So tight was his chest, like anchor ropes under weather, just so tight. Then — pop! Like that it was gone, the pressure, and he was free as the air. Just so light. He drifted down to the ground, settled into the earth, his arms and legs all higgledy-piggeldy. It was a mess but what did he care? He was free, he was so weightless.
Something was underneath him, something was poking him through the earth. “Buzz off!” he said, and felt heavier. He rippled, rippled, rippled, like waving laundry, like a mishandled sail, faster and faster. He split open — pop! — and rippled in two halves. Something bright and shining climbed out of him, up from the earth, just so, as you’d climb the ladder to the crow’s nest. She wore a helmet and carried a sword — she’d poked him! Like a bee’s nest she’d poked him! — and light shone from her face. “Buzz off!” he wanted to say but you don’t say that sort of thing to a lady, even one who pokes you.
She floated above him. Her mouth was open, but he couldn’t hear anything. Just silence, just the wind in the trees. But her eyes said she knew him from somewhere.