Time regained

Broken city. Shattered buildings, where they had climbed out of the ground, gnawing away at the dense certainties that held them down. I saw so much rubble, so much death – vivid and prowling through the streets, faces carved from chalk, flesh harder and so much more ragged than the bones that support it.

I thought of Erkenwald, summoning the dead to speak, and then dismissing them. These memories of men cannot be so easily laid. The graveyards from the Victorian stews emptied, the plague pits gave up their dead. Churchyards erupted. Bone warriors climbed out of long flattened tumuli, leading skeleton horses behind them. I saw a legion form up by Trafalgar Square, tarnished armour rattling against hollow, dessicated chests.

There is no more history, only now. The past has broken into our world and insisted that we acknowledge it. We are all immigrants in time, losing ourselves as the years pass. I thought I saw the shadows of old buildings staggering up, where the new ones had been shattered. I flew through it all. Ghost lights flickered in Cremorne Gardens as broken dandies danced with their dead ladies. A man fled through Victoria Station, he looked like Chris. The suburbs heave with the children of the necropoli.

Now I will go out into the city again. I have lost thirty five years to yesterdays, I hold a single precious second in the present, and as this broken city I have no future. Like these revenants I shall walk these ageless streets, and reclaim all the lost time that should be mine, and live in it forever.

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