Annabel hurried through the rain towards the coffee shop, she was starving and in dire need of coffee. It had been one Hell of a morning and she just needed a little break to get herself back into a happy frame of mind. She turned a corner and almost collided with a short man in dark glasses and a white cane.
"Oh, sorry!" cried Annabel. She stepped aside to let the man past but instead he turned his face towards her.
"Do you know where Forest Street is?" he asked. Annabel stared at him for a moment; he was bent and looked extremely tired. He soaked to the skin and shaking with cold. "I need to deliver this letter." Annabel felt a flash of pity and reached out towards the letter in his hand.
"I'm going right by there. I'll take it for you, sir." The man beamed and held out the letter; Annabel took it and turned away. She was halfway down the street when she realized the man hadn't told her what number to take it to and there was nothing written on the envelope to tell her. Annabel turned back and frowned. The man was removing his dark glasses and folding his white cane, he placed both of them into his pockets before dashing across the road, nimbly avoiding the traffic. Annabel looked down at the letter in her hand; she stepped into the shelter of a doorway and ripped it open.
THIS IS THE LAST ONE I AM SENDING YOU TODAY
"What the Hell?" muttered Annabel. She folded it into her pocket and hurried back into the rain, all thoughts of coffee vanished as she headed for the police station.
The officer on duty took the letter and listened as Annabel explained the strange blind man that had given it to her. He excused himself and disappeared into a back room. A moment later, he reappeared with another officer. This one wore a blue suit and had a huge moustache, Annabel almost expected him to introduce himself as Hercule Poirot.
"Annabel Brent? I'm Inspector Wakefield. Can you describe the man that gave you this letter to me?" Annabel gave as much of a description as she could but it wasn't much.
"He was very bent over so I can't be sure about height and it's pouring with rain so he might be fat or it might have layers of clothes. I don't understand, what did that letter mean? What would have happened to me if I had delivered it?" Annabel stopped before her voice could become high pitched and hysterical. Wakefield and the officer glanced at each other for a moment; Wakefield seemed to make a decision and led Annabel across the entrance hall to a small room. She sat down on an overstuffed sofa and Wakefield pulled up a chair. His face was grim and Annabel suddenly wondered if she really wanted to hear what he had to say.
"You are very lucky, Annabel. The man you described is very dangerous; we've been looking for him and his gang for a very long time. He pretends to be blind, selects a suitable lady and plays on their pity to get them to deliver a letter. When they get to the house, they are taken inside and then they vanish. The house changes every time so we have had a lot of trouble tracking them down."
"What happens to the women?" whispered Annabel. Her hands were shaking and it wasn't just from the cold.
"They are selling the bodies as pork to the inner city areas where they are desperate for food." Annabel felt her stomach turn a lazy flip and she was suddenly grateful that she had never made it to the coffee shop.