I wake in the morning with my alarm piercing and black ink stains on my cheek. I realise I fell asleep on the sofa with the newspaper in hand. Turning off my alarm, I clamber out of bed and get myself ready for another day. I leave early, walking through the park as I did yesterday, in case I encounter the man again. I don’t at first, but as I have time to spare, I sit down on the bench and wait, hoping he’ll arrive. I wait as late as I can and he doesn’t arrive so I leave and drop into the coffee shop on the bottom floor of my building before I go upstairs to find another one staring at me. On the counter, unnoticed, lays another newspaper. I pause.
I look around and the coffee shop is as busy as usual, but there’s no sign of the man or anyone who doesn’t belong. But it can’t have been there long… because someone would have surely noticed, wouldn’t they? Were the people in the shop wilfully disregarding it? I snatch it into my bag quickly and grab my order, taking the lift upstairs.
The day goes by slowly. I spend more time looking over the John Salem case and make no significant leads, other than the fact that maybe one of the guards might be a bit rogue. I imagine when I pursue it, it will lead to nothing. A Holmesian-style red herring. In the evening, I double lock the front door to my apartment and sit down curiously with the newspaper. Its predecessor at my side, I compare them.
Both of them bare the same ‘Tyndall’ logo in the corner, and they are aesthetically the same, with the same font and style. Although the main headline is something insignificant, there’s a small section that catches my eye on the bottom of the front page which reads ‘Salem still missing… What a shame about the wine in the cellar.’
It has to be a clue. What if the man on the bench was his kidnapper? I know by the simple fact that this copy was in my workplace, that he must be aware of who I am, and he must be trying to force me to make a connection. I shiver slightly. I have a fan. I sleep very uneasily.