Seymour waved his hand in front of him. There was nothing there.
“Now you just put your arm through it,” said Seoc. “I suppose you aren’t real after all. I am going mad.”
“No, Seoc! I’m right here.” Seymour turned him by the shoulders so that they were facing one another. “Tell me what you’re seeing.”
“My cell,” Seoc replied.
“In Waelyngar Penitentiary. I see four walls, a door with bars on the window, mine and Simon’s cots, and the twisted sheet I was going to hang myself with. What do you see, if not that?”
“We’re on the South Caligard Street Bridge in Brysail,” said Seymour. “It’s raining. I was walking home. Then suddenly the bridge was empty, and I saw you climbing over the railing, as if you were about to jump off.”
“A fold in the fabric of the universe, perhaps,” Seoc said, gazing wistfully up at his face. “Already you are fading.”
Seymour looked down at himself, then back toward Seoc to ask what he meant by that, but he stopped. The man’s body was growing steadily more transparent. He reached out to touch him, but his hand passed through his chest as if he weren’t even there.
“Goodbye, Seymour.” His voice sounded distant. “I’ll be waiting for that birthday present.”
“I’ll come back for you, I promise!”
But Seoc merely smiled and waved. As he turned away, his image disintegrated into a cloud of fine golden dust that shone like sunlight in the air, and Seymour found himself stumbling backward into the busy street. Shouts of “Watch where you’re going, you idiot grunie” echoing in his ears, he righted himself and ran home with his heart in his throat.