Welcome to the first Chapter in the serialisation of the critically acclaimed novel There There My Dear. Happy reading!
There There My Dear
Waiting to die was killing him.
After all his efforts, perhaps everything was now in place. Maybe his day had come. It was just a matter of time before somebody came to end it all for him.
And he had prepared. The house was tidier than normal – it had been a chore for him since she left – and the garden was immaculately tended as usual, the love of his life since Africa.
Most importantly, he had prepared the secrets that had been the bane of his life for the last twenty-five years. Most of the documents were copies, but they would have to do. He had put them in all the right places.
So, with a fine bottle of port and a packet of cigarettes he waited. For the last two days. He just wanted to know who they would send. It had intrigued him since the beginning of the week, adding to the excruciating pain of waiting to die.
A couple of hours before the assassin’s arrival the old man had been working away at his computer, feverishly typing away and ignoring any spelling or grammar mistakes. His den was traditional and well used, with papers and documents strewn across the low coffee table and a reading lamp switched on, pointlessly in the summer sunshine that had almost outstayed its welcome.
And now, as he sat in his den with the French windows open, he did not hear the man come into the house through the front door. Whoever it was would have been trained to gain entry to any building and pick any lock. They might even have a key.
Only when the suited assassin walked into his den did the old man turn around.
‘I knew it would come to this. Not that it would be you, of course. But I knew.’ The old man paused just a moment. ‘Somehow it actually makes sense, you know. It makes sense that it is you.’
He fixed his eyes on those of his unannounced guest, taking the dominant role in the last moments of his life. He could see the gun shaking slightly and he sensed the gunman’s reluctance. The shooter’s eyes flicked from the pistol to the old man and back, then around the room.
‘Look at me. At least look at me. If I’ve taught you anything it is to have conviction. A bit of backbone.’
There came no reply.
‘Having a crisis of confidence, maybe?’ The old man rose from his sofa and walked towards the French windows. He stood a while, looking out over the gardens in bloom. In his retirement he had gone to great lengths tending to the lawn and the lush flowerbeds before him. Despite his age he had taken on much of the work himself, heavy and dirty work that had rewarded him with a tremendous sense of self-worth.
‘A perfect drying day,’ the old man uttered wistfully.
After gazing across the gardens a few moments, the old man turned towards his would-be killer. He felt no fear.
The silence in the room thickened and started to agitate him. He wanted to say so much, make some kind of inspirational statement, explain everything, but not beg for mercy. Those moments skewed the passing of time itself and he suddenly felt unreal.
‘Then do it,’ he said.
The old man waited, his eyes never leaving those of his visitor, never blinking. In this time vacuum there seemed to be a permanence that eased his pounding heart and filled him with an unnatural calm. Could he see regret in the intruder’s eyes? Remorse? Was it longing?
No shot was fired. Not then.
‘It took you so long to find me. Find me! That doesn’t seem to make any sense. Realise it was me, I assume is the right way of putting it. So, I don’t suppose you are in any rush to… complete your task, are you?’
The old man expected no reply and there was none.
‘Killing me is perfectly pointless. It won’t change anything, anything at all.’ He let out a lengthy sigh and dropped his eyes to the papers and documents he had been working on.
‘But this might,’ he continued.
Unflinching, he walked across to his desk and, from underneath a dusty old book that looked like an accountant’s ledger, he pulled an envelope. A mixed look of calm and disbelief washed across his face and then he smiled ruefully.
‘This will give you all the answers you’ve been looking for.’ He glanced at the pistol, then back to the envelope. ‘But before you read it…before you read this letter…I just have to…do you mind?’
The assassin looked down at the envelope and saw that it looked new. Clearly it had been opened with some kind of blade and it looked crisp. The younger man peeked inside and then gently pulled out one of the folded pieces of paper, just enough so he could read a small part.
And then the pistol recoiled and the old man fell to the floor. His blood spattered across the French windows and the heavy curtains, and the gunman stood, transfixed, staring straight ahead.
To Be Continued…
I’m very excited about sharing my new novel There There My Dear with you and I really hope that you’ve enjoyed this opening Chapter. If you did enjoy it, or have any feedback at all, then please take a minute to leave a comment below. Alternatively, you can get in touch with me via my Contact Form at the bottom of the Home Page , or through my Facebook Page. I look forward to hearing from you.
Keep your eye out for Chapter Two, to be published next week.
Very best wishes,
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