Chapter 1

Happy Birthday! Eighty three today, but I feel tired. Vaguely removed. Uninvolved and distant. But that is most definitely me lying there, lacerated, broken and dying, in this dimly illuminated alley.
The jaundiced glow from the converted gas lamp casts its glistening forensic eye onto the salient points. Wet cobbles. A tall stranger stood over me, a lazy flash from an absurdly long knife held casually after the violent, frenetic event. And blood. Lots of blood. It gurgles and bubbles from multiple angry, pulverised wounds and pools, black, like oil in this light. The puddle creeps out from beneath me to trace the channels between the cobbles, displacing the resident earwigs and woodlice who unhurriedly side step its slow but persistent advance.
The stranger's gaunt face glows blue from the screen of his mobile 'phone, as his thumb swipes it into life. A well practiced digit, this thumb, it dances over the keys, completing a text message. The thumb hovers over the send key, and waits...
Within the bowl of the converted gas lamp, its incandescent bulb becomes weary and falters. For a second only the faint orange coil can be seen, before the lamp awakes to restore its jaundiced view of the alley.
The stranger peers over the top of his 'phone at the now lifeless lump at his feet, and the thumb presses 'send'.
Emerging from the alleyway into the pools of light of domestic street lamps, the stranger walks along the regimented row of lamp standards until some way in the distance, then stops outside a two storey house. He looks up at a window, the curtains glowing terracotta from within. The streetlight behind him flicks out briefly, then returns. Once again, a faint glow of blue paints the stranger's face, before he turns and walks into the distance.

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Available in paperback or Kindle versions from Amazon, copyright K. W. South 2017
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