He sat on the sand to eat his ice-cream, despite the fact he was wearing office clothes, because… well, it didn’t matter anymore did it? He checked his phone but there was no news and he could only assume that his wife had not returned home yet, or that the neighbours had not raised the alarm – perhaps the fire had been contained inside the house? Admittedly he didn’t know as much as he could, or should, about exactly how a house fire spreads, though this was maybe something he could have researched during the day, as soon as he had realised his mistake. He cursed himself again, if only he had remembered to turn off the-
From along the beach, he heard children’s squeals and looked just in time to see a horse roaring out of the waves, and it took a moment to realise that the horse’s owner was in attendance and was now patting the animal and gently introducing it to the children. At this point he revised his initial reaction and accepted that the horse had not roared out of the sea at all, merely emerged, trotting – and the fact that he had not been expecting a horse to appear did not make this was a violent act.
Once he had finished his ice-cream, he headed for home. It was strange, he reflected, that everything seemed so normal – no black smoke in the sky, no conference of fire engines in the road. He felt tired, as he stood at the front door and slipped the key in to the lock, looking forward to lying down, even if it had to be on a charred black stump of a bed. His wife greeted him cheerfully, walking towards the door through their unburnt home. And now it felt like he had slipped off a burdensome coat, shed troubling realities and whatever had really happened here today, it had righted itself and realities had done what realities can do.