They called it the ‘Hand of Galena.’ The great, grasping hand that glittered like obsidian; a monument to the perseverance and prosperity of the town of Galena. The hand reached skyward, rising from the sterile mound below. The monument was built from Caecius Candeo, the dark mineral, which sat in abundant reserve below, and upon which the town of Galena –and it’s fortunes- had been built.
The mineral glistened darkly, twinkling like distant stars against the backdrop of the cosmos, in even the most minimal light.
Each night, as the sunset in the west, disappearing behind the reaching fingers, an elderly man traversed the barren mound, desiccated and cracked, with tentative but determined steps. As he reached the top of the mound and the base of the Hand, his thick, callused hands would grasp the weathered rungs of the ladder, ascending step by step, until he reached the palm. Continue reading →
Lily pads rose from the placid water holes that punctuated the playground. Rusted iron fences flaking with light blue paint surrounded them. To the east, an artificial lake of deep maroon seemed to be shrinking in the sun. The concrete walls ran down to the silt beaches below, as the water’s edge seemed to retreat further and further each passing day, revealing dark sediment, weathered bottles, crumbled bricks, and the occasional carcass.
The lake exuded abundant smells of burning rubber and phosphorous. After the thunderstorms –and the wail of the curfew siren- the lake gave off a bitter metallic smell that irritated the nostrils and burned the eyes. Continue reading →
They’d recruited me in April of 1945. Well, I said recruited, they said recruited; it was just a byword to make both parties feel better about the arrangement. I had a choice, my mind –and all of the secrets buried in that maze of neurochemical pathways- could be weaponised by the Soviets, or it could be dashed to pieces by the firing squad.
Some say that just before you drown, your body convulses in mortal ecstasy. Some say that freezing to death is preceded by the deepest and most tranquil sleep. Others say that the final stages of mortal torture are pure bliss.
I find it spurious that the final moments of the mortal coil could be so idyllic, what possible evolutionary advantage could that have? Still, the point is redundant, for theorising about something for which there are no facts is pure folly. How can anybody know for certain if these stories are true, when the only witnesses to such phenomena have passed?
So perhaps it was just an urban legend, or maybe the rumours are true, but they said that Compound 38 -the gaseous chemical weapon, to which I alone knew the secret of origination- smelled like rusted iron. Continue reading →
I looked down at the town below us. The wind atop the hill was bitter, numbing my face and hands and freezing the rest of my body down to the bone. Pecklow was an old mining town founded upon a series of hills which jutted out of the tumultuous rivers below; a mountainous island upon which only the hardiest weeds grew. The name of the town had originally meant Low Peak, but had become bastardised and corrupted over time. The bridge joining Pecklow to the mainland was an old industrial revolution era bridge of riveted iron, which once had a train track running across it from the days when Pecklow was mined for its rich coal reserves beneath the earth. Continue reading →
The flame dances in the wind, like a liquid wisp, suspended in blue over the ground, swaying vertiginously, back and forth, beckoning me to follow it. I paw at the window lightly, convinced now that the flame is real, and not some off-shot reflection on the pane.
The light casts meandering shadows among the grass of the garden. Without scorching the blades, the flame hovers in a circular motion, as if it has a will of its own. Stopping in place, doubling in size, then shrinking once more, and shooting off up to the top of the garden and dissipating into the blackness of the night. Continue reading →
If a nation’s culture dies, so too does the nation.
These were the words that passed through my mind as I eagerly awaited the train. The London underground was a strange place at this time; a place where the underclass crawled from their hidden tenements and stalked the night.
Nobody knew my habit; by day I was a pretty normal teenager. I generally kept myself to myself, and didn’t ruffle any feathers. By night, I was François McCandle; graffiti artist and vandal.
A wise man once said that graffiti breaks the hegemonic hold of corporate and governmental style over the urban environment, and the situations of daily life. As a form of aesthetic sabotage, it interrupts the pleasant, efficient uniformity of planned urban space and predictable urban living. For us, graffiti disrupts the lived experience of mass culture, the passivity of mediated consumption. Continue reading →
Amos Mallory was –I’d been told- an eccentric; a creature of particular habit and routine, whose needs were simple, and simply met.
I’d been working at the Silverlink Retirement Community Complex for less than a year before I was transferred to the E-Wing; that was where the luxury suites were. Silverlink was no ordinary nursing home; no musty hovel where the sick and elderly were left to die in a dirty room smelling of hot piss. No, Silverlink was a state-of-the-art retirement facility; a complex panoptic building of silver tubes, glimmering metal and dynamic sun-activated solar-smart glass windows. Continue reading →
Oh Darren, I wish you could join me in the revelry of these meandering musings of my incorruptible mind. Tonight is a special night for both of us. It’s a night I’ve anticipated for such a long time. Tonight, we will have our most intimate moment. Tonight, you will feel closer to me than you have to anybody in your entire life. There’s one thing you’ll experience tonight Darren, it’s something only the slayers and the slain have ever experienced. You see, when I drive my knife into your flesh, and the life blood pours from your veins, when your futile attempts to fight or flee are all but extinguished, and you crumble to the floor, you will look upon me, and you will not see the face of a demon or a vengeful killer, you will see yourself, and as I hold you in my arms, you will embrace me, cling to me like an infant clings to their mother. You will look up at me, and in your dying whimpers, now void of intelligible language, you will beg for your life. In this most intimate moment, you will feel an unyielding love for me that you will have never felt since you were a helpless infant in the arms of your mother. And I will savour that moment, and indulge that illusion of destitute love -for a few precious seconds- right before I cut your throat open.Continue reading →
“As the violet mist ascends out of the twilight valley, the pale man’s knowing eyes gaze omniscient through narrowed slits. Eyes that have borne witness to the bloodshed of the ages and the inner peace of godliness. From his covert vantage point he sees all; how the doctrines of true faith and compulsion have been scribed in blood. He speaks with the phantoms that bestride the centuries; the ghastly imps of the perverted and the corrupt, spreading their sickness through the ages, the pitiless killer, who awaits his moment to step out of the nameless crowds of obscurity and rise into incorruptible, irrefutable history…”
A chill runs through me as the night reaches it’s blackest point. That means it’s 4am. The coldest, darkest time of the night. I inhale a lungful of cold air, and exhale softly, watching the vapour dissipate into the air, tinted by the light of the sulphur street lamps. Continue reading →
The smell of citrus on the breeze was the only thing I liked about Attard Psychiatric Hospital. In the summer, the redolence of the flower gardens swept like a river through the cracks in the old Victorian building, flooding the yard with the bittersweet smell of lemon, and the rich flora from the gardens of San Anton Palace. Continue reading →