“I’m back,” I breathed softly, full of a sudden exultation. “I have returned”. A sudden exaltation overtook me, leaving me all but speechless. “I have returned,” I said again, savouring the glory of the moment. A sudden exaltation had overtaken me, leaving me speechless. The street was thronged with people, coming and going, laughing and smiling, talking and gesticulating in the bright August sunshine. I stood there a while, breathing in and out, rejoicing in the unrepeatable splendour of that moment in time. That old exaltation was back – that old, old exaltation. I’m back, I whispered to the wind. I’m back, I informed the pigeons on the street. I’m back, I mouthed to the crowds as they pushed heedlessly by me. I’m back, I murmured to the world in general. That old old exaltation – how easily I had forgotten it. Where had I been, I asked myself in wonder. Where had I been and what had I been doing there?
The streets were thronged with a great multitude of people, talking and gesticulating as they flowed by like a graceful river of bodies. I was not part of that flow, however – I was aware that it had nothing to do with me. I was not in that flow. I had no place there. A voice croaked out – it was my own voice and I stood alone in an arid, inhospitable plain. The air hung stagnant all around me. it smelt old, too old to get any good out of it, too old to breathe almost. The desolation I saw stretching out around me in every direction defied description. Eyes should not have to look upon desolation such as this, I told myself. There is something very wrong about this world, I think to myself. It is a world that should never have been allowed to be.
A terrible, terrible voice rings out over that desolate arid plain – a dreadful hollow croak. I don’t wish to hear this voice. No voice should sound like this, I find myself telling myself, trying to introduce a note of sanity in a situation where there is none. It is my own voice that I am hearing – it issues forth from me quite involuntarily and hangs there in the air around me, refusing to go. It makes the tired old air crinkle and bend. It takes me a while to understand what it is saying. “I am the corrupted one” the voice tells me and I am filled with sudden horror as I hear these words. Corruption itself is speaking through me – I am its vessel. The revelation is speaking through me. it is making itself known through me. “Horror is my name,” the voice says, “I am horror itself…” It occurs to me quite incongruously that it is not turning into such a good day after all.