The Rebirth of Henry Whittle opens with one man intent on murdering another; an old friend. A man, ex special forces is driving a black BMW to a detached, isolated house in Harefield, Greater London. As he cruises the country lanes, dead on the speed limit, forty miles an hour, Old Friend by Elderbrook plays.
The Rebirth of Henry Whittle
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.”