12. Malformed and Obscene

Abel passed out in the tunnels under LondonAbel stumbles and falls into the ankle deep drain water. He’s been in the tunnels for 5 hours and found nothing but sewage and rats. He’s only managed to keep going through fear of what he’ll become if he stops. Dread is tap dancing heavily in his head, and something seems to be following him. He is lost. Actually he is in the storm drain that carries the Westbourne river to the Thames, but he doesn’t know that.

He tries to get up again but only manages to slide the upper part of his body against the tunnel wall. Then he passes out. If Elsie saw him now she wouldn’t recognise him, he looks so old and ill.

It is the mad harmonica lady that finds him, turns out she knows her way round the the underground rivers very well. She dances along the tunnel, her ripped skirts trailing through the water, singing to herself :

In the blood
in the gene
Malformed and obscene
Its a crack in the glass
And a whisker in the cream

A snake in the garden
He goes unseen
Theres an apple in the tree
And a devil in a dream

There’s bones in these tunnels
Your hands won’t wash clean
There’ll be meat in the belly
Where the carnival has been

————————————

She grabs his arm and drags his now corpse-like body over her shoulder. She is surprisingly strong for an old lady.

When Abel wakes he finds himself in a small cave-like room lit only by candles. There is what looks like an alter on the far wall, and straight in front of him is a roughly carved wooden Jesus on a cross with a hand painted sun as his halo.

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11. Her Pet Project

“Eccentric awake-at-dawn artist foils break-in attempt”

Tuesday 4th May 2010

I was woken at 5 this morning by a man in tears at my front door. He claimed that his aunt had fallen seriously ill and he needed me to give him the money to fly to Barbados to see her. I didn’t have the money and didn’t  trust him so shut the door in his face. I felt horrible, scared in case he was still there and was going to try breaking in, guilty because he may have been telling the truth. When I got back to bed I couldn’t sleep, I just lay there worrying, mainly about this book sculpture I’ve been commissioned to do for Pollard Library. In the half-dream state I was in I kept picturing myself building the sculpture and it collapsing every time I turned my back, over and over again. So I got up, had the essential cup of tea and made the paper I should have made yesterday. Then I carried on with the Bone Box, it is now covered on the outside with cream handmade paper and has black fake leather dolls house paper on the inside.

To get the fake leather paper, along with some extra strong recycled card to stop the book sculpture from falling down, I visited Paperchase on Tottenham Court road. There are many different papers here for me to contemplate, slowly, longingly – rag, handmade, japanese – but not today, today I had one of my visions. A vision feels like God visiting. First there’s a strong smell of rubber, maybe the odd visual hallucination – insects mainly – and then wham! Everything is strange and I can’t remember who I am or what, and everything is too much. Too much sound, too much colour, too many sensations, too many memories, whose are they?  They aren’t mine, for a minute it feels like past lifes, and then there’s a something big, a something incredible, larger, more substantial, all containing, more true than anything else ever… then blackness, sometimes, but not today. Luckily it was a mild one today, and the smell of rubber came on early enough for me to reach the toilet before melt down. I keep a good record in my head of hiding places and escape routes. My dislike of shopping is partly because of the difficulty in hiding, but this shop I know well, it has a toilet on the first floor. I have no idea how long I’m in the toilet, this crack in the space time continuum is confusing. When I leave the toilet I notice the security guard starts following me around the store. I must be looking odd.

At home I write a status update on Facebook about the 5am visitor. I get a few responses from people checking I’m alright, telling me I should get a chain on the door and trust no one. There was an attempted break in next door I remember, no it is foolish of me to answer the door to strangers in the early hours of the morning. What he said might have been true, perhaps I should have listened to him, but then again that might have been God visiting me in Paperchase, it’s just safest to assume that it wasn’t. I’m an agnostic mind. “Eccentric awake-at-dawn artist foils break-in attempt” types Lilith, my Boston Dominatrix friend, as a comment on Facebook, and I  like that statement as a summary of my day.