Aki smells pencil shavings and cabbage.
Moonlight casts cages of shadow on parquet floor. Through assembly hall windows, tarmac then playing fields, all silver; Porta-cabins clustering like research stations on tundra.
Cuts on his hands tell Aki this not a dream, the crowbar hangs limp at his side.
The empty school is a stage.
In the corridors, sleek linoleum shines like liquid. Trainer prints and dark smudges are migration patterns, notices and paintings stapled to walls fray and rag.
A stairwell, one wall glass in entirety, traps air around him. At its summit, he surveys the school; brick, glass and concrete, the different buildings like a city for children, an enclosed world of hope and fear.
He has until sunrise to recapture it.
Sitting on a tall stool, the Bunsen burner flame is warm and red before him.
Biro on exercise books tells him of loves, bands, football teams. He misses the smell of chalk.
Like matted hair, mud and grass sticks to changing room floors. Wall bars sweat musk as Aki climbs. For a moment, he hangs from a rope, like an angel.
In toilets sharp with piss, Aki masturbates quietly, tears of loss arriving ten years too late.