A great many people will be breathing a sigh of relief that 2020 is finally over. Of course, a calendar year is nothing more than a way of marking the passage of time, it isn’t sentient and has no agency of its own. Nor does its end mark a barrier beyond which the pandemic and… Continue reading Goodbye 2020!
Bedtime, and it was Christmas tomorrow. Noah was prepared this year; the glass of warm milk he had drunk would help see him off to sleep, and to be doubly sure he had closed his curtains extra tight and twisted his blanket around himself so that the warmth completely enveloped him and he couldn’t see so much as the faintest glimmer of light.
“Here’s Maggie Thatcher.” John opened one hand to reveal a stick figure drawn on the palm. He mimed throwing it in the air. “Throw her up and catch her. Roll her up and splat her.” He rubbed his hands together as though scrunching up a piece of paper, then opened his other hand, with a wild squiggle of ink on the palm. “There’s Maggie Thatcher.”
There was air coming into the box. But that didn’t mean it was easy to breathe. Her chest was tight, her breaths coming in shallow and rapid, and her head swam. The time in which she was jostled about by movement felt endless while it was happening, then appeared to have taken no time at all once it was done. After that she was laid down flat somewhere, the only accompaniment to her own ragged breaths being the occasional low murmur of voices.
Piralael wasn’t on Novalis. The assembly had confirmed this using sky-watch, a live satellite image showing the entirety of the island from above which they had then switched over to infra-red. There was one concentrated heat source within the village hall, with everybody gathered, and innumerable spots too small to be human beings that frittered about the island’s forest, but nothing else. There was no other human being on the island beyond those in that room.