About 23 hours had passed since that terrible, but oh! so wonderful (fatal) night. The man stood with his fist raised. He was shaking in his whole fist. The fist stiffened more than two day-old marmalade lying out in the sun. No less than 3 mm, and no more than 1.5 cm from the surface of the door, his hand was suspended in midair, floating like a grenade about to hit its target, bobbing like a duck in the water. The man stood like this for several minutes, fist readied for the knock. He was shaking all over. Then, just in the fist. Then, his body stiffened. Then, just the fist. I say, he was in poor shape indeed!
During the time interval it took for the man to gather the courage to knock, his thoughts promptly, abruptly and suddenly went back the last 24 hours. In Flashbacks we see the man taking a life for the second time -- the life of his childhood friend Stigvarf. He is bending over the body, blade stabbing fiercely. We see the man as he, to his great alarm, discovers the newspaper lying on the table -- yesterday’s paper -- and alarmed, he reads not one, but two sentences. We see the man thoughtfully looking up at the old, sterling grandfather clock in the corner. We see the man staggering aimlessly and pointlessly and purposelessly and just plain lessly around the streets of the city. Tears, or other drops trickling down his chin. We see the man collapse in an alley and fall asleep. We see the man getting up and wandering haughtily into the streets. Toward no. 45 Hellberry Street.
That was where he was now standing. He knocked. Hard. Two times. As the final knock landed, an infernal ticking commenced, then stopped not quite as soon as it had first begun! The man then felt a horrifying chill down his spine. What were those two sentences? he thought.