Within Sample: Prologue


Harry’s corner was the intersection between Spring Garden Road and Dresden Row, right next to the Shoppers Drug Mart. He jingled his Tim Horton’s cup at the exiting patrons of the drug store, and they’d shake their heads at him, or pretend he wasn’t there. He’d wish them a happy day anyway. What went around came around, and if he gave enough cheer despite the emptiness of his cup every morning and night, maybe, someday, God might cut him a break.
The sun had set three hours ago, but Harry decided to stick to his spot anyway. Sometimes the other fellas came at night and wanted to stand on his corner, sayin’ they were the night watch, but Harry held firm. It was his place, and it wasn’t as bad as some of those other corners in Halifax. Sometimes, especially on Wednesdays, as the drunken teenagers and university students stumbled back to Dalhousie campus, they would pat him on the shoulder and stuff leftover change from their cheap drinks at the Dome into his cup. Those were good nights.
He waited for that to happen, jingling his cup to keep him company. Weren’t many folks out that night. Too early for the students. But Harry was patient. He had no family to go home to, or a home to go home to for that matter.
The streets were quiet until Harry spotted three figures walking side by side down Spring Garden. It was dark, and Harry’s eyes weren’t too good anymore, but he noticed that they wore identical black robes that hid their faces and their hands. He caught brief glances of their sandaled feet as they scraped across the sidewalk.
They didn’t look like they had wallets, or pockets, but Harry shook his cup at them anyway. “Spare some change, misters?”
The men didn’t stop. Like giant birds, they extended their arms and swept over him, catching him in the fabric of their robes. Harry held on tightly to his cup and its precious change as the silk wrapped around him, swallowing him. He tried to fight his way out.
“What are you doing? What’s going—?”
Harry grunted as something sharp drove into his lower back. The blade twisted, sending an intense ripple of pain up his right side. His arms went limp. The change he had worked so hard to earn clanged once more as it hit the sidewalk and went silent. When he tried to cry out, more fabric was stuffed in his mouth. A pool of his blood formed on the pavement as he was half carried, half dragged away.
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