BOVVER BOOTS: Part 5 (for parts 1, 2, 3 & 4 scroll down)
For long seconds nothing moved. Not myself, not the boots, not the young man. My heart was pulsating fit to burst, every beat shaking my entire body and pounding like a death knell in my ears.
And then everything happened at once.
The young man spun round on his heels, obviously meaning to make a dash for it, but the Doc Martens forestalled him. One boot lurched itself with breakneck speed between the fleeing man's feet and tripped him up. The youth dropped with a bone-cracking thud to his knees. The knife clattered away into the shadows. The second boot reversed direction slightly then flew forward faster than ever and kicked the man on the backside, hard, knocking him face down onto the ground. The youth's nose crunched on the concrete. Blood, dark as ink in the night, gushed from his nostrils.
I watched as the man put his hands, palms down, on the ground each side of his chest, to push himself up. Immediately the boots were on him. Stamping down on his fingers, grinding the digits under their thick rubber soles. The youth screamed in agony. He lifted his head and looked at me, his eyes full of pleading. One of the boots, sensing the movement, lunged along his prostrate body and kicked the man full in the face, shattering his already broken nose.
The screams of the youth reached new heights, rebounding off the alley walls until I could bear it no longer. I turned my head away, pressed my fingers in my ears until all I could make out was a muffled drone. How long I sat there, hunched up, I don't know, but eventually I realised that the droning had stopped. I removed my fingers, turning back round. What I saw caught the breath in my throat.
The young man was still lying on the ground: face down; motionless. A large pool of blood surrounded his head. The Doc Martens were standing neatly side by side. Heels together, toes slightly apart. Black leather wet and glistening.
I closed my eyes and ran both my hands through my hair.
Something was approaching me. Something was walking towards me with slow measured steps.
I snapped open my eyes.
The boots stopped about three feet away: heels together, toes slightly apart.
I made a soft mewing noise deep in the back of my throat and pushed myself further up against the wall.
The boots stood silent. Unmoving. Then all of a sudden they clicked their heels sharply together in a Germanic salute, pivoted round, and marched off down the alley, back towards Quarry Road.
I watched the boots until the darkness had swallowed them up, listened until their clump clump had faded away to nothing. Only then did I move. I got stiffly to my feet, my head still throbbing from where I had whacked it against the brickwork. I rubbed my jaw and winced out loud as my fingers encountered a hard sore lump.
Against my better judgement I walked across to the young man and looked down. There was no telling if he was dead or alive, and I had no inclination whatsoever to touch his battered bloodied body.
I glanced up and down the alley, stepped over the discarded carrier bag, and headed for home and Maeve.
TO BE CONTINUED......