Josh rubbed his eyes and looked at the clock. “I have to take over from Britney anyway.”
Justin brushed Josh’s thick curls from his face. “Are you sure you want to? Why don’t you just close up?”
Josh sighed. “I have to face them sometime Justin. It’s only an hour.”
“Okay darling, if you are sure. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Josh took a quick shower knowing that he had a strong smell of sex hanging over him then got dressed and went downstairs. After reassuring Britney that he wasn’t going to shatter into a million pieces he eventually persuaded her to go home.
The shop was quiet, in fact the shop was empty and Josh decided to close up he turned off the coffee machines and began to clean up.
The shop bell rang and with out turning around he shouted, “I’m closed.”
“I’ll lock the door for you then.”
Josh spun around. “My alibi held up, what do you want?”
Lance walked towards him and smiled. “I have to say you really ruined my plans there. I felt sure that you wouldn’t have one.”
Josh swallowed and backed away.
“It’s the second time you got in my way.”
Josh’s eyes darted towards the back room then back to Lance who was getting too close for comfort.
“I don’t understand.”
Lance laughed. “Of course you don’t.” He began to circle the counter. “Telling Justin about the SUV. Of course they haven’t found it. Its funny how people don’t see what is right under their noses. I’ve been parking it in the precinct parking lot every day for the past two and a half months.”
“Y …y…your..” Josh stuttered unable to get his word out as the truth sunk in.
Lance chuckled. “Yeah mine.” Lance dragged his fingers across the counter. “You are quite beautiful; I can see what Justin sees in you. He’s going to be broken hearted when he finds your body.”
Josh began backing away from the advancing man. Lance reached into his pocket and took out a small vial. “I want you to swallow this for me. It’s just knockout drops.”
Josh shook his head wildly and bolted for the back room.
Lance chased him grabbing for his foot as he ran up the stairs managing only to get his fingertips on him. Josh scrambled up the stairs in a panic and ran into his bedroom slamming the door behind him and shoving a chair under the handle before backing away.
He could hear Lance on the landing and he held his breath.
“This is silly Joshua. You have no where to go, nowhere to run. Let’s just get this over with.”
Josh ran to his bedroom window and struggled to open it. Behind him was the sound of Lance kicking his door. He cried out in frustration as the window refused to budge and in panic he fumbled the catch.
The door burst open and Lance grabbed him, throwing him onto the bed. The force that was used made Josh bounce off the mattress and land with a sickening thud on the floor. Lance was on top of him in an instant, pinning his arms to his sides with his knees.
“This could have been less painful Josh. I don’t want to hurt you.” Lance cocked his head to the side and grinned. “Well not yet anyway.” He unscrewed the top of the vial. “Open your mouth,” he ordered.
Josh clamped his mouth shut and shook his head no.
“Jessica thought that would work too.” Lance gripped Josh’s jaw and dug his fingers in forcing his mouth open. “Of course it was acid I poured down her throat,” Lance continued. “I enjoyed watching her screaming in agony as it ate her away. She was a real bitch just like all women.”
Josh whimpered as Lance poured the liquid into his mouth. The police profiler forced Josh’s mouth shut and pinched his nose closed.
“You may as well swallow baby. Time is on my side. Besides the drug will work without you swallowing it, you will absorb it though your mouth. Of course it will take longer but I can wait.
Needing to breathe Josh swallowed and the world faded away.
“That’s it angel,” Lance said softly as he stroked Josh’s face tenderly. “Go to sleep. The pain will soon be over for good.”
Justin paced up and down in his office. “Where the hell is he? He sent me a message over two hours ago telling me to meet him here.”
Joey shrugged his shoulders. “He’s been acting weird lately, he’s probably forgot.”
“I told Josh I wouldn’t be long. I had better call him and make sure he’s okay.” Justin pulled out his cell phone and pressed speed dial. The phone rang four times and then the answer phone picked up.
Josh’s voice floated over the line. “Hi this is Josh I’m really busy right now but if you leave your name and number I’ll call you a.s.a.p.” Justin waited for the beep but it never came instead a familiar voice came over the line.
“Tick, tick, tick Justin. Josh can’t answer the phone to you right now because he’s a little tied up. You have an hour. That’s sixty little minutes to save his life. The place you will find him is part of the fabric of time. Fail and he will die screaming.” The answer machine gave a loud beep then went silent.
Justin staggered against the desk. “Josh,” he gasped.
Joey rushed to help him. “Justin what is it? Tell me.”
“It’s Lance … he has Josh. He’s going to kill him.”
Joey snorted back a giggle. “Sure he is.”
“I’m not joking Joe. If you don’t believe me listen to Josh’s answer phone. It was Lance, the whole time it was Lance and now he has Josh.”
Joe picked up the phone and dialled the number that Justin laid in front of him. The colour drained from his face as Lance’s voice rang in his ears.
“I’ll put an APB on his car. We’ll find him Justin.”
“We were blind Joe. Lance … his car it’s …”
“A black SUV! Josh told us he saw the girl getting into a SUV.”
The phone rang and Justin grabbed it out of the cradle.
“Tick, tick , tick Justin. The clock is counting down. Not all time stands still.”
“Where is he?” Justin screamed. “Where is he?”
Lance’s voice was cool and calm. “With me. He’s just dying to see you. It’s the fabric of time Justin, the fabric of time.”
The phone went dead and Justin sank to his knees. “The fabric of time, what does he mean? What is the fabric of time?”
Justin looked up from the floor, tears spilling down his cheeks. “What?”
“The old mill,” Joey half screamed. “He’s telling us where he is. He’s in the old mill. That’s what he means by the fabric of time. They used to mill cloth there in the twenties.”
Justin leaped to his feet and charged out into the street to his car. He fumbled with his keys crying out frustrated when he dropped them. Joey yanked at the passenger door but Justin ignored him. Finally he managed to get the car started and he shoved it into gear spinning Joe away as he peeled away at break neck speed.
Joey ran back into the station yelling for back up and a car, now it was a race against time.