“There are things known and things unknown 

And in between are the doors.”

William Blake, The Marriage of Howard Hall, 1757–1827

The Ilyushin seemed to be gliding rather than under power. I looked out of the window as we dropped, silently, towards the ground. Everything seemed to be grey – the high cloud cover, the horizon, and the large, apparently barren, fields below.

We seemed to be entering an empty, even dead, world, without life and without movement. I saw no cattle, no crops, and, indeed, no activity at all. Just bare, dusty fields, with no farm machinery nor even any sign of habitation.

As we dropped lower, I saw the beginnings of a very large airfield and the first signs of life, a line of half a dozen jet aircraft with air force markings, drawn up at the edge of a runway. Their wings glinted as we passed overhead, although I could not, still, detect any sunlight. There was no sign of activity around them but, somehow, their very presence suggested a vaguely menacing alertness.

There seemed to be nothing else, even as we landed. The pilot appeared to nurse the plane down to the ground, so gentle was the contact with the tarmac. I could see nothing out of the window other than the continuous grey runway surface and some grey trees in the distance. 

The ground rumbled beneath our wheels, and we slowed, braking in a regular but slowing rhythm.

We taxied into Romania.


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