Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Unpublished Skin

It was a little before dawn. The man awoke to find himself fully dressed in his hotel room. He didn’t feel that he had awakened from a night’s sleep; rather that he had returned from a fitful journey through a labyrinth of vivid dreams. He felt strangely dissociated from them. It was as if they had not arisen out of his sleeping subconscious but had been projected onto his mind from an external source.

The sun rose. There was the sound of humans waking in other rooms: coughing, a shout, the slamming of a door, hurried foot-fall in deeply carpeted corridors. He walked to the writing desk by the window and sat down, shivering in the morning chill. His fingers began to slowly work the keyboard of his lap-top.

There were people inside him, people from the labyrinth. They were walking around in his head, talking, existing in his blood. As he typed he felt their presence in his fingertips like a prospect of the cold.

One, who’s name was Victim, was a sexual con artist. She played the long game and lost. She was an amateur, an opportunist.

Her possessions were laid out on a table in plastic bags: a packet of menthol cigarettes, Kleenex, a purse containing crumpled banknotes and some change, a match book from the Regent Palace Hotel, a disposable lighter, an old tube ticket, house keys, a broken watch.

Her dress looked new and expensive, as did the shoes: bright red court shoes with real leather uppers, ankle straps and high heels.

It was early evening, the evening of the night she died. She got out of the car in Holland Park, entered the restaurant on the man’s arm – the new dress, the shoes – smiling. He waited for the lights to change, waiting for his life to change. The shoes, the bright red court shoes – who wears shoes like those today? – with high heels, slender ankles in them: how can she walk on those? And the dress, such a dress. Never saw a dress like that before. Smiling, laughing – what do they have to laugh about? Desire, courtship, love, a wedding, a life? It can’t be her.

He parked the car in a side street and walked in the rain to find a payphone.

There was no answer.

No. She must be there; it can’t be her in a dress like that, those shoes and the laughter and the smiles. She must be asleep.

The phone kept ringing.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?