As he strutted past the row of third-floor flats with his hands in his pockets, confident of another successful evening, a peculiar chill in the mid-summer air made Lucas step up his pace. “Bit parky”, he muttered to himself, with an uncharacteristic shiver.
Lengthening odds and a cool breeze aside, this man’s progress to The George would have proceeded uneventfully and in precisely the same fashion as had occurred on most Saturday nights for the past fifteen years, had he had not fumbled with his keys and dropped them through a gap in the railings onto the second-floor walkway below.
He cursed under his breath and, instead of carrying on to the small private car park outside the flats, Lucas took a right turn at the second floor in the direction of numbers eight to twelve.
The outside lights had broken on this level and there was no visible moon to properly illuminate his way, for at that point of time it was hiding behind the only cloud – a great, dark skudder – in the otherwise crystal-clear sky.
Scanning the floor for his key ring, Lucas soon spotted a steely glimmer close to number ten. Stepping forward and bending down quickly, he scooped up the keys with relief.
That would have been the end of that had he not noticed a very strange light emanating from behind the partly-closed curtains of number eleven.
Lucas was not usually a nosy person, but something about the light seemed to draw him closer, almost against his will; almost as if he were being hypnotised.
For some strange reason, the closer he got to the window, the warmer the atmosphere became. By the time he reached the window-sill of number eleven’s spare bedroom, the temperature would register at a distinctly Egyptian 33 degrees.