Killing time is a play on words: it’s about Kane reflecting on his parents’ deaths and starting to heal (quickly I’m afraid, ‘cos the story needs to move on.)
I started this chapter at the point when the initial shock from the end of the last chapter, Bad news morning has worn off. Kane is at work. It appears his confused state of mind has caused the deaths of two more people, but … well, I’ll let you read about that if you haven’t already.
Kane’s panic attack is a late addition. I started off with just anger, but then thought he’s a prime candidate for PTSD given his occupation and lack of a sense of responsibility. His propensity for panic and quick temper explain his later confusion when he struggles with whether to stay in Quorn or go (fight or flight, so to speak).
The scene at the beach is inspired by EM Forster. It’s a quick way of moving Kane through his grief by having him exercise his muscles and his competitive streak. A distraction almost.
I made the surfer aloof, an impressionistic sketch, as a metaphor for how the universe doesn’t care about Kane’s problems. It just happens to be there, same as the surfer. But Kane is moved through the healing process regardless – through his own strength.
The seagulls are a call to action. He can’t ignore their freewheeling celebration of life. Then come the fishers. They remind him the world goes on, and this motivates him to go home and start helping his brother.