Prologue

[Hello. 🙂 This is an edited version of a novel that I wrote when I was about 14-16. It’s a bit juvenile in places, but I wanted to post it anyway!]

It was a bright spring day in October, and the room was filled with the sound of hammering rain. All throughout the building there was barely a human being making a sound. The mice, on the other hand, were numerous. It was a tavern, and without the mice it would be a rather pathetic one.

It had been raining for only a few minutes. Outside, droplets were showering down in the bright stare of the early afternoon sun. The droplets were moving too quickly to be glass beads or glimmering tears. As indistinguishable as the individual drops were, they were surely bouncing off the pavements to make the impenetrable watery fog that hung damply a foot above the ground. When they hit the grimy windows they were individual, but then they had become grimy and disgusting. They ran in a drunken, uneven path down the glass, attracted to one another like magnets, becoming conjoined, multiplying, morphing constantly. Sometimes they ran out of the momentum they would have needed to continue, until another droplet joined the trail and pushed it to continue digging out its path. Their total lack of direction was horribly apparent to the woman sitting alone at a table, stirring a dirty puddle of spilt beer with a bent straw. The liquid was gruesome and brown with little bits of dust flecking the glinting surface, but she didn’t really care about who would have to clean it up.

The morally ambiguous life of Olive Juliet Whinging was approaching its close. It was not in the nature of Olive to have ever pictured the outcome of her life in any great detail, so she had never imagined whether or not she would be sitting in a pub, at her age, contemplating the autonomy of raindrops on a window. I can only assume she had not ruled out such possibilities. Olive did not concern herself with paltry details. Instead, she was wondering which famous heroine she resembled at this moment. If Elizabeth Bennett had lived in the twenty-first century, Olive was sure she would have been the sort of attractive woman, much as Olive was, who spent time tragically whiling away her life in pubs whilst she waited for her Mr. Darcy to come to her. Like many of the intellectual elite, Olive was thoroughly world-worn; she was a character worthy of intense scrutiny, and contemplation of her own life seemed as good a pastime as any other.

In the corner of the room, a faceless figure in a brown raincoat sat browsing a six-month-old newspaper. The barman, Herbert Greese, coughed soggily onto the bar as he polished a glass with a damp yellowish rag. Olive stared out of the window, and waited. Soon the customer with the brown coat got up and left the pub, and he disappeared gradually into the haze of rain, like a mark on a piece of paper fading beneath a dollop of slowly solidifying wax.

Finally she watched as a new and equally hazy figure emerged slowly from the rain, looking so like the one that had just disappeared that it was as though the wax were melting again, and the mysterious ink mark were revealing itself. It was only the subtle changes in the gait and the way of dipping the head towards the ground that told Olive that they were not the same person. Much more acutely than she ever would have paid attention to this person before, she narrowed her eyes as she stared through the rain, although she still couldn’t resist imagining how mysterious her face would look staring through a rain-fogged window in a romantic film. A side angle, showing her left side (her best side), her lips slightly parted, her immaculate ivory skin. Meanwhile, the person in the raincoat deftly kicked open the door of the pub and marched inside with purpose, and it was only then that they were completely recognisable.

And finally, so predictably that it was almost boring, Olive gasped. “You,” she announced simply. Olive wasn’t exactly scary anymore, but she still wasn’t the sort of person people particularly liked to be around. Conversations with Olive were typically one-sided, consisting of commands or threats, from which her interlocutor sought to escape as quickly as possible and by any means necessary. The people closest to her would speak of startlingly intricate ways of escaping, or sophisticated early warning systems by which they would expertly calculate the most efficient methods of slipping away. Indeed, by the time Herbert had heard the gun go off, rushed through to the other room as slowly as possible and called an ambulance, the assassin was already gone, and the body had been left slumped at the table. The grimy beer puddle dripped onto the floor, where the pair of knitting needles had landed where they had fallen from the hands of Olive.

Published by CuriousWriter

Read and you will find out.

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