I walk into the office today to be suprised again. Another paper crane sits on the only blank space on my desk, a tower of calm grace among a chaotic litter of papers and files. I try to slow my heartbeat. It's a time bomb, I remind myself. Sooner or later, this will end in blood and tears. It always does. Still, my hand trembles slightly as I reach out - gently, as if any sudden movement might scare it into flight - and lift the crane from the desk.
I unfold it, fingers fumbling in haste. My only lead in days, and chance to get closer to K. I can barely contain myself. But I can't lose myself now. I stop, put down the crane, and steady myself with a glass of whiskey. Its fire at the back of my throat helps burn off the nerves. Strange how I can only think straight when my mind is swimming.
The crane is from K alright. She wants to meet with me again, at the Bridge. I walk out of town right away. The gentle exercise gives me time to think and collect myself. But the sun is too bright. Too many days inside pouring over bits of paper. My tired eyes wince against the light. Eyes to the pavement, I walk.
I get to the bridge and wait at the bar. I eye up the joint: balding men hide behind thick puffs of cigarette smoke. The place stinks of nicotine and stale beer. She gets the drop on me again, her perfume a kick in the nuts as soon as I taste it. I don't say a word as she takes a seat by my side, save to catch the barman's eye and order a glass of red wine. She takes my whiskey and throws it back. I order another before the barman skuttles away.
K tells me that Thompson is hiding just out of town. Seems he'll be in Pevensey on Thursday afternoon. I accept my whiskey with a nod to the barman. I don't know how to play this, it reeks of a trap. But if she wanted me dead for Thompson, she could have had me at any time in the past week. I ask her where she'll be on Thursday. She just gives me a cool smile, and leaves me alone with my alcohol and the cigarette smoke of strangers.