Enjoy the Ride
Bill’s head throbs as he swings back onto his feet. He pulls back his blood-coated sleeve to check the time.
His watch is gone.
Tourists gather in a circle around him and stare; some are cheeky enough to snap cell phone pics. Flash. Snap. Click. Murmur.
He glances at them groggily and heads to the door. The crowd separates to let him pass.
His left knee buckles slightly but he steadies it. He puts his hand on the brass doorknob and opens it to find another room. Confusion sprawls across his face.
He walks over to the fixtures on the wall, reaches out to touch them. Cautious customers lean away from him and whisper.
The key. Where is the key hidden? Along the wall? In the rafters?
Bill is certainly not deprived of height as his crown brushes across chandeliers, but the ceiling is no easy jump. He eyes the room as mothers tremble and grip their children to their bosoms.
Sweat trickles down his chest.
He locates an empty table, shoves it to the middle of the room and heaves himself onto it with barely a wince.
Fingers search wooden rafters. Vision swirls. He searches.
Extreme blood loss. His arms droop. He steadies them.
He crashes to the floor as customers gasp.
Meanwhile, Winston sets down a cup of tea.
“Lovely day, isn’t it?”
Veronica eyes his dashing white suit and twiddles with her pearls.
Winston’s mustache twitches as he smiles, baring his yellowed teeth.
“Do you reckon he’s found our little surprise by now?”
A tinkling laugh. Veronica sets her hand on his chest and leans in towards his ear.
“Let’s just enjoy the ride.”
Vision swims. Legs buckle.