Gabriel’s Hounds 2: A piece of a soul-ghost pulled free

I was sitting on one side of the bed and my father was sitting on the other. We didn’t look at each other. My father sat forward with his hands clasped between his knees. His shoulders were slumped. Thinning hair, wispy, newly cut. We didn’t speak. I was facing towards the window. The room we were in was on the fourth floor and there was a single large rectangular window. It didn’t let in any noise from outside so that everything was very quiet in the room. The machine had been turned off and moved to the corner by the bathroom door. I looked up over the top of my father’s head and out of the window. A grey drizzle, flat grey sky. That fine drizzle that can soak you right through almost without you feeling it. It gave a dull shine to the light, a faint, misty glow to the flat sky. There were some gulls up there, three or four of them, circling around each other, making half-turns then slanting down across each other’s flight path, slicing the air with their wings and stabbing with their beaks as they made the dive past then wheeled round and turned upward again to make another dive down. I could see their beaks were open and although I couldn’t hear them I could imagine the sounds they were making, could hear them in my head, loud, harsh, ragged-edged cries, ripped-metal screams, as they tore and slashed at each other. Quarrelling over something, some scrap or crust. A piece of a soul-ghost pulled free and snatched at by those mercenary angels.

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