GHOST LETTER 43

Chris R-1-105 Image by Christine Renney

Can a ghost be used like this? Trapped in a maze, looked down upon from above, one of many, oblivious of the others, a specimen in a jar, a rat – no a mouse, turning the wheel? Constantly failing at reaching the cheese?

I am walking again. Not in order to reach somewhere – my objective is not to arrive. But I am not ready to abandon this place, not quite yet. I am walking in the way that I did when it began and I realise that this is how I have managed to remain out here, to stay gone.
I keep to the outer edges of the City and I have been here before, walking on the periphery, relentlessly pushing myself forward. But this time it feels different and it is. I am not slowly edging closer to the centre and readying to make my way down into the labyrinth.
I have a few belongings stuffed into an old rucksack, an anorak and a blanket, a scarf and gloves. I have money; some coins collected in one of those little plastic bags. And despite the fact that whilst in the City I couldn’t stop counting them, I am not sure how much or how many I have.
I feel as if I have completed the circle and I don’t know now where I can or should go next.

UNMOORED

Chris R-0140-4 Image by Christine Renney

The road has disappeared entirely and Davis is unmoored and has been cast adrift. He lingers for longer now amidst the debris, sifting and kicking his way through it. He realises of course that if he is to continue he will have to be prepared and to carry provisions.
Davis searches for something with which he will be able to do this. A rucksack would be ideal or a suitcase, preferably one with wheels. But he is unable to find either of these, or even one of those sturdy carrier bags the supermarkets used to sell. ‘A Bag For Life’; that had been the motto. Davis remembers how he had always forgotten them and whenever he visited a store he would purchase another until eventually there were so many kicking around the house that he had been forced to gather them up and throw them in the dustbin. Now, when he really needed one, when he really, really needed one there were no bags for life, not out here.
Davis considers constructing something himself, anything flat with ropes attached would suffice. A makeshift sledge he could drag along behind him. But, although he isn’t sure why, it doesn’t feel right to use something he has fashioned and cobbled together. No it has to be something from before, something still intact, still useful.
Turning back Davis thinks about all the shopping carts he has passed. There were so many of them abandoned alongside the road. But Davis had stopped noticing, he had stopped seeing them.

A TASK

Chris R-0449 Image by Christine Renney

The road was fading and Davis was convinced this was because he was getting closer to the Centre. For so long he had been walking on a road that was unchanged, as good as it had been before, but now it was deteriorating. When he looked ahead it was no longer a ribbon cutting its way through the desolate landscape. It was hardly distinguishable from the hardened earth on either side and difficult to follow.
The possibility that he would have to abandon the road was a daunting prospect. But Davis was determined not to turn himself around, to double back.
And so he forced himself onwards and thus far he had always managed to re-find the road but now it was fading and following it had become a task.

GHOST LETTER 35

Chris R-0593-2 Image by Christine Renney

I have money now, just a few coins, and gripping them tightly, I delve deep into the lining of my coat as I walk. I work a coin between my thumb and forefinger. I take them out and move them from hand to hand. I thrust the coins deep into the pocket of my jeans only to take them out again and again. I can’t stop doing this, looking at them, checking.
I drop one of the coins and it rolls out into the road. I run after it, suddenly worried that someone will take it. I stamp down on it with my boot and, crouching down at the kerbside, I quickly snatch it back. I have wandered away from the centre and there is no-one around.
Rising I place the coin with the others in my pocket. I have an odd feeling inside. It is something like purpose and yet I haven’t any idea what it is I intend to do.
I reach a parade of shops and, stopping in front of the plate glass windows of the off-licence, I peer in at the bottles, at the wine and the spirits. I don’t have enough but then I see cans of lager in the cooler at the back of the shop.
Although I am still unsure that this is what I want or what I need, I am already pushing through the doors and I know how it works; I spend what I have and then I get more.

GHOST LETTER 26

Chris R-0795 Image by Christine Renney

As I walk I am reassured by the line of traffic on my right – by its constancy – but I don’t look directly at it. Instead, I focus on the road ahead and it is just a blur and harmless, a childish scrawl of smudged crayon.
I have become fascinated by the things found alongside the road; fast food cartons and cans of course but also other discarded items. Perhaps objects would be a better description or even artefacts. Most are useless and many are unrecognisable – pieces from puzzles in hard plastic and now not so shiny metal.
Carrion, this is how I refer to the debris. In my head it is always ‘the carrion’, probably because the birds, the crows, swoop down to peck at it. But it isn’t.
Up ahead I spot a blown out tyre and I step from the grass bank, onto the hard shoulder. It is shredded and ripped but otherwise complete. I stop and kick at it. At least I know what this is and where it came from.