Sleep just wasn't an option, obviously, and Stephanie sat glued to the news channel on the television in her tiny flat. It wasn't until seven in the morning that the ordeal hit the screen. A notorious drug dealer and gang leader had been found dead in Weller's Yard. Woody Woods had had his throat cut in, what the police stated, was a gang killing. Woods had just been released from prison after serving six months for drug related offences. Stephanie recognised the man on the screen. She'd seen him on the news when he'd first been sent to prison for selling drugs to kids. She actually felt quite relieved that this was such a vile person and not some innocent man. There was no mention of a gun being fired at all, nor of anyone else. Just that it was a gang killing.

"Serves you right you shit." Stephanie said, watching the officers lift the body bag into the back of an ambulance. "Probably one of those kids' family getting proper justice." So what had happened to the man in the bushes? Surely they must have found him? He'd been shot four times and he was bleeding to death. Why hadn't she told the police he was there? Why had she felt in no danger? He'd just slit someone's throat and Stephanie had offered to help him! "Oh no! You're not lying dead behind the bus shelter! You can't be." Stephanie grabbed her jacket.

It was pouring down rain outside and Stephanie was soaked with just walking the short journey to the bus stop near her house. Her hands were visibly shaking by the time she'd arrived at the bus shelter, and the bushes. She heaved a sigh of relief when she found no one. He had been there though. The branches of the bush had been snapped and flattened, but the pouring rain had washed away any blood that must have been there. Stephanie was just about to walk away when a glint caught her eye. Under a twist of leaves and branches she found a ring. It was a heavy man's ring and looked quite old and expensive. It had a huge red stone in it, maybe a ruby, and the letter D was etched into the stone in gold.

"Whoa! I bet you could do with this back." Stephanie whistled. "So come and get it." She pocketed the ring. The owner of the corner newsagents opposite the bus shelter must have thought Stephanie was a total freak. She bought five newspapers, three crossword books, and three magazines during the course of the day. This was as well as a sandwich for her lunch and three bags of crisps as a 5pm snack.

Bus after bus came and left while Stephanie sat in the shelter out of the rain.

"You're off your head Steph." She sighed to herself as yet another bus arrived. She shook her head at the driver as he opened the doors.

"You sure? Next one's not for an hour, at eight, then that's your lot until midnight." The driver shouted.

"No thanks." Stephanie waved as the bus crawled off. It would be dark soon so she decided to wait for the 8pm bus and get on it if no one came for the ring. By five minutes to eight she was cold, stiff, and struggling to believe that she'd spent the entire day in a bus shelter. She stood up and rubbed her numb backside and bent her stiff knees, then her blood ran cold. Stephanie's stomach lurched when she heard twigs snapping in the bushes behind the shelter.

"Give me the ring." A low, quiet voice drifted towards her causing a lump to form in her throat. "Give me the ring." He repeated.

"Are you ok?" Stephanie warbled.

"My ring!" The man snarled.

"Look pal, I've sat here all bloody day waiting for you!" Stephanie snapped suddenly. "I saw you take four bullets in your guts and I left you bleeding to death."

"I'm fine." The man said quickly.

"Yeah? So why are you skulking in a bush?" Stephanie asked bravely. The young man who unfolded himself infront of Stephanie made her catch her breath in sheer astonishment. He was the most startling person she'd ever seen. He stood a few inches over six feet and had hair that was long and straight and so black that it looked blue. He had piercing blue eyes and a complexion that was so pale it was almost white.

"As you can see, I'm fine." Daniel repeated.

"My arse you are!" Stephanie blurted. "I saw four bullets ripping through you!"

"Obviously you didn't." He said calmly. "It looked far worse than it actually was. My ring?"

"Not so fast." Stephanie took a step backwards. "You killed that drug dealer didn't you?"

"I don't have time for this." Daniel said sharply. "Either give me my ring or I'll take it from you."

"Are you in another gang? Hey one dead druggie is one less arsehole on the streets, in my opinion. You're not a druggie though are you?" Stephanie clutched the ring in her hand.

"No, I'm not a druggie. Give ... Lew?" Daniel turned to look behind him. Stephanie couldn't see anyone at first, then a short, stocky, dark haired man walked from behind a row of trees, back from the road. "Shit. When?"

"About twenty minutes ago. The place is in uproar but they're suspecting some weird, wacko body snatching shit." Lew said, then saw Stephanie. "Daniel?"

"Nothing important. Give it over or I'll break your fingers." He held his hand out to Stephanie. She nodded dumbly and dropped it into his hand. "Come on Lew, we have to find him." Daniel set off for the trees, then turned round. "Thank you. Go home." He said to Stephanie, then both men vanished into the darkness.

***


Stephanie took the main streets through the town, where there were lots of lights and lots of people. Who were these people? She most certainly had seen the one called Daniel shot through the stomach and she most certainly had seen him standing over that blood covered drug dealer. What the hell was that about body snatching?! Maybe the pair of them were on drugs after all. Would they come after her? She had witnessed all of this after all and she knew their first names and what they looked like. Stephanie ran the last few feet to her flat and locked the door behind herself.


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