Day 3

 

The Shopping Centre

  Jonas stormed into the shopping centre even though it was the last place that he wanted to go. Trust Sally to want to go shopping on the hottest day of the year which was also the day he had decided to wear a three-piece suit. As he marched through the automatic door, he pulled his tie off and shoved it in his pocket not caring that it was both expensive and silk. A blast of cool air washed over him offering a brief respite from the stifling heat. 

As he turned the corner, he lifted his head and very gently breathed in. An unpleasant scent filled his mouth, clogging his throat causing him to spend several long seconds coughing. A number of people walked passed but one man actually had the nerve to bump into him and no one stopped to ask if he was OK. Rubbing his neck, he shook his head.  This was exactly how he expected people to behave and he was rarely disappointed. 

On the move again, he needed to find Sally. He had to find her before anyone else did and he knew that she had come this way. The further into the centre he got, the busier it became with teenagers and families with over-excited children. 

  In the centre was the showcase arena along with a big crowd of people. For the effort of completing a survey, you could win yourself a sleek new sports car. Distracted, Jonas inched to the front of the crowd seeking a look at the sports car. It was every bit as gorgeous as promised and futuristic right down to the last detail. It had a turbocharged three-cylinder engine, which went from 0 to 62mph in just 4.6 seconds and he just knew that it would be a pleasure to drive. 

  More importantly, he knew that Sally had a thing for sports cars or more exactly a thing for men who owned sports cars.  There was no way that she would be able to pass this car by. As Jonas turned back into the crowd, a moment of dizziness washed over him but he shook his head clearing it. He had to find Sally so he could get out of here. 

  'Come with me,' someone grabbed his arm and pulled him back through the crowd.  He now had a headache brewing and was finding it increasingly difficult to think. The air was hot and stifling, the only thing he could think about was getting rid of all his clothes. It would feel so good to let the cool breeze wash over his skin.

  'Stop it, Jonas.'

  That voice was familiar and it penetrated the haze that now surrounded him, distracting him from trying to take his jacket off. 'Sally?' he peered at her and could by frowning could see her piercing blue eyes which he would remember until his dying day.

  'Sally?' his head was now pounding and it was difficult to see straight.

  'Come on Jonas,' Sally slipped her arm around his waist. This was so not how this afternoon was supposed to play out. Knowing how much Jonas hated shopping, she had thought it would be easy to lose him in a large shopping centre on a hot afternoon but it looked like fate had other ideas.

  Somehow Jonas managed to wriggle out of his jacket and Sally grabbed it off him as she dragged him through the crowd. People were quick to move out of the way probably thinking that he was drunk. Sally cast a wistful glance over her shoulder at the car; she would really have liked time to take a closer look at it. Still, she wasn't sure what was wrong with Jonas but she knew that she needed to get him out of the centre before security spotted them. The last thing that Jonas needed was to be escorted into a small office somewhere waiting to be taken to hospital. The car would have to wait.

  'What's …'  Jonas tried to drag out his question.  'What's wrong with me?'

  'I'm not sure,' Sally tried to get a better grip on Jonas as he was leaning on her more and more. 'But we need to get you out of here.'

  'I think I'm going to be sick,' Jonas mumbled.

  'Oh no, you're not!' Sally was almost dragging Jonas along now. She could see the exit up ahead but they were going to have to get through a huge group of giggling teenagers.  Desperately she looked around for another way out. Abruptly changing direction she headed for an emergency exit hoping that it wasn't going to be one of those sounded an alarm when the door opened. Relief washed through her as the door opened and she shoved Jonas through pulling the door closed behind them. Jonas slipped down the wall coming to rest on the floor, he was pale and his eyes were closed. 

  Sally took a moment to look around noting that they were in a dull concrete corridor that had a stack of cardboard boxes and not much else. It didn't look like it was used all that much. Kneeling down next to Jonas, she rested her hand on his forehead only to find that he was burning up.

  'Jonas?' Sally was frowning. 'Can you hear me?  Jonas?'

  Jonas forced his eyes open turning his head to look at her. She was as beautiful as he remembered.

  Sally noticed an angry red mark on the side of his neck. 'Jonas, did someone bump into you? Here in the Centre?'

  He gave a slight nod.

  Sally sat back on her heels. She knew what was wrong with him.

  'Jonas, I think that someone has poisoned you.'