When the Old Year met with the New, he was soaked to the bone with rain. He had smoke in his hair from the fireworks and his eyes stung with all the glitter. The night - all the dance and the drink - had been heavy on him and his throat was dry. Someone had persuaded him to change into his pyjamas.
The New Year took one look at the Old one and smiled a sharp smile, all regular and breath-freshened. He was wet too, but his suit was patent plastic and he’d taken a comb to his hair and made it look intentional: more slick, less ratty. His eyes had sparklers in them, shooting out shine.
The Old Year reached out his hand to greet the New. The New grinned like an old friend and, grabbing the Old in a big bear hug, pumped him firmly on his back with a flat fist.
From out the wide mouth of his collar, the Old Year flew into pieces: he burst wide, far, scattering himself everywhere in a cloud of thousand-coloured ash. His jim-jams rumpled to the floor in a whisper of brushed cotton.
The New Year smoothed himself down, adjusted his collar, and walked on.
On his shoulders, dark and broad in the dawning day, flecks of something not-quite-finished flickered.