When he arrived at the oval, dawn had not yet broken. Yet the gaping darkness that stretched out before him was unmistakable. A chill wind was rolling in from the east, dragging with it the waft of morning dew. He heard long grass swaying in the distance.
As the first few rays of sun pierced the sky, the vast, rustling plane shifted through shades of grey and brown, before finally settling on a sullen green. At each end stood a row of white goal posts, sheer and stately, though strangely impotent against the silent chasm they now stood vigil over.
This field had once inspired the ecstasy and agony of thousands, tens of thousands. Within its boundaries, young men would wrestle over a leather ball as though their lives depended on it, and crowds would gather from every direction, desperate to feel the warmth of that furious heart, beating at its centre.
But now… there was nothing, a stillness that ached of memory. The oval had been abandoned and left to rot. It seemed far lonelier than any patch of soil he had ever laid eyes on, perhaps because it once held life within the palm of its hands, before letting it slip away.