No sooner had the man shimmered into existence, on the far side of Thrawl Street, when a hansom cab, racing towards the relative safety of Commercial Road, blocked my view; the half-second it took for him to reappear, reached back, according to my notes, at least one hundred fifty-one million years.
Earlier, on this fog-dimmed day, Brother Abbott, on the pretext of helping me carry the soup pot out to the sidewalk, handed me a glue-stained square corner of a flyer from the Adelphi Theatre promising ’high drama and zany amusements’; written in broth-smeared ink was: Genesis 2:18-20; the traditional reference to secure one’s mind against sudden changes in the reality around it.
The chronos-effect manifested in the expected proportion: embedded in the mass of the hungry and the poor, like tumors not yet killing the host, the slumlords and the money-changers mirrored in their appearance, if not numbers, those of a higher social caste, the frock-coated, bejeweled rulers of the city, all now clearly of Saurian decent.
The natural cruelty of a cold-blooded species was not poorly suited to their innate view of life, as I took note of flesh-tearing beaks and extra arms among the more permanent citizens of Whitechapel; for the lifetimes I’ve spent among my kind, secretly guiding and quietly limiting the excesses of the descendants of Eve, no one promised it would be simple or easy.
Consistent with the natural tenacity exhibited by members of my branch of God’s grand experiment, my whiskers twitched and tail swayed in anticipation, helping smooth the hackles ridged around my neck; I followed him with the knowledge that witnessing the effect of his arrival was only half my task.