Chapter One – Alleyway @ Alberhoorn
Peter looked down the alleyway twice, something about it chilled him yet something about it also drew him. At face value, there was nothing particularly different to this alley. Dappled in the long rays and shadows of the taller city surrounds, on the surface there was nothing different here to the numerous others that riddled Alberhoorn city.
Stone cobbled, cardboard cluttered and boxed buildings jam packed – leaning on each other for air – almost squeezing out the light. He could see the end though it was not clear, did it branch out – connecting to other laneways or finish abruptly in his line of sight with the 2 or 3 story yellowing stoned façade, doorway at its base?
Something warned Peter that it was time to move on, that the bright glass reflected shops and bustle of the main street was the place to be; with its warmth, cooking smells and general commotion. He lingered at this decision point – backpack in hand, adjusting his cap and looking around for a clue, something that would give reason to explore further down.
There was a old man; white bristling stubble, waining grey moustache, all wrapped up in his paper… occasionally glancing down at the table beside him at his sleeping dog. There was a sign creeking at the very corner entrance; weathered and scratched – indecipherable yet certainly saying that nothing was for sale at present. Then he heard something faint… or was it his mind.
A gentle, irregular tapping or scraping – like fingers on a glass table or a soft drumming. He’d not heard this before in Alberhoorn – he’d been here 4 weeks living with his Auntie helping her run her fabric business, for long hours in morning preparation and scurrying around at her beck and call while his parents… well, they had left him to travel overseas.
There it was again, nothing that he could see down the alley would have made that sound. It was all he needed – he shouldered his pack, firmly fixed his hat and headed in. The sound strangely did not become any louder as he went past disused and boarded up occupancies into the coldness of this byway, passed the back end of restraunts with garbage containers learing up and balconies above frowning down around him. It was only once he was nearing the end did he realise where the sound was coming from…
Peter did not see the way the shadows on the roof tops followed him, perhaps this is what his senses warned him of.
He didn’t see the old man twist in surprise, eyes waking up – widened with a bewildered, worried gleam.
Nor did he feel the same swirling, writhing shapes that contorted behind the door – watching his innocent progress towards their release.
All the while the old mans dog lay curled up dreaming of its next adventure.
[Meta tag – –> surreal fiction ala city of the lost children… written in the true spirit of the genre like the game concept from the novel Enders game… NOT a direct ref to biblical Saul/Paul tho biblical Paul was named as such from birth as he was a Roman citizen from birth ie. he always had the 2 names]