Third Strike

Thomas answered the phone with a drowsy, ‘Hi.’

‘This is Mike from Sentry Security Services. There’s an alarm callout for tonight and we’ve got your name against it to attend.’

‘Fuck’s sake. What type of alarm?’

‘Intruder. Best get there as soon as you can.’

‘No bother. Thanks for letting me know.’

‘Who was that?’ Kelly hissed.

‘Callout. Gotta go into work.’

‘Meeting Joanna are we?’ she spat.

He ignored the comment, being too sleepy to have a decent comeback, and started throwing clothes on. In the end his shirt was on back to front but he didn’t care. As long as he had something on it didn’t really matter.

He took the baseball bat from under the bed – if someone came uninvited into his house they were going on an all-expenses paid trip to the local A&E, fuck the legal implications – in case there was still someone in the store.

 

He set off for work, feeling a little shaky after the few beers he’d had.

He wound the windows down all the way, allowing the cold air to blast his face in a vain attempt at sobering up. The last thing he needed was getting pulled by the cops on the way in.

Try explaining that to the asshole he worked for.

His driving was a little shaky, and he prayed no one was watching him weave his way across the road. Thankfully it was only a short drive and he pulled into the retail park without seeing another car.

Intruder alarm? His overwrought mind thought. What the hell does that mean?

The car park was dimly lit, shadows lurking near the store.

It looked decidedly creepier than it did in daylight. There were roughly a dozen hiding places near to the store, and he did his best to check them all out from the safety of his car.

He parked as close to the store as possible and got out, the baseball bat in his shaking hand.

Heart racing, he crossed the car park to the entrance.

 

The store was still lit up, but it was the half lights used outside of trading hours. It would be hard to see what was going on.

Funny how the solitude and circumstances could make something so ordinary terrifying.

He decided his best bet was to get to the office, check the cameras and see if anyone was still in the store.

Bat raised like Babe Ruth in his prime, he moved inside. Every muscle was tensed, ready to explode into a strike if an intruder leapt out at him.

There didn’t seem to be any sign of forced entry, so he remained hopeful that it had just been something falling off the shelf and disturbing the motion sensors.

He opened the door to the welfare block, quickly checked there was no one lurking in the toilets, then opened the office.

The office door was solid, so he reckoned they’d have had real trouble breaking in here. Again there was no sign of forced entry, so he relaxed once the door clicked shut behind him.

And as soon as his guard was down, a black-garbed figure appeared in his peripheral vision.

 

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