…you could float too.
Ssshh, don’t make a sound, you don’t want to wake them. They sleep – these seaside ghosts – the sleep of the dead. And it’s better it stays that way.
Barren promenades hide empty hearts as winter steals the warmth from the breeze and renders this seaside town’s pavements bare – only it’s always winter where these spirits stay – bleak, cold, frozen and dark; as dark as their sinister tides and black hearts.
We’ve been here before, to this Wonderland. We’ve walked these stained streets you and I, many a time, but today it’s different, somehow strange. The bite in the air is more jagged and I can feel the dull thud of my heart as shutters come down and people duck into putrid alleyways when we go by. There’s no friends here. Not for me, not for us. But we don’t need them, we’ll be okay. After all, we share a secret and that binds us together – forever.
Let them laugh, let them hide in their cluttered bazaars and broken-down tea shops, we won’t care – not where we’re going. We jeer at your fake-friendliness and forced camaraderie, we smile at your banal musings over supper and we silently snigger as you tuck your children into bed at night – for we know what’s coming and locked doors won’t save you.
Listen to that laughter, can you hear it? It’s from inside, deep inside. It’s from the place where his soul should be, and it sinks its gnarly teeth into your gut as you rest: burrowing, nestling.
Morning won’t rescue you either. Oh no. The daylight might banish the shadowy demons that hover over your face whilst you sleep, but they don’t ever leave, not really. They’re everywhere you go in this place, they like it here, it’s their home. You can’t make them go. They’re in the eyes of the floppy-haired kids as they loll on battered benches, they feast on the debris of yesterday’s blazing row with your wife and they sit behind you as you eat your chips, silent stalkers, soon-to-be deadly assassins. You watch.
There’s meaning in that whisper of the salty wind, it wants you to hear what it has to say. Listen, and listen good. It’s breathing something you need to hear, so cup your work-worn hand and tilt your deluded head towards its gaping, yawning mouth. Sshh, can you hear? Take a look, it says, go on, see yourself for what you really are – I dare you. Have a good, long, hard stare in that mirror and report back. What do you see? Now be honest. Not just with me, but with YOU.
Ah, just as I thought. You didn’t do it, did you? You couldn’t face the truth. You saw what you wanted to see, and that, my desperate friend, is not how it is – not at all.
Never mind, you’re not alone. Everyone does it, sometimes. Only one time – maybe soon – it might be your last.
So come over, come and take a closer look, we don’t bite. You can hear the swirl and swoosh of the tide and you can feel the spray in your hair as you peer in. Come closer, it’s okay. You’re safe here, you’re among friends. Like-minded madmen. And they all float…you can float too, if you like.
Just one last thing before you go: You did see it didn’t you? When you took your distorted glimpse in the glass. You saw it, you must have done. It was right behind you, sitting on your shoulder even, lying in wait. Waiting for its chance. I have a feeling it won’t be long.