The curtains in the SCR turned out to be highly flammable, dear Reader.
Shiny and I run through the flames.
The ersatz medieval timber beams of the Humanities Lighthouse fall all around us. In the distance we hear trembling booms as the deep fat fryers of the Happy Burger cafeteria ignite.
My colleagues run down the stairs past me.
Shiny and I run in the opposite direction, dear Reader, upwards.
We burst onto the helipad roof. Overhead, the vultures wheel and turn, screaming.
Shiny and I run to the Vice-Chancellor’s private helicopter. I tear open the door. ‘Come, Shiny’, I say. ‘And bring that mouse with you if you must.’
‘Fly!’ I shout to the pilot. ‘Fly north, to the nearest nunnery!’
The helicopter rises. Shiny, 吱 and I peer down at the inferno. Far, far below, I see the pigs break out of the piggery. My colleagues burst from the base of the Humanities Lighthouse mere seconds before it collapses. They flee, squealing and oinking, into the marigold plains.
Taizhou gets smaller and smaller, until it seems but a dream.
‘Goodbye, Taizhou’, I breathe. ‘Goodbye, Fu. Goodbye, Salty Bob. Goodbye, May-ling. Goodbye, Janice. Goodbye, Freya. Au revoir, Prof Mise. Adieu, Lu-Seal. Goodbye, dear Reader. Farewell, Darren –’
‘Hello, Dr Ada’, says Darren, lifting his head from the rear seat of the helicopter.