Fairytales are all around us.

One of my chief pleasures about the spring after the long misery of the winter is that I can return home from work in daylight. Sometimes this results in moments of exquisite beauty, such as when the vapour-trails of the planes overhead, illuminated in gold by the setting sun, line up perfectly with the route one’s bus is taking. Sometimes it merely means the hordes of schoolgirls swamping one’s bus are visible as human beings rather than a terrifying mob of shrieking zombies.

Yesterday it meant that as we passed before a wooded section of waste ground near the old railway bridge, I looked down from my lofty bus seat at a brief tableaux:

Two men had evidently been running, and had stopped for a break. One was drinking water. The other, heavily-built and muscular with it, clad entirely in black, was leaning against the iron railings separating the pavement from the woods. He was panting from his exertions, but he was also leering.

The object of his interest was trotting quickly up the road, under the bridge, in a red coat with the hood up. This really happened. She was really wearing a red coat which came down to her mid-thighs, and whatever she was wearing underneath didn’t. She had the hood up, and there was a lupine if barrel-chested gentleman panting after her in the woods.

Now tell me you didn’t immediately think “Hang on, that sounds familiar” too.


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