The stillness of the murky expanse leaves me hollow. A swift rush chills my weathered coat, and I am left with mountains to conquer from head to toe. My veins tingle, charged by an incessant fear.
The echo of the days glare is long gone, and the passage of death lies inconspicuously before me. Wisps of misty air billow and lurk the streets, diminishing hope. No delicate security approaches; nuzzling its head into my shoulder and assuring me everything will be OK.
Silent murmurs resound throughout the high-and-mighty structures that surround me.
Like speckled giraffes they crowd around the mosaic pavement, murky ghosts haunting the looming structures. It is with desperation that the shadows summon me into their refuge.
My only illuminating comfort is the windowpanes that gleam in the city lights. Wiry branches extend like feeble fingers onto the panes, rattling the resting souls beneath the mirrored surface. In a slender stroke the fingertips indent each soul, pounding a notion of guilt and misery into the giraffes inner being.
Deceived, the naïve souls reflect their portraits into the darkness below. Expressions wearing nothing but a shade of bleak fatigue are cast into the valley of the shadow of death. The souls knit their brows together and examine the gloom. The community is vulnerable, drawn together in an unspoken bond of fear.
Undisclosed truths remain locked beneath the bedspreads of a child’s worst nightmare. Each soul is weary; and the refreshing knowledge I am not alone is sapped upon passing these barren silhouettes. The folded drapes of each desolate canopy are drawn in my presence. Yet a furnace brews as the hot prowling pupils of those vacuous souls trail my progress through frosty glazed windows.
I walk in a daze; hypnotised by the rhythmic puppet strings moving me further into the plunging darkness. I feel the burn of those disapproving eyes, singeing my hair and scarring my soul. Somehow I manage to stay stable, yet a tremor ripples across my chest. This is my scandalous trek as a scarlet woman.
Far away the cautious world settles its quarrels and hurries far from here. Hallucinations distort the alleyway before me as I blindly flirt with darkness. The stench of ravenous men lingers on my skin, and my hair hangs limply, no lively spring or soft luscious curl. My outward appearance is daring despite it’s bland taste, and it disguises my inner shrewd skeleton. Though my bones are fragile they fluidly function, and I am drawn farther from my past and closer to my future.
I anxiously wipe my nostrils in the hope that this place might too be polished from humanity. The further forward I am compelled, the more brilliant are the fireworks that stretch within my inner being. Internally clocks are ticking, mechanically circulating their course and powering through their circuit. Externally the clock face appears calm and steady. My clockwork is utterly confused at the change of pace, but my heart is ready to escape the repression of the sour-stained brothel.
I feel fear mingled with a taste of shame as owls hoot in the distance, bellowing their insults. There is a haunting atmosphere about the passage, as though behind the unforeseen eye looms predators, hungry for their prey. My flesh cries out; my skin ripe for consumption like a mango skinned raw. The Manhattan men unclothe my dignity under their slitted stares. Their leering laughter and low seductive tones churn my stomachs acidic contents.
The puppeteer is omnipresent and clever. My limbs are imposed; violently shaking yet harassed into deliberate manoeuvres. A gasp could not liberate the dense fear burrowed in the crevices of my soul; nor a fly swat release the firm clench my muscles endure. I am engineered, manufactured, unable to wash away my yesterday. Life’s endless river won’t purify me; it’s current pressuring me to merge into the mainstream flow.
A vehicle – its cylinder coils tumbling rampantly – omits a squealing echo into my chamber, tauntingly conveying there is no time for escape. The squeal jolts the secluded gossip stream that seeps within the giraffes’ circulatory systems. The materialistic monsters of Manhattan lap up the fuel, and the rumours reverberate to my roaring heart, surfacing a pounding cry within me.
Anchored to the pebbles underfoot, I pleadingly gaze toward the camouflaged souls that lay behind the giraffes’ flimsy foundations. Life draws a cruel card, a continuous circle of hopelessness and despair. The venomous vehicle transfers the angel of death to me. I perform a radical spasm of apprehension, knowing I have been identified… maybe even targeted.
The vulture hunts its stark and spineless source of sustenance. I am a worn and beaten landscape; chafed like a chocolate flake. The serpent has cleverly snared me, an unintentionally docile physique for devouring. There is no advantage in galloping away as a wild horse might scurry from its fire-armed foe. I have been ambushed into my fate.
An exhilarating scream pierces the hushed ethos of the perverse region. The moonlight filters through the gloom, illuminating the approaching mortal. He’s a sunken spirit, vermin-like in his bustle for slaughter. This beast is the replicate of the terror burrowed within my nightmarish conscience, terror that intensifies when a knife materialises in the demons claws before me.
The clock peeps – time’s up – a bird’s call of distress. There is a hurried sheen that crosses the curved instrument, the light whispering a daring prompt at the melody to unfold. Sure enough, an overpowering symphony penetrates my eardrums. I envision my life plunging like a thousand pin needles bowled onto hardwood floor. The pieces of my sanity and dignity are strewn about like seeds. Seeds capable of producing harvestable fruits that have instead disfigured.
So swift a skewering motion, so sudden a splintering pain. I plummet downwards as a suicide bomber might plunge toward their blast of death. The potholes in the ground give no comfort to the blow, my soul further punctured with each indenting cavity of defeat. The grim reaper does not loiter to bestow his respect. He is an artist, with no intention of witnessing the exhibition of his craftiness.
My life is as dirty as the grime in a blocked nostril, a crude joke for the comedians of mankind. I am now a ghostly memory amongst perturbed personas, a void silhouette who has adopted the barren, molested identity of a victim of one of Manhattans masked murder scenes.
Left to disturb the calloused hearts of ambivalent spectators.