>NEVER A FRONTWARD STEP, PART ONE

>It was a sweat-in-your suit night. My shoes shone and stale heat escaped from my tight-collared shirt. All I saw was white Roman columns in front of me, standing like chalk against the backdrop of a moonless night. The only human glow was my wristwatch, only two days old, humming an unlikely green from just above my cufflink.

This was the sort of night where I needed to be alone, but that was not going to happen for some time yet. The sound of whistling had filled my ears for some minutes, although I hadn’t realised this until the whistling stopped. It had come, I was fairly sure, from an old fisherman situated on a dock some way away to my left. The lapses in wind left that sort of still, dead-aired night that let sound drift out from within its usual boundaries. For wont of something better to do, I raised myself off the stone bench and went to join the old fisherman on the wharf. A religious lady, dressed head to toe in stifling silk, watched me as I passed her, and I couldn’t see anything but her eyes, and her eyes did not communicate anything new.

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