It was a glorious day. Choruses of angels filled the air with their songs of praise and exultation. But suddenly the sky grew grey and desolate.

‘This music is depressing,’ I thought. ‘Where’s the good stuff that was playing a minute ago? This makes me feel like I’m the hero of some epic battle, except… I’m the only one returning. In fact, I think I’m the last person on the face of the earth. Where have the others gone?’ Frantically, I began to search high and low. I called out the names of friends, foes and lovers, but there came no reply.

A troupe of gnomes appeared from the midst of the trees. They blindly grinned as they capered and danced about before me. Surely it was a dream. I stared at them bemusedly.

‘I must be peaking by now. It’s been at least an hour since I’ve eaten those caps.’ A fairy landed on the tip of my nose and dusted gold all over me.

“This is to prevent you from just getting up and flying away,” she said and smiled with deep satisfaction as though she believed she was trapping me. I didn’t mind. Flying was the least of my worries. In her stupidity, the fairy pointed and cackled. She would not stop laughing and the sheer din of it drove me to madness. I needed to escape but didn’t know how.

The gnomes reappeared and said they would show me the way. They had large lanterns on poles which they slung over one shoulder. The lanterns were filled with jewels so bright that there was no need for fire. I followed the gently swaying lanterns in a dream-like state, completely mesmerized.

It had grown impossibly dark all around us yet I scarcely noticed. My friends were still nowhere to be found. My heart beat wings against my chest as if trying to release itself from the anxiety that coursed through every fiber of my being. The piercing realization that I was going to be left here hit me harder than anything and I still hadn’t come down yet.

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