The Slaughter Pavilion – First Chapter

It began with an electronic chirrup and a vibration in his fingertips. He surfaced only briefly, and sank back towards sleep. Then he reached out, fumbling for the mobile where it had slipped out of his hand in the night. He opened one eye to peer at the message on the screen.

the world will witness my despair

Song closed his eyes but it was too late. He recognized the number. He flung the sheet away and tried to get comfortable, turning first onto his side, then onto his stomach. The man had rung a dozen times after Song had thrown him out. The sun was seeping between the curtains, and already the room was oppressively hot. He reached for the bottle of water by the bed, took a mouthful, then splashed some over his face and head – he’d had his scalp shorn almost bald to combat the summer heat.

Another chirrup heralded the arrival of a second message.

Again Song tried to ignore it and failed.

the roof international trade tower 0800

He groaned, rolled over, tucking his mobile phone under the pillow. Why couldn’t the man leave him alone? A scrap of humanity who couldn’t afford a bowl of soup, let alone Song’s fees. There was still time for a lie-in. His mind spiralled down towards sleep . . . he was about to dive into a cool pool of water. A woman was waiting for him, blue water lapping around her pale breasts. She was looking up at him expectantly, but he couldn’t see her face. He dived.

the world will witness my despair . . . the roof . . .

All at once he was wide awake.

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