Yesterfang (8) 

Yesterfang (8)

[i]Continued from: HERE[/i].

Having attuned his eyes to the haze of the hothouse, Jawn proceeded to pinch himself.

He was real.

Events, admittedly, had not been amenable to character-building as a real person in real situations, but Jawn was completely satisfied that he was real, had real emotions of surprise together with growth as an individual from toddler to his current stage of beard-teazled youth. A young man in an ever-failing search for his lost youth as his own past vanished with each event transpiring towards completion – a past that indeed vanished, given the normal course of events of a typical young man’s mindless search for excitement and challenge. However, to obtain a graspable sense of his own being, Jawn needed to be captured by each moment with such moments later being pulled from some future hat like magic tricks of himself to assist his natural development as a unified character facing a known and believable reality. Thus, he needed to build yester-hives of himself along the way for when he needed to travel back there one day. A phalanx of deja-vus that maketh the man.

As long as the past moments thus stored were not false moments.

He felt unaccountably sad about the departure of Congreve. He read too much into it to cause such sadness. But, meanwhile, he needed to acclimatise himself to the variable levels of haze that stained the air around him, through which he glimpsed apparently blind girls in stiff plain frocks crawling about the floor continuously striking matches. He felt the urge to pinch their legs but, when he did just that, his actions evoked no visible reaction to his presence as the girls merely continued to groan and mouth nonsensicals of sound. However, he did eventually discern two other girls who were seated together on a sofa. They beckoned him over.

“I’m Sarah,” one said. A pretty girl who made no attempt to flirt with Jawn. She was just a person rather than a sexual animal. “You need to stop breathing so hard or it’ll choke you.” She pointed to the atmosphere. “You can’t smell it but it’s there all the time. Sometimes you can’t even see it.”

“Leaks?” asked Jawn rhetorically, the first word he had spoken since Congreve’s departure. He noticed that the atmosphere was clearing (as if in tune with Sarah’s prediction that it might) and he was now able to make a whole from the room. A bare utility working-class parlour from a real post-war London. Jawn recognised it from a depth of memory he didn’t know he possessed until this very moment. Hopefully, not one of those false moments he had earlier feared, but a real memory during an equally real trigger of such memory as represented by the room. He watched the blind girls curl into a corner and simper in a strangely satisfied manner.

“Don’t worry about them. They’re not really there. So blind they don’t exist.” Sarah spoke with intelligent conviction, in contrast to her outward dizzy winsomeness as a vision of attractiveness.

Her words made a strange sense within the context, and Jawn turned to the other girl who looked even more becoming than Sarah.

“I’m Julie,” she eventually said. “We’ve been waiting for you.”

“You expected me?” said Jawn.

“Sort of. Sarah didn’t believe me, but I told her you would come. And that’s why the haze is clearing…”

“Well, now he’s here, what next?” Sarah asked. Both girls were a match for each other’s winning wit and wisdom.

Jawn turned to look at the corner where the blind girls had crawled – only to find them gone. Despite the clearer view, things that had once been there weren’t there now, as if a new invisible or non-characterisable haze had intervened between him and them. However, the room retained its character. Not so warm. And he felt the beginnings of a cough from the after effects.

Jawn thought of Congreve and cried. Then, just as suddenly, he shrugged off such thoughts as he turned towards his new friends, Sarah and Julie both of whom smiled at him, ready to participate in a silent vigil for memories lost - with new ones waiting in the wings ... in the making.

Sarah, shivering, eventually got up to switch off the fan.

Congreve, having left the vicinity of the hothouse, laid down as close to the London Magnet as it was possible for any commoner to reach. While the white snow around him gradually turned into faint tinges of yellow and, finally, to a deeper more diseased form of the same colour, he beckoned the wheeling shape of the vulture from the sky, inviting it to descend and cuddle him close with its huge white wings. The hefty weight of the bird settled upon him, with a flutter of feathers, as the beak’s fang opened his face and fed on the brain. Congreve – before the destruction of his brain – had known instinctively that was what the bird’s fang was about to accomplish – an assisted suicide for the loss of a loved one. And despite the brain’s destruction, the remains of Congreve cried … cried for longer than Jawn had managed to cry in earlier reciprocity.

Eventually, the vulture lifted into the sky, itself temporarily stained by its lengthy feed, leaving a muckheap of a brighter red and yellow (separate and mingled), a muckheap that steeped the otherwise virgin snow of London’s Magnet precinct with its landmark of memorable colour.



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