Pigeons pecked at frozen vomit on the asphalt. The February air burned his skin, each breath a chill razor that made his lungs ache. The asphalt was salted white, but the mounded snowbanks were gray and hard, cold tumors impregnated with shopping carts and the bent, ridiculous spines of umbrellas waiting for late May to give them up in the amniotic thaw. Everything broke free eventually, Hiram Grange knew, feeling the burning clean oblivion of the opium and whiskey fading. Memories, dreams, forgotten beasts--nothing stayed locked up forever.
Grange looked up to see a homeless thing, genderless beneath the grimy layers of a Red Sox jersey and a Member's Only jacket, shuffle toward him, one foot on the sidewalk, one on the street, its head weighted down with a head of gray, filthy, dreadlocked hair that threatened to snap its spine. It paused before the Art Deco church with a vast verdigrised Jesus crowned in thorns of bird shit splayed across a mondrian of opaque, discolored windows, and turned to Hiram Grange, its toothless mouth wide and leering.
"He is coming for you," it said. "He is coming for us all."