He stared at the ceiling, lying flat out on his back on the bed. He wanted there to be no escape, but there was always an escape. If there was no escape, his life might feel real, possess a tragic (or farcical) necessity. But his mind was too volatile. Whatever happened, he could always think it afresh. No, it was more than that: he had to think it afresh. Even if it felt stale, it was new. And always, the years would come for him, with their covert benevolence of numbness and negligence. At some point, this room would cease to exist | Dust floated in the air from the demolished interior. They were keeping only the façade. Frank half choked in the honey-coloured air, and put up his goggles to protect his eyes. It was like being in the Bible, somehow… Nebuchadnezzar

She left work, and slipped out of the office into the early summer evening. Car crash, doctor, crimson gerberas, his being a Pisces…

In its long history, the hotel had been the site of several suicides. It was where the story ended. The cul-de-sac. Other people were then spliced into the story, or spliced the deceased into the living. Money was always a problem. Loss of love, or betrayed love | Those radiant splashes of colour, shot up into space like Apollo missions: the universe of the modern art gallery, the white sills, the clean black geometric lines.

Rockets. The ardour of exploration — the Sea of Nectar, the Sea of Clouds — the messy sheets, with their stinking topography, soaked and ripened by sex. How the door closed this time: how he walked away. The style and the type of his excuses, she wondered which one would he use? She could feel it coming. She could feel him separating, or rather, no longer bothering to camouflage their essential separation in signs of affection. The fatal glance at the watch, the piss in the bathroom. He would be consulting his list of cover stories. The great radiant haze, with its octopus tentacles, molten: the sun is not a solid, elsewhere it is going down. Fire on the launchpad. The presence of a stranger among them.

On the barren plain, nomads beginning to strike camp. The bleat of goats, hawking hack of camels: fur and felt. Winter pasture. Dawn in a saucer of milk. The loudmouth with the latest explanation | The van from the mortuary | He was worried he would lose his job, which he hated anyway, and wondered how had it come to this? | He entered her story at a seminal moment, a time of eros and mourning. The subtle process of hybidisation continued. They walked away from the wreck. The Sea of the Edge, the Sea of Fecundity.