The sun blazed brightly behind the cloud cover, turning the whole sky into a light box. Despite the glare of the sunshine, rain still sleeted heavily from the sky, sending humans scurrying for cover in shop doorways or huddling under umbrellas. Miniature rivers coursed in the gutters, converging into great lakes where the overworked drains failed to take away the surface water. In one such gutter, the swell of the water pushed a glass bottle further down the street, until it lodged itself against the heavy bulk of a grey-white stone. The bottle rested itself, open neck pointing towards the sky, rain collecting within it. The bottle tilted itself gratefully in the stone’s direction, happy that the tumult of being swept down the road had come to an end. The stone made no reply.

Typical, the bottle thought, but moved its attention on to other, more pressing matters. It surveyed its surroundings doubtfully. Other than the stone keeping it from the torrent’s relentless flow, there was not much to look at. When has there ever been? It mused to itself, slightly depressed. It thought about the strange concoction that had once been trapped within its walls. A liquid of sorts that just sat there not doing very much, mostly see through and not at all nice to have constantly pressed against your glass. The hat that had been forced onto the bottle’s top was not all that flattering, either, and the bottle did not approve.

It had been a great relief, therefore, when the top had been removed. It had hurt a little; the metallic object that had prised the top away had clanged against the bottle’s neck on the first occasion and sweaty, grimy hands had enclosed its glass. The bottle had not really enjoyed being turned nearly fully upside down, but had weighed that against the relieving sensation of the liquid being poured out. At this point, hanging mostly upside down in the vice-like grip, the bottle had nodded an apology to the glass that received the liquid in its stead. The glass sat there dejectedly, saying nothing. It was a very rude glass, the bottle had thought, but then it decided that it too wouldn’t have been very happy to have the liquid poured suddenly into it either. Besides, the bottle was bearing a grudge against the machine that had filled it with liquid even now it was empty, so it couldn’t really blame the glass.

The rain was slowly petering out, and high above the bottle could see a rainbow. The coloured arc split the sky, seeming to be standing defiantly against the grey clouds beyond. The bottle hoped that the rainbow would precede the sun coming out more fully, because that would mean its glass would dry. There was nothing it liked more than being dry and in the sunshine. After the hateful liquid had been released from within the bottle, the dirty hand had set it on a tiled sill next to a window. The sun was shining and the tile was warm. The bottle had appreciated being so close to one of its fellows and had begun to smile happily. It didn’t even mind when the cat had come and run its raspy tongue around the neck of the bottle. It wasn’t particularly pleasant, but there were worse things.

The bottle had been happy on that tiled sill, but it was not to last long. After the sun had gone down and the bottle was just settling in for a night’s sleep, another hand had gripped it. This was smoother, smaller, but still held it firmly, lifting it from the comfortable sill and placing it into an orange bag with an unceremonious thunk. It was sweltering in the bag; the bottle had been jostled against boxes and pizza leaflets and cartons still sticky with something that smelled of oranges. The bag had bounced against its carrier’s legs, swinging wildly, before being dropped onto the hard stone of the pavement. The bottle did not like being in the bag.

Release came for it later. The first sign of it was a gentle vibration of the cardboard it had come to rest on, followed by something pushing against the plastic material of the bag. Something long, sniffing as it went. It was a fox’s snout. The fox pawed at the bag to get to something inside and the bag had split beneath its razor sharp claws. The bottle saw its chance, rolled down the cardboard and onto the pavement. The fox watched it rolling past and the bottle heaped thanks upon it, knowing full well it would not be able to understand.

Freedom from the stifling orange bag had been a mixed blessing. At first it had been alright, if a little cold, and the bottle had rolled itself merrily along looking for somewhere more salubrious to bed down. Having hidden beneath a parked car, sheltered from the wind, the bottle fell into a happy sleep. But it woke to find the sheltering car gone and rain spotting on its glass, beginning to dislodge it. Water rose around the scared bottle, lifting it away from the tarmac and sending it spinning along forming a slight spray behind its bulk. IT had bounced off other objects; small sticks, pebbles, and the detritus of human life. Then it had pitched up on this rock, and lodged itself as firmly as it could.

Before the bottle had finished gathering its energy, however, it was disturbed by loud sounds and a flashing orange light. A black boot kicked against it, knocking it spinning into the centre of the road. Dazed and dizzy it could do nothing to move aside as the large, yellow truck rolled over it. The bottle’s glass cracked under the pressure and it heard the vague sound of shouting over the rumble of the truck. Then, unable to cope any longer with the pressure, it shattered and sent shards scattering across the road.

I’m free,” the glass-angel said, spiriting away from the remnants of the bottle, “At last, I’m free.

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