Pherson Dalwhinnie cried out with the pain – he felt as if his whole body was on fire; somewhere in his mind he was aware of a blinding light, followed by darkness when he was probably unconscious; he didn't know if he was really conscious now or if this was some kind of dream, he was vaguely aware of being carried but it was too dark to tell where he was being taken, and on the few occasions he'd opened his eyes he seemed to see blurred demotic faces peering at him, but maybe that was all part of some kind of delirium, and now he seemed to be lying on a hard rocky surface and occasionally something touched him and each time he heard himself crying out; and there were other sounds, muffled voices and sometimes a groan or sharp intake of breath – something familiar niggled at him, had he heard that before, and his fevered brain raced apace grasping at fragments, what was it? who might it be? Duncan? Duncan Doubleday? was he here too? and he tried to call out, but couldn't hear his own voice, was he gagged? no idea! but he thought he heard a response, from miles away at the other end of a tunnel, and this time he tried to speak: “George, George Gill? are you here too?” this made no sense, no sense at all – and then something hard pressed against his chest and he screamed out in agony! was he being tortured, or was he torturing himself? he'd rather be dead than endure too much more of this, instead of his usual hale and hearty – ha! maybe he was already dead and this was his punishment for killing his brother – if Tavish really was dead – he hadn't been able to find out, he seemed to have disappeared into thin air; oh well, he doubted if it mattered any more, maybe his shot had been poorly aimed, ah, such a parapraxis would put him out of Cain's league, and the last laugh would be on him, but right now he didn't really care, and he felt that it was only a matter of time till the pain killed him or his death would release him from the pain, either way, it was no odds to him – whatever had happened seemed to have put paid to it all, oh, well, Fuck the Lot of You! Damn and Blast Your Eyes! and before everything went black and he lost his awareness, one phrase of Old Eliot's twined itself around in his mind: “this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper,” and he laughed with the pure joy of release!