At the end of the alley something stirred, something long dead.
And yet, judging by the roars of rage and the maelstrom of rubbish battering the surrounding buildings, that something was not prepared to concede the point. A little unsteadily, on account of all the whiskey I’d consumed at the World’s End pub (where I only drank because of the thrillingly cataclysmic name), I made my way towards the epicentre.
The sharp crack of a window smashing, the unmistakable tinkle of glass and the entity paused, as though surprised at its own strength; but only for a heart beat and the onslaught resumed with renewed frenzy. Walking through the flying shards of assorted crap, arm raised to ward off the worst of it, I was blinded, deafened, but unbowed.
Which was a shame really because if ever there was a moment when a kindly fate I don’t believe in should have intervened, turning me back to wend my weary, drunken way home instead of into the belly of the beast, it was that one.
But I was hooked now, because I could see it, motionless in the midst of its self-created mayhem.
I took off the dark glasses and studied it with more interest. There was a partial notion of a face: a snub nose so extreme it should have belonged on a shrunken head, and a sliding slant of facial feature that only just erred this side of human. This was what happened to those that had been long dead. They forgot the exact size and shape of the flesh over-coats they had worn in life. Eventually they lost all resemblance to their living, breathing, human selves, spiritually decomposing in ironic homage to the way of the flesh and finally becoming nothing more than a plume of dirty smoke; a patch of cold that you might feel as a shiver down your spine if you walked through it, but nothing more. The emotions were always last to go, stubbornly clinging on like dim witted hangers-on after the main attraction had upped sticks and gotten the hell out of Dodge. Which is exactly what I should have done.
And I could have too: right up until the moment it reached for me…