Robert imagined his mother talking to him when he had been sealed up in her womb. Of course he wouldn’t have known what her blunted syllables were meant to mean, but he was sure he would have felt a current flowing between them, the contraction of a fear, the stretch of an intention. Thomas was still close to those transfusions of feeling; Robert was getting explanations instead. Thomas still knew how to understand the silent language which Robert had almost lost as the wild margins of his mind fell under the sway of the verbal empire. He was standing on a ridge, about to surge downhill, getting faster, getting taller, getting more words, getting bigger and bigger explanations, cheering all the way. Now Thomas had made him glance backwards and lower his sword for a moment while he noticed everything that he had lost as well. He had become so caught up in building sentences that he had almost forgotten the barbaric days when thinking was like a splash of colour landing on a page. Looking back, he could still see it: living in what would now feel like pauses: when you first open the curtains and see the whole landscape covered in snow and you catch your breath and pause before breathing out again. He couldn’t get the whole thing back, but maybe he wouldn’t rush down the slope quite yet, maybe he would sit down and look at the view.