The white cube’s sterile tranquillity gave no clue of the impending violence. Brian took the programme for this Sloane Square gallery to orient himself. The white rooms serially displayed cutting edge art. Very different from the place he’d visited the last time he’d been given private tickets. That had been a rather grim gallery the size and appearance of a news-agent’s, somewhere out west. Graffiti art, decomposing artefacts on the floor and literally rats running free as part of the installation.
Not this time. It was clean pictures on clean walls in a gallery he had pretty much to himself. He looked towards the white space between the hanging pictures.
Then he noticed it from the corner of his eye. A very thin red line arcing across the wall. A new line appearing as he looked at it. Then he felt it. The knife had done deep damage.
Then he felt nothing.
Outside, November graphite skies, gentle rain. A quiet, dark-suited man slowly left the gallery, flicked his umbrella up and walked across to a modern metallic BMW. The driver clicked the locks, he climbed into the back seat and slipped into the busy traffic.
Hours later, across town, Jake Lambers was walking to the pub. He’d had a tough day. The boss had torn him off a strip about the expenses from his recent trip to Liverpool. He’d been trying to get “an exclusive” with a singer who was supposed to be “seeing” a footballer. It would have made a great insider piece, but the trip had been doomed because he’d been given bad information. Instead, he’d made the best of a bad job in a lively city with a great nightlife. The expenses had only just arrived and did seem excessive, particularly when there was no story. So now he was going to meet Bigsy and Clare to drown his sorrows.
The pub in Westminster was buzzing. There were no tables and pretty much a mob standing by the bar. It was early evening and the local offices had tipped out into the neighbourhood and the inevitable ‘one before the train’ ritual was in full flood.
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