Volume 1, 2007
Volume 1 2007
Mike Park Layout and Formatting:
Krystel Thompson Samuel Taradash
A Dying Trade, Dear Boy
The Ice Maiden
Metropolitan Lines is the literary
magazine of Brunel University’s School
of Arts. It exists to showcase the
FACULTY creative writing, prose and poetry of
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Does My Bum Look Big?
Verena Adams to the School of Arts at Brunel
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Where is He?
The Hotel Pool, Mombasa
The Sea Wall
Empty and Marvellous
2 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
“What are you playing at?” “All in good time, gents,” replied
THE UNDERTAKERS It was Mike. Mike, gulping his tea and ignoring
Charles Thurlow “Nothing, just mucking about Carl’s eagerness.
waiting for you,” Carl gabbled. We perched on the gleaming
C arl and Finney had already “Are you all right, Colin?” I was work surfaces burning our hands on
arrived when I pushed open leaning against the big industrial the thick green mugs. They used to
the door into the kitchen’s warmth, fridge, catching my breath. have the clubhouse printed on the
bringing the cloud of my last frozen “Yes... I’m fine... Mike” side, but they were cheap and
breath in with me. “Well you can all piss off home if bought in bulk and the picture had
“You’re late, Crapper. Too busy you think you’ve come here to muck long since worn off. Mine still had
wanking to drag yourself out o’ bed about, me laddioes.” half a roof and ‘Go lub’, but it was in
this mornin’?” “Sorry, Mike,” we chorused. the minority. None of us spoke as
“Fuck off, Carl. Is he here yet?” Even Finney, and he hadn’t done a we sipped and slurped our tea, but
Carl was fifteen and just because thing. Carl glared at me through the
Finney and I were two years Mike had a red nose. That was almost imperceptible steam that
younger he thought he could rib us the first thing I’d noticed about him rose from his mug. I knew he
about masturbation - like he didn’t when Finney and I came up to the wouldn’t have forgiven me yet. He
do it either. club the previous summer, looking spat in my face once when I called
“No he‘s not. Maggie let us in, for ways to supplement our meagre him a ‘fat blubber bundle’, so I
said he’d be down in five minutes,” pocket-money. He was nice enough, booted him in the shins and he
replied Finney, taking off his glasses quite serious, although I did would have leathered me if he hadn’t
to wipe away the condensation overhear some of the members been so slow. He didn’t speak to me
caused by the kettle boiling on the talking about the night he was for a month, but I wasn’t too
worktop behind him. I nodded, forced to run naked round the bothered because most of what he
more to myself than the other two eighteenth green after losing a game came out with was gobshite.
and crept over to the swing door of cards. This vision often popped I was deep in thought,
that separated the kitchen from the into my head whilst I was being remembering the spitting incident,
rest of the golf club to see if I could given my instructions for the day when Mike let out a loud, contented
spot any sign of Mike, our boss. As and it was all I could do to stop sigh and put down his empty mug.
I stood on tiptoe, peering into the myself from collapsing into giggles. “Right lads, are you ready for some
red half-light of the dining-room, an Today he seemed cheerful enough, graft?”
arm yanked me back savagely by the after delivering our dressing down, “Yes, Mike,” we chorused. Well,
neck. and whistled merrily to himself as he Carl and I chorused - Finney was
“Don’t tell me to fuck off, little prepared our tea. This Saturday swallowing tea at the time, so he
Colin Crapper,” Carl hissed as he morning ritual was a much-needed chirped up a couple of seconds late.
manoeuvred me struggling into a perk of the job, especially in the “Do you remember I mentioned
headlock. depths of winter, but there was last week that farmer Bradshaw’s
“Get off Carl,” I choked as I something sinister about the been ‘aving some bother with a fox?”
tugged at his wrist. I could smell his tinkling of steel against crockery This information was met with
B.O. and feel the folds of his flabby that put me on edge. He was never blank looks from all three of us.
belly against my cheek through his usually this cheerful, and when he Mike carried on regardless. “Well
scratchy woollen jumper. was it usually meant someone on Tuesday night he shot the little
“Say ‘sorry sir’. Say ‘little Colin would be on the receiving end of a bugger and it ended up dead in the
Crapper’s very, very sorry sir’.” rotten job. rough off the fourteenth. Your
“No.... Fuck off,” I spluttered. “What would you like us to do mission, should you choose to
“Say it!” Carl tightened his lock. today, Mike?” asked Carl, accept it, is to bury the flea- ridden
I felt faint now from lack of air and sickeningly trying to win back furbag before the members start to
was on the point of giving in, when favour. complain.” He always said that
the door swung open and I was thing about, “Your mission...”, and I
rapidly released. didn’t have a clue what he was on
3 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
about until Tom Cruise did that ‘Mission: Impossible’ in front of Carl, though, he was far too self-righteous –
film. I don’t know why he bothered saying it when we “I’11 never smoke, my granddad died of lung cancer and
never really had a choice. you’ll go the same way” - and he had such an irritating
“There’s shovels in the shed and you’d better take sing-song voice when he was on his high-horse that it
some plakky bags to pick it up with. Don’t go touching wasn’t worth giving him an excuse to get up there.
it yourselves, mind, or you’ll end up catching all sorts of We set to work looking for the shovels without
diseases.” Having duly instructed, he pushed back his another word. After five minutes we’d only managed to
chair noisily, stood up, and hurried off to his next task. unearth two and realised that the plastic bags were kept
The tinkling of the crockery foretold correctly - burying in the kitchen.
a dead fox on a freezing cold January morning was “There’s no way I’m going back in there. Mike’ll bite
pretty close to my idea of a rotten job. Finney looked my head off,” said Carl, coward that he was. Mind you,
green, but it could have been the reflection of his mug. I didn’t fancy facing Mike’s wrath again either, so I was
“Nice one, Crapper! Thanks a bunch for landing me pleased when Finney volunteered. Carl stooped,
in it,” Carl said as soon as he was sure Mike was out of examining the shovels intently after Finney had gone
earshot. and I ventured further into the shed, pretending to look
“What!” I said, incredulously. “You’re the one who for another one. Neither of us felt like speaking to the
attacked me!” other. I was in the process of tormenting a giant brown
“Well, you deserved it, and you’ve still not and red spider when Finney returned two minutes later.
apologised.” He started after me, but the table was “Maggie were there. She gi’ me these.” He held up a
between us and we began dashing round in circles, bundle of crumpled supermarket carrier bags. “She said
backwards and forwards as he tried to lay hold of me. she din’t know ‘bout the shovels, though.”
Finney started laughing and playfully punched each of “Never mind, we’ll just take it in turns to dig,” said
us in turn as we dodged past him. Carl made a lunge at Carl. Satisfied with this suggestion, we upped tools
me across the battered table top and I knocked over a and set out to the fourteenth hole.
chair as I side-stepped his flailing arm. His face was It was a freezing cold, scared-to-get-out-of-the-bath
turning purple with rage and exertion. kind of day, and the frost on the tall evergreens that
“Get to work!” bellowed Mike, as he burst through surrounded the car park glittered as the sun fought
the door. We stopped, instantly shocked, stationary, to through the rolling mass of cloud that threatened to dull
see Mike’s glowering face preparing to spout forth one the bright morning. I liked being out and about on
of his well- known tirades. All three of us were out of the mornings like this - the world seems a much cleaner,
kitchen and halfway to the shed before the door stopped crisper place when everything is edged with frozen dew.
swinging. Safely inside the musty wooden haven, we I know it sounds daft saying it, but this kind of day
gradually regained our composure. always made me believe in childish notions of magic,
“Bloody hell, I thought he was going to explode!” I fairies, elves, wizards, stuff like that. One day, about a
said, partly because Mike really had looked like that, year ago, I was walking through the park on a morning
and partly to brush over Carl’s grievance by inspiring a just like this and I saw a duck by the side of the boating
sense of camaraderie. No such luck. lake. As I approached, I realised it wasn’t moving and,
“Well, if you hadn’t knocked that chair over he thinking it was asleep, I crept closer, intending to shock
wouldn’t have.…” it from its slumber. But when I was close enough to
“Give it a rest, Carl.” This was Finney, the voice of touch it, and just about to clap my hands and shout and
reason. scare the thing witless, I noticed it was frozen, frozen
I tensed, still expecting Carl’s panting bulk to solid with its head tucked under its sparkling wing. It
pounce like a lazy, overweight leopard (he had really bad rolled over when I kicked it with the end of one of my
acne), but he just rutted and finally let the matter drop. damp trainers. I went back the next day, to see if it was
Finney didn’t say much, but what he did say was usually still there, but it had gone, and while the bitter breeze
to the point and worth saying. That’s probably why I turned my ears red, I convinced myself that the duck
liked him. Well, that and the fact his Dad owned a had thawed itself out, flown on still dripping wings.
newsagent’s, which had given us unlimited access to It was a ten minute walk to the site of the fox’s
sweets and football stickers when we were younger. It demise and our conversation turned to the subject of
meant we could nick fags now too. We couldn’t smoke Emma Radcliffe as we set off down the path, past the
4 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
eighteenth green. I knew her “Bullshit!” That was my “What? You haven’t spoken to
because she lived at the end of my contribution to the debate. Emma Radcliffe.” Carl was looking
street and used to play with Finney “I don’t give a shit whether you nervous.
and me when we were younger. She believe me or not, ask her “I did, on Thursday. Me mam
was three years older than us, and yourselves.” This, as Carl well knew, asked me to tek round some
quite a corruptive influence even was impossible. Emma Radcliffe groceries for ‘er mam and when I
then, but now she was notorious reserved for Finney and myself the were in the kitchen Emma were
fodder for the playground gossips. kind of contempt you reserve for the there and she asked me wor I’d been
Carl and Finney were arguing. puddles of vomit you might up to, and I said ‘Nothin’ much, wor
“Bollocks!” That was Finney. I accidentally tread in outside ‘The ‘ave you been up to?’, and she said
told you he was to the point. Randy Spaniel’ on a Sunday she visited her Gran on Monday
“I swear, I’m not lying. On morning. The irony was, Finney night to cheer ’er up ‘cos it’s not long
Monday night I went up Tanner’s and I were probably the first two since ‘er granddad died, and
with her and she gave me a B.J.” lads in the area to see her naked Tuesday ‘er dad came over from
Tanner’s Copse was a patch of (told you she was a corruptive Bolton and took ‘er to the cinema
densely packed trees and bushes influence), while indulging in the and ‘ad a row with ‘er mam when
between the estate we lived on and age old ‘you show me yours...’ game they got back and she threw a pot
Bradshaw’s land, famous for illicit at the tender age of seven. Now, plant at ‘is lead, then Wednesday she
sexual encounters. However, I was undoubtedly because of that former ‘ad to go an’ stay at ’er gran’s again
quite sure the closest Carl had ever familiarity, she vigorously ignored ‘cos ‘er mam ‘ad been teken down
got to one was when the school us if ever our paths crossed. So it the police station on account of ‘er
nurse took his temperature by came as quite a surprise when lavin’ thrown a pot plant at ‘er dad,
shoving a thermometer up his arse. Finney said he’d spoken to her two then she said she were stayin’ in that
days ago. night ‘cos Eastenders were on the
telly, so I said ‘All right, best be off
First Year Students then’ and came home and me mam
shouted at me ‘cos I forgot to bring
the box back.”
I was beginning to suspect I
didn’t know Finney as well as I’d
thought. Carl didn’t seem to know
what to say in reply to this, so after a
“Would you like me to be
few seconds of whirring cogs and a
couple of ‘ahhhs’ and ‘uhs’, he said
“Would you like me FLASH?”
nothing. He’d been rumbled and
we all knew it so he strode off ahead,
sulking, red-faced. Finney and I
to be NASTY?”
“You never told me you’d spoken
to Emma Radcliffe,” I said to
Finney once Carl had. Turned the
corner in the path as it dipped
behind the bushes at the back of the
“I didn’t. I made it up. I was sick
of ’im coming out with lies, so I
“I’m a DIRTY girl.”
thought I’d shut ’im up for once.”
“Are you a DIRTY boy?”
That was it - seeing Carl
humiliated was funny enough, but
knowing that Finney - Finney who
5 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
hardly ever said anything unless he had to - had made it two bunkers that stood as sentinels to trap any golfer
all up, well, that was just hilarious, pant-wettingly funny, who might fall short, until we had gone about a
and I couldn’t help bursting out into raucous laughter, hundred yards from the green. Looking left over the
Finney joined in and soon the pair of us were stumbling rough we could see the smoke from Bradshaw’s
down the gravel path with tears in our eyes and aching chimney, twisting out of the hollow that concealed his
stomachs. We were laughing so much that we didn’t farm, rising lethargically into the rapidly thickening
notice Carl had stopped in the middle of the path, until cloudscape. There was no mistaking it now - the smell
we bumped into him. radiated from the little orange bundle just visible behind
“Watch it, Carl!” I muttered, rubbing the spot on my a patch of long, wiry grass. We stood, thirty yards from
chest where the end of Carl’s shovel had bruised me. the fox, with our sleeves over our mouths and noses.
“Can you smell that?” Carl had his nose thrust “There is no way I’m touching that,” said Carl.
forward into the air and was sniffing tentatively. Finney “Neither am I,” said Finney. They turned and looked
and I exchanged glances - maybe the recent blow to his at me enquiringly.
pride had knocked a screw loose. “No way. There is no way I’m even going near the
“What, the grass?” I offered. thing.”
“No, no. That smell. Have a proper sniff, it stinks.” I “You should do it, Carl, you’re the oldest.” Finney
took a good lungful of air through my nostrils and really had a problem with Carl today.
exhaled loudly. I was about to start deriding Carl’s “What’s that got to do with anything? You should do
imaginary stench, having smelt nothing but the slowly it ‘cos you’re the youngest. Anyway, because I’m the
defrosting grass and the chalky gravel odour, when oldest, I get to say who’s doing it, and I think it should
Finney groaned, “Uuurgh! That stinks!” be Colin.”
“See, see, there is something.” I sniffed again, more “You’re only saying that ‘cos he told you to ‘fuck off.
seriously this time, but I still couldn’t detect the horrible Anyway, you’re nor in charge, we should tek a vote.”
stink that disgusted Carl and Finney. “I am in charge, I’m two years older. You have to do
“I can’t smell anything.” I moved over to where what I say, and I say Colin’s got to do it.”
Finney stood, to the left of Carl, and sniffed again. “That’s crap. When’s Mike ever said you were in
“Ugh! It’s...it’s like cabbages.” charge?”
“No, it’s more like gone-off milk.” “Well...he...that’s not the point. We’re here now, I’m
We started walking briskly to evade the stench, all the oldest and the biggest,” Finney pointed out how
three of us holding our breath and sporting screwed-up true Carl’s observation had been, but it passed without
faces of revolt. We stayed like that, moving briskly with comment, “and I say Colin’s doing it.”
a short-step half-run until we reached a row of waist- “That’s not fair, and there’s two of us. Maybe we
high shrubs that backed onto the fourteenth green. think you should do it.”
Thankfully, they were a pretty good windbreak, so we All the time Finney and Carl were arguing, I stood
collapsed with our backs to the bushes and breathed. passively looking at the indistinct orange blob, whose
All I could smell was grass and gravel again. funeral we’d been charged with arranging, and an idea
“What the hell is that stink?” asked Carl, not really occurred to me. With my sleeve over my nose, the smell
expecting either of us to know. wasn’t actually that bad, and a morbid curiosity had
“I ‘ope it’s not wor’ I think it is,” replied Finney. arisen within me. I wanted to see the fox - and it wasn’t
Then it clicked. I looked at Finney, then Carl, then as if it was going to bite me - so if neither of my
Finney again and we all peered through the shrubbery accomplices wanted to touch the thing, it really
in the direction of the fourteenth. I felt like Tom Hanks wouldn’t bother me that much. And I might be able to
in that war film. “Well, there’s only one way to find get something out of it.
out,” Finney said, before clambering to his feet, bags in “Stop arguing, you two, I’ve got an idea.” Two pairs
hand, looking expectantly at Carl and me, crouching in of eyes and a pair of sleeve-covered hands turned to face
the untainted air. We followed reluctantly. me. “I’ll pick up the fox, I’ll even carry it wherever it
As we skirted the fourteenth green and reached the needs to go, provided.…“
edge of the fairway, the smell worsened, so between “What?” They said this simultaneously, eagerly.
gulps of air we were silent. We walked purposefully “Provided you two dig the grave.” They looked at
down the fairway by the border with the rough, past the each other, weighed up what they were both thinking,
6 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
and said yes, all in the time it takes pleased with my foresight - it would fetch his BMX from Floppy’s
to say ‘stinking dead fox’. “You’ll take them another half an hour to domain probably hadn’t helped.
have to dig out of bounds, though. dig a hole anywhere near big Once I had reached the fox
We can’t carve up the rough.” You enough to bury the fox. (sleeve still clamped firmly), I wasn’t
had to pay four hundred pounds a The fox. How could such a huge, so surprised: it was a gruesome
year for that privilege. “Fine by rancid reek be generated by the one sight. The prostrate vermin lay on
me,” said Carl. “We’ll just head over tiny dead animal I was now its side, with its head thrown out in
there and start digging. OK? Don’t approaching? As far as I could see, it death at ninety degrees from the rest
bring it over until we’ve finished. “ was no bigger than a large rabbit, of its body. Its tongue had been
Finney handed me the bundle of the kind Adam Riley used to have in pierced by the large canine at the
carrier bags in exchange for the his backyard that served his family front left of its mouth, but no blood
shovel I’d been carrying and then as a guard-dog. It was impossible to discoloured the stiff, pink casualty of
they sprinted over the rough, past get in or out of the back of his house its final mournful gnashing. One ear
the white posts that marked off the because anybody invading Floppy’s was hidden by the grass, but the
fourteenth, until they arrived at the territory would inevitably find the other still pricked forward. I
top of the bank of waste ground that Bigwig from hell clamped to their wondered what that ear had heard
led down to the dry-stone wall that ankle. That rabbit lived for twelve last. The crows had taken the eyes -
separated Bradshaw’s land from the years and Adam Riley had grown ghoulish pits betrayed what had
golf course. into a particularly nervous teenager. hidden behind the fox’s cunning
“We’ll dig here, OK?” Carl Living with the fear of violent gaze, behind the green reflection if
shouted. retribution every time he dared to caught in headlights.
“Wherever!” I replied. I didn’t I retched. My first sight of the
think it would make much head transfixed me, but
difference, it was going to First Year Students my next glance sickened.
be hard work wherever The belly and a part of the
they chose. ribcage were torn open,
“It’s rock hard!” horrific evidence of
Finney’s first attempt at Bradshaw’s true aim.
So there’s nothing left to say, except goodbye.
penetrating the frost Maggots writhed in and
I can’t believe you no longer care,
compacted earth rang out about the pulpy mess of
Won’t even give a reason why.
across the surrounding intestines, membranes,
greenery. I chuckled to gloopy red mash. I had a
I notice you won’t catch my eye.
myself I could see them vision of coming
There are things I want to tell, but do not dare.
struggling to make an downstairs into the
So there’s nothing left to say, except goodbye.
impression in the soil, lounge after one of my
grumbling barely audible dad’s Friday nights up late
If this is truth, I’d rather live a lie.
curses as they puffed and in front of the telly,
Either way you’re not being fair,
panted, thumped and surveying the debris of his
Won’t even give a reason why.
clanked. I watched the excess, noticing with
rising vapours of their revulsion the leftover
cloudy, mingled breath for Chinese - overfaced
We still had loose ends to tie,
a while, with my sleeve himself in his alcoholic
Now must find an identity, not half a pair.
still faithfully blocking the greed - the sticky red
So there’s nothing left to say, except goodbye.
reek. Despite the fact that sweet and sour covering
they were over fifty yards little white flecks. At least
You said together we’d touch the sky.
away, I could make out rice didn’t squirm. I
Look, you left my dream cupboard bare
the pitiful amount of earth retched again when I
And won’t even give a reason why.
they had managed to heard the faint sounds of
So there’s nothing left to say, except goodbye.
extract, a forlorn hump maggots feeding, moving,
between them. I was very struggling, striving.
7 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
The bushy tail had moulted, or or Finney’s encouragement, was farmer’s gun. All of us. I was ashen-
been ravaged. It lay crimson, unclear. But did they share my faced as we flung the last clod of
orange, ropy, chewed. The thoughts, as we gathered around earth over the fox.
sickening sight mesmerised me. the grave, silent, considering the We ran back to the clubhouse,
We’d all laughed at the gore animal? Had they, too, woken up to sprinting until our muscles ached
witnessed when Finney’s older the terrible truth that we were all and the pounding in our ears
brother let us watch Brain-dead one going to die? Kicking and became too much.
afternoon when we’d all bunked off screaming, or twisted and crushed,
school - especially the bit when a or dashed on the rocks in some
crazed zombie pulled out a isolated spot, or sleeping peacefully,
screaming victim’s ribcage. Faced or eyes closed in a sealed car, or
with the fox’s protruding yellow, lying in a ditch, torn apart by a
sinewy, gunk-covered corpse, the
humour failed to materialise.
I forgot everything in that
moment as I crouched, peering at
this image of death. The frozen
duck hadn’t flown. I saw myself,
years and years away, lying
underground, my so- familiar body
mutilated by larvae, stolen, broken
down, savaged by self-serving
parasites. I saw death in all its gory
Technicolor and for the first time I
understood its inescapable horror.
This fox was me and I too would be
decaying, reeking, open, dead.
I was no longer the same person
by the time Carl and Finney finally
finished digging and I carried the
festering corpse to the burial site.
Who knows? Maybe they changed
too. I saw the disgust, the fearful
revulsion in both their faces when
they eventually helped me fill in the
hole, as the first drops of cold winter
rain escaped the clouds that had
been amassing steadily all morning.
Had they seen what I’d seen?
Realised themselves what had
become apparent to me? As I trailed
maggots over the rough, holding
the threadbare tail through a plastic
bag in my left hand, the cloying,
creeping stink had overcome
Finney’s fragile stomach, sending
his breakfast surging over the weeds
and rocks on the bank. Carl had
followed suit, though whether this
was thanks to the presence of the fox
8 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
of work was one of necessity and not say he was at all envious of his
THE GAME of choice. The family business was colleague’s preferential treatment.
Jacqueline Brooks not his to control, but while his It never ceased to amaze Brian
father remained absent, he would that Ventrue would only ever deal
B lood and salt. take care of things for as long as he with Daniel. Sure, Daniel knew
Shivering as if from a chill, the had to. Besides, it wasn’t as if he had what he was talking about, but he
young boy clutches at the to be involved in the slaughtering of was a bit of a strange one really.
bedclothes, salty tears running innocent animals; those poor With a terrible temper and an eye-
down his face. His large round eyes creatures were already dead by the patch, all he seemed to lack was a
appear not to blink and though his time they reached his hands. hook for a hand and a parrot.
bottom lip quivers, he emits no Fortunately, he had Daniel to Rising from bed, Brian prepared
sound. Darkness envelops the take care of most of the dirty work. himself for the day ahead, relieved
room, seemingly impenetrable but Since his father, Leonard, had that the Ventrue order would keep
for a single moonbeam weakly jacked it all in and buggered off, his him from having to deal with dead
filtering in through the open old partner Daniel had more or less things. Daniel would ensure that
window. Barely illuminated, a small taken over. Brian did what he could, the last of the order was packaged
form lies deathly still beneath the but didn’t really have a flair for and ready to go by the end of the
covers of the bed opposite. business. He handled the high day. Then, later, Brian would help
In his agitation the young boy’s street shop, but preferred to let him load the delivery van and rid his
teeth chatter, cutting into his Daniel take care of the trade home of hacked-up animal.
tongue. Blood and tears mingle in customers. Trade customers such Slinging a tired-looking dressing
his muted mouth. Dumb with as Ventrue’s just weren’t his forte. It gown on, Brian ventured into the
terror, he finds his limbs are frozen. was the Ventrue order that had bathroom, did his business, and
The air seems rank and the shadows taken over the unit downstairs. then watched his reflection brush
unnaturally black. He can do There were some curiously picky his teeth. A minute passed and the
nothing but stare, stare as the customers out there and Ventrue electric toothbrush buzzed three
looming darkness turns to face him. was one of them. For starters, he times to tell him so. Leaning over
would only ever accept carcasses the sink, he spat out minty
from specific suppliers. Naturally, whiteness, drool, and a substantial
their hygiene was always tip-top, amount of blood. Startled, he
The blur of red gradually came
but despite this Ventrue demanded choked on his own saliva,
into focus: the clock glowed 5:16am.
that Daniel prepare and store his involuntarily put his hand to his
Groaning, Brian rolled over and
meat in isolation. Brian figured the mouth and whipped his head up to
stared at the wall. He’d had the
orders either had to meet some kind check in the mirror.
same recurring nightmare for as
of religious requirements, or the guy In contrast to his ghastly pale
long as he could remember. Early
was just super-paranoid. Whatever face, dark oozing liquid filled his
nights had become second nature to
his reason, he paid enough for the mouth, overflowed onto his chin,
him, a habit formed to compensate
dedication. ran down his neck and soaked his
for lack of sleep, a healthier solution
Cubing meat wasn’t that chest. Gagging, his stomach
than the sleeping tablets that he
unusual; neither was dividing it into convulsed and blood erupted from
used to take.
portions of equal weight. However, him, spattering the glass. Dizzy, his
Listening to the radiators tick, he
it wasn’t the individually wrapped, ears ringing, he felt blackness close
contemplated the contents of the
800-gram portions that fascinated in on his vision.
refrigerator. Downstairs, the
Brian. What he couldn’t understand
compressor of a large cooling unit *
was the interest in the waste – all the
was working hard at preserving the
blood and gooey bits. Why would
freshness of a substantial load of Blood and salt.
anyone want gravy made out of
meat. Stomach churning at the Staring up into darkness, fear
that? Just contemplating containers
thought of teeth tearing into flesh, gurgled in the child’s throat, rapid
full of the stuff made him feel sick.
he pondered over the irony of a breathing turning into short painful
Daniel must have iron guts. Can’t
vegetarian butcher. At least his line gasps. Saturated teddy-bear
9 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
pyjamas clung to the skin of his small legs, tears Yeah right, the day he started learning manners
continuing to run down his face and into his mouth. would be the day she started leaving the latch on.
The darkness increased in size, obliterated the “Ventrue’s gonna tear you to pieces, Di!”
meagre light, and closed in on him from above. Crossing her legs provocatively, Diana noticed a nail
From the bed opposite there was a strange that needed reshaping and picked up a well-worn nail
hiccupping sound. Swiftly the darkness receded, seized file.
the bundle beneath the bedclothes and catapulted it “Seriously, man! He knows you went outside last
across the room to smash night and word of what you
against the far wall. First Year Students did has spread faster than
Watching wide-eyed, the piss in an alley!”
little boy’s body jerked in On a good day, Eric’s
sync with the impact. His gaunt, hollow-eyed visage
jaw snapped and his teeth face as though it has never
And you are beautiful:
sank further into the flesh if had a lick of sun in its life.
Lips full and soft, eyes holding mine.
his tongue. Blood filled his Unbelievably, even that grey
I cannot hold your gaze for long.
mouth, overflowed onto his complexion had ebbed
Its unashamed happiness in the object
chin, dripped onto smiling away, the papery skin taking
Embarrasses me. I turn away.
teddy-bear faces… on a bleached, almost
* It is rare Even the sight of her long
For your face to take this shape. bare legs, substantial
Diana sat at her dressing
Too used to friendly banter and constant change, cleavage and erect nipples
table applying her lipstick
Like an actor failed to summon any colour
and absently curling a lock
It plays centre stage to your wit to his cheeks. With a sigh,
of dark hair around her
And mimes to make me laugh. Diana let the file fall and
index finger. Various
I am anxious to be back rose from the stool. “Oh,
cosmetic products lay
To the teasing and laughing, don’t have a heart attack,
strewn across the mahogany
The old familiar positions darling. He’s a pussycat,
surface, while hair brushes,
And complicated ways of saying I love you, you know.”
tongs, strengtheners, styling
Which neither of us understands. Calmly, she decided to
products of every
select the most revealing red
description, cluttered the
Your smile is brave. dress she possessed.
shelves. Discarded cotton
I keep it “Besides, it wasn’t anybody
pads, smudged with nail
As a gift from a small child, important.”
varnish or mascara,
A treasure I mustn’t lose, Lost for words, Eric
cascaded down the sides of
To carry carefully, stood transfixed as Diana
a small swing-bin that no
Take care nothing should spill, clothed herself, then left
longer swung. Shoes
That none of my newly discovered joy with a shrug. Maybe she
peeked out from under the
Should escape, was right; she did have an
bed and a G-string hung
Soak into ground amazing effect on Ventrue –
from the knob of an
Or evaporate into air. she had a pretty amazing
effect on him. Absently
Bursting in without
Mary Channon fumbling with his trousers,
regard, Eric was brought up
short by the naked flesh on display as, in a whirl of Eric headed for his own quarters. He really didn’t want
movement, Diana swung round to face him and blue to stumble into Ventrue’s presence just yet.
satin parted. Recovering, she smiled knowingly, *
drawing the gown back together with deliberate
slowness. Daytime television being what it was, Brian chose
“Darling,” she purred. “You really should learn some not to spend all of his free time cloistered away in the
manners.” house. The day was overcast but mild, suitable weather
10 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
for a healthy walk into town. bruise. She wished he had struck standstill with a frown. He’d caught
Making sure he had bus fare, Brian her anywhere but upon the face, the sight of bare hands; Daniel should
locked up and contemplated visiting place where Ventrue knew it would be wearing gloves.
his mother. hurt her the most. Re-tracing his steps, Brian’s
With his father out of the picture, Heavy footsteps intruded upon hand rose to push the door wide
Abi had packed up and moved out. their quiet, and though Diana open, but it froze in mid-air and his
She now lived in a poky maisonette continued to knead his muscles, reprimand died in his throat.
on the other side of town with her Ventrue opened his eyes and sat There, upon the table, lay the torso
dickhead boyfriend, Tony. Tony forward expectantly. The upon which Daniel worked. Only
was okay really, but did have a dick newcomer approached with the partially concealed by his colleague’s
for a head. confidence of one very aware of his broad frame was, unmistakably, the
The walk into town would take formidable size and strength. trunk of a human body.
an hour, whereas the walk to work African in origin, he was certain that For one brief, horrifying
would only take half. He could pick anyone who was not intimidated by moment, Brian could not tear his
up his usual gift of meat and a his enormity would certainly cower eyes away from the macabre
decent bone for the dog, then catch beneath his dark menacing gaze and spectacle. Locked into position, he
the bus to his mum’s in time for gruesomely scarred features. His watched as Daniel carved the
lunch. She usually had some veggie- voice, as strong and as solid as his abdomen like the breastbone of a
friendly food to offer, and he hadn’t biceps, always sent a thrill through chicken. Time seemed to slow,
done his shopping yet. Diana, who made a point of leaning delaying the revulsion, while the
further over Ventrue. scene sank in. With comprehension
Seemingly ignorant of both the came shock. He found himself
low cut of her dress and her entire cocooned in a debilitating thickness
Seated in a voluminous room
person, Mason spoke directly to his that dragged his muscles and made
without windows, the figures by the
superior, “The delivery is on time.” his ears ring. As the panic built
large mahogany table were
Ventrue relaxed once more, within him, his senses became
illuminated by candlelight. Flames
gesturing with his goblet before intensely heightened. He tasted the
danced against each of the four
raising it to his lips. iron he smelt and felt the flesh being
walls, and an impressive iron-
wrought candleholder glowed from *
As a slice of unwanted skin
the table’s centre. A richly coloured
slapped onto the floor, a wave of
rug attempted to cover the vast The sun tried to break through
nausea bubbled up in his stomach
stone floor, while several tapestries the miserable clouds without
and forced him to back away.
broke the monotony of the cold grey success. Keys jangling, Brian
Without quite knowing how he had
walls. entered the establishment via the
got there, he stood hunched upon
Ventrue’s presence dominated high street. Leonard’s High Quality
his own doorstep, bathed in sweat,
the head of the table, his seat butchers was always closed to the
gasping for breath, the left hand still
imposing in its size and grandeur. general public, while an important
grasping his bag of purloined meat.
The remaining four chairs were trade order was in process.
Nausea flooded back and
unoccupied, though the angle of After raiding the cold storage for
overwhelmed him, doubling him
one indicated it had recently been sausages and chops, Brian ventured
over with a retching that sprayed his
disturbed. further out the back on his quest for
shoes with vomit.
Diana’s sweet scent permeated a bone. With the local radio station
the air and intoxicated Ventrue as cranked up, the sickening noises of *
he relaxed under her skilled Daniel’s wet-work were practically
Blood and salt.
massaging hands. A hush hung in drowned out. As Brian wandered
As blood continued to well from
the atmosphere, like that which past the ‘red room’, he glimpsed
the cuts in his tongue, the little boy’s
follows a storm, soothing tempers Daniel back-bent over his work,
silent sobbing racked his body with
and discouraging talk. A shadow of completely engrossed in slicing and
tremors that caused him to spasm
darkness upon Diana’s left cheek dicing. Continuing a few steps
promised a large unattractive more, Brian abruptly came to a
11 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
Collecting the crumpled body of the four year old was going back there now. He didn’t quite know what
from the floor, the towering darkness fed upon the he was going to do exactly, but he didn’t fancy joining
toddler with an urgent greed. Noises of wet suckling that torso on the slab.
filled the youngster’s ears and unbidden understanding His head thumped, sausage meat clung, and the kids
poured into his innocent eyes. The intensity of the terror settled themselves on the curb.
broke through the choking hold upon his throat, Reaching for his wallet, he selected a credit card and
releasing the pent-up scream, at which the darkness, decided to try what he’d seen the locksmith do last year.
sparing him only a brief glance, swooped onto the The Yale lock on his front door could be double locked
window ledge and dived out into the night, still cradling for extra security, but he always forgot to do it. Thankful
his prize. for his carelessness, he leant his weight into the wood
and slid the card down the jam, wiggling it to spring the
latch. Flustered, he snapped two cards before the third
brought him success and he was able to enter the
When Brian came to, he was face down upon the
moderate safety of his home.
pavement. Miraculously he had avoided landing on his
Wondering what to do, he focused upon the
chin, but as he scraped himself up, he pressed his hand
telephone, but thought better of it. He couldn’t quite
into spilled sausages. Sausage meat bulged under the
grasp the situation himself, let alone explain it to the
pressure and forced its way between his fingers, almost
cops. Besides, how could he keep his own name clear
setting him off on another fit of retching.
when he had who knows how many cubed body parts
Trying to wipe the offending stuff off onto the grass,
sitting inside his own refrigerator?
he noticed a couple of kids watching him from across
the street. Wanting to get out of sight, he dug in his *
pockets for his door keys. A wave of dread washed over
him as he remembered dumping them on the counter Eric sat cradling his knees on his bedroom floor,
inside his father’s butcher shop. There was no way he picking at a scab on his left arm and listening to the
voices coming up through the air vent.
First Year Students He’d heard Diana get hit earlier and
the grin still played about his lips.
So much at stake with all that “Wrapped round your finger, my
TAKEN AS READ
Well-paid job, children, wife. He could now hear Mason and
Well-paid job, children, wife,
Ventrue discussing the preparations
Big house, two cats and a dog,
Twenty-first-birthday present for the meeting later tonight. As if in
it’s all clear:
from wealthy uncle, Clive: tune with the topic of conversation,
“These are the things that make
Brand spanking new Mondeo, Eric’s stomach gnawed at his insides.
complete with six gear. It was so unfair; Ventrue’s curfew was
“These are the things that make really starting to get to him. He felt
Best friends, relationships are
up life.” like an adolescent and Diana didn’t
full of strife:
help matters. If only she would stop
That sexual conflict - am I
Swimming pool in the garden, sneaking out and shitting on their
straight or queer?
foliage neat, not rife, doorstep. He was getting punished
Well-paid job, children, wife.
But in reality we come nowhere for a situation she was the cause of.
near. She deserved more than a slap as far
Watching the football, Rangers
Low-paid job, no wife, no as he was concerned. Flaunting
v. East Fife,
children. herself the way she did, if he were
Cigarettes, drugs, gambling,
Are these the things that make Ventrue he’d give her a good –
up life? Ventrue’s voice boomed through
“These are the things that make
the vent and Eric jumped guiltily.
Paul Crisp Lost in his own thoughts, he’d missed
what had been said, but whatever it
Followed down an alley,
was it had brought all the talk
confronted with a knife.
12 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
downstairs to an end. With a well- keep an eye on things from a safe remember Adam, but the years
chewed thumbnail between his distance and then figure things out were like layers of clouds that he
teeth, Eric strained to discern from there. simply could not break through, and
Ventrue’s movements. He could Brian leapt up resolutely from all he was left with was the
make out a faint whimpering, and the stool, but had a temporary drop nightmares and a therapist. Neither
now and then there was a grunt. in blood pressure and passed out was very helpful: he’d ditched one
Mason must either be spectating onto the kitchen floor. and accepted the other. He
down there, or it was that time accepted the nightmares, but
already and he’d gone to help Daniel recognised that they were founded
with the delivery. on emotion, not fact. According to
Blood and salt.
his mother, he’d never even shared a
Hysterical screams and sobs
bedroom with Adam. That memory
filled the child’s bedroom. Tears
was apparently as real as vampires.
streamed down the little boy’s
The metallic surface of the
As he rose, Brian’s eyes fell upon
cheeks and chin, mingling with the
refrigerator gleamed in the electric
the refrigerator once more.
blood that continued to well from
his lacerated tongue. Rocking
Earlier, Brian had practically *
dementedly, his gasps for air began
turned himself inside out over the
to sound more like crazed hiccups.
toilet bowl. He felt faint and knew The rear of the butchery was
Dizzy, his ears ringing, blackness
he should try and eat something, badly lit. Brian had never had cause
started to close in on his vision.
but water was all that he could to notice that before now. As he
As he sank into unconsciousness,
manage. crouched down behind the
a comforting, warm pressure
Having finally emerged from the dustbins, he was grateful for the
enfolded his body. A voice reached
bathroom, Brian had sat staring at shadowy shelter. He’d left the note
him through the ringing in his ears.
the refrigerator ever since. He was on his front door as planned and all
It sounded muffled and distant. He
trying desperately to focus and he could do now was hope that
thought he heard his name. He
figure out what to do, but it was Daniel had found his keys.
knew he heard his brother’s.
impossible to concentrate. Shifting weight to ease the
Blood, flesh, guts, gore – all cramp building in his right calf,
other thoughts eluded him. Brian’s balance wavered and he
Chopped up bodies in his almost sent the bins toppling over
Awake, but too weak to move,
refrigerator. In his kitchen. In his with his rucksack. In the same
Brian lay on the kitchen floor
house. Bits of people in his house. instant, the rear door opened and
remembering his little brother,
Fixated there upon his stool, Daniel emerged, followed closely
Adam. He’d only been six when
Brian remained acutely aware of the behind by a black Hulk. The Hulk’s
Adam went missing. More than a
passing of time. He was tuned into arms were filled with what he
couple of decades had passed since
the incessant ticking of the wall assumed to be Ventrue’s blood and
then. Sometimes, he wasn’t sure if
clock and inwardly cringed as it gore. He expected Hulkman to
the memories he had of him were
counted away his time with return for a second armful, but
real, of if he’d just absorbed his
infuriating speed. apparently Ventrue was interested
mother’s fond recollections over the
And then, inspiration. in quality, not quantity. Watching
years. He knew that his brother had
He had approximately two hours him climb into the van, Brian
been only four years old. He knew
before Daniel was due to turn up on wondered why it took Daniel the
that he had been physically
his doorstep expecting to pick up entire day to prepare such a small
handicapped since birth. He knew
the rest of Ventrue’s order. He could amount and then quickly decided
he was as blonde as Brian was dark
simply leave a note for the one- eyed not to think about it.
and that the baby blues had never
animal and let him get on with it. A As the van left his line of vision,
faded. He knew these things, but he
set of his house keys were stranded Brian scrambled to his feet and
didn’t remember them.
in the shop with Daniel, so Daniel made a dash for the rear door. Once
He had always felt it important
might as well use those to let himself inside, he ran to the tiny office that
to know that his memories were his
in. In the meantime, Brian could had always functioned more as a tea
own, that he genuinely did
13 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
break room. Invoices were filed alphabetically. His
fumbling fingers were mostly thumbs, but Brian was
certain that there was not one invoice for Ventrue’s
under ‘V’. Cursing under his breath, he swallowed his
impatience and began to search laboriously through the
entire cabinet. Time was literally money as a cab sat
waiting for him on the high street, charging by the
minute. Fortunately, he only had to search as far as ‘L’.
According to the numerous invoices, L. Ventrue’s Steak
House was located in central London.
Stuffing an invoice into his pocket, Brian hurried out
to his minicab, gave the address to the driver, and tried
not to contemplate what would be poking out of steak
and ale pies.
The journey to the city centre was surprisingly short.
Amazing what the promise of double fare can do. Once
there, however, the restaurant itself was pretty hard to
find. This was mainly due to both Brian and the driver
being on the lookout for a lively restaurant, and not a
partially bulldozed building. Brian didn’t know
whether to be relieved that there weren’t cannibalistic
customers to worry about, or to be even more
apprehensive than he already was. Looking out into the
darkness through the car window, he decided to be
As the cab disappeared out of sight, Brian delved
into his rucksack and pulled out a small torch. The light
it emitted was rather inadequate, but it was enough to
stop him tripping up his own feet. He hadn’t really
expected to use the thing; it had been packed as an
afterthought. The bag mainly contained stuff he’d need
if it became pertinent to do a runner.
Now at the scene, he didn’t quite know what to do
next. His hoped-for plan of action involved being safely
surrounded by lots of people, outlining the basics to a
friendly policeman, who would then call for back up,
find the evidence in the van, and then arrest the lot of
them. It didn’t involve being stranded in a dark lonely
street armed with a crap torch.
As he’d obviously got himself a fake address, Brian
decided his best bet was just to go home after all.
Having had little to eat and given the stress he’d been
under, he’d had the mad idea that the bodies were being
eaten. His bloodthirsty nightmares had obviously
coloured his thinking. What he had actually witnessed
was clearly some diabolical method of body disposal
and nothing more. Expecting the undead, or similar,
he’d contaminated the entire contents of his refrigerator
14 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
in the hope that such animals would probably knew her game as well as As soon as the door had been
OD on crushed sleeping tablets and Eric did, if not better. pulled shut, Brian pressed on
anti-freeze. He figured that Ventrue was indeed fully aware forward, minding his step with his
anything that ate people should of the games Diana played. She was torch. It was almost disconcerting
surely deserve to be put to sleep or his creation: as were they all. Each to discover it unlocked. Were they
given tremendous stomach cramps. personality had been carefully really so confident that nobody
The only reason he’d set out to find cultivated with a painstaking would dare follow them down
the restaurant was a vague attention to detail. They each had there, or were they just blinded by
recollection of the Sweeney Todd their individuality, and each had a arrogance? Brian hoped it was the
story. He didn’t want to end up different part to play, but together latter as he sneaked down the
inadvertently responsible for the they were a family. They were all staircase after them.
poisoning of innocent customers. linked together by a common *
Figuring that he should really go purpose, linked together by blood.
to the police, Brian switched off the The main hall was warm with
torch and made his way along the merriment and candlelight. Around
pavement. As he did so, Daniel’s van Frozen in fear, Brian pressed the mahogany table, five seats were
swung into the road, barely giving himself into the cold brick wishing filled.
him enough time to dive into the he were thinner. As the van passed Diana smiled at Ventrue,
shadows away from the revealing his hiding place, he almost sagged delighted that she had retained her
beam of the headlights. with relief, but the vehicle place beside him. She knew she was
unexpectedly turned to its right, particularly captivating that night;
bumped onto the pavement and not one man at the table could keep
Diana had attempted to disguise entered the derelict building their eyes off her. She’d almost
her bruised cheek with many layers through an area of collapsed wall. forgotten about her bruised face as
of foundation. Sitting across from Brian’s ears seemed to be she basked in their admiration.
her at the large mahogany table, concentrating upon internal noise Watching her fall even more in
Eric studied her face with outward rather than external. His breathing love with herself, Eric wondered
compassion and inward glee. He almost drowned out the crunch of what Diana would look like dead.
wished he had Ventrue’s strength; gravel, and car doors seemed to He’d always had a fascination with
he was a worthless wimp himself. slam in sync with his pulse. death. Perhaps because he was
Ventrue was extremely Listening out for their approach, always being told he looked like
displeased with her at the moment, Brian realised that their footsteps death. Weak and gaunt, he would
and she now knew it. With last were heading in the opposite never be able to dominate a woman
night’s little escapade being direction. Spurred forward by like Diana. But, dead, she would be
discovered, she feared that she adrenalin more than anything else, as pale as he, and she would have no
would be denied her share of the Brian crept towards the makeshift choice but to be completely passive.
banquet. Her revealing little black entrance as silently as he could. He Ventrue sat savouring the
number was always reserved for could easily make out the rear of the moment. Normally he loved
such emergencies. van in the darkness, but the nothing more than to provoke
Well-accustomed to her tactics, retreating figures were harder to Daniel’s volatile temper and to goad
Eric leant forward on his elbows discern. They seemed to be heading Mason into senseless combat. He
and enjoyed the view. He knew it toward the back of the building. In admired physical strength and it
was really Ventrue’s eyes she wished the gloom it was hard to see if there excited him to see it demonstrated.
to have glued to her body, but if his was a door hidden in the shadows; Recently, however, he had
eyes were glued to anything it was all he could make out was a wall. thoroughly enjoyed toying with
to the inside of his eyelids. Ventrue’s However, the door they opened and Eric’s self-image and encouraging
dominating presence headed the then entered was a trap door in the Diana’s self-delusions. As the two
table, but he was presently relaxed floor that evidently led to a youngest members, they were the
back with his eyes closed. He basement of some description. most self-conscious of the group,
and playing them was highly
15 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
entertaining. He revelled in the power he had over At the clink of glasses, he mustered together enough
them. strength to raise his body from the floor to witness the
Upon the polished surface before him lay the dice. consumption of tainted food.
Blood and salt… The looming darkness turned to
The dice decided the fate of each of them. It was the
dice that dictated their actions and reactions. As each
played their role in this game of Ventrue’s design, they Blood on his lips, Ventrue tipped his head back,
each became engrossed in their characters even more relishing the taste.
Blood and salt.
deeply. An addiction more potent than any drug, the
game engulfed their lives, but also gave them a reason Tears welled in Brian’s eye as he recognised his
for living, and killing. father’s upturned face.
Blood and salt.
Through years of playing, their personalities had
become fused with the characters that Ventrue had
created. In effect, they had become their characters.
Fabricated scenarios were played out and given life.
The game world and the real world became one. They
were thoroughly absorbed into, and lost inside, the dark
underground world of the vampire. The dictates of
society no longer held any meaning for them. They were
bound only by the rules of the game.
Ventrue intended to present Diana with a mirror
that night. As the rules of the game dictated, her throw
of the dice would determine the intensity with which
she would become infatuated with her own reflection. A
high score would keep her fixated indefinitely,
regardless of dehydration and starvation. That was the
nature of the game.
From his elevated position, Brian looked down
upon the ill-assorted group with a sense of bewildered
fascination. In the middle of the table lay a pile of human
flesh and a punch bowl full of human blood, yet they
played out some kind of dice game completely
unperturbed. It was clear from the pile of crockery and
cutlery that they fully intended to dine upon the grisly
centrepiece. The thought brought with it the familiar
wave of nausea. A light-headedness returned with a
vengeance and Brian sank onto the floor, semi-
Blood and salt.
He could hear the clatter of dice upon the table and
the constant drone of a single male voice.
Blood and salt…the crumpled body of the four year
He heard a cheer go up and plates being handed out.
Blood and salt… The child’s shrill cry rang out…
He heard liquid being poured and the fleshy
substance being served.
Blood and salt… The darkness spared him a brief
16 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007
First Year Students
breaking point. And yet it has not sunk in.
Any minute, any minute now Handset replaced.
he’ll burst into tears. Tissue? No tissue. Get a towel.
It’s a cool winter night,
Still half-asleep and longing to Play.
Fast asleep on this comfortable
return to my bed, “You have two messages.
My comfortable bed, the body Message one....”
Suddenly, the phone rings.
yearning for sleep, It was my cousin from Canada.
I reach out with my left hand, Handset. Dialling numbers.
Can’t be bothered to answer it.
Clutch my fingers round the Weeping.
cordless handset No chance of conversation.
Let the machine get it.
And raise it to my left shoulder. And now the tears flow from
Finally the recorded message
“Hello.” both sides.
It hasn’t sunk in yet. “Don’t cry, stop crying, please
“Sorry, your call cannot be
Maybe it’s the shock of the stop crying, don’t cry.”
taken at the moment,
news, And yet she sheds the tears
So please leave your message
Maybe it’s the sleep, herself.
after the tone...”
Maybe it cannot be accepted, Ironic? Death is ironic.
But it will cause great sadness And yet it has still not sunk in.
And more weeping, more Sitting on the chair,
Someone’s crying out loud.
crying. Looking away,
It’s not a dream.
I can’t bear to see her crying,
This is no dream.
Dead. Or else tears will flow from
Someone is crying very loudly.
Stopped breathing. these eyes too.
Finally I decide to leave my
Extinguished, passed away,
departed, deceased, And now it’s all over,
Throw-off my blanket and quilt,
Perished, expired, gone, gone And now I’m back in my
Slip my feet into awaiting
forever. comfortable bed,
Yes, he is dead. Forever. But it’s not comfortable
The room has departed.
It is now left to me to break the anymore,
Caught a glimpse of the clock:
news to my mother: And within a blink of the eyes
Her father is dead. The tears present here will flow
Half asleep, I finally reach the
“What?” And now it begins to sink in,
It’s stopped ringing.
Sheer disbelief. And now tears flow, they flow
“I’m turning the car round.” thick and fast.
The message on the machine
Sadness. And now sleep has departed,
“I’m coming home.” And now comfort is gone,
To mourn. And into the silent morning the
“You have one new message.
And yet it has not sunk in. tears flow.
Up goes the handset again, And now the phone doesn’t
Numbers punched in. ring,
I can hardly make out the voice,
I can hear his voice again, at the And now the body doesn’t
other end, yearn for sleep,
It’s ringing again.
“How? When?” she asks, And now the heart barely beats,
“Sorry, your call cannot be
Her voice rapidly changing to And now it sinks in.
taken at the moment,
tears too. What a start to Halloween!
So please leave your message
Crying. More crying. Weeping.
after the tone...”
This time it’s my Uncle. Jagmeet Sidhu
Her brother explains.
More crying. More grieving.
But I can hear his voice at
17 Metropolitan Lines Volume 1, 2007