Full Circle

A shadow, the ghost of a wing, the arc of a dream: Myfanwy is hunting on the thermals from the equipment below, caught between fading Jurassic memories of silver fish and the repleteness of cold pizza, pressed under heel into the semblance of road kill. She swoops from overhead to tear at the proffered gobbets of stale dough, the sweet sticky sauces the colour of fresh blood, oblivious to the expletives from her team mates. A gust from a leathery wing catches the end of a desk, scattering pages into the central moat. She hisses at the shaking fist, joints clicking as she returns to perch in the high spaces between the iron rafters.

Toshiko smells of lavender and lotus blossom, the wet pages of her printout sticking to the hand cream on her fingers, smearing the words and their meaning. She has been correlating sound frequencies from television channels, searching for an elusive alien signal in the broadcast. On her monitors a newscast of Ghanian celebrations runs side by side with clips from old Rolling Stones concerts. The first line of her calculations match last week’s lottery numbers. The thought crosses her mind this may not be coincidence.

The boys are arm wrestling in the darkness, the tchk-tchk-tchk of elbows on the cheap desktop punctuated by the obscenities of defeat; swearing at the pterosaur’s flight path above them. Owen is winning 5:3 against Ianto but he’s tiring fast now. Gwen is unsure if she is overseeing a mating ritual or a game of aggression to discover which is the alpha male. Her hand clutches tightly at a large handbag. Rhys will not be home tonight and she is out of batteries. She wonders off-hand whether Ianto likes shellfish.

Jack remains tight-lipped, watching the heads of the combatants from his vantage point on the gallery. The blade of a smile on his face. He has been uncharacteristically silent since the communiqué from UNIT arrived. His shirt is unbuttoned almost to the waist, caught in a nether world between dressing and undressing. In the blue neon light his skin is sleek like a dolphin. In his hands he holds the remnants of their earlier meal, holding the box high over the edge of the railings like an offering to the spirits of the air.