he had left the grey shophouse, to climb that cremation hill, where the old bus waits. the driver is an automaton, male and dead, possessed by the spirit of a young girl. she is also present near him, skin full of fading soot, asking him for a passport. rummaging through the cluttered bag, he cannot find it. it’s pages, scattered, somewhere in the shophouse.
to that shophouse, he returns by wayward ways. knocks on such and such a door. the company of women – with faces heavy with expired makeup, faces he does not recognise, who were never there during his stay – tells him he cannot enter, tells him, ’someone has died in the house.’ but he does not really see or remember this. it’s a feeling, an emotion, bloated with such and such truths.
he is not allowed to enter.
lost, without knowing what to do, he waits between the row of shophouses and the cremation hills, waits in the grey sunlight looking away from where the sun rises, away from the bus that’s no longer there. a bus conductor stands by his side, forcing him to look down such and such a road. ‘awas’ he says, pointing out white vans with crescent symbols. ‘danger.’ ambulances with doors open. ‘someone has died near the roads,’ there’s a bloated emotion signifying tragedy, defeat, though alderman sees no pained event or mangled bodies. the bus conductor creates more confusion by giving him another bus number to take. he is instructed to head into town in the visible distance and go through the crumbling, old world mall, in order to reach the right road.
there is no great entrance, neither glass nor auto sliding doors; nothing but a beige, cracked, half-ajar thing, leading to a musky cell like corridor, staircase, warehousian – urine on the steps.
on such and such a level, having not remembered climbing any thing at all, alderman finds rows of clones of the entrance door, ajar. Some fuck-women are in there. drugged and naked; luscious and byzantine. their hypnotised bodies are adorned with pale gold necklaces and shackles and chains. youthful and slurring, moist, asking for erotic cash. he smells on their diseased sweat, conceptions of perfumes, concocted, then taught by devilish heads to the witches of silken beds. it lures. it sticks to the insides of his meat like sticky gas chamber walls. it takes effort for him to pull away from the mouths of rooms. a young boy with burnt skin comes up to him, muttering, selling, ‘very young’ he says, his thumb, ringed with a single barbed wire pierces the palm of alderman, ‘very young girl.’
there’s such and such a bitter toxin in the barbed teeth, puncturing the flesh. it worms its way in, spirals down his vulnerable spine, swimming to his fevered groin. he pulls through the sick corridor, scrotum swollen, a knot of struggle in his gut, gently reminding him of the stark realities that wait for a man who has not found his way out of this purgatorial place.
#fiction #shortstory #irvingpaulpereira #sglit