Many, many years ago, and was it in Old Compton Street or Hurst Street or Canal Street - so many cities, so many places - he had ejected himself, or been ejected, one in the morning, half in the embrace of a young lad who had been far too wasted for sense, and seen across the road, in the reflection of new plate glass, a vision of himself, a dark shadow dressed in 501s and a polo shirt, embracing something red, foetid and horrifiying that in the years afterwards he would come to know as a Sroon. Sroons were apparently human, as witness the young man who had stopped being affectionate and was now trying to suck the moisture from his skin, but in reality, and this was gospel, mate, pure gospel, they had nodded through a wormhole from an affine continuum (a parallel world) years ago due to an experiment gone either wrong or disastrously right.

He walked with the knowledge of the Sroon, and sometimes at sunset he would sit outside the Dog and Fox on Bromsgrove Street, looking westward, as the sky became red and gold streaked with purple and mauve, and sip his pint of whatever artisanal ale was popular these days and see within the colours of the sky and the shadows of the darkening city, Sroons lurking. They were no respecters of gravity; dandling at height was no biggie to them. Sometimes they lurked by billboards, like the one where Luke Pinter had met his end one night, crucified face-to-the-wall with the slogan YOU SUCK painted next to him. It was an excuse, it all was; someone to hate.

The End

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