Impersonating a man who thrived on living dangerously had made Shaxper sharply aware of his surroundings. He noticed the cadence of footsteps behind him, walking when he walked, stopping when he stopped. Taking a few more steps, he turned abruptly and caught the blur of someone ducking behind a fishmonger’s stall to avoid being seen.
For an instant, he thought about confronting the stalker, but Dickie’s farewell words echoed in his mind.
He began walking again, and the strident rhythm of boots reverberated behind him. He broke into a run and turned the corner at the end of the street, pressing flat against the doorway of a shop. He heard the stalker running towards him. He closed his eyes, held his breath and kept as still as he could, reliving the terror of his robbery outside Stratford.
His pursuer stopped at the corner. The rogue wheezed like a furnace, coughing and cursing the rancid air. He spat in the street and ran on. The sound of his steps disappeared in the distance.
Shaxper didn’t move. He trembled at the thought of Marlowe’s murder, and wondered if he had just escaped a similar fate. When he opened his eyes, the fog had lifted. He crossed the street, paid the hostler and mounted his horse, escaping the oppressiveness of London.
Robert Poley watched him as he rode out of town.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish