Litelli felt the tingles of his senses come to life as he emerged from sleep into consciousness. Before his eyes opened he could feel the material of his clothes against his body, feel the coldness of the air he breathed and he could feel the grip of something around his right foot. As his senses feedback to his brain what was going on he could also feel the the weight of his head and upper body. It was a strange sensation and one he couldn’t fathom. It just didn’t feel right.
As his senses levelled out he opened his eyes. A few inches away from his face, dashes of white and grey marble seemed to flicker with the afternoon sun against them. He could feel the cold winter air against him and his body. He realised his legs felt colder. His arms, too.
Aluminium strips about 3 inches in diameter ensconced the marble as it travelled the length of his current field of vision. He looked up as if to see how far the marble and metal would dominate his view.
It just went on and on, and then…….there were…….people. Little people?
The reality of the situation sunk in, a sick stirring of fear started to engulf Litelli’s body. He was upside down, and the marble a few inches from his face, was part of a building he was dangling off of, but what was holding him?
Instinctively but wrongly he started to kick with his feet and move his arms, bringing them towards his body. His arms moved OK, and his left leg, but the right leg still had resistance. In these tender seconds he realised the grip of something round his leg was the only thing stopping him from plummeting towards the cars and people beneath.
He stopped kicking. And now realising for the moment, up meant down and down meant up, he looked towards his feet, towards the feeling of weight against his leg.
‘Where is it Litelli?’ The voice raged. ‘Where the f**k is it?’
‘Where is what? I have no idea what you are talking about’ said Litelli with a chilling insight into what this could mean.
‘I know you have it. And I know what you did to get it. So don’t you dare play these games with me. Do you not remember me? Do you not know where you are? Do you forget what I am capable of?
Litelli’s predicament had frozen him in time for a few moments. He began to think of how he didn’t scream when he first opened his eyes, of how he didn’t know where he was, what city, what building he was hanging of off, let alone what country. All this really was quite superfluous he thought. It really didn’t and shouldn’t matter. Quite obviously his main focus should be answering this mans questions and being pulled up from the side of this building.
Litelli began to focus on the questions and the voice asking them. As he hung upside down he looked to where the voice was coming from. It wasn’t from where he was being held. The voice was from a couple of feet away. He was fairly sure. So he wasn’t alone? Whoever had him.
Litelli composed himself once more. ‘I honestly have no idea what you are talking about. I don’t know you. I haven’t lost my mind and I know this isn’t a dream. I remember my name and who I am. I don’t recognise your voice. Maybe if I saw your face. I would know who you are and what you are talking about?’
Litelli hoped this more heartfelt and more lengthy reply would give some credibility to his unspoken plea of being hauled up from where he was. Surely he was telling the truth?
As he became more aware of the gripped right foot that was the only thing suspending him, he now realised it wasn’t a hand but something mechanical holding him. Almost a vice like grip.
Ordinarily under normal circumstances this would have felt painful but now, the pain faded as if it wasn’t there, Litelli would be plummeting to earth.
‘You have one last chance’ said the voice.
Litelli heard the rattle of a chain. As the chain took up slack, he heard a grunt from where the voice was coming from, about 8 feet up from where he was hanging. His ankle cracked with the momentum of being wrenched in another direction, Litelli’s lean and toned 12 stone bulk having no option but to follow in pursuit. He expelled an earthy, defiant, angry sound as he felt the pain of the ankle crack, then his face and torso slamming into the cold marble. His arms seemed to flail behind and he had little reaction time or control over them. They too slammed into the marble, hands first, then elbows. He didn’t make a sound. Almost as though he was used to pain now.
He must be held by something mechanical. Maybe ‘the voice’ wasn’t with someone else. Maybe he was alone.
‘You got nothing for me? Nothing?’
‘I can’t tell you what I don’t know. Do you want me to lie?’
‘I actually thought you’d be keen to tell the truth under the circumstances.’
‘What’s your name and what is this thing that I am supposed to have? That might help’
‘Are you taking the p*ss now? You know who I am. And you know what I want’
Litelli thought of his options. Rather limited he reasoned. No escape plan. Except an answer. And would he live even if he did answer? Regardless of whether that was the truth? Would this person really drop him?
‘I can’t help you’ said Litelli.’
‘Well then’ said the voice. ‘You know me. Very well. I’m Greysun. Sometimes called Brazon Greyson, which incidentally I don’t like. Mine is the last voice you will ever hear and I’m a man of my word, as you already know. So let me help you.’
Greysun peered down further over the edge of the building. To see his foe. He let go of the chain. The chain slammed to the floor, seething and wriggling with speed like a hungry mechanical snake zooming in on its prey. As it got to the latch that the partially built window cleaning winch was attached to, it clunked and cracked loudly. The clamp released. Sprang up. That would be it…
Letilli heard the noise above, and for a split second, he tried to reason with himself that the noise had been something else. With no hesitation or favour towards gravity, he began to hurl towards the ground. His arms flailing, his legs kicking. It was a long way down but he knew it would be over with quickly. Soon he would be dead.
As he fell his back cracked and pain shot through his spine as his legs arched over himself. Almost as though his legs were in a race with the rest of his body to get to the ground first.
Insurmountable pain began to surge through his neck and head too. He was picking up speed fast, travelling at great velocity now towards the concrete below. He thought as if falling to his death wasn’t enough; it had to hurt on the way down too? His body was close to flipping over on itself. As he fell, thoughts flashed through his mind, as I guess they would for anyone at this time. Consigned and resigned to death, Letilli thought about his life, his loves, those he had hurt, and those he had lost. He guessed the fall would take no more than 20 seconds. He was a long way up. His eyes were shut, the force of wind too hard to keep them open. Why keep them open? He thought. He knew what was going to happen, why see it coming?
Unable to resist, he forced his eyes open. He saw something below, and not just the ground. Before that something red, squared, and bright. He didn’t know what it was, but he was hurtling towards it.
Greysun stepped back from the edge of the building, the impending death of another man at his hands flitted across his soul, just for a second. He knew the consequences of his actions, and so did Letilli. That’s how he reasoned it. He was almost consoling himself of his own actions.
Of course he had a choice, but so did Letilli. He should have told him what he wanted to know. Then he would have lived. Greysun shook his head as these words drifted through his head. He knows he would have still dropped him, he had to go, he knew too much, had gotten too close. There was no other option.
Now Greysun’s job would be harder, but he would still succeed. He would go to Letilli’s flat, break in, and find what he had hidden there, or look for clues about where he what or who had it, or who knew. Someone else must know.
Greysun held his left hand up to his face. Forced his palm under is stubble jaw, and pushed it hard up the side of his face, grasping his temple. His hands were rough. I guess he did dirty work. He wasn’t a man to wear gloves either. It affected grip and feel, and besides, gloves could still leave traces for forensics. The smell of the rusty metal still lingered on his hands, the metallic smell flaring his nostrils and reminding him of what had just happened, and what he had just done.
Pebbles crunched under his footing as he walked back to the staircase. He knew he didn’t have long to escape before the police arrived. He couldn’t chance taking one of the main lifts. He would walk down the majority of the stairs, which wouldn’t be a problem. Then he will take the tradesman lift straight to the basement car park. He would see how many Police were there, and if too many, would leave the car, and take the footbridge over the lower complex and down to the metropolis beneath. CCTV could be an issue but with the 100’s Sunday shopper sales foot fall, he should be OK.
The building itself shouldn’t be a problem. Still being built, not occupied on any floor. Just the odd security guard to contend with and no cameras live yet. There were a few tradesmen about but not many were working this day. He had done his research, ear wigging in the local pubs, hearing the chatter and natter.
Letilli hurtled towards the red squares beneath. As he got closer he could see what they really were. He thought about whether they would help, whether they really could save his life. In the vital seconds he had left he wandered whether they would make his death worse, even more imminent, they could slice him in two.
He covered his head with his hands, and tried to pull his knees in toward his head, bending his legs as he did so. He managed it.
At close to 90mph, Letilli ripped into the red squared safety netting. At this speed, it could have sliced him in half but not this type. It was of a plastic composite, not like the old rope style and had been there since the beginning of the build. Most of it around the building had been removed, as it was so near completion and this section had remained, due to be removed next week.
Mark Scotchford © 09/02/2015