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People seem depressed today. Moody, angry. It is contagious, like one person's unhappiness triggers unhappiness in others. Logical, I guess - humans are social, empathic creatures. But there is more to it than that. Small mistakes, clumsiness - a nosebleed, a finger in a door - small accidents, seem more frequent and this static charge is beginning to build up in the air, as though the tension has a physical form, a palpable solid resistance. Time feels stretched out. In a room of silent people, the scratching of pens, the hum of a computer trying to keep itself cool; these sounds come into the foreground of your mental awareness, enhanced. Every microscopic twitch is amplified, noticed, analysed; we are hypersensitive.

People look at one another covertly, and, should they catch each another's eyes, turn away sharply, not like they were burned, but like they feel something inside themselves, that they don't want to let out. When you talk of inconsequential or abstract things, it recedes somehow, and things feel OK; but then you fall silent, and it is there, like some brooding creature, hiding inside your own eyes, in your head, your mind; not fled but simply hiding from the light to approach again when you fall into shadow. Like a secret, which everyone shares but which isolates every man from his fellow man. Each thought is furtive, as though under threat, and remains unspoken, unarticulated for fear of what it might say. All attacks are projections, personal attacks to deflect attention away from the attacker. And even the pleasantries feel balanced and measured, because any strong emotion is revealing, an excuse for questioning and caution. Afraid of the disgust of those around, we push them away, afraid of ourselves.

Waiting, for a slight, a provocation, an excuse, to retaliate, to hide oneself and call it self-defence because it is, but not in the way you think. A push to push back against and destroy you both. And it is beautiful, a beautiful death, a glorious confrontation that burns brilliantly, revealing a bit too much and throwing all back into discomfort and cowering, torching all and leaving burnt husks of its victims, left to fall or be pulled back, their energies sucked out, to be patted on the back to unheard murmurings of "Are you okay?" and "It's not worth it, just walk away, yeah?" The Damage is done, and each person who remains is left with a mark on their minds, a scar on their souls. A little more cautious, a little more guarded, but still... itching.

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