The bow kissed the taut strings and the violin cried out.
And the glazed bricks on the walls were its lungs. The barrel ceiling’s gentle curve amplified every oscillation.
In the grubby foot tunnel under Blackfriars Bridge the sound thickened the air, obliterating everything else.
The traffic from the road above.
The footsteps of the drunken office workers, filing two-by-two as they passed him.
He moved his fingers across the strings, pulled the bow across them.
The figures criss-crossing his field of vision were noiseless. They were movements without sounds of their own, abstract, like the patterns of the dirty grouting and the frames of the murals.
And the bricks cried louder, the ceiling, the narrow space; and the wall at his back was dissolving.
He closed his eyes.
No one passed him now.
Time did not pass him now, and the baleful strip lighting fell through him and into some other realm.
A lone woman ran through the tunnel of sound, staggering for the last train from Waterloo, an infinity away, and she would momentarily, belatedly, become aware of the violin’s cries only as she stepped back onto the platform at Woking.
Aleksy opened his eyes.
A man, drunk, was dancing slowly in front of him.
He closed them again.
And when, an unknown time later, he raised his head and looked around, he was alone.
The lone inhabitant in a fleeting realm of purity.