#86 “How do you know my grandfather?”
Sophia scrutinized the man with a keen eye, her gaze taking in every detail. He was cloaked in a long black coat, and a hat cast a shadow over half of his face. Nothing about his appearance rang familiar, and an unsettling feeling gnawed at her.
A furrowed brow accentuated her suspicion as she inquired, “How do you know my grandfather?”
The man’s reply was curt, offering no explanation. “That’s not important now. He wanted me to meet you and give you a message.”
Sophia didn’t appreciate his evasive response; it only heightened her wariness. “Then tell me the message,” she shot back sharply. Unfazed by her skepticism, he continued, “Not here. We need to go to a more secluded place to…”
Sophia cut him off abruptly. “I’m not going anywhere with you.”
A cold, enigmatic smile played upon the man’s lips. He produced a piece of paper and a pen from his pocket, hastily scribbling down something.
“I see you don’t believe me, Miss Johnson,” he sneered. “To confirm my words, check the address on this sheet. It’s where your grandfather resided in London three years ago. And when you realize I’m telling the truth, call the number below.”
He handed her the paper, and Sophia accepted it, her skepticism turning into curiosity. Before departing, the man issued a parting message. “I’ll be waiting for your call.”
As quickly as he had appeared, he disappeared into the bustling crowd of people. Sophia held the piece of paper, staring at the address with a sense of foreboding. It was a puzzling turn of events, and she couldn’t deny the intrigue that now gripped her.
Sophia couldn’t shake the sense of urgency and intrigue that the stranger’s note had instilled in her. After a quick taxi ride back to her hotel, she found herself unable to enjoy the rest of the day. The mysterious address on the paper was like a riddle that demanded her attention.
Once inside her hotel room, she wasted no time. With the note clutched in her hand, she ordered a room service of coffee and muffins. These creature comforts would keep her alert and focused as she delved into the mystery at hand.
Seated at the small table by the window, Sophia opened her laptop and initiated her search. She Googled the address, inputting the street name given by the stranger. Her eyes scanned through various results, bringing up pictures of the most ordinary apartment building she had ever seen. There was nothing remarkable about it, and it only added to the enigma.
However, Sophia was determined to uncover the truth. She knew that the address alone wouldn’t suffice; she needed more information to connect the dots. Her next task was to discover the owner of the apartment, a potentially more challenging endeavor.
Sophia shifted her focus and decided to access the website of London’s town planning. It was a meticulous process, navigating through bureaucratic databases, property records, and municipal resources. She was aware that the answers to her questions might be buried deep within this labyrinth of information.
As she combed through online resources and databases, Sophia’s meticulous efforts began to yield results. It didn’t take long for her to confirm the existence of an old man named Christopher Johnson connected to the address she had been provided. Her heart quickened as she realized that the stranger had not led her astray. It was clear that her grandfather had indeed lived in that place.
Armed with this confirmation, Sophia felt compelled to take action. With a sense of anticipation, she drafted a text message and sent it to the phone number he had provided, arranging to meet at the front of the apartment building the next morning.
Sophia’s heart quickened as she received the stranger’s concise response: “Wait for me there.” A smile of satisfaction played on Sophia’s lips as she leaned back in her chair. Finally, some clue she thought.
The sun hung low in the morning sky as Sophia stood in front of the address, waiting for the stranger. She looked around the building from the outside. There was nothing special about it, just an ordinary condominium full of apartments.
Moments later, the stranger appeared, his steps brisk and purposeful. His arrival disrupted the silence that had settled around the dilapidated building. With a nod, he invited Sophia to follow him inside.
As they entered, a musty odor greeted them, a testament to the apartment’s long abandonment. It was as though the very walls exhaled the passage of time, exhaling the stories they held within. Sophia’s eyes scanned the dark room, its once vibrant colors now faded, and cobwebs clung to forgotten corners. The place felt frozen in an era long past, isolated and neglected by the world outside.
The stranger gestured for Sophia to explore, his eyes guarded, as if he knew more than he let on. She began her search, each step echoing through the deserted place. Sophia moved carefully, checking every room, every piece of furniture, and every potential hiding place for clues left by her grandfather.
The room’s wooden floors creaked underfoot, complaining about the intrusion, as Sophia meticulously examined the spaces, her fingers tracing patterns in the dust. Cobwebs clung to her hair, and she brushed them away, her determination unwavering.
The stranger watched her silently, his eyes never leaving her as she moved from room to room. The tension in the house grew with each passing minute.
After an exhaustive search, Sophia reluctantly returned to the stranger, her disappointment evident. “I found nothing,” she admitted, her voice tinged with frustration. “There’s no trace of my grandfather’s presence here.”
The stranger maintained his composure, but a spark of sympathy glinted in his eyes. “It appears that the house holds its secrets well,” he said. ” However, I didn’t bring you here just for this.”
Sophia’s curiosity deepened. She turned her attention to the stranger, her brow furrowed. “Then why did you bring me here? What message did my grandfather want to convey?”
The man said nothing, just stared at her. Sophia moved even closer to him, her determination and uneasiness battling within her. She narrowed her eyes at him, her impatience growing as she awaited his response.
He smiled slowly, but it was far from the reassurance she sought. His smile was sinister, sending shivers down her spine, and it did little to ease her apprehension. Instead, it only fueled her suspicion and fear. As he continued to stare at her, his expression twisted into something unsettling.
Unable to contain her discomfort, Sophia took a step back, putting some distance between them. But before she could voice her thoughts or inquire further, a pair of strong hands covered her mouth from behind, and an eerie feeling of dread overcame her. Panic surged through her, her heart pounding in her chest.
Sophia struggled to turn and face her assailant, but her vision began to blur, and her strength waned. She fought to stay conscious, realizing that she was losing the battle. The stranger’s earlier smile now felt like a taunt, an unsettling omen of the danger closing in around her.