The Intransigence of Things 3


 sweet smell.

But so dark.

Back again. In the black cube.

However,  once his  eyes got used to it, Hermat began to find his way around, began to distinguish solid shapes from empty space. He picked up a smooth sphere made of some sort of heavy stuff and  as he had been taught sent  it rumbling across the floor of the cube.
When it stopped, he realised he was not alone in the dark. It had stopped before it had got as far as the side of the cube. It had stopped because someone had put out a foot and halted its progress.
Two vague shapes were moving slowly ahead of him or was it one vague shape and its reflection?  In a raincoat. And a cap. A bag hanging from the right shoulder. It was hard to see exactly. Could they see him?
Light oblongs kept appearing and disappearing along the sides of the cube and then when they stopped altogether it was so much darker.
And these noises!
The clatter bang rattle screech rumble of things bumping into each other, things scraping, things touching, things rolling, rattling, rasping. The dark space was full of their sounds, making it difficult for him to think. He could no longer see the two shapes in front of him and didn’t want to turn round to see if they were behind him in case they were.
Suddenly all noises stopped, were sharply cut off as if at some command and at the same time  an oblong of light opened on the side on his left. One of the shapes in front of him turned and began moving in his direction.
His password.
He stopped.
He had been warned not to forget it but not to write it down in case it was stolen but if he was challenged he had to be able to show it. And then it would be checked against official records and ….But all that was so long ago. Which password had he finally decided upon? There had been so many… birds, he had used birds’ names 

Or  had it been animal names?
A light was shone in his face.
He could see nothing but light.
He brought a hand up over his eyes.

” Cuckoo,” he said. “Cuckoo.”
And he was back in the street. It was raining but he was back in the street. 


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