Short Story Preview: Barking Mad – Josie Arden
From the top landing window, Bob saw the police car stop, siren cut-out, right beneath him, at the front of the flats. They must have seen him enter.
He put his bar of chocolate into his pocket. He had no time to lose. His only chance of escape now was to find the back stairs in the hope the fuzz would come up the front ones to this landing first. He’d never been this close to getting caught. Melanie would give him a real hard time if he copped it today.
The hot weather had everyone leaving their doors ajar. Gently, he pushed open the first door and found himself in a small hallway with three more leading off – all ajar. His choice of the middle one was a mistake. He had blundered into a bedroom where a couple were making love. And of all people, the girl grinning at him beneath the man was actually Dora, his ex from way back.
Apologise? Explain? No time for any of that. He put a finger to his lips, pointing, urgently to the back of the building. With their rapport of old, she understood immediately and gave a thumbs up sign, indicating her kitchen. He left her smiling as he tip-toed past her oblivious companion.
About to go down a floor, he froze at the sound of male voices. To go more quietly he bent and took off his shoes, tying them by the laces, with fumbling fingers, to his belt.
He slithered down a flight but his way was suddenly blocked by a young girl thrusting a screaming baby into his arms.
‘Take her! I’ll go mad if have to hold her a minute longer!’
She’d clattered down the stairs before he could reply and between the baby’s gasps for breath, he heard a man say, ‘Excuse me. We’re after a man on the run who is in this building. Have you seen the face in this picture?’
Bob held his breath. He was done for now.
Her lie in reply staggered him.