Alice clutched her side as she ran, unable to stop and take a breath as she chased the man through the busy streets.
One of the things she hadn’t expected that afternoon was first, to eat her weight in pizza, and second, to have to run over a mile through two tube stations and several alleyways to catch her latest contract.
What were the chances he would be at the same Italian restaurant as her? She would say her luck was changing, but the stitch that stabbed her side seemed to loudly disagree.
“Stop!” she shouted, almost out of breath. That was the last time she let Sam convince her to eat a large pizza on her own. The man was pretty fast as he dodged around commuters and cars, and she would usually be faster, but there she was, defeated by a stomach full of cheese and carbs.
With a groan, she forced her legs to move, climbing the fence behind a rundown block of flats a few seconds after him.
“I said stop!” Alice skidded to a halt, breath coming out in pants as Mr Luton attempted, and failed to climb over a seven-foot brick wall. “You’re under arrest.”
A black cat sat and watched her beside some rotten bins, its reflective eyes eerily stalking her every time she moved into a closer position. The poor thing was small, severely emaciated with clumps of hair missing. One eye was blue, the other green while he was missing the top part of his left ear, the edge raw. By the angry red colour and obvious swelling it was clearly recent, which made it even sadder.
The stench from the bins wouldn’t have been as bad if the cat hadn’t decided to rip them open, polluting the air with a mixture of rotten food, milk and what looked like a crusty sock.
She ignored the feline, pulling out her phone and taking a few snaps as Mr Luton turned with a wide-eyed look. She had been hired to find the drug dealer who sold the drug HE2 to her client's son, resulting in his overdose. The police had nothing to go on, so it had taken Alice a few weeks of searching amongst the usual dealers to find the one matching the description, as well as photographic evidence for the police. It resulted in an official warrant for his arrest. As she had already fulfilled her contract and sent over the evidence, actually catching him was just a bonus.
“You again!” he hissed, looking around for a way out before his eyes settled on her phone. “Bitch, did you just take my picture?”
The cat sat between them, casually licking a paw. She tried to wave it away, worried it would be harmed, but clearly cats wouldn’t listen when silently threatened with castration. She should have known, she had threatened Sam with it once, and that hadn’t worked either.
“Get on the ground!” She held out her palm, looking as threatening as possible. It would have been easier if she still had her gun, but she hadn’t renewed her license since leaving S.I.
Her hair whipped across her face, the wind cool against her skin. The ice and snow had all but melted over the last few weeks, but the chill still remained. She was grateful she had taken her jacket out with her, unlike Mr Luton who she had caught unawares and had ran before he could grab his own coat. So he stood in his jeans and tank top, as if he wasn’t in a country that barely reached the mid-twenties even in summer. He had gotten soaked by a passing car and a puddle a few streets before, turning his white tank see-through. So not only did she have to deal with his pale-arse arms with the worst tattoos imaginable, she also had to deal with his large burger-like nipples.
“Give me the fucking phone.” He took a step forward.
Something brushed against her thigh.
She tried to push the cat away, but it just continued to watch her inquisitively before it brushed against her once again. Even a rude hand gesture didn’t move the bloody thing.
“Fuck off,” she hissed as the cat began to purr surprisingly loudly considering it looked half dead.
As if called, the cat walked towards Mr Luton, a slight limp to its back leg.
“If you don’t get on the ground, I’ll have to use force,” she warned.
“You?” he laughed, flashing his gold teeth. “You look like you can barely make a fist. Shouldn’t you be in the kitchen, doll?” He pulled out a knife, the blade long and serrated.
Well, that was bloody rude.
“Someone is clearly overcompensating for something,” she said, steadying her legs. “It’s the Mrs I feel sorry for.”
A flush coloured his neck. “Give me the fucking phone.”