Sarah stopped to catch her breath, but the footsteps behind her kept coming. If only she’d listened to the others.
Her heart pounded. She quickened her pace, although trying to walk fast in four-inch stilettos after several tequila sunrises wasn’t an easy task. To make matters worse, she wasn’t overly confident that she was heading in the right direction. If only she could get back to the church in the central square she’d be able to get her bearings. This was the really quiet part of the town – in fact it was deserted. If she could find the main street there may be a bar that was still open and she could go in and phone for a taxi.
Sarah had been enjoying herself so much she’d lost track of time and, although it was too dark for her to focus on her watch, she estimated it was now probably getting on for two in the morning. It was still remarkably warm, even for the South of France, but in spite of this Sarah could feel herself breaking out into a cold sweat. She stopped again and this time the footsteps also stopped. A fresh wave of panic swept over her and now all she could think about was Harry and Jeff. Reaching down she removed her shoes and started to run.
Her bare feet pounded the uneven pavements and she winced with pain as she stepped on something sharp. It took her a few seconds to realise that the strange noise that seemed to be echoing back from the dark alleyways was actually her own sobbing. She rounded a corner and felt an enormous surge of relief. The landmark of the church loomed up about three hundred yards to the right. Switching direction rapidly, she stumbled on an uneven kerb and felt herself go sprawling across the pavement. It was only a matter of seconds before she was on her feet again and, as she stooped to pick up her handbag, she heard a rasping breath as a rough hand covered her mouth. As she tried desperately to scream, she saw a glint of metal before there was a searing pain in her side and she felt her world spiralling away as she slumped in a heap on the floor.