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