Three years since I’ve last been here. Thought this was place was shut. Thought it would be crawling with the creepies but it’s clean. No dust flies off its shelves, no pigeon shit on the window sills. It’s been kept zip-locked, fresh-wrapped and preserved. If it could fit in a bell jar, it would be soaked in formaldehyde. In short, the place has character, but no soul – and it’s lonely like a graveyard.
It’s perfect for a summer day.
The weather has been toying with the less fortunate mercilessly. Out there, they shamble about like zombies on morphine. Each looks at the other with deep self pity. There is a mutual feeling that if they were nice to each other, maybe it wouldn’t be so terribly hot. But there is no consent on who should go first. Self pity turns to loathing. Each wishes the other suffers a heat stroke and falls to the ground. If this happens, his or her skull will surely crack open and gooey brain matter will melt out on to the street with a little sizzle.
It’s crazy out there.
Inside is just fine. Inside, there are shadows that jump off the walls to wrap themselves around me. They wage war against the sunlight and, look, they have been gaining ground all day. Since noon, the shadows have forged on and the sunlight has been inching its way back to the window where it came from. I have watched the entire battle from my fort on the chair, here, in the corner. This territory is well guarded, and it is cool and dark.
In a few hours, it will all be over. Darkness will descend and the city will arise. Big, bright neon lights will create blind alleys at intersections they do not reach. Tens of thousands of people will stream in from this void, and the only ones who return will be carried horizontally. The streets of the city will bulge. Its arteries will choke with activity. The heart will seize and the city will shiver and spasm with excitement before it lies still again.
Drug addled children and sex addled fiends will then return to their homes under a growing network of flyovers. Customers crumpled over their bills in hotels and nightclubs will drive their expensive cars to hell. And the subways that run below the highway, connecting east to west? They will be the darkest and most deserted they have ever been.
That kind of darkness is very different from the kind that by now is stretching through this room. In that darkness lives a part of us that cannot be defeated, and can obliterate us all. But it can be shown the light, and it will recede. If not, soon, the night will recede as well.
Tomorrow will be another summer day, another brain found melting on the sidewalk.