The Twisted Path
Late winter chill, early morning dark. Frost and concrete and exhaust fume. Paths of glittering black, bushes festooned with dark, ragged blades. The way twisting beneath my feet, alive, despite its pelt of ice, a serpentine way, stirring, waiting for dawn to melt away its nightmares, so that it might devour the parasites upon its back.
Roadside sweetness, cutting through bitter sweat and petrol, sludge and cement. Sudden, intense, no discernible source; a synthetic spring. Pausing on the path, bearing the confuesed, judgemental glances of passing dog-walkers, cyclists, motorists, trying to find this phantom garden, with its ghost and plastic flowers, somehow sweet in the depths of winter, when all around has gone to rot.
The Lonely Child
Alone, strange and twisted in her thick, white coat. Azure eyes staring past, staring through, somehow reptile, seeing what I cannot. Painted face, flawless as sculpture, a carved idol, whisps of cobweb hair protruding from the depths of her hood. Barely moving as I approach, seeming to wait, to gaze longingly down the path behind. For who? For what? Something that follows, that has always been my shadow. A story I'm not part of. Head twisted at a peculiar angle, as though her neck is deformed or broken, poorly set. Aching to speak as I pass, for her to twitch or glance my way; anything, anything to undo her dead and terrible quiet, to make her more than a wind-up doll in absence of its key.
The Way Angel
Not stopping, barely slowing at sight of him; dark, gaunt, camouflaged from most eyes, unfurling beside the path, a figure of leaves and shadows, of twisted trees and broken boughs. Long-limbed, stretch-bodied, swollen-headed: a forgotten one, my own Changeling, blood and innocence starved faery-thing, hungering in this world of plastic and process.
Afraid? Oh, yes! More than I've ever been, more than I can say. But enraptured, enraptured, whatever it might do, whatever salvation from banality it brings. No refusals or refutations, if it plucks me up and impales me on a broken bough, if it drags me into its shadow-realm to peel me naked and pluck me hollow...all welcome, if only for the chance to see and be touched by a monster, a manifest miracle.
Anything but this; slow dissolution in rain and early morning murk, this lie of illusions, perspective undoing it as I draw close, revealing it as nothing more than a play of shadow, a child of imagination's sadism, leaving me bereft in the grey Hell of a waking day.
The Broken Gate
A child of tree and architecture, its absurdity raising smiles as I draw close, pausing on my way, to admire its strangeness; boughs weighted with dark leaves, even in this late and frost-bitten season, curving into the sky, casting deep shadows across the path. The arch it forms broken, as though shattered in some great war, a natural calamity: no bodies or debris left to mark it (save perhaps those entangled in its roots, their rot feeding its younger incarnations). Standing on the lip of its shadow, gazing down into it; an abyss, a black sea, into which I might plunge, those drowned or drowining still rising from its depths to drag me down, into whatever alien Hell awaits.
Cursing concrete's solidity as I hurry by.
The Unwanted Friend
Seeing, from the corner of my eye; plastic smile, desperate eyes. Paint cracked and flaking; glare of a frightened child in an old woman's face. Sparrow and magpie words, twittering, high-pitched, nervous and demanding. Hooks and chains of anxiety, attempting to find purchase on me, to snare and infest. None. My allegiance already given, my time not my own; certainly not hers. Idiot answers, the briefest I can muster, cracked, painted smile dying, hooks retreating as she finds me frictionless, a thing of cut and polished ice.
The Stolen Moon
Bus-journey malaise, mind and patience withering beneath the banalities of already dead things. A flash of silver through the window, weary eyes snared, drawn to a passing house in which the moon burns, a cold captive, plucked from the night sky. Theives of miracles, none of those wittering around me -sick and bitter men, weary and defeated women- sparing it a glance, not noticing; not concerned, even if they do. Miracles never mattering to them, stolen or otherwise. Why they drown, now, why they smother in their own skulls, in filth that silver will never pierce.
Returning along the twisted path, the serpent sated now, sleeping in the weak sun, undisturbed by the black and ragged things that caper and run over its back: the goblin-children, unleashed from subterranean asylums, pale-faced and dead-eyed, to bark and bleat their filth at one another, at passers by, to kick up clods of earth and frozen shit, to revel in their own hopelessness, a dance of despair that will last until they part, until the cell doors slam shut again, and they allow themselves to weep for humanity they'll never know.
The Alone King
Key to the kingdom, grinding in its lock. The portal opening; long neglected way. The dreamed and promised kingdom, yearned for in exile, only shadows and warm promise to welcome, the scents of bread and incense, of spice and old, old books.
A lonely paradise, a quiet Eden. All he's ever asked for, if only for a dream's span.
George Lea is an entity that seems to simultaneously exist and not exist at various points and states in time and reality, mostly where there are vast quantities of cake to be had. He has a lot of books. And a cat named Rufus. What she makes of all this is anyone's guess.