Graeme got out of the car to run across the street to the convenience shop. He bought a pack of cigarettes and a lighter, lighting up as soon as he pushed through the swinging doors and was back outside. He’d quit years ago, during a health binge, and never started back up. He hadn’t even missed them until recently, when his life seemed to be threatened around every corner. It didn’t help matters that he knew exactly when he would die, and that it didn’t matter if he smoked a pack of cigarettes an hour or if he ran into traffic or if he went into a nest of demons alone. He would walk away from it, dust himself off, and trudge on for another day, another week, another month. He had over two years of time to kill, of time to spend trying to find ways of living longer or dying sooner, whichever suited his needs. He knew he wouldn’t die until then, but he didn’t know what else would happen. He still harbored feelings that Gabriel would crush him between her fingers like a clump of sugar.
At least the cigarettes calmed him down.
He trotted back across the street and dug out his keys. Without warning, a sharp pain burst to life on the back of his head and his eyes fluttered. A fog of sleep blossomed in his brain like a detonated smoke bomb. He knew he was going down for the count, but he fought it – for an instant. Then his knees cracked against the pavement and he was out.