Upon the forest hung a sparkling frost. The air was cold and thick. If a twig snapped it would crackle for miles around but only the muted whisper of the trees could be heard. Above, the Moonstar hovered bright and clear in a deep dark sky. The Moon itself was not even a sliver, just a deeper darkness blotting out the glistening haze of the Roads of Light.
As he watched, his fears seemed to drift away as though they were just brief clouds that had enshrouded him and were now passing into the far, far distance. The skulkrin edged forwards into the glade. He felt a beautiful, glowing glory shiver through him. He was completely bewildered; never, not even as a young skulkling, had he been happy like this. Unaccountably, he felt good and kind and gentle.
Twelve months ago tonight I received a Direct message on Twitter from Fergus McNeill that came very much out of the blue. Four words that shook my foundations. It succinctly asked, “Did Mike Singleton Die?”
I hadn’t spoken with Mike for about a week. The last words he’d said to me were, “Ok, I am going out for my morning coffee now, so I will be in touch later, with the alpha tower…. nearly done, just the twiddly bits round the foliage.”
It wasn’t unusual for us to not speak for many days after being apparently in mid sentence. During Mike’s recovery he might go for a number of days without being able to sit at a computer. So, obviously I never thought any think of it. He’d been getting better. He seemed to have turned a corner, as was making great strides forward with his health.
After receiving the tweet from Ferg, I immediately sent a text message to Mike and then later one to his son Jules. I waited a while before sending the text to Jules because obviously how do you approach such a subject.
I did a search online a found a piece posted by Wibby on Giant Bomb announcing his death. I didn’t know who Wibby was and so didn’t know how accurate his information could be. While I waited for news from either Mike pronouncing the news of his death to be premature, or his family, I found myself locked numbly at my desk. The minutes slowly ticked by. Almost desperately, I sent a Skype message to Mike that read, “Mike, please tell me you’re there…”
I wrote a post, ‘This parting has come too soon’ as I found myself reflecting, yet lost in the unknown. The text grabbed from The Lords of Midnight Novella, very much resonated with how I was feeling at that moment.
I was getting messages by email, twitter, and phone, asking me the same question that Ferg had posed a few hours earlier. The minutes turned into hours before I had confirmation. Wibby wrote the following comment…
I am in tears….. I just looked in my gaming cupboard and I actually have Mike’s own copy of Lords of Midnight sat there that he gave me, I opened it up and it has his Bachelor of Science degree in it from years ago when he was in university as a young adult.
I will be passing them back to his kids… also spoke to one of his sons tonight and we are taking his ashes to our local for a last pint….
Wibby turned out to be Bruce Butterfield who I knew, knew Mike, and knew Mike’s family. Therefore, my worst fears were confirmed.
I tried to go to bed at Midnight, but didn’t sleep. I finally gave up and dragged myself out of bed and down to my study and started to write the bog post ‘Night has fallen…’ I found myself just pouring words onto the electronic page.
The following few days were crazy. I spoke with Bruce, and Mike’s son Jules. And I watched the internet explode with an outpouring of love for Mike.
Mike Singleton – 1951 – 2012
A genius, taken well before his time.