The fading light of sunset suffused the woods with a staggeringly tedious glow. Oh god, he thought, not this again. Not the majestic beauty of nature. The rich autumnal hymn rising wordlessly to the delight of the unknowable cosmos. Christ. Who actually enjoys this bullshit?

He couldn’t turn away. The evening birdsong ran fitfully through the trees, filling his ears with a soft harmonious din. Soon the owls would be sweeping silently across the glade; ruthlessly efficient assassins in the guise of giant downy pillows. Their hoots were like nails down a blackboard. Hauntingly atmospheric. He tried to roll his eyes but they were dry, and hurt when he moved them.

He longed for a drink. Water, beer, a 12 year old Scotch. Right now he would drink goat’s piss, or Australian lager. How long since he had slept? How long since he had eaten? Days, maybe years. He’d watched this woodland glade in the mists of dawn, at the blaze of noon, and now he saw its twilight coming.

It was probably a metaphor. Was this glade truly the universe, and he its god-creator? Now doomed, he thought, to crumble to nothingness within his own creation. Bloody hell. Who tricked him to come out here? What justice was being enacted? His entrapment in this effulgent hellhole was almost certainly going to be used as a lesson.

In the coming gloom, a deer caught the scent of decay and raised its head. Between its antlers was the setting sun. Ugh.

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