Today the city was a ghost of itself, streets deserted, its buildings like bones of the long departed. 

“Christmas is special here,” Finn’s driver had said. “In Reykjavík, nothing bad ever happens at Christmas.”

Special. That was one way of putting it. Finn had never experienced a city so still, so silent. It was like walking through the aftermath of a nuclear blast. The only thing that told him he was awake, that this wasn’t some post-apocalyptic nightmare, was the fresh sting of salt air and ice crystals in his nostrils.

That, and the faint meaty, burnt-wood smell of smoked lamb shanks. “Hangikjöt,” they called it. “Hanging meat.” 

He walked due north, threading his way past closed cafés and restaurants, homes buttoned up against the cold. If it weren’t for the scent trails of the hangikjöt, you wouldn’t have known there were people inside.

After ten blocks he reached the lip of the harbor and stopped. 

Listened to the wind’s Arctic whispers and groans.

A gigantic double-cube of black glass rose up in front of him. The city’s gleaming new concert hall. Next to that, a mammoth hotel, still under construction. When he last walked this path there’d been nothing but fishing piers and dusty boat sheds. Now a modern metropolis had sprung from the shores of lava and rocks. There was something geological about it, new mountain ranges bursting up from tectonic clashes, erupting volcanoes of steel and glass. Finn could practically feel the thrum of hot magma flowing underfoot.