Breathe, he said below his breath

He stood three steps down from the road crossing and two in towards the shop window the back of his head was reflected in. Breathe, he said below his breath. Breathe. He used his thin hands as a brown paper bag and began to feel better. His vision slowed its spinning and he could almost focus on the police van parked opposite. Hello John, said the voice again. Not bad, he said, and yourself? But I didn’t ask you, said the voice. I just said hello.

That’s more than I’m used to.

That’s as may be.

Much more.

I must be going.

Please don’t go, he said below his breath. Please. He unbuttoned his coat as if he had arrived home.