It started small, but fire has a tendency to spread. It crawled over desks and chairs, jumped gaps, dug its feet into sallow, stained carpets. Soon it filled much of the building. The alarm had been wailing ineffectually for a while, pulsing and bellowing as if the sheer volume of it could smother the flames.
"I’m not going to lie," he said, watching from across the street. "This wasn’t in the plan."
“So how long have you been falling?”
“TIME IS MEANINGLESS IN THE ETERNAL VOID! WHEEEEE!”
“So a while then?”
“There’s a journey we must go on!” I declare; finger aloft, coat billowing about me, eyes alight with possibility. “And no delay!”
“Can’t. Busy.” Comes the mouth-stuffed reply. I deflate. My coat sags, grips my body like a dying swan.
“I loved that house,” said Jack, staring at the ruined roof. At his feet, animals milled around in unknowing condolence.
“Well?” he yelled from his spot on the village green (In truth more of a village brown, carpeted with crisped grass and churned mud). “Is it a crime? To be a horse? To be a horse head on a stick in a bin? Is it?”
“And there’s no way to appeal?” The figure shook its head. Marley fiddled with a lock, licked his dry lips. It had seemed, at the time, the sensible option. Christmas Eve, how many years ago? Too many to count now. Another dozen, another score of links on this chain. He could count them later.
She had lived with the pigeons for so long now she had left behind all memory of her life as a human. All she knew now was the beat of wing on hot summer air, the nervous stuttering grab at abandoned food, the snug reek of the night’s roost. She tended her fellows’ gnarled and broken feet, smoothed their grease-ruffled feathers and reassured them in whatever jabbering language pigeons used.
He looked up, and God answered. The buildings about him spun; his head remained a still spot in the centre of the city’s merry go round. The light of the Sun bore down on him, squinting shut his eyes. God was there, in the sharp light of the frost-pinched winter’s day. God spoke to him, in dousing heat glowing through his skin. The crowds fell upwards, spiralling with the buildings into the blank stare of the open sky.