance against whoever it was who attacked me. Still, it was a nice thought. Maybe Sanjay was right, maybe I ought to start training again. Then I fell asleep.

When I woke up next morning, I felt as though I had a hangover from drinking too much. Despite the ice pack, I had a huge blue bruise down one side of my face and it felt swollen and sore.

‘Wow!’ said Tim sleepily, looking up from the sofa as I walked slowly through the living room on my way to the kitchen for tea. ‘You look terrible.’

‘You say the sweetest things, Tim,’ I replied.

We sat together on the sofa drinking tea. It was a painful business. The hot tea hurt my mouth.

‘Lucky my jaw isn’t broken,’ I said, looking in a hand mirror, ‘Looks like it was done with an elbow - the elbow is the hardest bone in the body. Whoever it was obviously didn’t mean to do me too much harm.’

‘We’ve got to get those lights fixed outside,’ said Tim, shaking his head.

The lights between the lift and the doors on the sixth floor weren’t working. This meant that, as you got out of the lift, there was an area of darkness before you got into the flat. Perfect if someone wanted to hide. Perfect for my attacker.

‘Who was it, Kate?’ asked Tim.

‘I didn’t get a chance to ask,’ I said crossly. Then, ‘I don’t know, Tim, but I do know that whoever it was, they could have killed me if they’d wanted to. Some damn good technique too - somebody who’s been trained, I’m pretty sure.’ Even when I was in pain I appreciated good technique. ‘It was a warning, though, not an attempt at murder,’ I said. But I knew that whoever had hit me could certainly kill someone.

20th December 1960

Brixton Prison

Dear Janey

Thanks for your letter -your letters mean a lot to me, I can tell you. I’m glad you’ve moved away for a bit. I think that was a good idea. I hope you ‘re well and things are progressing in the right way.

I just sit here thinking about the good times we’ve had and how nice it would be to be out of this. Once all this is over, I’ll make it up to you, I promise. These last few months have made me see life in a totally different way. Now, the only thing I want is to settle down with a nice girl like you and have a family(!) I’ve learnt my lesson, I can tell you. Life is too short to waste.

Well, it is just a few days before Christmas and I can tell you that prison is not a good place to be at this time. Not very jolly, if you know what I mean. The only thing to look forward to is news of my appeal to the Home Secretary, but I don’t think I’ll hear anything until after Christmas now.

I’m looking forward to your visit next week. In the meantime, Happy Christmas and look after yourself.

All my love

Brendan

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