365 Ficlets – Day #319 ~ “Queen’s Walk”

The lights on HMS Belfast were like searchlights, illuminating imagined enemies or intruders, rather than being placed by design to showcase her odd, fading beauty. Paul looked out across the river, towards Tower Bridge; he took another pull on his hipflask, now only half full with the cheap whisky he had taken from Grant’s flat. “For the cold.” he told himself, but was it really?

He heard footsteps approaching, but in a move planned to suggest nothing but impeccable cool he continued to count the lights on the buildings on the North Bank, and refused to turn and acknowledge the approaching stranger. The footsteps stopped close by. He heard a low, gentle cough and then in a soft genderless voice;

“Excuse me, but do you know the way to Borough Market at all?”

It was his contact, and so Paul paused for a moment to frame his practised answer and then turned;

“I am afraid not, I am just visiting from Baltimore.”

He spoke as he raised his eyes, only realising that it was Victoria as he finished the protocol sentence.