Brompton Rhodes was sick.
Sick with what he wasn’t quite sure yet. Maybe it wasn’t with something? Maybe it was of something instead?
Brompton flicked him a glance over his shades, revealing bloodshot eyes half buried beneath sagging, fleshy eyelids. The bases of both eyes were as dark as coal and the left globe seemed to be twitching all of its own accord.
Brompton’s upper-lip, cheeks, chin and neck were covered in a fine bristle. His mouth seemed perpetually curled, as if it were trying to break free from his face, but was nonetheless stiff and unmoving when he tried to speak:
“I wish I could tell you, Mike.”
The truth was Brompton didn’t wish that at all. Brompton didn’t wish for anything, right now. Brompton wanted for nothing. Brompton. Nothing.
He walked away from Mike, who continued the conversation alone, sat on the stairs leading up to his battered black front door. Brompton raised a hand and ran it through his matted, curled hair. He stared at his palm, at the multitude of tiny black lines that had come away.
Walking was causing him some difficulty today. His hips felt like they were attached with naught but tiny spurs of bone, thin couplings that would snap at any second. He cursed missed opportunities; of the time he could have stolen the Queen Mother’s solid platinum hips from right out of her grave. Instead he had resurrected the daft old bitch and sent her to kill William and Harry, to little success.
His feet were in agony; every step brought another very tactile fracture to the many blisters and corns that peppered the soles of his feet. He could feel his toenails softening and curling as he walked on, fated to eventually break away much like the joints in his ankles threatened to do.
Brompton stumbled, half-blind, into the off license, specks of grit slipping into his eyes and under his contact lenses even as the sound of the drilling outside caused the plugs of wax in his ears to resonate, in turn tickling his throat and provoking a pathetic, phlegm-soaked cough.
“Hello my friend.”
The owner, a beturbaned gentleman named Raj the Gadge, greeted Brompton with cheery familiarity. He had already procured a packet of over-priced tobacco and a packet of large blue skins from the rack behind before Brompton had even crossed the threshold. He beamed the smile of a man who truly loved his job.
Brompton kept his shades on, the better to hide the sickness, and waved a grunted greeting towards the gentleman. He wound his way to the back of the shop and studied the shelf of £3.50 reds.
He extended a hand towards the shelf, aiming for the Cabernet, but reeled as the vision in his left eye suddenly cut out.
Taking a step back and rubbing his eye, Brompton stared at the shelf through tears and grit as the bottle he was about to grasp slipped slowly and impossibly through the very wooden slat upon which it sat. The wood buckled like soft clay as the mass of the bottle, coupled with the gravitational pull of the Earth itself, tugged it towards the ground.
The bottle emerged a level below with a pop and a gentle clang, and the texture of the shelf above bounced back into harsh solidity.
Brompton removed his shades at last, not quite believing what he had seen.
The bonds between molecules, the bonds between atoms, between the quarks and bosons themselves were becoming undone. It was the end.
It was the end of history.
To be Continued…