Scuffling footsteps and shouts drifted down into the sewers along with dropped car keys and dripping rainwater.
He didn't mind. Down here was home. The sewers were his roads and highways from place to place, taking him throughout the city without detection. Quicker than up above and less crowded. Down here he could travel over a few streets and re-emerge above-ground to blend in with the populace, leaving no trail or tracks for the police to follow.
Soon he would move on. But for now, he listened. The sirens shrieked, growing louder. They had started not long after the first startled yell of discovery. An old woman had stumbled upon his kill and sounded the alarm. No doubt she had gone through the deceased's pockets first, but found nothing. He had been thorough in cleaning up his mess. The longer it took for the authorities to identify the victim the more time he had to cover all his tracks.
The sirens stopped and more feet thundered overhead. Medics racing to save an already dead girl. Officers spoke in low whispers about the state of the body and what could have caused damage like that.
Then came the statement that caused the blood to chill in his veins.
“Hoof prints. Earhart found hoof prints near the body.”
Dammit. Despite all his careful planning and execution he had slipped. Shoes were clumpy and uncomfortable, so he'd go barefoot, er hoofed, whenever possible. Getaways were swifter when he wasn't tripping over unnecessary foot coverings. No one ever noticed the weirdness of his feet, generally because they were too fixated on the weirdness sprouting from his forehead.
“...thinks it's was a lance. Hunting down jousters now.”
He perked up at that bit of news. If the investigators were questioning men riding horses, he was still safe. They put two and two together to arrive at twenty-two rather than four.
Easier to believe the crazy but known than the unbelievable unknown.
Letting out a sigh, he slipped down the tunnel, pocketing the set of keys as he went. After the hectic confusion of the day cleared out, he may just be a new car richer. It'd need some bodywork, but he was resourceful. A coat of paint was nothing compared to the cost of a new set of wheels.
His hooves clicked against the cement, too muffled by the sounds of the busy city to be heard. A left down a tunnel and a right down another and he reached his destination. He disliked the metal ladder rungs, a necessary evil to use the underground system. His hooves slipped and caught on each step, but he continued his ascent.
Getting into the sewers was so much easier than getting back out of them again.
Ten minutes later he pushed the metal cover up and over.
A hand clad in a yellow rubber glove reached down and grasped his. He accepted the helping hand, pulling the rest of his body out of the hole and into the stark white room.
The man attached to the yellow glove relinquished his grip. “What took you so long?”
With a grunt, the killer replaced the sewer lid and sat panting on the floor.
“Is she taken care of?”
“Won't be snooping around here anymore.” The killer swiped his arm across his forehead, the sweat soaking into his coat sleeve. Murder and making a getaway was hard work.
“Left a hoof print.” The gloved man raised a white eyebrow. “Don't worry. The police are questioning jousters. They still have no clue.”
The gloved man snorted and settled into a chair. On a table behind him beakers and jars bubbled and popped with bright colored liquids. One let out a loud 'pfft' and expelled a foul odor, somewhere between fresh dog poop and old gym socks.
The killer covered his nose and wafted the air in front of him with his other hand. His co-conspirator opened a tiny window above the table, letting some of the smell out.
“Have you figured it out yet?”
“I'm close, but I can't be disturbed by any more nosy reporters if I want to finish.”
The killer leaned against the wall and crossed his arms. “Now, Fredrick, she was only a girl. It's not like you have people lining up to knock on your door every day.”
“One is one too many. If word got out about us...about you...” He left the rest of the statement hanging.
“I understand.” He took off his hat and allowed his horn to expand. “That feels so much better. Hats cramp my style.”
Fredrick snorted and shook his head. A cloud of white hair floated above his ears. “Not wearing a hat will cramp more than you style, Bud.”
The killer yawned and stretched his arms.
“You should get some rest. We'll work some more once you're ready.”
He said nothing, nodding his agreement and patting Fredrick on the shoulder as he passed by. In the far corner of the room was a cot that he flopped down on. Seconds later his snores filled the space.
Murder was tiring work.