We shouldn’t have stayed out this late.

When we get to the bit of the street between Warren and Harris, stay close to me, and stay in the light of the lamps. Only stop when you’re right under a lamp post. Catch your breath and then go. Just go. Don’t wait, don’t slow down, and whatever you do: don’t look anywhere but the next lamp post. Not even for an instant. The blackness will seem absolute. Keep your eyes on the light and say to yourself that it’s not. The street is still there, so are the buildings, and people inside them. Tell yourself that, even if you don’t believe it.

When you’re running, between the lights, you may hear things. I won’t tell you what sorts of things, it’s different for everyone. If you do, and we do get through, I don’t want to know anything about what you heard. Understand? Say nothing. I won’t either. It’s better that way.

I won’t tell you not to breath between the posts, but I don’t. There’s a smell. Like sweat and burning sugar, with strange notes that you won’t be able to place. Try not to think about it. The longer you think about it…the worse it gets. You’ll start to lose your way. The way forward will seem to twist away from the lamplight. Don’t let that happen. Remember this: always towards the lamplight.

Your skin. Are you ticklish? If you are, it will be harder. More sensitive skin means you’re more likely to feel it before you get back into the light. Don’t expect it to hurt, because it won’t. It will be soft. Tender even. Like a lover’s fingers brushing lightly over your flesh. Shy, but needy, full of desire. Full of hunger.

The air…will have a taste. Like the smell, I say to ignore it, but you may not be able to. I can’t give you a food to compare the taste too. I’m not sure there is a single food in all the world that tastes like the air between the lamp posts on that road. It tastes like a thunderstorm; like the warmth of a human body; like the confession of a dark secret. It tastes wonderful. But you have to ignore it. You have to.

When you’re past Harris, and only then, you can stop. Once you’re past there, you are…I can’t say you are safe, but…

If you do not see me on the other side, do not come looking for me. People make it, or they don’t, and that’s it. And if you don’t…well…just remember the lamps. Always towards the lamplight.

We should never have been out this late.

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