The Caitiff – Paragraph Extract #9

We talked for a while, as I poked around the darkened corners of his store. He was lonely, that much was obvious from the desperate nature of his small talk, the intensity in his tone suggesting that the conversation was important, that the resolution to our idle chatter would affect the world as we both knew it. He was right, of course, insofar as any conversation affects the ever after. In one corner, buried away behind a pair of mannequins, dressed in what could only be described as ‘recessionista’, with grey flat caps, grey jackets and brown trousers all crowding around worn brown waistcoats with chains for pocket watches hanging out into the stale air, was a stand upon which hung an old military jacket. He claimed it was his, a genuine battle-worn coat, and I could see that at least the latter was true. Just below the left shoulder, a few inches down from where, in ages past, epaulettes would have clung, there was a ragged hole, as though a bullet had scythed through the air, through the thick material and into the man beneath. The owner even encouraged me to look closer and, when I did, I discovered a tinge of red to the torn material, as though it had never been properly washed since blood had leaked from wound. I asked him where he took the bullet, but he couldn’t say, simply replying that it had been somewhere ‘dry, and dusty and dangerous’ and, from the shame in his voice, I was inclined to believe him.

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