Illustration by Simon Mobbs. This story, with illustrations by Simon, was originally published as a limited edition comic book, by Warpton Comics.
‘It’s strange,’ said Kneale as we hovered at the bottom of the subway stairs. ‘When I was alive I didn’t believe in ghosts.’
We took the stairs in one bound. At the top we sensed the presence of other dead in the air, thickening the darkness. For a moment, we too dissolved and became a part of it.
‘Now that I’m dead I find it hard to believe in the living.’ The distant light drew us to it. Then suddenly I sensed that Kneale was gone.
I knew where he would be. Back in the subway, chasing echoes. Passing through the vibrations of drunken cries and laughter, mingling with the smell of freshly spilt piss.
I waited by the light for his return, watching the blank wall for moving shadows. ‘I don’t know why you torture yourself like that,’ I said when I felt him back with me.
‘You’re not so different,’ he said. ‘You think the living are going to show themselves to you here, like some kind of movie.’ He shot away and I followed.
‘I don’t need to see them to know they’re there,’ I protested. He led me through the city, building speed.
Now we were shooting through the empty streets like electrons in a particle accelerator. ‘I mean, look around you. Who built all this if it wasn’t the living?’ I screamed.
‘Don’t try to trick me with logic,’ snarled Kneale, as he sped towards a concrete pillar. ‘We’ve gone way past logic.’ As if to prove his point, he passed through the pillar, zig-zagging between its atoms with arcade precision.
‘We don’t have long,’ I warned. ‘As soon as the sun’s up, we won’t even be able to see the buildings.’
‘It makes no difference,’ said Kneale. ‘I could find this place when I’m day-blinded.’
‘Like I said, I don’t know why you torture yourself like this. First the place where they knifed you. Now your flat.’ But he had already passed through the front door.
I found him in the kitchen, mingling with the smells of her breakfast. ‘No one asked you to come along,’ he said glumly.
There were voices in the living room. The TV was on, but the images of the living were hidden from us, just as they were themselves.
We were alone in the flat now. ‘It’s not the fact that I can’t see her that tortures me,’ said Kneale. ‘It’s the fact that I can still smell her.’ And for a moment we both danced in the lingering scent of her perfume.