Run for your life by Stepen Waller
Today, Kim and Dave were not with their school friends. Dave did not want to go by bus. He wanted to look round the old town. Not the famous buildings. Not the big shopping streets with the banks and cafes and bookshops. He was interested in the little streets behind the old market. The ‘dangerous’ old town, people said. But Dave was not frightened. ‘There are “dangerous” streets in Liverpool, too,’ he said.
They did not try to remember the names of the streets. They did not have a street plan. At every corner they stopped and looked. Then they came to an interesting little street. It was very narrow.Very old, they thought. Dave took a photograph.
Kim looked up. The houses were very tall. The windows up there were in the sun. But down in the street it was dark.
They came to a little open place with two or three trees and sat down. It was quiet.
Suddenly, there was a noise in one of the houses. A door opened and a man in a black shirt and jeans ran out. He stood at the open door and looked back into the house. Then he ran across the street.
“Is he coming over here ?” Kim asked. There was something about the man.
Dave didn’t answer. The man ran to the corner and looked around. Then he ran away.
“He put something in that rubbish bin” Dave said.
There were shouts from the house. A second man ran out into the street. He had long hair and dark glasses. He stood in the road and looked around.
“Perhaps he’s looking for that man in the black shirt,”said Dave. “And looks, he’s got a gun!”
Kim looked. Dave was right. The long-hair man ran across the street and went round the corner.
‘Let’s get away from here” Kim said.”I don’t like this ”
But Dave was excited.”Let’s go and have a look in the rubbish bin”he said.
Ther was a brown box in the bin .Dave took it out and opened it. A small white bag fell out.
“Drugs!”he said.” we’ll take this to the police”
“Can I see it?” Kim said.She took a little white bag. She was suddenly frightened. She looked round. Behind them was a man there under the trees, watching them.
The man moved. Kim looked at the bag in her hand. Suddenly she knew.
“Dave,that man-he’s back! He’s here!”she said.
The man was very near them now. He was not tall, with a thin, white face and dark, dangerous eyes.
“Give it to me”, he said in Spanish. His frightening eyes moved quickly to Dave and back to Kim.
Kim opened her mouth but the words did not comes out. “oh, Dave” she thought “Do something” But Dave did not move
Then she saw the knife in the man’s hand. She started to ran down narrow streets. but she didn’t see any people. She heard him behind her
“Quick” She thought “I can’t stop”.
But all the streets were the same. Where was he now. Suddenly, she came round a corner and her legs went cold. The street did not go through. It stopped. There were some car and a big old building. An old cinema, perhaps. But there was no road through
Kim looked back. The man stood at the corner and waited. He started to walk slowly down the street.
Kim looked round. There was a door in the building. She ran to it. It opened. She went in and shut the door behind her.
Noise. People. Women. Talking, shouting, moving their arms. The market!. She was in the market in the old town, near the big shopping street. That door was a back door to the market and the big street was very near.
She started to walk through the market. She was in a slow-moving river of people with heavy shopping bags. She moved with the river. Every time people stopped and looked at some fruits or fish, all of them stoppped. Kim wanted to go quickly but it was not easy. All these women with bags of food for the family! Then, in the sea faces,K im saw those same dark eyes again. Watching her. He was here in the market.
Kim started to run. There were shopping bags under her feet. She fell and got up again. People shouted at her. One woman tried to catch hold of her, but Kim did not stop.
Then she looked back. The man was not behind her now. Perhaps she was wrong. Those eyes – perhaps it was not the same man. She saw the big street now. She saw the sun and the trees. Suddenly,a hand came down on her arm and held on to her.
“Are you Kim Steele?” the woman asked. She was tall, about thirty. She had a friendly look.
Kim did not understand.”yes” , she started to say ” but how do you…?”
Then,in the woman’s hand, she saw a photo and in, Spanish, the word POLICE. “I’m inspector Lozano but please call me Ana”
The police woman smiled. “Your friend Dave found us. He’s in the car. Come with me”.
Kim sat in the car with Dave. There was a man with Ana. He had long hair and dark glasses. Now Kim understood: he was a policeman, too.
She gave Ana the little white bag and asked about the man with the knife.”He sells drugs, is that it?”.
“That’s right”,Ana said. She looked at the long-haired man.”Nacho here nearly caught him in his house. You saw that.Vidal – that’s name – was lucky. He got away. But we want him, and you can do something for us”. Nacho smiled.
Y-y-yes,”Kim said slowly, “but…”
Ana: Vidal knows you now, Kim. And he wants his drugs. Listen. This is my plan. You go back to that place near Vidal’s house. Vidal will be there and he’ll see you. We’ll be there, too, but Vidal won’t see us. He’ll think,”She’s looking for her friend”.
Kim: I can’t do it.
Ana: Don’t be frightened Vidal won’t get near you- we’ll stop him, but he’ll try.. And then we’ll catch him!
Kim: What do you think Dave? Say something!
Dave: Well, uh… Ana and Nacho will be there and they know all about those things…
Kim: But this Vidal man has got a knife. Perhaps he’ll kill me!
Dave: Well, yes I’ll be there too, you know.
Kim: You do it, then!
Dave: Ah, but Vidal doesn’t know me!
Kim said “yes”and Nacho talked on the car radio. Then they drove round behind the street. Kim got out and shut the car door. She walked to the corner and then looked back. Ana smiled at her. Dave’s face was very white.
She was back in the same street now. The was the house. The door was shut. And there was a rubbish bin. Two or three people came down the street. Kim walked slowly across the road. She looked round, then up at the windows of the house. She waited.
Then she saw him. The black shirt, the thin face, those eyes – it was Vidal He was very near her
Kim looked across the street. She was ready to run. Then she heard Vidal. He said something, the same thing again and again
“What’s he saying?”Kim thought.”Is he talking to me?”.
She look at him. He didn’t move. Only his mouth moved. This time she understood the words.
“Give it to me or you’re dead”,he said.
A car drove round the corner very quickly and stopped. Ana and Nacho jumped out. She held guns Ana shouted: “Police, don’t move! We’ve got guns”Ana said.
Vidal suddenly jumped at Kim and caught her. Kim tried to hit him to get away, but he held on to her hair. He was thin, but strong. Then she saw the knife
“You’ll be sorry, Vidal” Nacho shouted ” You can’t get out of here. Think, man!”
“Throw the knife down and take your hands from the girl!”
But Vidal held on to Kim. He shouted to the police ” Get back in the car, or I’ll do it” He held the knife near Kim’s face. She shut her eyes. Time moved very slowly. She saw the face at the window of one of the housed across the street.
Ana and Nacho moved back to the car. Suddenly, there were excited shouted from behind the police car. Their guns were ready but Vidal stood behind Kim.
Suddenly, There were excited shouts from behind the police car. It was Dave. He ran across the street.
“what’s he doing ” Kim thought. “Does he want to see me dead?”
Ana tried to stopped him. “come back, this man is dangerous!” she shouted
Dave ran to the rubbish bin.He stopped, took the bin in his hands and held it up over his head. Then he threw it
, The rubbish bin went over Kim’s head and hit Vidal. Rubbish fell round his feet. He fell. Kim quickly took the knife from his hands and threw it away. There were excited shouts. Kim looked up. It was Nacho and Ana. ” He is all yours now” said Dave
Nacho held Vidal’s hands and took him away. Kim fell into Ana’s arms. Later, they drove back to the hotel in a police car. Kim looked at Dave
“Don’t say it. I know. It was dangerous! But I saw the bin and I thought, well you know… I wanted to do something. I see the things in the cinema. They’s always a strong man. Today, I was the strong man”
“Let’s not think about it, Dave. It’s not important now. The important thing is: what are we doing tomorrow? We didn’t see all of the old town today. Let’s go out again tomorrow afternoon. Have a walk around. You can’t see the town only from a bus, you know”
” I go for a walk with you tomorrow – to the bus stop!”