Part VIII of ‘A Skulk’. The first part can be found here.
Some days later, Waclaw was walking past the front of Holly’s block and saw the young man, the one he’d seen with her, in her bedroom and on the street, waiting outside. Slowing his pace, he watched asquint, saw Holly answer the door and the young man reach into his bag, take out a bottle of wine, present it to her. She stared at the young man as if she’d never seen him before: bemused, but placid. He clasped her hand. She began shaking, and he loosed his hold, stepped back. Huddling down in a corner of the porch, she retched a few times, then spewed an off-white froth. The young man moved closer once more, muttering comforts. Holly began to wail, high and eerie. Reaching out, the young man went to stroke her hair, but flinched away on touching her. He dropped the bottle. It smashed, and the wine flowed out, pooled in hollows. After staring aghast at Holly a moment, the young man turned, ran away. She ceased her keening, grinned horribly. Then, looking up, glared at Waclaw. There wasn’t the faintest sign she recognised him. Shuddering, he hunched into his coat, strode on.
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