The mall was packed and Amarinda had had enough. She was sick to death of Christmas and it was only November! Everything started so early these days and everything was so expensive. She'd only bought four presents and they had cost her over one hundred pounds. Amarinda adjusted her grip on the heavy bags and dashed into the lift, ignoring the evil looks from the waiting women with buggies.

"My need is greater" muttered Amarinda. The lift descended into the parking area and she hurried through the cars to her own, she lifted the lid of the trunk and dropped her bags inside.

"Excuse me miss, but you seem to have a flat tyre." Amarinda jumped and spun around, letting out a little squeak of surprise. The man standing behind her was dressed in a dark blue suit and carried a brief case, his hair was slicked back from a high forehead and a pair of wire rimmed glasses sat on his nose. Amarinda breathed a sigh of relief before following his gaze to her left rear tyre, it looked like it had been slashed and was completely flat. She groaned.

"Great, just great."

"I can change it for you if you like. It won't take long" said the man with a smile. Amarinda sighed and nodded a thank you; the man introduced himself as Paxton before placing his briefcase in the trunk and pulling the spare tyre from under the shopping bags.


As Paxton worked, Amarinda began to feel more and more uncomfortable. Every time someone else walked past, Paxton hid his face so they couldn't see him. He twitched constantly and his eyes darted from side to side. When the job was done, Paxton straightened up and turned a charming smile on Amarinda. She felt her flesh crawling as that smile revealed too many teeth and it didn't reach his eyes.

"All done. Say, do you think you could give me a ride to my car? It's two floors down." Amarinda was about to agree but she still felt very uncomfortable, she jumped when Paxton slammed the trunk closed and smiled at her again. She swallowed and pulled her car keys from her pocket.

"Actually, I have one more thing to collect. I was just dropping these bags off and then planned to head back. I can give you a ride when I get back" said Amarinda. Paxton's smile faded and he suddenly looked furious, his hands clenched into fists. He was about to speak when a crowd of people came around the corner, Amarinda quickly joined them and headed back up to the mall.

The security station was near the entrance and, if it hadn't been for the crowds of people, she'd had sprinted there. Amarinda grabbed the arm of the nearest security guard and told him about Paxton and that she was really creeped out.

"I'm probably just being silly but I really don't want him in my car and it's really quiet on those bottom floors."

"No problem, miss. I'll walk you back to your car and make sure he doesn't bother you." Amarinda sighed with relief and smiled, she followed the security guard back down to her car but Paxton was gone. The guard checked behind the other cars, under Amarinda's and then he opened her trunk.

"That's his briefcase! He must have left it behind" said Amarinda. She lifted it from the trunk, the clasp suddenly gave way with a little snapped and the case fell open. As the contents hit the concrete floor, Amarinda felt her heart skip a beat as the blood in her veins froze. A roll of duct tape twirled to a stop a few feet away while the large butcher's knife clattered to the floor, the rope unravelled and lay there looking like a super skinny snake.

"Oh my God" whispered Amarinda. The suitcase slipped from her fingers as she fell in a dead faint next to the tools of Paxton's trade.