The shadowy figure held out a callused palm and gave birth to a small yellow flame. It was no brighter than a candle and, as he held his hand up to his mouth, it wavered and fluttered in the evening breeze like any earthly fire would. Colin eyed the dark bulk with unease as he watched the man bend his face to the flame and light his crumpled cigarette.
“If you want me to do the girl too, it’ll cost you another twenty.” Said the man through the corner of his mouth, as the flame took hold of the small white cylinder. Colin could see the creased lines of the man’s face and the rough cut stubble that crowded in clumps around his shovel shaped chin, but he couldn’t form a complete picture of what he must look like. Despite his size he felt like a silhouette or, perhaps, an echo of a man.
“Twenty? You can’t possibly…” The man dropped his hand, the flame extinguishing as quickly as it had appeared, and let out a long stream of smoke towards Colin. The alleyway was cold but, as the man looked at him with his dark blank eyes, the temperature seemed to drop still further and Colin felt the hairs on his arms stand to attention like a thousand alert halberdiers.