General

Holden stops. The pond is strange. The ice isn't flat like it should be but broken, more like the bark of a tree. In the cracks the water is mis-coloured, more like glacial melt water in its brilliant blue. He crouches down to detect the aroma, it's like nothing he's ever smelt before, not bitter, not sweet, not like pollution. Taking a stick he pokes at the ice and it's as solid as it looks. He dips the stick into the water and moves in just the way it should, just slower. The ripples radiate out as he expected, but almost as if in slow motion. He takes his eyes off the water and stands up, listening and watching. All is quiet. Hardly even a breeze in the trees. Yet somewhere in the trees a bird sings in normal time, a melody he's heard a thousand times over and never before.