Max stands there for what seems a long time. The shapes of black keep moving and changing. The way they do it scares him. He'd like to think it's his mind playing up but this feels as this is coming from somewhere else. The black shapes are as sharp as razor blades. Max fears that if he makes a wrong move blood will come out of his eyes and ears and nose and mouth. What would be a wrong move? A wrong thought? He plays close attention to the shapes of black. The distances between them are not always the same. A Woman He can't see touches his arm and says, 'Are you all right?'
'I'm OK, Thanks' he says. 'I was just trying to remember if I turned off the cooker.'
'And did you?'
'Not sure but I'll find out when I get home.'
'Good luck,' says the woman, and she's gone.
Is one of the black shapes moving away from the others? Is it something recognisable? Suddenly the world comes back. With a stench of desolation. It smells like a backed-up toilet in an empty house with broken windows. Out of the corner of his eye Max sees something following him. Is it a dog? A cat? It's a little man, black as ebony, long body, very short arms and legs, large head, big ugly baby-face. He's inching along on his belly like a dog that's been run over. Max looks around. Lots of foot traffic but no one's stepping on the dwarf. Nobody is taking any notice at all. The smell is almost making Max throw up but he wants to do the decent thing. He says to the dwarf, 'Are you all right?'
'Closer,' says the dwarf. His voice is like dead leaves skittering on the floor of that empty house with the backed-up toilet.
from Her Name Was Lola