15 Minute Write
The rain on this mid-winter evening kept the people indoors and the streets empty. Walking through the city was a joy. The reflections and sparkling lights, the gloss and deepness of the colours, natural and artificial, warmed the soul. An umbrella forcefield under which the streets and buildings were viewed as if on a voyage of discovery. Fear, a natural component of the night in the city, seemed dissolved with the water falling from above. No one would mug or murder - even violent criminals don’t like to get wet.
Shops were shut, pubs, although seemingly open, appeared deserted, no one having a fag outside, no raucous laughter or fun. Towards the edge of the commercial centre, the streets turned residential and the mood seemed to turn slightly more sinister. The voyeurism of looking into people’s living rooms, bedrooms and kitchens seemed to spark a criminal flare. Plans being made, ransoms set, gruesome revenge, murder. There were more places to hide, in the parks running between buildings, in cars or alleyways.
But still, he walked. Humanity kept indoors. He loved to see these illuminated scenes and warmed to family diners, Netflix sofa sessions and spaghetti bolognese ready meals for one. He was not sure where he was heading. Only that he needed to walk. The air was fresh, and the dampness added sweet naturally decaying hints to its taste. His phone buzzed. Instead of looking at it, he turned it off where it lay, in his pocket and listened instead to the rhythm of the rain on his brolly.
He was alone. But he did not feel this way. It was as if, now the streets were clear, there was a chance for something else to be here. He could not explain it. An invisible lifeforce. Something that was only seen when humans were not around when the conditions proved right. What was it? There were no shadows or noises, just a feeling, of being watched, listened to, touched perhaps. He couldn’t shake it. He decided to embrace it. He stopped next to a large London plane and looked at the three-storied townhouse across the way from him. The light in the main living room was on, and a man was sitting askew at a desk with a laptop. He was reading something, you could see his lips subtly move, but not open. A woman came up behind him and just at that moment he felt the same - someone, something came up behind him. The man looked back to see his wife with a cup of tea. He felt sure he heard a sigh. He looked around and there was nothing there.
Perhaps they are here already. We cannot see them. They observe and look at us, but we stare right through them. How does that feel? The man with the laptop and his wife with his tea are the same. Different creatures, species. He knows nothing of them. They are unaware of him. But he feels a connection, as do our invisible companions, who usually never feel this reciprocated.
Photo, Penzance, Cornwall. 2022
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