The Absolutist | Page 10 of 190

Author: John Boyne | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 7939 Views | Add a Review

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st seven?” I asked.

“The room will be ready, sir,” said David, leading me towards the door and opening it for me. “And once again, please accept my apologies. The world’s a funny place, sir, isn’t it? You never know what kind of deviants you’re dealing with.”

“Indeed,” I said, stepping out into the fresh air, relieved by the breeze that made me pull my overcoat tightly around my body and wish that I had remembered my gloves. But they were inside, in the bag, in front of Mrs. Cantwell, and I had no desire to engage in any further conversation with either mother or son.

To my surprise, I realized for the first time that day that it was the evening of my twenty-first birthday. I had forgotten it entirely until now.

I made my way down the street but before entering the Carpenter’s Arms public house, my eyes drifted towards the brass plaque that was nailed prominently above the door, where the words PROPRIETOR: J. T.

CLAYTON, LICENSED TO SELL BEERS AND SPIRITS were etched in a black matted script. I stopped short for a moment and stared at it, holding my breath, a sensation of dread soaring through my veins. I longed for a cigarette and patted my pockets, hoping to find the packet of Gold Flakes I had bought in Liverpool Street that morning, already knowing that they were lost, left behind on my train-carriage seat when I reached up to help the novelist with her suitcase before disembarking, and they probably lay there still, or had found their way into the pockets of another.

PROPRIETOR: J. T. CLAYTON.

It had to be a coincidence. Sergeant Clayton had been a Newcastle man, as far as I knew. His accent had certainly betrayed him as one.

But had I heard that his father had been something high up at a brewery? Or was I confusing him with someone else? No, it was ridiculous, I decided, shaking my head. There must be thousands of Claytons spread across England, after all. Tens of thousands. This couldn’t be the same one. Refusing to succumb to painful speculation, I pushed open the door and stepped inside.

The bar was half filled with working men, who turned to glance at me for only a moment before looking away and returning to their conversations. Despite being a stranger, I felt at ease there, a contentment born out of a sense of isolated companionship. As the years have passed, I have spent far too many hours in pubs, hunched over unsteady, ale-stained tables, reading and writing, tearing at beer mats as I’ve raised my characters from poverty to glory while dragging others down from mansion to gutter. Alone, always alone.

Not drinking too much, but drinking all the same. A cigarette in my right hand, a scorch mark or two on my left cuff. That caricature of me, writing my books in the corner snugs of Lond

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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