More Heat Than Light

It’s a large bed, almost a double and too large for the attic room in which it sits,squat in the corner, hunched under the low eaves of the roof, like the treasure-guarding dragon from The Hobbit.

“There are,” he said, “seventy eight bones in the human body that can be hollowed out and can then, with the appropriate holes made in them, be used as woodwind instruments. This uncommon practice is known as thelanthropy.” They never spoke again. Later in life they would both regret this moment.

“It’s getting late,” he said. “I’m going to have to go soon.”

“Just a while longer. Where do you have to go?”

Every time he looked out at the street, there was nothing there.

One time, all the dogs looked back at him. Two of them seemed to turn away and put their heads together, as if conferring.

The next time he looked, there were gone. But there were two dozen white pigeons on the roof of the house opposite. They flew away like scattered clouds when the dogs came back. The dogs came back with a football, and they started a match. They didn’t seem to know the rules, or care.

He looked out at the street again, but there was nothing there.

Nobody had come today.

The Mesopotamian Halo Trumpeteers specialise in synchronised skydiving while playing Ave Maria in a snappy four-four beat. It’s not for everyone. Their conductor, Michel Canberra, is an agoraphobic. He’s a swell guy.

He took some time putting on his coat, taking particular care over the tiny brass buttons down the front. He said his goodbyes and left, although nobody knew then that they were not to see him again for some years. In that time, he would have married and divorced three women. Two of them had the same name – Constance – but the other was called Maureen, although she later had cause to change this to Geoff.

“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” she complained, not for the first time.

“I know,” he said. “I’m sorry.”

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Andrew Cheverton
Andrew Cheverton is currently the writer of the western comic West (drawn by Tim Keable) and the science fiction comic The End (drawn by FH Navarro), and the writer - and soon-to-be illustrator - of horror comic The Whale House. Thank you for reading.
Andrew Cheverton

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