What must it be like, to be such a strange person, such a vibrant anomaly – and not know it?
As he walked down the narrow aisle between rows of cubicles, he felt green fluorescent light creep into the sides of his eyes. Out the window, saw the glowing lights of a city encased in thick, man-made fog. Heard barely a sound but for the nearly inaudible whirr of the building’s network. Did it have to be here? Wasn’t there somewhere else he could do this, somewhere where the air was less dry and the carpet a bit dirtier?
Cos that’s what it is right? My watch. Our watch. Can’t let it all turn to shit. All this glory. All this beautiful perfection, it don’t just appear for nothing. It’s on a knife’s edge. A knife’s edge every second. Could all fall down, blow up. If they got their way, it would. So you gotta be vigiliant. Gotta stay fucking vigilant, mate.
Up here, far above the crippling, coloured chiaroscuro of Osaka, everything was soft. The ground, the light, the shades of green and white and blue. The air was thin, and Kiko’s lungs took a while to adjust. As she trudged forward, moving from concrete road to stone path to dirt track, she felt fatigue creep through her more quickly than normal, but she liked it. Revelled in it, even; felt it hold her to the earth like an anchor.
Kiko stepped gingerly through the mess, desperate not to disturb any of it. She could feel the woman’s eyes on her back, willing her not to interfere. She had shown Kiko through the house, taken her to the room, but had stayed half a metre back the whole time. Kiko could understand. She was carrying finality into the woman’s life like a virus.
So here he found himself; in the bowels of a decaying, archaic church that jutted out from a rocky cliff, overlooking a hamlet full of poor, foolhardy people. People desperately carving out an existence, their wretched lives watched on by this crumbling reminder of a God that had forgotten them. It made him sick, their squalor.
Fredriks collapsed to his knees in a sea of blue. Wherever he was, the geometry was beyond his understanding. There was only colour – a wide wash of azure that enveloped him, held him up, kept at bay the cold void outside. It was a serene escape, a final twist in his final journey. And it would all be for naught if he died within the all too tangible confines of a space helmet.