by Matthew Routledge
He walks in Cuban heels and a long trench coat of wool. Beneath which is his grey suit and old school tie. The tie meant something once. His head is crowned with a smart bowler with an audacious feather of some long dead bird poking from the solid silver band around the hat. His trousers have the red stripe of someone more worthy and in his pockets clink his thirty pieces of silver. They’re in a hand-made Italian leather wallet with his initials emblazoned upon it in gold. A woman who had lost her husband and was keeping a family of seven together did the stitching. A young man who should have, could have and would have gone to university had constructed the clasp to pay for his education. The devil is in the detail.
He is carrying an umbrella. It is sunny.
The marks in the mud, made by the Cuban heels, leave his trail behind him and his legacy soaks into the holes. He walks with a slight limp, his left leg dragging slightly and clumsily behind him. His hands are fists and he wears three rings. The first is on the left hand, index finger. It is a plain gold band, not a wedding ring; it had belonged to his father. He didn’t remember this. The second is on his middle finger on his right hand and has a small jewel set into it. He had paid for this with his first wage packet. He can’t remember its cost. The final ring is a ring of red, a blister on his pale skin. He can remember all too clearly where it had come from. The devil is in the detail.
He unfastens the umbrella. It is sunny.
His mouth is in the form of a saddened grimace. His yellow teeth can be seen through the gap in his tight lips. He smokes. His nose is Roman in genetics but broken by some long lost historical event. His memories of this event are splintered. Headlights, footsteps, hands, darkness, pain. His hair, poking from beneath the hat, is grey with the ghost of ginger dancing along its tips. He dyed it at one point in his life. His left ear is pierced and a single gold spike still adorns the lobe. His eyes are blood shot. The red mass surrounds the sparkling green which circles the obsidian black. They have lost their sparkle. The devil is in the detail.
He puts the umbrella up. It is sunny.
The waters have come in his head.
Matthew Routledge is a third year History student who attempts to write in his spare time, and sometimes he succeeds, but mostly he gets drunk.
*The Pygmy Giant is celebrating National Short Story Week – more tomorrow!*