#SampleSunday – 16th Jan 2011

Prologue to DEATH IN PRINT

The dark green jacket kept most of the rain off his body, but his hair was plastered, dark and slick, to the top of his head. To one side, a cracked downpipe allowed rainwater to drip, drip, drip onto the shiny pavements. It was late, and there were few cars, and even fewer pedestrians.

The gloomy interior of the bookshop showed little detail, save for those few items at the front illuminated by the streetlights. The interior was not his point of interest. A letter-sized promotional flyer was crudely stuck to the inside of the main window. It was not quite straight, and it amused him to tilt his head slightly, so the sign was orientated correctly in his eyes. An ungloved hand lifted, and an extended index finger first traced around the outline of the flyer, and then the outline of the photograph which held pride of place in the centre. Delicately, the finger traced hair, ear, cheek, and mouth. Oh, the sensual, full mouth. The beautifully-curved, Bactrian double hump of the top lip, the slight parting to show bright-white teeth beyond. The finger traced their outline, following the curves, around and around. Then the anger came, and the same careful finger jabbed into one eye of the man featured on the flyer, hard. The pain was good, satisfying, fulfilling. Jab. Jab. JAB.

The anger subsided, and he breathed more easily. He stared at the face looking out at him from the cold and quiet bookshop window. Stared for many seconds, remembering the face well. All the memories returned, fresh and brightly-polished for a new time, and the man knew what he must do, why he was here in this strange town.

He looked around, and then wiped the glass with the sleeve of his coat. Thrusting hands deep into trouser pockets, and with shoulders hunched against the seeping coldness of the rain, he strode off towards town.



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