An altercation with a thief
There comes a time when one needs to take a deep breath.
Although a dull whistle of wind through my broken window had infuriated me throughout my drive to Caernarfon, when I spotted a large figure swathed in a beige peacoat strolling contentedly down the Caernarfon High Street, I knew that flying off the handle wouldn’t serve me too well.
The detour to North Wales had put me a day behind schedule, but I wasn’t leaving this town without Jeffrey’s diary, without it I’d have no hope of getting to the bottom of where the devil the old chap had gotten to. My phone buzzed in my pocket, reminding me that I’d yet to inform Lara of where I’d gone. Late on a Monday morning – she would have got back from her parents last night and assumed that I’d been working late in the library (or just asleep at my desk) – still, now the jig was up and she certainly would have noticed the Jag missing from the garage, which would have set off alarm bells. I put the phone on silent and tried to maintain a safe distance from Haversnatch, as we slowly made our way down the High Street, presumably en route to the cinema.
He seemed blissfully unaware of my following him – he couldn’t have assumed that I would have taken the affront of the theft of the diary and the wanton damage of my Jag lightly?
The film had already started by the time I’d bought a ticket and followed Haversnatch in. Some ghastly, pompous soundtrack was blasting through the sound system as blurred images collided into each other from either side of the screen. Matinee showings clearly weren’t very popular in Caernarfon, the theatre was mostly empty, making my entrance somewhat conspicuous, however Haversnatch didn’t seem to notice. He was sitting in the middle of the theatre, still wearing his peacoat – every now and again he would turn and talk to a small figure sat next to him.
A minute later, Haversnatch was up and walking towards me, I pretended to look below my seat for a dropped sweet and watched his feet pass by. I lifted my head up, Havernsnatch hadn’t seen me and it looked like the person he was conversing with was still there. I was at a quandary. Do I approach this stranger and demand to know what they were talking about, or do I run after Haversnatch?
It was quite possible that a trade had taken place. If that was the case, then chasing Haversnatch could prove a fruitless endeavour, giving the new owner of the diary ample opportunity to disappear into the unknown. I’d made up my mind. Haversnatch was no longer the target – I needed to keep an eye on this new man, if it meant getting closer to what Jeffrey was trying to tell me in his note.
I was stealing myself for a long slog through a film that I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy, when I heard shuffling behind me and a familiar voice whisper: ‘You should’ve stayed in London, old chap.’
A heavy blow to the back of my head, stars blossomed in my eyes and I crumpled in my seat.