Elsie’s Lap

TunnAbel falls asleep there, for a bit, in Elsie’s lap. As he comes round he is at her apartment in bed. It is a Sunday morning and in a few moments Elsie is going to get up and make him a cup of tea. She’ll bring it to him in bed and then come and snuggle under the covers with him. A lovely Sunday morning and he is innocent. There is something not quite right about it though, an unpleasant smell,  cool air, a slow creeping sense of horror. He tries to cling on to the fantasy but it is fading now and the sewer is returning. He opens his eyes, then closes them quickly, just a little longer in that warm bed, please?

There is no such luxury and he is sadly becoming fully conscious of this. An anxious feeling in his gut makes him realise he is due another Spletzer-Martin tablet. From the corners a man in a dirty white petticoat steps forward. It is Steve. Abel sits up and removes his arms from Elsie. Steve takes Abel’s hand and he slides from the ledge. The old Abel is left behind, just the faintest ghost, still dreaming of Sunday’s in bed.

Together Abel and Steve stumble off into the darkness like old goblins. Elise doesn’t move, doesn’t try to stop him. She feels very heavy, like a huge weight has been placed upon her, but she doesn’t understand what it is or what she should do with it.

What happens to the Sin Eater once she has eaten all your sins?


Toad Prince

The manager of the off-licence at Barons Court committed suicide today.

The owners had decided to sell the shop, after all these years. The manager is out of a job, and since he lives in the flat above the off licence he is also out of somewhere to live. He jumped from the roof of the building. Broke his bones and ended up in hospital where he died. It was a cry for help they say. No one helped.


Elsie tried to laugh at my creation story, I watched her face grimace,  but she couldn’t quite manage it. Something in it was similar to her recent episodes. So I decided to take her down the tunnels to UnderLondon.

” You didn’t tell me you know the way down the tunnels” she complained.

“you never asked me” I replied.

It was the afternoon on a Wednesday in March. Cold but with bright sunshine bursting through clouds. We walked to Barons Court tube, down onto the west bound platform and then over the edge onto the side of the tracks. The tube trains were running fast and furious, too fast to notice us strays wondering along the sides. I took Elsie’s hand to keep her steady, I know it was the idea of seeing Abel again that kept her going.

Five minutes on and we are underground, marching down the sewer drains that lead to the Westbourne. I’ve got a hunch Abel will be around there. How long is it he’s been down there now, six months or so? He will smell different from the others, he will still have the tang of above-land to him.

We walk for a mile or so, we are by the altar room now, I can hear the spring running. I can smell Abel here. Perhaps the harmonica woman has been looking after him. I turn on Elsie, who jumps back and nearly falls into the dirty water.

“you can’t take him back out into your world again, you know that don’t you?”

“why not?” She says, but I can tell from the heartbroken look in her eyes that she already understands.

we turn a corner into a stinking but almost dry side tunnel and there’s Abel, sitting on a ledge. You can’t see much in this light, but I’m sure his skin is more green than flesh coloured. His clothes hang off him like pond weed. He has a shine about him, like an toad.

Elsie is in shock for a few moments, is this grotesque creature really Abel? Then she pulls herself together and walks over and sits next to him on the ledge.

He makes no sign that he even recognises her, but after a minute he curls up, his head on her lap. He can feel the warm dry softness of her lap, the smell of soap and ironed cotton, he remembers cleaness, he remembers fresh air, he remembers safety.

Elsie is brave, she sits there and let’s it all pour out of him. She strokes his head and listens to muddled words that fall from his mouth. He might be hallucinating, it is hard to tell. When he is done with the weeping and muttering they sit together holding each other for a very long time. A beam of light has broken through onto a puddle on the floor, highlighting a persistent drip that falls there. Elsie watches it and is overwhelmed at the beauty of it, in the stinking sewer under London, the pure beauty of life, there, for that moment.



Hatched from the Egg God

Of course this made me laugh, the smart professional who was too good to talk to me a month ago now sobbing her heart out to me in my hallway. I was nearly cruel, but stopped myself, after all she might be useful. How intriguing though, that she was having visions too, but why?

So I told her a story, and I told her that half of it was true and half of it was a lie, and which part is true and which part is a lie is very much dependent on the time and place you happen to be in.

Once there was an egg that hatched into a God who sat in the moon and looked down on to the earth. He didn’t do a lot to be honest.

One day he had a particularly large meal of, say, space dust, his belly rumbled and gurgled and then split open. From it there came 14 other gods and goddesses. They moved with great elegance and in their hands they each carried a bowl of water.

These goddesses and gods travelled gracefully down to earth. When they got there they held their bowls of water high above their heads and slowly, ever so slowly, tipped it all over themselves. They giggled and danced in the water which soaked them and flowed down into the earth and there it became the oceans and seas and rivers and ponds. And in this water the first creatures began to grow, tiny at first but gradually developing into huge beasts. Then some of them took to the land. Seeds grew into bushes grew into trees, and the trees reared other creatures beneath their dense foliage. The cycles of life played out their dark rituals and the goddesses and gods were excited by this. So fond were they of what had been created that they too decided to join in, for in a way they already had. They danced and danced and danced about the earth until they dissolved into the seas, the trees, the creatures, and there they continued to live within their creation, as they still do today.

Now the human was part of all this but came along a bit late, got a bit cocky. Proclaimed he was separate from the rest of it, better somehow. Consequently he lost touch with the old gods and made himself new creations to worship. He got a knife and cut the tubes that connected him to the rest and with that the part of the human brain that could experience the gods wilted and frizzled up.

Every now and then though, due to some error, some old connection being kicked into action, some spark egniting the old bit of the brain, a human will experience the gods and goddesses in all their might and fall to the ground. And sometimes a tablet or potion or other will give hints of them lurking on the edges of our new found controllable world, and such hints are mighty addictive.

Egyptian Dancers