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just a picture of a cloud
[ *  *  *  *  *  * ]
Raina repeated her self, snapping Johnny from his reverie.

In his mind he'd taken flight, wings sprouting from his shoulder blades and bursting through the ragged fabric of his hoodie, arcing out behind him and lifting him up and up. He'd climbed, higher and higher above the island and he'd looked down on it and seen himself and Raina and everyone else who'd yet to check out, scattered out across the island like the chocolate chips on a cookie. Johnny'd lifted himself up into the sky and the people below had shrunk and shrunk until he couldn't make out who they were, yet higher still he risen until he couldn't see anyone, then until the island itself had vanished into the infinity of the sea. As the people below him had become noone and nothing and nowhere, he'd been free.

This was something Johnny'd done often, back in Kingman. Birds had always fascinated him, and he would frequently find himself distracted about his day upon seeing one, trying to imagine what their lives were like. To be able to go anywhere, do anything, not having to worry about study or work or the future but spending every day just flying and exploring and shitting on people's jackets - these were the things dreams were made of.

The sight of a bird was far better than that of a person, and Johnny imagined the world through his new, avian eyes. Birds were tetrachromats, with four cone cells instead of three, and could see many times more colours as a result. He pictured a world of rainbows, with the drab, grey sky replaced by a swirling panoply of hues. It was breathtaking he'd decided, as he'd closed his eyes and half-listened to Raina, his mind awander.

Johnny really should've been a bird, he decided. It was an egregious mistake on the part of is Creator, though Johnny resolved to let it slide if He had the mercy to let Johnny pass quickly. All this shit was only temporary anyway, right? How much did it really matter how he'd spent it, once he got out of the line and into the actual show, and it wasn't like he'd had to wait all that long, either - a hell of a lot of birds had to stick around a lot longer than he'd have to. One book her'd read said that eagles could hit a hundred.

Absent of thought, Johnny had drawn a cigarette and planted it like a sapling between his upturned lips. He'd given it plenty of light, and lo it did grow a veritable bounty of smoke. Eyes closed, Johnny inhaled deeply, holding the smoke in his lungs and trying to savour it.

How did you which cigarette would be your last? He didn't suppose you could.

Johnny was drawn from his flight of fancy by Raina's voice, sharp and insistent, and took him a moment to re-orientate himself, to figure out what it was she'd just said. The supply depot, right. He sat up and smiled, cigarette still hanging from his mouth, and gave a languid little nod and a half-arsed salute.


He drew himself up to her height and shouldered his bag.

"Lay on, MacDuff."

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Coward Mont Blanc · Crematorium Gardens