It had been raining for three weeks, and Edward Kramer was dying. He slept, the heat of the fever burning through his bedclothes, his forehead dry and crackling to the touch, the sound of falling water all around him. He was alone in his sleep: he had no family and the landlady, who rented him the room overlooking the garden, overlooking the worn concrete steps through the hedge, the hedge with the white bellflowers, the room overlooking the mills, and the train tracks, and, far away, the docks, and beyond, the grey curve of the sound, the landlady had stayed away after he threw the bowl of soup at her. He hadn’t meant to, of course. It was the fever. For six days he slept.

In his dream the rain was, too, in torrents and great sheets, until the streets of the city (the city he was, and was in) flooded and the stone buildings washed away. Away, away, over the hills, away. First went the tall buildings, the new buildings, then the old, the sturdy buildings, graceless squat buildings, last the shacks and the shantys and the tents and the hoovervilles. Last fell the rain on earth bare and black, and the water was deeper and he rose with it, and something deep as the city was wetted to life and swam vast and white as chalk, beneath his feet…

On the stairs outside his landlady cries.