Steven Borne woke up in a puddle.
He didn’t know his name was Steve, not until he sat up and whacked his head on the bathroom sink. As he slipped across the tiles, away from that dangerous curve of porcelain, his hand brushed against a piece of paper in his pocket. It was a cheque, and when he unfolded it he saw the name: Steven Borne.
(What if the cheque wasn’t his? The possibility didn’t bear consideration; his memory loss was frightening enough. Besides, he felt like a Steve. It was a good name. Dependable.)
The bathroom was cold, quiet. It had high, cobwebbed ceilings and tall sash windows that needed refitting. A spiderweb of cracks in the paintwork. Whoever lived here either rented or was too lazy for DIY.
The built-in cupboard next to the sink was half-open, revealing a combo boiler yellowed with age, the pressure valve leaking steadily. He stood — gingerly, hand against his head — and patted himself down for other clues. His pockets were empty but one of his hands was streaked with dark red stains.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
The cheque was for one thousand pounds. The handwriting was all in block capitals, angular and aggressive. Steve stared, wondered what he had been paid to do. Felt a cold sweat trickle down the back of his neck.
That’s when he saw it: a knife on the floor, spattered with blood.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
Steve looked at his hand again, then straightened to look into the mirror. There were more red streaks along his neck.
He followed the trail of blood spatters to the bathroom door, wincing with every step, his head thrumming with pain. At the threshold he paused, leaning against the cold, cracked tiles to catch his breath.
The blood spatters led down a narrow, tall corridor with parquet flooring and an ornate Victorian ceiling rose above the light fitting. Shame it had been painted over so clumsily.
He lurched down the corridor, one hand against the wall, his woollen socks slipping across the polished floor. The radiator gurgled in warning as he passed.
The trail finished at an archway near the front door. Steve stepped over the blood and peered into the room beyond.
It was a kitchen. Pieces of broken glass littered the floor. Blood dripped down to the counter.
Steve did the only thing he could: he fled.
To be continued…