This turned out to be a very strange story – and I mean ‘strange’ in a very positive way, of course – one that started as something with a somber mood: the opening brings us to a small pub in the Red Lights district of Amsterdam, where a woman is waiting for someone. The description of the rainy night and the people moving past the pub’s windows on their various errands puts the background into sharp focus and it quickly drew me in, thanks to what I like to call “cinematic quality” in writing.
Quite soon, though, the story’s atmosphere changes, and that happens when the waiting woman fingers the gun in her pocket – a gun that’s “fifty years more advanced than anything else in this time zone” – and the man she’s waiting for appears. She’s there to kill him, and he’s aware of the fact.
I’m not going to tell you more about Red Lights, and Rain, because it’s the kind of story that begs to be read with no foreknowledge: the only thing I feel comfortable sharing is the consideration underlying the narrative – what is a monster? Is it the creature whose only motivation is to kill, the one that is driven to spill innocent blood, or is it the one that acted as creator and sent it on the path of destruction? In the end I found myself echoing the words of the young man managing the pub, “you are a monster”. Indeed…