Unreal City.

It wasn’t so obvious at first, the rain-mottled doorways, the smoke filtering from the tops of houses, blanking the landscape into a reassuring sameness. Walking down the same streets, there was only a slighter chill in the wind, a slightly less even step in the street beneath his shoes. No one was looking at him, but no one ever did anyway, their eyes tearing up with excitement, expectation and the smoke that filled their air. While dabbing at their swollen lids they would plan out every minute of the their night before finally trying to sleep.

Funnily enough he wasn’t thinking about his leisure like the rest of them. For once he was thinking about the cracks in the pavement, how despite the fact that he had never really noticed them, each one was familiar, almost memorised from his daily steps each morning and night, head down as far as it could go. Every morning the same steps, the same cracks, making him think simultaneously of A.A. Milne and T.S. Eliot.

He stopped now, touching the sides of his face. Something was not right, something was less right, than the day before, and the day before that. A man bumped against him in the street, that much he could tell, but in a way that he had never felt before, the shoulder skimming the surface of his body, almost as if it were not there. He finally figured it out, fumbling outside his house for keys that no longer existed: he was dead, supposed to be dead, supposed to have died tonight. The pavement, the people, even his jacket pocket, the seam ripped, the keys having fallen through, didn’t belong to him any more. He decided not to stop at home tonight, not to scrape through the front door towards the kitchen, the living room, all empty. He travelled back towards the unreal city, thinking of his future.

Unreal City.


North Melbourne, Australia

  • Artist


short story

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