Sunday, 15 April 2012


(Invocation - ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead)

I heard her, out there in the static, by accident.

I'd moved the radio to paint a wall, thinking stupidly that if I changed how things look it might change how things felt, and I must have knocked the tuner. The next morning, I stood dumb and tired waiting for my tea to brew but I couldn't stand the silence and myself any longer so I flicked the radio on, even though I knew I wouldn't find anything that didn't annoy me, just lying politicians, or terrible music. I flicked the radio on and walked away to get my coffee. Static hissed, and I swore and walked back to sort it out. Then I heard her.

At first, I thought I was fooling myself. The static ebbed and rose like the sea and it was just noise, and I reached out to tune it and she was there again, the hiss and crackle coalescing into her voice, her voice saying my name.

I stood and listened, but it didn't come again, and I listened so long I knew I would be late for work. I switched the radio off, but I didn't change the dial. When I got to work he was angry and asked me what the hell I thought I was doing being so late, and he was so angry he made a spit-bubble and when he opened his mouth it stretched between his upper lip and his lower lip. So I just watched that and didn't listen to what he was saying. I didn't think I could work there much longer, but then I hadn't thought that I could do anything much longer, least of all face the day after day after day and nothing changing.

But something had changed.

At home that night I didn't eat because sometimes I just don't want to. I sat and listened to the static, and eventually she came. I don't know what she is, or how she is, a voice amongst the noise, just that she is out there, calling my name, as if from a very long way away. I never slept very much, and once I found her I slept even less, just sat there, listening, trying to understand. Sometimes I knew it was her, talking to me, but I could not make out what she was saying, and it became harder, because her voice grew softer, more distant among the hiss. She sounded weaker, fading. I felt cold, and scared at the thought of her leaving me, and I bit at my nails until my fingers bled.

Then I got up for work one morning after just two hours sleep, and I could not hear her at all. I stood on the platform in the crush and the stink of sweat, waiting for the tube train, wondering if there was any point in anything now that I had lost the only thing I had, the only thing that called my name, and the warm air blew out of the tunnel and tasted of electricity and dust and the rails hissed and in the hissing I heard her, the tiniest, quietest of sounds, and she was desperate and I understood what she was telling me. So as the train came in, I gave a little push, just a little push, and like dominos, the person two in front of me was on the rails and then under the train and I couldn't hear anything but shouts and screaming.

I didn't go to work. I have never been back to work. They probably phoned, but I pulled it out of the wall so I wouldn't know. When I got out of the station, I ran. Not with fear. With excitement.

I turned the radio on, and the light glowed and the static wrapped around me and her voice came, stronger than ever before, terrible and beautiful like a storm, and she called my name and she called my name and I sat there and I cried with happiness and with love.

Life is getting hard now. I can't remember the last time I ate, and I don't really sleep at all, and I am cold because I didn't pay the gas bill so I could put the money towards batteries for the radio.

She calls my name. And when she gets weak, I feed her.

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