Time for some of that prose nonsense I was talking about. At the moment I am working on two novels, both of which are going slowly. The first I started around Easter and blitzed the first few chapters, but it has since taken a back seat since I started my second project. It is currently untitled, but the basic plot is about a girl who has some odd experiences after receiving a heart transplant. This epilogue is introducing John Arnolds, the man whose heart the protagonist receives.
John Arnolds rose early after a restless night, plagued by fitful dreams and a stomach churning anticipation. Like a child on Christmas Eve, John had barely been able to shut his eyes for the excitement of the forthcoming day. Was it excitement? After striving so heard for so long, perhaps it was a joyful relief that John looked forward to. He could not let himself jump the gun; it was not over, not yet. He just had a feeling that it would soon be coming to an end.
As he stepped into the shower and felt the warm pulse of water against his skin, he allowed himself t e lulled into a dreamy contemplation. There had been other cases, of course. Circumstances more gruesome, extent more enduring, situations more demanding. He had not failed yet, and was adamant the day would never come. One way or another, John had to win. For a reason unknown to him, this one struck a chord, touched a nerve. He could not fathom why, for there had been others more worthy of compassion, with children who were younger, more vulnerable, more in the face of danger. Yet this time it seemed more important. As steam fogged over the pale blue tiles of the bathroom, John laid his hand upon his heavy heart and sighed as his qualms were washed away. It would soon be over.
Sam was awake when John returned to the bedroom. She smiled at him sleepily and fanned her fingers through her ruffled hair.
“You’re up early,” she yawned. He knelt on the corner of the bed and lent over to where she lay, entangled in the bed covers, and kissed her.
“I’ve got that coffee meet. I wanted it early s I can fly straight out if I need to,” John deliberated shirts over the shirts hung in the wardrobe, musing over shades and patterns before choosing a crisp white one. He deftly slipped the pearly buttons into place and tucked the loose ends into his good trousers.
“But you’ve only just come home,” Same strained to subdue the sadness in her voice.
“I won’t be long. Like I said yesterday, I’m hoping it’s nearly all sorted out now,” he lent over and kissed her again, stroking her cheek with his fingertips, “after this one I’ll take a break. Promise, then I’ll be all yours.”
Although she smiled, Sam’s eyes were filled with sorrow. She nodded as John looked at her encouragingly and gathered the rest of his things. In moments he was lingering at the door, still not quite knowing how to say goodbye.
“Do you love me?” Sam felt the awkward silence pulsating around her, but as John turned back he was grinning.
“With all my heart.”
The meeting had been arranged for nine o’clock at the Starbucks near the train station. John arrived on the hour, and sought out the seat where his tip off said he would sit. Sure enough he was there, his chair turned to face the wall. John approached cautiously and laid his hand on the chair opposite. The man had a square head with a broad forehead. His eyes were framed in thin round glasses, and his expression bore a grimace.
“You must leave at once, I’m afraid I’ve been followed,” the man made no eye contact and kept his hands folded firmly on the table. John glanced around.
“Are you sure?”
“Almost certain. You should leave right away; I fear there is imminent danger.”
John sat down swiftly.
“The time to leave has been and gone,” the man sighed as John stared straight at him, “I can’t leave without what I came for.”
“Very well,” the man reached into his coat and drew out a brown envelope, “I received this from my source, who is of course anonymous.”
He handed the envelope to John.
“I think it will help you piece together the final clues about the girl.”
John nodded gravely as he slowly slid the photograph from the envelope, taking care to conceal the image from the few people in the cafe.
“You know who the man is?” John nodded as he surveyed the ignorant face of Dexter Jacobs.
“The place too, I knew it at once,” John nodded, “it’s all quite clear now, I don’t know how I didn’t see it sooner.”
The photograph was placed back in the envelope and handed to its courier.
“Good luck, Mr. Arnolds. I pray God you make it,” the man stayed seated as John rose towards the door.
“I was bound to get there, one way or another,” John smiled as he headed out the door.
On the curb around the corner her hailed a taxi, and sent a quick test message while he waited for it to approach. Sam’s name was at the top of his contact list, but having fallen asleep again she would not receive it or hours. The taxi pulled up and the window scrolled down as John stepped forward.
“Gatwick airport please, as quickly as possible.” The driver nodded and John opened the door to climb inside. But before he could raise his foot from the ground, a single silent bullet pierced through the air and administered a fatal wound. Blood flowed quickly down his white shirt as John slumped against the car window and rolled back onto the pavement. As his eyes closed, his ears were filled with the rhythmic drumming of his dying heart.
- Celia J
- Tokyo, Japan
- In 2011 I graduated with 1st class honours in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University. I lived in China for nearly two and a half years, where I was working as an English teacher. I just moved to Tokyo where I will be spending my time teaching and writing. This blog is about my experiences of TEFL teaching and living abroad.