The Bare King

The hotel room was cool compared to the heat outside, but the temperature had nothing to do sweat breaking across Robert Forrester’s forehead.

After locking the bolt and setting the door chain, and then walking back and pulling on the door to make sure, he inched along the inside wall, avoiding the windows. He pulled the suitcase, stolen earlier that day from the bus station, from the closet, filling it by tossing his clothes from the chest of drawers across the room. Forrester got down on all fours and searched under the bed, coming away with a gun that he shoved in his belt, and after a second search, a thick envelope, which he stuffed in his jacket’s pocket.

They’d found him, he didn’t know how. It should have been impossible. Forrester took a knight’s tour of the country. Doubled back and forth. Took trains, and cars and buses. Used false names when he registered for rooms, and left by the fire escape.

Trailing him had to be impossible.

Unless they’d gotten to Chelsea. Forrester grimaced and wiped the girl and her dark eyes from his mind. She couldn’t have said anything, she didn’t know where he was. Unless he slipped up. Maybe he said something on the telephone, gave some clue. Maybe they’d had her phone tapped.

He’d only just got here. There was no way they could have surrounded him as quickly as they did, unless he made a mistake. Snapping his suitcase shut, Forrester tried to figure what he had done to give himself away.

It had been too close in the restaurant. If the waiter hadn’t leaned over the table to light the candle, he might never have seen the gunman.

He’d run inside, and cut through the kitchen, quick as a bishop, into the alley, then a quick right as the heavy footsteps echoed behind him. The next left, and then another right, and then he went two blocks, hit the street and managed to cross, weaving through the cars waiting at a red light.

Confident, looked around the room one last time and made to leave. He undid the chain, and unlocked the bolt. The door swung open and two thugs stood in the hall, casually holding heavy pistols. He backed away, deeper into the room. The other two followed, closing and locking the door behind them.


Prompt courtesy of Literary Lion.


5 thoughts on “The Bare King

  1. Seconding Laura here. I liked the pace too :) And yet, I’d like to read more – find out what happened next. Did he escape? Were the two thugs the same people he was running away from? You’ve given me food for thought.

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