Dread Becomes Welcome…

It was a dark cold day in October. Big Ben had stopped before it could strike the discordant hour, the first of the new month. He walked with his chin pushed tightly within the fastening of his hood. The wind was cutting through the night air, chasing its enemies from the capital’s streets.

If he had not been so wrapped against the night, he would have probably heard the distant sirens, the smashing of windows, the sound of wolves let loose. He heard none of these. Neither did he see the carnage of sleeping bags, some half-burnt, others urinated upon; their owners had presumably fled. As he was, now.

There was a cold slap to the wind. It had been predicted. The weatherman had announced the arrival of the tail-end of some hurricane with a antiquated female name. The night would be cold for those without shelter. The weatherman had smiled before leaving the camera. For once, he had heeded those words and dressed in accordance.

One final push of resolve saw him reach the door. His flat, he used that word only to himself, was on the seventh floor and this made him smile. He had often shared a joke with himself, thanking his lucky stars that he was on the seventh floor as there was no eighth. He had never laughed out loud.

The exterior light had ceased sometime ago, making him fumble for his key before further fumbling for the lock. All the while, the cold was biting at him. The storm was coming and he heard the noisy approach of a chanting group. More and more, these spontaneous gatherings, flash mobs, sprung up from the depths of the internet to cause their anti-socials before slinking back. They would have been too quick for the police even if the police were concerned. Somewhere in the city some unfortunate was being stabbed.

“Please,” he begged the combination of door and key, “please.”

Finally, he was in. He pushed the door firmly behind him, breathed out deeply, listened to the flood of hatred beyond it. And wished that there was somebody out there that was watching over him.

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