The Absolutist | Page 15 of 190

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

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“You have family in Norwich, do you?” asked Mr. Miller a moment later.

“No,” I said.

“First time here?”


“A holiday, is it? A break from the big city?”

I thought about it before answering. I decided to lie. “Yes,” I said.

“A few days’ break, that’s all.”

“Well, you couldn’t have picked a nicer place, I can tell you that,”

he said. “Norwich born and bred, me. Lived here man and boy.

Wouldn’t want to live anywhere else and I can’t understand anyone who would.”

“And yet you know your accents,” I pointed out. “You must have travelled a bit.”

“When I was a pup, that’s all,” he said. “But I listen to people, that’s the key to it. Most people never listen at all. And sometimes,” he added, leaning forward, “I can even guess what they’re thinking.”

I stared at him and could feel my expression begin to freeze a little.

Our eyes met and there was a moment of tension there, of daring, when neither of us blinked or looked away. “Is that so?” I said finally.

“So you know what I’m thinking, Mr. Miller, do you?”

“Not what you’re thinking, lad, no,” he said, holding my gaze. “But what you’re feeling? Yes, I believe I can tell that much. That don’t take a mind reader, though. Why, I only had to take one look at you when you walked through the door to figure that out.”

He didn’t seem prepared to expand on this so I had no choice but to ask him, despite the fact that my every instinct told me to leave well alone. “And what is it, then, Mr. Miller?” I asked, trying to keep my expression neutral. “What am I feeling?”

“Two things, I’d say,” he replied. “The first is guilt.”

I remained still but kept watching him. “And the second?”

“Why,” he replied, “you hate yourself.”

I would have responded—I opened my mouth to respond—but what I might have said, I do not know. There was no opportunity anyway, for at that moment he slapped the table again, breaking the tension that had built between us as he glanced across at the wall clock. “No!”

he cried. “It’s never that time already. I’d best get home or the missus’ll have my guts for garters. Enjoy your holiday, Tristan Sadler,”

he said, standing up and smiling at me. “Or whatever it is you’re here for. And a safe trip back to London when it’s over.”

I nodded but didn’t stand up. I simply watched him as he made his way to the door, turned for a moment and, with a raised hand, exchanged a quick goodbye with J. T. Clayton: Proprietor, Licensed to Sell Beers and Spirits, before leaving the bar without another word.

I glanced back at White Fang, lying face up on the table, but reached for my drink instead. By the time I finished it, I knew that my room

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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