The longer one is alone, the easier it is to hear the song of the earth.
– Robert Anton Wilson, The Historical Illuminatus.
I catch a woman’s voice. She is calling my name in the distance. As I turn, the barest hint of movement dances in the corner of my eye, a trifling thing, a gnat dancing on the surface of the sun.
I am alone.
I count myself lucky. If this is my mind fraying at the edges then I’ve gotten off lightly. I was once told of a woman who had found herself plagued by the disembodied voice of her loving father. This would happen during her every waking moment, as she slept and as she ate, as she washed and cooked and cleaned, her father’s voice saying,
I often wonder what became of that woman. I hope she got out alright.
I also know someone who found that, at sometime during every car journey, they have been joined by a stranger. The stranger would sit in the back seat in glacial silence, an indistinct trace of a figure, carrying an almost unbearable sense of desperation and melancholy, heartbreakingly, unendurably lost; adrift among the shuttered-up newsagents and the incessant buzz of the waning streetlights, and so very far from home.
My great great-grandfather even claimed to have met the Devil once, out on a hillside in the wilds of Wales around the turn of the 19th Century… but that is a whole other story.
Every street is haunted.
Hipswell Highway is haunted by the lonesome ghosts of fairweather friends who dance and frolic at my heels.
London Road is haunted by the long-lost lovers; they whisper in my ear, se souvenir de moi, mon cher, se souvenir de moi… leaving just a hint of stale perfume flittering about in the chill air.
Concrete and brick and steel are steeped in the memory and the myth and the outright lies of immeasurable lifetimes, lives as insane and as vibrant and as complex as our own. These memories exist in all of us, roaming wild upon the endless shores of our collective unconscious; memories buried good and deep so you can’t cut them out, however hard you try.
The trees we pass each day have borne witness to both beauty and bloodshed across the untold centuries. They are almost beacons of calm in the chaotic and unwieldy oceans of change that crash against our daily reality.
The bones of this land are a conduit to a thing we cannot name; primal and endless, without beginning or end. The Old Gods still walk the furrows. The Old Gods still hide among the ageing trees. They dwell and they droop in the entries and the alleyways, lonesome and bitter and wistful for a time when we would call upon their names for guidance and hope.
It was we who brought them here, long long ago; we would offer them tribute and we would dance in their light, yet now they are alone and have nowhere to go except wait in the crooks of our memory.
Whose voice was it calling, I wonder?
Who was it that called upon my name?
Who was it, stood out there on the endless shores of the unconscious, who made themselves heard?
I look back at all those that I have lost and it is a paltry number when compared to some.
Life is just a wild throw of the dice.
Yet, we all end up losing eventually. We are each destined to become the memory of a memory, roaming wild along those mammoth shores.
So I stop for a moment.
And I listen.
And I wait.
And I say, hello.
READING: Dark Entries, by Robert Aickman.
LISTENING: Stratospheric Tower, by Saturn Form Essence.