The winter of twenty-one eighteen was a hard one. A new ice age approached and the movement of the glacier over Scotland, while slow, was constant and unstoppable. Norman and Chrissie Leonard believed they were safe for a while longer, in the almost deserted Liverpool town centre, but then Norman heard The Roar and discovered that man wasn’t the only creature forced from its home by the ice.
The morning of the eighteenth was the first time I heard The Roar. That’s how I think of it, capitalized. It was distant, barely heard above the daily blizzard that was building around me, lifting the snow from the ground, stinging my face. But even then it turned something in my stomach. I told myself it was nothing, just the wind finding a gap to squeeze through, falling ice from the edge of the not so distant glacier. But somehow I knew it was something more. Something wrong. Something dangerous.
For a short while I stood there, straining to hear through the growing howl of the wind, the hiss of the snow building into higher and higher drifts against the nearby buildings, the dull rumble of the heavy water in the river. I didn’t hear it again.
Telling myself it was nothing, just the over-active imagination of a middle-aged man who’d lived too long, with sharp fear and dull resignation. I dragged myself back up Water Street, where there was no longer any distinction between pavement and road. Not that it mattered. The only cars left were those abandoned and frozen beneath mounds of snow.
I was startled by the clumsy exit of an addict from the Liver Building opposite, slipping on snow packed into ice by hundreds of his fellow users. Watching nervously, edging into the deep doorway of the Cunard Building, I waited until he rounded the corner and was out of sight. They frightened me back then. But not now. Not any more. There are much worse things in this world than someone high on drugs.