Candlelight flickers around me. Somehow the faint and flickering glow is comforting. The light is warm, but the flame weak. Everytime the flame wilts and dims, some part of me wonders if it'll come back, or die out entirely. Some part of myself plays this cruel game with the light, daring it to fail so that I can be stronger.
On the other side of the pub, a man plays a guitar. The melody is picked out softly, teasing the notes into the air, easing the tune into my mind. All my colours bleed, I can hear them running. The voices nearby are hushed in respect of the gentle sound.
There is honesty here. Peace, of a kind.
Before me is a file. I tried to bribe it cleanly, but a crook's a crook. A contact tried to screw me out of the deal at the last second - I broke his wrist like I was opening a beer. There's no honour amongst theives, and everyone is a thief in the presence of money.
The file holds answers. By the flickering light, I read about the girl whose calm spirit has set mine aflame. I read about Charlie, born in Crawley, Sussex. I read about her birth in 1972, her employment histiry since 1988, her criminal record since 1989. I tease secrets and truths about this character, and wonder how she can come to be mine.
I close the file and drain the whiskey glass. I leave a tip for the guitarist, and set the file alight in a candle. I leave the pub, contemplating my slow-burning emergency which started in 1972, and has finally kicked into red alert.
All my lust comes down to dust. Can't you hear it crumbling?