Western Mail - - WM2 / OPINION - The Golden Or­phans by Gary Ray­mond is pub­lished by Parthian www.parthi­an­

THE day had drifted away from me, as I imag­ined a num­ber of them would from now on; me in my tower, my pa­tron in his castle, a fab­ri­cated wood be­tween us.

I walked to the pool in what must have been the af­ter­noon. I did not see an­other soul. There had been a ham­per left for me in the stu­dio space of the tower – ham, cheeses, bread and a se­lec­tion of juices – and so I picked at that. I slept ten hours through the night and then still napped twice the fol­low­ing day, for twenty min­utes at around noon, and then for twenty more af­ter my lunch. This was the pat­tern of that fol­low­ing week.

The heat was de­light­ful, not at all op­pres­sive or dis­com­fort­ing, and it came across the plains and up from the shal­low tresses of the val­ley with a thin breeze in tow. Time was no thing. The air seemed clean. I might have been the last man on earth if in­deed this lit­tle spot re­minded me of Earth all that much.

And then as the sun hung over in the sky, I saw from my re­cliner on the bal­cony a fig­ure com­ing along the ridge be­tween the wood and the pool; broad, with shoul­ders lead­ing – Vik­tor. He had come to in­vite me – in­struct me would be more ac­cu­rate, as the in­vi­ta­tion was a po­lite for­mal­ity – to dine out that evening with Il­lie. I didn’t wel­come the no­tion, I must ad­mit. It had been a long time since the world had been this quiet for me, and I was in no im­me­di­ate rush to let the peace­ful­ness slip away.

And it could not have slipped away more abruptly than it did.

Il­lie was dressed in that heavy-smart way older men of money man­age to carry off. He was per­fectly tanned and groomed, his tai­lored white shirt with dou­ble cuffs was open two but­tons down from his neck al­low­ing short wisps of white hair to peek out from his acorn-coloured chest. The shirt de­fined his im­pres­sive ath­letic physique (for his age) and brought him down in a tri­an­gle to his waist, where a golden buckle sep­a­rated his shirt from his slacks. He wore no socks with glis­ten­ing black es­padrilles.

The Golden Or­phans by Gary Ray­mond

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