Red is the Colour of Night

“Sign here.”

A face looms through the semi-darkness. The boat of Amsterdam rises and falls with the canals; buildings wade through the half-light, broken rafters crumble through dust.

“Contracts are binding.”

I fumble through the notes in my purse for a pen. It all feels too familiar. Delft tiles framed with blue perfection peel across the walls, a cracked lamp flickers. My pen tumbles to the floor. Bending, I notice the front page of The Times. Another girl lost to the undercurrents of the red that lines these streets. That’s the sixth in a year.

Checked-in, he leads me through the breakfast room to a lair of winding corridors and balanced stairwells. I pull my weighted suitcase to the lift door where the sign shows one small person, one small bag at a time.

“Third floor. Enjoy your stay.”

The door slams. My icy hand glides an empty wall.

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