Four hours passed. It was nearly seven.
“Who the Hell is Jimmy, anyway?”
A woman, unknown to date, entered the room. In the years it took her to pass from the door to the blackened window, a forest grew. Trees emerged from the carpet, but not from seed. Rather the tops appeared first, exposed by a tide pulled hurriedly back like a sheet at morning.
She stepped into the carpetlake without pausing, moving with a slow, deliberate grace until the water swelled around her white dress. The staircase she followed led down, and as she disappeared under the surface she began to sing. A song of longing, of beautiful and unrequited despair, in a language understood by no-one but the singer, yet common to the many tongues of the fish that moved behind her eyes and between her legs.
Outside, an engine roared, and sirens. Emergency vehicles screamed their egocentric best “Me me me, Look at me” and flashed blue lights into the faces of those who dared to look away.
Without her, the town turned around. Within, hidden music began to play. A sweeping curve of sound lead her into a vast submerged cathedral, half fallen, where the rusted shells of abandoned cars lay neatly, as if parked, along the aisles. She looked up at a gargoyle, but didn’t see his goatface, and the book she was carrying fell from her arm. Bending quickly, gracefully animated, the woman reached to pick up the book, its scattered pages dancing on the current, but as the shadow of her hand fell on them and her fingers touched the pages, they began to dissolve. To crumble into dust. Beneath her feet, the ground was covered in the finest deep sand, the dust of millions of pages, eroded by mourning, loss, frustration, jealousy and greed. These emotions swirled around in the water on an invisible tide, carving both disfigured sculptures of rock and the most delicate corals where tiny coloured fish sparkled like precious stones.
Where did the light come from, that cast the shadow?
The distant sunlight, slowly filtered through the greenish water, illuminating the myriad organisms that hung there like motes in an empty room?
Or was it some forgotten moon, white and cold? Was it day or night?
A lantern perhaps, swinging on magnificent ironwork outside a shoemakers, sqeaking in the soft twilight breeze?
Breeze. She remembered the breeze on the hills. And as it came to her mind, so she could feel it again, in the moving water.
Quickly, it came. And he was there.