He strode past the shopfronts with his hood up and his hands in his pockets.
Rain pounded down, dripping off the tips of the sloped roofs, sparkling like diamonds in the headlights of the cars that rushed past. The rain nearer to him had a rainbow sheen. Was that reflective of the many-coloured neon signs he passed, or the oil in the water?
The castle ruins were barely visible behind the boxy concrete buildings, a dark stain on a murky sky.
People watched from its walls, he knew. Unseen by any in the bustling street. The people around him all wore scarves to cover their noses and mouths and hats to keep the rain off, their bodies shrouded in black overcoats. All rushing, hands buried, heads down. They had no idea about the figures on the walls.
He walked on, stopping outside the coffee shop and stepping aside to let a woman and her teenage son pass. The rush of warm air hit him, carrying the smell of slow-roasted coffee mingled with cheese and tomato toasties and a hint of sweat. He spied the cardboard cup set side, steam worming lazily from the mouthhole, his name scrawled on the side. He pulled out his phone, checked the app: “ready to collect.”
Perfect. He hated talking to them.
He snatched the drink as he made his way to an empty table in the back. Everything was hues of chocolate, almond and caramel, even the lighting, which didn’t reach the booths at the back of the store.
He found a chair that faced the front window and smirked as he watched them hurry by outside. He pulled his laptop out of his bag.
“Position?” a message prompted.
“Position,” he typed back, and watched the street, waiting for the carnage to begin.
They had no idea about the figures on the walls.