If Penny could have strangled him she would have. But it was hardly subtle.
This was the third nose bleed the old man had suffered with today. Whilst he was bent over his crossword puzzle, a drop of rose red splattered onto the page and spread through the fibres, growing larger as the paper drank it up.
He peered through his thick glasses at the spot. The tortoiseshell frames hung under his bushy grey eyebrows and clung to the tip of his nose as he bent at the neck, an emu stretching away from a hunched torso. He reached for the handkerchief in his left breast pocket, his hands fumbled with a trembling that had become part of his being. The rag he retrieved was freckled with dry bloody spots that were scattered between embroidered initials and lacy edging.
The old man twisted the fabric into a tight corkscrew and forced each pointed tip up a nostril, leaving the body of the handkerchief to dangle across his face like a bull with a nose ring.
Whilst mulling over the answer to thirty two down, the tang of copper started to grip the very depths of his tongue, spreading throughout the mouth until it had conquered every taste bud. The man reached for his glass of water and sucked in tiny mouthfuls from the edge of the crystal. Clouds of red span through the liquid with each sip, until the remaining fluid was a pale red tincture of tap water and blood.
Through a chink in the blinds the old man could see across the pool. The water shimmered the sunlight onto a naked couple that were slathering tanning oil across their leathery hides. The male one bent to retrieve his morning fill of beer from his ice cooler, giving the old man what was to be his last look of the living.