She reeled backwards, shocked into silence, standing hunched against a pain she could no longer reason.

“It’s the lights. They follow them.” He leant heavily against the chair, his eyes closed against each laboured word. “They remind them of the old time. They bring them back – The spirits of the old world.” He turned his head slowly to reveal skin the colour of dead ashes. His face scarred and tortured, eyes stricken with remorse, he continued as if the power of speech was deserting him. “Birth and death. Life and sacrifice – You can’t have one without the other – There has to be a balance – And when the angels come they try to get to them first…”

She couldn’t move, her heart pounding and her head filled with the images he had recounted of dark shapeless forms that appeared in the night, their eyes bright points of light like the lights she had seen through the window. The air between them silent, but for the malformed echo of his voice and oppressed by foundless fear, she watched him being slowly drained of all functions and recreated by something that existed only in his head.