On the eve of the great danger

we crossed three frontiers and a muddy brook. Looking skyward, we dangled darkly close to the outer limits, our range of vision curtained by a flotilla of silent barrage balloons. (Black stingrays viewed from below. We at the bottom of the sea.) We ventured to take cover, if only briefly, in the crossing-keeper’s shack by the railway bridge. It was abandoned but unlocked, no one there but a handful of would-be survivors like ourselves. The floors were littered with blue seedpods and dry shrivelled orange peels. (Spent cartridges. Spent condoms.) On one of the walls someone had scrawled a message: Recall Everything Exactly As It’s Going To Happen. Our fellow fugitives were submerged in a discussion of methods for conjuring up the clickhand ninjas. (To ‘put things right’. A horribly misconceived delusion.) So we figured that, regardless of the outcome, this place would be in for noxious company. The balloons upstairs had already gone into shapeshifting mode. The late-night train never came. We left as soon as the lights went out.

—Jane Røken