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William Rushcroft floundered for a while, tentative on his feet, but he was programmed to not give in, and designed to embrace the drudgery. He would not relent, showing a trademark stoic face. Back-of-factory lights sort of watery in the ashy blueness of the middle distance, reflections floating with nothing around them. Power stations built as the common home, all around, brittle but intense and enduring sources of heat and movement and noise; small reminders a seen-before force was present, invisible or distant.

This was a universal sanctuary one created as a utopia, a mind-made palace to stretch out in, where terrifying prospects were not allowed to seep through perfectly tiled walls and gilded features, and the spaces of corridors and labyrinths. It stays as an image or theatrical thing because of the ideas around it, but it is also an actual, mundane kingdom, of coat-stands and broken lawnmowers and cold bowls filled with Special K touched by cold hands in the large coldness of early morning, but all enclosed and safely behind the door. It is simultaneously both of those things top-level dreams and kitchen-sink romantic.

Bill knew all this as he set his sights on the strange centre of the spirit he was trying to disturb, as yet unknown in destination to him. The cascade of houses and ambiguous Victorian buildings concertinaed out in front of him and he approached the forest of simmering bulbs with increasingly vital, assured footsteps.

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© Copyright 2016 John Maher