It was a hard two days on the guest ales. Ruby reds, hoppy ambers, thick and brooding porters. A micropub next to the pound shop with a name that reminded me of Black Shuck. In the art that hung over the uneven tables, alien polar-bear things stood motionless on the stomachs of prostrate little girls. Smooth lines, a quality of myths half-remembered and badly translated.
My stomach is a roiling mass of locally farmed oysters, a pot of crayfish tails, pale ales. Sleep comes quickly.
I am standing on an icy plain, with friends or possibly family, though they chat amicably among themselves and seem unable to see what I see or hear my pleas for them to look.
I am somewhere in Doggerland, on the frozen earth that fills in the gaps between what will one day be Britain and Norway. My friends or family murmur obliviously. We all wear modern clothing and some of them check their phones distractedly.
Through binoculars normally reserved for birdwatching on the Kent and Suffolk coasts, I watch a herd of mammoth, fur like expensive, dirty rugs, tusks the envy of any poacher. One of the animals stands apart, looms larger than its fellows.
I look and I look. This thing is a distended child’s rendering of a furred elephant, the proportions all wrong, features bent grotesque and out of shape. Like some Picasso face of an elephant. The deformed mastodon notices my binocular glaze and as I look into its idiot eyes I know, somehow, that this thing is the Destroyer of Worlds, though it will do its job without any malice or even forethought and, of course, destruction is just another form of change.
My friends or family, close to me but oblivious crowd around one of their tiny phone screens, watching a hapless plummy actor do impersonations of Neanderthal speech for a BBC documentary. They laugh as it begins to snow.
This idiot crippled mastodon begins to shuffle towards us, the shuffle breaking into a trot, and the trot into a charge and I can see the thing, the Destroyer of Worlds with its innocent child eyes and twisted features, approaching fast and I shout and shout to my companions to move, get out of the way, can you not see this thing in front of you?
But they do not hear me.