I know it's a wide open field now, but what made me really interested is why the favourite pulled out, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't that he had to dash down to the shops for a new beard trimmer.
Let me back up a moment. We have a roof running race every third year. This one, everyone thought that the winner would be obvious. He's quicker and nimbler than anyone I've ever seen, and he can get across even the worst set of tiles like a scuttling lizard. But like I said, he dropped out. Vanished. Vamooshed. Left the field of competition wide open, and I could scrape up a bit of hope again. Or try to, because too many of them were looking at me now and I couldn't be sure that whoever nobbled him wasn't going to come after me next.
Which was how I found myself following his trail across roofs and walls and fences until it finally dropped to ground level in a tangled workshop district, next to a tiny abandoned space - one of those nooks and crannies that all its neighbours think one of the others owns, and is actually not owned by anyone.
He was waiting for me when I got there, his arms protectively round a couple of tiny kids.
I put my hands up and out at once. "Not going to hurt you. Just wanted to check you were ok."
He grinned, and the shadows danced behind him like errant wings. "Go win the race," he told me. "It really isn't my scene."
I gave him a confused look, because who wouldn't want to win the roof-race if they could?
Turns out, those weren't shadows behind him. They were real wings.