Nathan saw her when he worked late, when the voices and the tapping of keys stopped. Tall, proud, skin pale as mushroom, hair dry blond, she tugged the vacuum cleaner behind her like a reluctant child.
Dirty. Cheap. Rough. He wanted to own her.
He thought of her on the treadmill; upon arrival at London City Airport; as he requested a restaurant bill. He imagined her in yellow-flash Polaroids, in hotel rooms; contorted, bent over, grimacing.
Drowsy, he overshot, imagining her life; a tiny flat filled with people and fried food, bills neatly pinned to a wall.
He thought of her wage.
His smooth hands.
Of her body that would soon age, skin crumpling.
For a moment, his belief failed and he thought of fairness, of wealth.
Then the power cut happened, the pale reflected office in the glass curtain wall disappearing and leaving him floating in blackness above London. Without light, the huge structure became insubstantial around him, artifice laid bare, a magic trick gone wrong. Below, the rest of Canary Wharf was shadow, a futurist resort off-season, a collection of dark angles.
He had sinned.
The power cut was a warning.
Believe or it will end.