BOVVER BOOTS: Part 4 (for parts 1, 2, & 3 scroll down)
My heart beat shifted up tempo until it was trip-trapping along rapidly, my whole body throbbing in time with its rhythm.
I dragged my eyes away from the youth's face and glanced towards the end of the alley, the Radshaw end. It looked a thousand miles away. I narrowed my gaze, debating whether to make a sudden dash for it.
The young man punched me. Hard and square on the jaw.
My teeth clamped down on my tongue and the coppery taste of blood flooded my mouth. I staggered backwards, completely taken by surprise. I went down - much to my shame -like the proverbial ton of bricks, whacking the back of my head against the wall as I did so. My arms shot up in the air and I landed with a back-jarring thud on the ground. Just before my vision misted over I caught sight of the carrier bag containing my boots go somersaulting through the air, then my head was filled with exploding white stars, and I blacked out.
I came to gradually.
Off to my left I could hear the rustling of the carrier bag. I pulled myself into a sitting position - my lower back screaming in agony - and slumped up against the wall. The rustling continued. My assailant was obviously seeing if there was anything worth stealing. Well, I thought spitefully, he was out of luck. The boots would be far too small for him. He was certainly no size eight.
I opened my eyes.
The young man hadn't moved. He was still towering over me: glaring down; his face full of menacing purpose. A tiny metallic click sounded in his right hand and suddenly he was holding a six-inch double-edged knife. The silver blade glimmered in the dusky half-light. I knew without a doubt that the youth wouldn't hesitate to use it. To stab me for the measly thirty or forty pounds I had in my wallet, and I would breath my last in this godforsaken hellhole, surrounded by the reek of dog-piss.
Something moved beside us in the dark.
The young man's gaze shifted that way. I watched his eyes open wide, his jaw drop. "What the fuck...?"
Curious, I turned my head.
The boots, the Doc Martens, were standing neatly side by side: heels together; toes slightly apart.
My heart began to trip-trap in my chest again. Something wasn't right here. I had seen the carrier bag go flying through the air. There was no way the boots could have fallen out and landed like that: tidily, together, the right way up.
A heavy feeling of foreboding fell like lead to the very pit of my stomach.
With slow measured steps the boots started to walk; they approached the youth.
The young man narrowed his eyes, cocked his head to one side. An expression of almost comic disbelief came over his face. He took one hesitant step backwards, then another, and another. The boots kept coming. Unhurried. Steady. Intent.
Three feet away from the youth, they stopped.
TO BE CONTINUED....