CHAPTER 1 HENRY WHITTLE
I’m disappointed. No pursuit, no pleading. Whittle is so off his face he doesn’t believe it’s me. He’s different; his looks diminished, his face gaunt and unshaven, his muscle wasted.
I attach the silencer; purely precautionary; the house is remote. I put the muzzle against his forehead. I can see the bullet; burning through his skin, piercing muscle, drilling its way through cranial bone – it’s then the real damage occurs – the speed of it tearing tissue and membrane. I smile; it’s hard not to. I pull the trigger.
I return the gun to its leather pouch. I feel nothing. Killing point blank is no harder than from a distance; it neither thrills me nor guilts me. I am under no illusion about what I do, who I am. I laugh – who I am. I shake my head at the irony.
I assess myself in Whittle’s mirror. My face is blank; revealing nothing. I’m calm; my heart rate is close to forty beats a minute.
“I’m Henry…Hi, I’m Henry…Henry Whittle.”
My tone is neutral – no edge but no warmth. I try it with a smile.
“Henry Whittle, nice to meet you.”