Cartography

The toffee tin was old, battered and scraped by years of being dropped on kitchen floors and the concrete underneath park benches. Inside was an expired gym membership card, dry brown shreds of tobacco so old it was almost scentless. A piece of parchment paper – folded many times over – skulked at the bottom.

Opened out, it was a map full of strange destinations: a city built entirely of blown glass, delicate domes tinted gold; an orchard of finely-crafted mechanical trees; the still lake high up amongst the stars, ringed by translucent mountains so vast they dwarfed the burgeoning galaxies struggling to birth themselves nearby in a mass of light and heat. The taverns Phase of the Moon and The Fiddler’s Elbow;  Museum of the Undiscovered, the Room of Small Doors.

‘Mike, what’s this?’

‘Oh, that’s a map to everywhere.’ He said. Taking it out of my hands, he folded it up and put it back in the toffee tin. Then he hunted around until he pulled a rumpled packet of blue cigarette papers out of a bedside drawer.

You think you know someone.

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