The Salutation Bar was stiflingly hot and cluttered with the usual hodge podge of misfits, waifs and strays. Walter sat at a table by the window watching the streamers of steam rise from his muddy coffee. Beside him, a gangling scarecrow of a man slurped his beer with all the enthusiasm of an ex-con in a bordello. Each sip was like leaky tap drip, drip, dripping throughout a sleepless night.
Outside, the cloak of darkness had draped itself over the city, and the moon bit into the sky like a fang. The night was suddenly filled with the crackle of exploding fireworks as Lena oozed into the bar like mercury. She stood before Walter and a chill of recognition sliced through him. She nodded and he stood.
The next day a church bell echoed through the granite autumn morning as Walter lay slumped against a gravestone. On his forehead, a smear of lipstick and a perfect bloody circle were all that remained of Lena’s goodbye kiss.