Ghosts

The first night he slept in the new house there was no electricity.  Each creak and creep of the bed told small histories.  And the shadows from the streetlamps showed in the night dust all of the things that had ever been lost in the house.

Videos with scrawled on labels; books of completed crossword puzzles; half used pens, half filled with ink; a pair of hideous beige curtains; knick-knacks and bric-a-brac; faraway postcards saying similar things in different handwritings; shoes worn down to the ground like extinguished cigarettes; newspaper clippings unsorted by decades yellowing in fades; bruised scarred and forgotten furniture, rusting cutlery.

And the bed told its secrets too.  Ghosts on ghosts on ghosts, all wrapped up in their own dramas and ghosts.  A single static camera frame told of a neck, an ear and a pair of lips.  Whispering in the space on the neck just below the ear lobe.  Outside, a light giggling noise but however much, the camera frame did not move.

Dolls with no heads, heads with no dolls; leads and plugs and sockets like unmatched broken biscuits; dropped pennies of different monarchs; fading and stretched t-shirts, Disney characters, football teams; wooden soldiers beaten, chipped and war ravaged; a battered evacuation suitcase; leftover carpet cuttings; a brown radio still receiving the 60s; novelty records on vinyl from the 70s; Blue Peter activities from the 8os; posters bought on band tours in the 90s.

Ghosts on ghosts on ghosts, all wrapped up in their own dramas and ghosts.  In a second static camera frame, a back and fingernails.  The same back and the same happy nails, flicking through a succession of painted colours, slutty red, lime green, blue, alternated black and red, all scratching and clawing desperately.

Books all tattered and bent, history updated all along; hung from the walls a stopless parade of fashions season upon season upon season like sun, snow, rain and leaves all at once; a bursting toy cupboard of primary colours, a spiralling history speeding back like a spinning top through generations of children; and some unused tins of paint bought by a man who planned to paint the walls the colour of his dead wife’s lips but never did.

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