I wrote this as a competition entry this month.  (I didn’t win.) The brief was to write about the discovery of a dead body for any type of character. It was inspired by a morning I spent at the Lady Lever Gallery. There was a meditator but the rest is fiction…

“At over 3000 pieces this is one of the world’s largest collections of jasper Wedgewood.” The guide, showed no interest in the snake-wrapped Salome or the mutton-chopped bust of Lord Lever-Hulme as she hustled the group through to the next gallery.

The group, fleece-wearing, camera-bedecked and grey-haired, followed her. Only four hesitated in the circular, dome-roofed room. The raven-haired woman in matching floor-length black raincoat and black beret had dressed the part. Her nose scrunched and she turned away. Whether that was in response to the laurel-crowned, Elizabethan-collared Napoléon or from the metal stench that hung in the air, I couldn’t say.

Matching faggots in tight, black jeans, tailored polo-shirts and branded trainers minced past. They trailed through the rusty puddle; oblivious to the macabre footprints they left behind as they rushed for the best seats in the coffee shop.

And then there was the meditator. The meditator was interesting. He wore a red fleece, open over another, zippered fleece. Both hung crookedly over his dowager hump. Unblemished hiking boots, and knee-length hiking socks covered his skinny shins. He maintained complete focus on the black-on-white mosaic floor as he paced round and round poor, forgotten Salome. Round and round. Never a glance left or right. Once, twice, three times, I watched, as he passed the hairy man’s feet that poked out of sparkly, wedge-heeled flip-flops. Flip-flops that protruded from beneath the blood-flecked Innocent Child in Prayer.

Who could interrupt such contemplation?

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