Saturday, June 20, 2009

Leith Stories, Necropolis (i)

I once had a pot skeleton (*) of a tall building, a sort of monolithic grid of stone and broken windows, which floated in the water like a ship. In coastal cities, on fog-bound days, everything would fall silent and it would appear. It would drift out of the fog, a few hundred metres from land.
People would become possessed. They'd be driven to walk down to the quays, cast themselves into the water and drown.
Then: their corpses would float, drift, and wriggle back to life. They'd swim towards this building. They would climb up in their hundreds, climb out of the water and scale its stone face, climb in through the broken windows.
The structure was called the “Necropolis”. Once the dead were inside it would drift away, vanish into the fog, and take them with it. Friends, fathers and daughters. Entire families, safely nestled in their new home.
I told this to Doses and he said: “That's stupid.”
“No it's not,” I said. “It's cool. It's fucking freaky.”
“It's not freaky man, it's stupid.”
Turns out this thing exists, as many macabre and derelict things do, in Leith.

Where I live.
Not to be confused with Lethe, although judging from the state of the people here perhaps the two share a common function.
Quincey got to Scotland ahead of me & had to go through the whole arduous process of finding a flat on her own.
She says: “I chose Leith because I thought it would suit you.”
I'm not sure what I ever did to deserve this woman.
I mean look at this place, it's beautiful.

Here's something that happened to me in Leith. It happened on Monday morning, on the way to work:
I went to the shop and bought a cheap energy drink and a pack of gum.
I walked out, crossed the road, and started heading towards Pilrig Park like I normally do.
There's this thing on the footpath, walking towards me. A little thing. I'm looking at it, and I cannot for the life of me determine what it is.
I stared at it, watched it bumble towards me. It was awkward, clumsy. It had a dog's body, except smaller and yellowish. It's head was a gray mess of weird shapes. From the way it was moving, it was clearly blind.
Exhausted from a terrible night of insomnia (during which I posted this and this), I accepted the appearance of this strange, fucked-up monster. It had no face, no mouth. It didn't pose an obvious threat.
It stumbled into a bin. I realised it was a fox. A fox who had killed a pigeon, and was trying to carry the thing off to eat it, except one of the pigeon's wings had arced up to cover his face and eyes. He couldn't see. He was terrified, vulnerable being out in on the street in broad daylight, but too desperate and hungry to relinquish his food for even a moment. He was so thin.
Desperate, clumsy. The thing bumbled past me and smacked into the iron gates of a small housing estate.
I walked on – I was late. My boss prints off my clock cards, periodically calls me in to meeting rooms to bollocks me about getting to work at 8:35 instead of 8:30.
So I walked on to the alley which leads to the park. I turned back and got a last look – just a dead pigeon lying outside the iron gate. I thought: aw no, poor thing. Had to drop it's food. But then something fast, a snout I suppose, whipped out from behind the gate and yanked the corpse inside.

Wish I could have photographed it. This clumsy little compound monster was one of the strangest and most beautiful things I've ever seen.
Only in Leith.
Coming home at the end of the day I found a small pile of dead pigeons near my flat – feathers stripped from their sides, bloody red bit marks on their pink skin. I went inside and grabbed my camera, I'd meant to photograph the corpses, but then the idea seemed too ghoulish.
I walked down Constitution Road and took these pictures instead. (**)

* - this term will be explained in a later post.
** - thanks to Doses and "Alive But Not Living" (henceforth called "Alive") & partners for the digital camera

1 comment:

  1. Hey sugar, keep writing stuff like this, and you'll get an acceptance in your inbox soon, I'm sure of it.