Another excerpt from the work-in-progress, Ghost Town London:
. . . .
He fidgets, wanders aimlessly from room to room like a restless flickering shadow looking for something but he doesn’t know what. From time to time he catches sight of himself in the mirror, becoming paler and thinner – takes his own photo, just to check for the reflection. Much more and he’ll be able to see right through himself, like the ghost he jokes that he is becoming. Or perhaps one day he will look in the mirror and see no reflection at all. He has seen a man make his own reflection disappear, apparently – but that was about something else, he feels…
Apart from him the house is silent, empty. Deserted, long since abandoned by all the others who either left of their own accord or else were driven out, leaving him alone – which is after all what he thought he had wanted for so very long. But in his mind the house roars at him, deafens him with its outrageous silence full of whispers, taunts, screams; reminders of how things used to be, so long ago – this house full of people, in this street full of music and musicians.
The house seems to be disappearing too, going away just as fast as his reflection is fading in the mirror. He and the house are bound together in their solitude and decay. A tiny island of desolation, in this wider wasteland of despair, the bad-lands South of the cold, grey river, in these grim, apocalyptic times. His room and the front door are the only remaining areas of definition, anchors of solidity amid the grime and rot, the shifting, fading house, spectral like himself… Apart from that only the stairs still seem solid, quite real beneath his feet – reassuring, like the weight of the wood of the front door, the sound it makes when he pulls it shut behind him.
Soon there will only be the front door, the stairs, and his room – lost among memories of other rooms, now all empty and haunted, dusty, littered with the debris of other lives. He leaves his room and the stairs shift and twist around him with a life of their own and then he is at the front door; he turns away from the front door and the stairs pluck and pull at him like a thread, to weave his room around him again. The room in which others have seen things, sensed a presence – blind, feeling, probing…
Now there is nothing left: only his room, perched precariously three storeys up in the air, on top of the skeletal tower of steps like a twisted spine that winds down to the front door, and he himself – the lone ghost, invisible among a thousand silent voices, and memories of streets full of music.
. . . .