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.''You're hurt.''Jesus' sake, go away.Quickly.I've changed my mind.You understand?'I’ll fetch the police.'The man practically spat: 'Get the fucking hell out of here, will you? Fucking bum-boy!'Gavin stood up, trying to make sense out of all this.The guy was in pain, it made him aggressive.Ignore the insults and fetch something to cover the wound.That was it.Cover the wound, and then leave him to his own devices.If he didn't want the police that was his business.Probably he didn't want to explain the presence of a pretty-boy in his hot-house.'Just let me get you a bandage - 'Gavin went back into the hallway.Behind the kitchen door Reynolds said: 'Don't,' but the bum-boy didn't hear him.It wouldn't have made much difference if he had.Gavin liked disobedience.Don't was an invitation.Reynolds put his back to the kitchen door, and tried to edge his way upright, using the door-handle as purchase.But his head was spinning: a carousel of horrors, round and round, each horse uglier than the last.His legs doubled up under him, and he fell down like the senile fool he was.Damn.Damn.Damn.Gavin heard Reynolds fall, but he was too busy arming himself to hurry back into the kitchen.If the intruder who'd attackedReynolds was still in the flat, he wanted to be ready to defend himself.He rummaged through the reports on the desk in the study and alighted on a paper knife which was lying beside a pile of unopened correspondence.Thanking God for it, he snatched it up.It was light, and the blade was thin and brittle, but properly placed it could surely kill.Happier now, he went back into the hall and took a moment to work out his tactics.The first thing was to locate the bathroom, hopefully there he'd find a bandage for Reynolds.Even a clean towel would help.Maybe then he could get some sense out of the guy, even coax him into an explanation.Beyond the kitchen the hallway made a sharp left.Gavin turned the corner, and dead ahead the door was ajar.A light burned inside: water shone on tiles.The bathroom.Clamping his left hand over the right hand that held the knife, Gavin approached the door.The muscles of his arms had become rigid with fear: would that improve his strike if it was required? he wondered.He felt inept, graceless, slightly stupid.There was blood on the door-jamb, a palm-print that was clearly Reynolds'.This was where it had happened - Reynolds had thrown out a hand to support himself as he reeled back from his assailant.If the attacker was still in the flat, he must be here.There was nowhere else for him to hide.Later, if there was a later, he'd probably analyse this situation and call himself a fool for kicking the door open, for encouraging this confrontation.But even as he contemplated the idiocy of the action he was performing it, and the door was swinging open across tiles strewn with water-blood puddles, and any moment there'd be a figure there, hook-handed, screaming defiance.No.Not at all.The assailant wasn't here; and if he wasn't here, he wasn't in the flat.Gavin exhaled, long and slow.The knife sagged in his hand, denied its pricking.Now, despite the sweat, the terror, he was disappointed.Life had let him down, again - snuck his destiny out of the back door and left him with a mop in his hand not a medal.All he could do was play nurse to the old man and go on his way.The bathroom was decorated in shades of lime; the blood and tiles clashed.The translucent shower curtain, sporting stylised fish and seaweed, was partially drawn.It looked like the scene of a movie murder: not quite real.Blood too bright: light too flat.Gavin dropped the knife in the sink, and opened the mirroredcabinet.It was well-stocked with mouth-washes, vitamin supplements, and abandoned toothpaste tubes, but the only medication was a tin of Elastoplasts.As he closed the cabinet door he met his own features in the mirror, a drained face.He turned on the cold tap full, and lowered his head to the sink; a splash of water would clear away the vodka and put some colour in his cheeks.As he cupped the water to his face, something made a noise behind him.He stood up, his heart knocking against his ribs, and turned off the tap.Water dripped off his chin and his eyelashes, and gurgled down the waste pipe.The knife was still in the sink, a hand's-length away.The sound was coming from the bath, from in the bath, the inoffensive slosh of water.Alarm had triggered flows of adrenalin, and his senses distilled the air with new precision.The sharp scent of lemon soap, the brilliance of the turquoise angel-fish flitting through lavender kelp on the shower curtain, the cold droplets on his face, the warmth behind his eyes: all sudden experiences, details his mind had passed over 'til now, too lazy to see and smell and feel to the limits of its reach [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]