King’s Cross

Helayfacedown,listeningtothesilence.Hewasperfectlyalone.Nobodywaswatching.Nobodyelsewasthere.Hewasnotperfectlysurethathewastherehimself.

Alongtimelater,ormaybenotimeatall,itcametohimthathemustexist,mustbemorethandisembodiedthought,becausehewaslying,definitelylying,onsomesurface.Thereforehehadasenseoftouch,andthethingagainstwhichhelayexistedtoo.

Almostassoonashehadreachedthisconclusion,Harrybecameconsciousthathewasnaked.Convincedashewasofhistotalsolitude,thisdidnotconcernhim,butitdidintriguehimslightly.Hewonderedwhether,ashecouldfeel,hewouldbeabletosee.Inopeningthem,hediscoveredthathehadeyes.

Helayinabrightmist,thoughitwasnotlikemisthehadeverexperiencedbefore.Hissurroundingswerenothiddenbycloudyvapor;ratherthecloudyvaporhadnotyetformedintosurroundings.Theflooronwhichhelayseemedtobewhite,neitherwarmnorcold,butsimplythere,aflat,blanksomethingonwhichtobe.

Hesatup.Hisbodyappearedunscathed.Hetouchedhisface.Hewasnotwearingglassesanymore.

Thenanoisereachedhimthroughtheunformednothingnessthatsurroundedhim:thesmallsoftthumpingsofsomethingthatflapped,flailed,andstruggled.Itwasapitifulnoise,yetalsoslightlyindecent.Hehadtheuncomfortablefeelingthathewaseavesdroppingonsomethingfurtive,shameful.

Forthefirsttime,hewishedhewereclothed.

Barelyhadthewishformedinhisheadthanrobesappearedashortdistanceaway.

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