It had been 13 days since he was last here, on the corner of Park Street and Arbory Lane, where the hustle and bustle of the high street gives way to the more gentle plodding of suburban life and the Victorian three-storey houses set behind defensive black-painted railings. This small section of York stone pavement outside No.1 was where Norman Greaves had breathed his last. Jason had been first onto the scene, witnessing the pool of blood haemorrhaging from behind his head onto the pavement and into the gutter.
The paramedics had arrived soon after. How soon, he couldn't honestly recall. His life had been playing out in slow motion at that point, and it wasn't until his head hit the pillow at 4am - some six hours later – that he'd had the chance to piece the events together in any sort of chronological order.
The police had grilled him at the scene. Had he seen anyone? Had he noticed anything unusual? Had he heard any speeding cars or shouting voices? Nothing. He'd seen and heard nothing. Just chanced upon poor Norman Greaves lying in a pool of blood as he was returning from the snooker hall.
He had watched helplessly as the paramedics had worked on Greaves and, after the futility of their efforts had become obvious, shook their heads at each other before checking their watches for time of death. He had stood, motionless, as they lifted the lifeless body on to the gurney, placing a red blanket over his face before hauling the body into the ambulance. He wondered how long it would be before the next of kin would be informed; the ill-prepared words coming from the ashen face of the police constable who had drawn the short straw among his colleagues down the station; the wife sinking to her knees in the hallway and the children, dressed in their pyjamas and peering down the stairs, staring into a world of emotional delirium, confused and scared by their mother's tears.
The funeral had taken place last Thursday at St Bride's. He hadn't been invited but the details had been posted in the In Memorium section of the Bugle's website. He'd watched the interment from a distance, far enough away to be inconspicuous but still close enough to hear the sobs.
He wondered how long the guilt would last. Stood here at the crime scene, the only clue that something had happened was the difference in the colour of the stone where the pressure washer had been used to clear the blood. But Jason knew he would be drawn here for the rest of his life. That much was certain. The perpetrator always returns to the scene of his crime.