Eight: Paranoia


I turn the corner quickly, my eyes searching through cars, buildings, trees, everything, trying to find Layla.

From what her agent, Tina said, Layla had run out of the place for no reason, and when she’d tried to get her back inside the building she refused to go and ran off. Tina appeared to be incredibly worried so we’d all gone to find Layla.

“Layla!” I yell.

I swear I hear it echo.

“Layla,” I repeat, coming to a stop and shivering as I stare around.

She must be a fast runner.

I see a man walking his dog down the road and I stop him. He looks nervous. “Sorry. Have you seen a girl come down here? Black hair...wearing...Black?”

The man considers this. “Well, a girl ran past me about five minutes ago. Seemed to be heading down to the canal.”

I bite my lip.

“Well, there’s no seems about it; there’s nowhere else she could be heading, unless she’s going to the cemetery. I’d check both places if I were you, son.”

I thank him and ask which way I should go for the canal. “If you carry on down here till you get to Baker Street, turn left and go down the alleyway there. You’ll get to the cemetery first. Be careful round both; neither are safe at this time of night.”

He nods at me and carries on walking, changing direction.

I swallow and carry on walking down the street as he told me. I reach Baker Street in about two minutes, and there is a thin narrow alleyway running down behind some houses. I follow that, my heart pounding in my chest. Nettles and weeds cling to my legs. I eventually stumble out onto a small road. There are no houses, just a few dark-looking buildings. I see the imposing gates for the cemetery and run across the road towards them; the gates are unlocked and open.

I run through the cemetery. It is too dark, shadows everywhere; the wind is loud here. I’m getting increasingly paranoid.

The paranoia fades away as I hurry through the next gate in the cemetery. I’m on another street now, but there’s a bridge going over the canal; a lone person stands on it and is looking out over the water.