GHOST LETTER 41

Chris R-1110409 Image by Christine Renney

To say I have completed the circle and made my way around again would be going too far, and yet these city streets that I frequent and where I linger they form a block and it has become somewhere. A place I can’t help feeling isn’t so unlike the one from where I began, the one from which I fled.
Each morning when I begin walking this block, I pass a man who works for the city along the same stretch of pavement. He is a street cleaner and glancing back I watch him at his work. If and when he isn’t there I am thrown. It seems, fleetingly, that the structure of my day has been tilted a little.
But I keep moving, pushing toward the familiar until I hear the City, or at least this small part of it, coming around and waking again.

Advertisements

THE ERASER #11

Chris R-1119 Image by Christine Renney

For Tanner, each name as it appeared on his list was merely a statistic, albeit one it was his job to render obsolete. He was all too aware that there were levels and some of them had sunk deeper into the quagmire than others. But he had always believed it was important not to make a distinction and that the guilty were guilty.
But was Tanner still so sure it was as simple as that?

When disappearing a life Tanner was often struck by how bizarre it was, this occupation of his. He always began at the very end of the trail and worked his way back toward the beginning. As he did so he discovered just how far each individual had fallen and for how long they had gotten away with it. Opposing the System and spreading the lies and helping to keep the rumours alive. Because that is all it was – the subversive’s idea that there was another way and it could be different. It was just a rumour.

Trawling down the years Tanner often wondered at which point they started listening to those lies and believing in that idea, in the rumour. But there was of course no record of this, no hard evidence that Tanner could take in his hands and rip into shreds. Or if there were it was too well hidden amidst the minutiae, too deeply entrenched within the mundane facts that help to make all of us tick.

GHOST LETTER 40

Chris R-0332 Image by Christine Renney

They say that familiarity breeds contempt. I’m not quite there yet but this place has begun to grate a little, to nag and gnaw at me. Feels as if I have conjured it up from out of nowhere and I’m not sure why or how.
A tiny square in a sprawling city, a city that can’t be contained. It is spreading and thriving despite the degradation, all the empty and dilapidated buildings.
I have settled here and I stay until I have the cash, enough for what I need. And in order to get it, I walk elsewhere, a little farther each time. And yet still I keep making my way back.

GHOST LETTER 38

Chris R-0098-2 Image by Christine Renney

After walking for so long and so far, the roads have merged in my mind. Just one route and, alongside the relentless traffic, I forged my way straight ahead and I didn’t stop and I didn’t turn. I do recall an abandoned stretch. It had been raining and in the bright sunlight the road had appeared fractured, its surface cracked and split, the countryside, left and right, lush and green but I am unsure now if these fissures were real or simply shadows from the overhanging trees. I pushed my way on through and moved beyond it, whatever it was – an apparition perhaps or an oasis?
At last the traffic began again to chime at my side and I forgot. But here in the City I remember and I find myself brooding on it over a mug of weak tea, or clutching a cold can or swigging from a bottle of cheap wine.

THE ERASER #8

Chris R-1021.jpg Image by Christine Renney

When tracking a suspect Tanner was always diligent; recording everything, scrawling it in a little notebook, all he observed and managed to over hear, no matter how mundane or insignificant it might seem. He believed the details mattered, that they were important, a part of it.

Alone in his apartment, Tanner transcribed from his notebooks, painstakingly filling journal after journal with these details. Over the years he had come to realise that a radical’s routine wasn’t so very different from his own yet he still persevered, determined not to miss out anything, however trivial.
He always included the date and the time. Time, he felt, was crucial. The time in between, the time spent at a place of employment for instance, or visiting a friend. Or simply sitting and reading a newspaper, whether it be on a park bench or in a busy cafeteria. He even made a note of what his suspects ate and, of course, where and when.

Tanner hadn’t ever witnessed one of them stepping guiltily out into the light. Caught anyone in the act, as it were, but all had been found guilty. They had been enemies of the system but Tanner hadn’t yet destroyed their journals and the minutia listed and labelled within was all that remained.

THE ERASER #7

Chris R-0825-2 Image by Christine Renney

Tanner had always managed to navigate his way through life unnoticed. He became acutely aware of this when he first began his work as an Eraser. Ordinary looking and extremely reserved, even as a young man Tanner realised that this did not fully account for the uncanny ability he had for melting into the background, for making himself all but invisible.
There was something inside of him, an innate skill, a gift even, albeit one he hadn’t asked for and wasn’t sure that he wanted. He realised also that, given the line of work he had chosen, if he were to hone his skill and nurture this gift it could be very useful.

It seemed apt to Tanner that he, whose job was the disappearing of others, could move around unnoticed, was an invisible man as it were. But whenever Tanner glanced in a mirror nowadays he was shocked by what he saw. He was a little man, short and hunched, the pallor of his skin matching the grey clothes he always wore. His thinning hair was white and his face was deeply creased and lined. He was a ghoul, his was a face that featured in nightmares, that appeared toward the end, just before dawn.