By Seb Kirby
I was walking down the steps at the side of Southwark Cathedral. I’d left work in time to get to Borough Market while it was still open. Julia was away in Florence working on a project for her conservation studio, absorbed in her work restoring paintings and we hadn’t seen each other for over a month.
The old Market had been transformed in recent years with the arrival from all over the world of so many young workers in London. Now almost every taste and every cuisine was catered for at the bustling stalls wedged beneath the Victorian overhead railway, its cast iron supports forming an ornate roof.
It was still a wonder to me how much I loved Julia. And how much she loved me. We were soul mates. It was as simple as that. Nor could I believe how lucky we’d been to buy the apartment overlooking the Thames.
As I left the Market, the view across the river, taking in the Embankment and with St Paul’s dominating the opposite skyline, was magnificent. The Thames was always in flow, turbulent and full of interest, a working river with craft of all shapes and sizes.
Turning onto the riverside walk, popular with tourists but still retaining enough of the character that for centuries had made it a mysterious place, I walked on through a low brick walled tunnel where a busker, no doubt a young musician from one of the London orchestras, was playing Brahms. I walked past the terrace restaurant at the base of our apartment building, typed in the security number on the touchpad, pushed open the door and walked up the flight of stairs that led to the apartment.
Something was wrong. The door to the apartment was open; not ajar, but open just four or five inches.
We never left the door open no matter how good the security system of the apartment building was supposed to be.
I approached the door, trembling. I pushed against it. It would hardly give; there was something behind the door, stopping it from opening. I pushed harder until it gave. I forced my way inside.
It was Julia. She’d collapsed against the inside of the door trying to escape the apartment. There was blood everywhere. I felt for a pulse — at her wrist, at her neck — but there was none. I felt the deepest sadness welling from the base of my soul. It began with a scream that progressed to a howl of bitter regret followed by tears that shook my whole body.
Someone had killed her. Her body was still warm. It must have happened not many minutes before.
About Take No More
An artistic voyage in crime – thrilling and original
When James Blake discovers his wife murdered in their London home, he is determined to find her killer. As the prime suspect, he flees England and sets out on a journey that takes him to Florence and Venice and into a dark underworld of corruption, a trail that will lead him to the killer – and the shocking truth behind the mystery.
About Seb Kirby
Seb Kirby was literally raised with books – his grandfather ran a mobile library in Birmingham, UK and his parents inherited a random selection of the books. Once he discovered a trove of well-used titles from Zane Gray’s Riders of the Purple Sage, HG Wells’ The Invisible Man and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities to more obscure stuff, he was hooked.
He’s been an avid reader ever since.
His books include the James Blake Thriller series (Take No More, Regret No More and Forgive No More) and the Raymond Bridges science fiction thriller series (Double Bind). He is hard at work now on the next installment.
And follow him on Twitter @Seb_Kirby.