Imagine the silence now, in that place which is no-place, that anteroom to God where each hour is ten thousand years long. Once you imagined the souls held in a great net, a web spun by God, held safe till their release into his radiance. But if the net is cut and the web broken, do they spill into freezing space, each year falling further into silence, until there is no trace of them at all?
All Hallows Day: grief comes in waves. Now it threatens to capsize him. He doesn’t believe that the dead come back; but that doesn’t stop him from feeling the brush of their fingertips, wingtips, against his shoulder. Since last night they have been less individual forms and faces than a solid aggregated mass, their flesh slapping and jostling together, their texture dense like sea creatures, their faces sick with an undersea sheen.
Happiness was different in childhood. It was so much then a matter simply of accumulation, of taking things – new experiences, new emotions – and applying them like so many polished tiles to what would someday be the marvellously finished pavilion of the self.