Description : Wicked Becomes You
England was a wicked bitch who wished him ill. Thunder had greeted him at the pier in Southampton. On the journey north, trees split by lightning had toppled across the tracks like dominos. This morning’s swim had turned into a wrestling match with the undertow. Only now, when a storm might have been fitting, did the sun finally emerge. All the stained-glass windows lit at once, flooding the stone church with light. It seemed a minor wonder to Alex that he did not burn to ash where he stood.
The brass fixtures on the coffin sparkled like children’s toys.
He went down on one knee. The kneeling cushion sighed, exhaling the scent of lavender. His hands fitted together by some old, dusty habit, fingers clasped as though to pray. But no prayer came to mind. He felt curiously removed from the scene.
It was ironic. All through his childhood he’d fought to throttle his emotions, to silence them lest they suffocate him—but only now, his illness long abated, did he finally master the skill. Even grief could not touch him. The thoughts passing through his head felt unattached. He listened impassively as a distant voice in his head spoke of rage.
This was a useless death.
Damn Richard’s idiocy.
You’re the one to blame.
Which was nonsense, of course.
He watched his fingers tighten, knuckles whitening against skin still brown from the Italian sun. Very well, melodrama would serve where prayer could not. Richard’s last amicable words to him, he could not recall. They had...