Copyright 2012 by Justin Hulford
I looked at myself in a mirror that hung above the basin and didn’t like what I saw. Using both arms to support my increasingly heavy frame, I examined my tired, unshaven face. It was only brightened by a splash of crimson that silently drew attention to my left cheek and the collar of my grubby shirt. The elegant beads of blood sat in defiant contrast to the more abundant smears that adorned the walls of the shabby apartment, grey as they were in the fading pale light from the skylight above.
Jansen was dead and lay somewhere else in the room. It was his blood that I now wore and I was anxious to remove the grisly makeup at the first opportunity. With that thought I began to run the hot tap in a trickle that gave off a vent of steam in the cool air surrounding me.
I washed my face.
Marcus Aurelius Scaurus was pleased with what he had achieved. Much to his surprise (although not to numerous others) he had initially been overlooked for consul, having come third in the annual vote for this much sought after position. But due to the untimely death of one of those more fortunate than him, he had since taken up the position, suffectus. His years toiling through the less senior magistracies had finally seen their worth and he was ready for this new and deserved challenge despite the shortened time in which he could fill his purse and, of course, win glory for Rome.