Monday 11 April 2022

THeY

 

by Henry Lewi

Sazerac cocktail

 

 THeY stood watching in the corner of the square, the dawn was slowly breaking, and the hot moist night turned into an even hotter humid day. The mist rose lazily from the river obscuring their view of Algiers, and silently and still, THeY watched and waited.

  The heat became oppressive and sweat trickled down their back soaking through the crumpled linen shirt, in the heat, mosquitoes and fat flies buzzed around, but still THeY watched and waited.

   The quiet of the early morning was broken by the sound of the first tram of the day as it clattered and clanged its way along the riverbank pausing at the far end of the square to disgorge it passengers. THeY could hear but not see the sound of the first ferry of the day lazily crossing the river to the island.

   The hot sun continued to rise bathing the old square in bright sunshine, and more people began to arrive, seeking shelter along its shaded edges and a few brave vendors began to set up their stalls in the square, and in the heat of the day THeY silently watched.

   The scream broke the silence and very soon THeY heard the wail of the sirens, and THeY knew that they had found their latest victim.

 THeY felt no regret, no remorse just a brief lift of their spirits.

THeY had repeated this ritual weekly, hidden in the shadows around differing parts of the old city, always watching and waiting after the event, returning home to thankfully change out of the restrictive dark linen suit and white shirt THeY wore during their weekly ritual. Only ever, during the spring and summer months when the hunger was greatest did THeY go hunting. Unsuspecting solitary men and women alone in the night were the victims dispatched without a sound. This was the fifth season of the hunt and still THeY had not been caught. Occasionally a witness would report seeing a dark clothed man leaving the area, but the police seemed unable to catch the culprit, they didn’t even have a suspect. They’d even brought in experts from the FBI but still THeY eluded the law enforcement officers. Around the city the police had put up their posters and nightly on TV and Radio they reported on the hunt for the Spring Break Killer, so called because their first victim was found in Ponchartrain Park during Spring Break. The various descriptions of the suspect were vague at best, a slim man of average height and indeterminate age dressed in black, that was it. No facial features, no fingerprints, no DNA, nothing more, and so it had gone on for 5 years.

THeY had been very careful about not leaving clues, sometimes THeY wore a hat, sometimes a cap to hide their features and always once sunrise occurred, wore large Ray Ban Aviator Sunglasses, and of course the surgical gloves.

Watching the crowd gather around the Police, THeY moved away, slipping off their jacket, partially unbuttoning their shirt, and removing the hat and sunglasses they casually strolled home to their flat in the Vieux Carré. How long had it been THeY thought? Seven years since the full transition, despite the hormones and subtle anatomical changes THeY still retained their original muscle strength and had continued to keep up their skills in the deadly art of Krav Maga. As THeY changed out of their linen suit into something more comfortable, THeY thought, as they applied some fresh makeup, the police can continue to look for the man they thought was the Spring Break Killer all they liked, they certainly weren’t looking for woman.

 Time now to move on THeY thought, the West Coast looks promising.   

About the author

 Henry is a retired surgeon and member of the Canvey Writers Group. He has published a number of stories on the CafeLit site

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