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It was very tiny now, like a floating bit of dream or a counterfeit piece of scrapbook. It came to him, he believed, as a form of insanity because he tried to cling on to the vision even though it was being eroded to become a non-tactile, unimportant event getting tinier, and one that had no bearing on or place in the future, because the traces of it were not visible in the present.

Gusts elsewhere through the ribboned warrens. Nothing in proximity. He was staring at the space, which was profoundly offering something up, perhaps, simply because of its stark nothingness. The loss was palpable. His despair inherent now everywhere as he realised that the stranger had moved to other places. He felt a complete movement within himself, an eruption that he couldn’t resist for any longer. He felt the tears behind his face as a warm river that forced its way out so that he was conspicuously sobbing into the lonely tiled corridor, with those sobs first echoing through the passages, then transformed into a strange amplified weeping.

This was a discordant, almost-alien noise, one that, if he’d heard it coming from someone else, he would have been scared of because of its piercing, inhuman lurching and twisting, an horrendous curdling of the silence that rested there. But he was removed from seeing, or feeling, that, because as the wailing got more distinct, his self-awareness dipped, and he’d gone past the point of stopping.

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