Breaking Cities (Extract)

The building was toppling over. Or he was. The difference between the two was hard to judge. Granted, buildings tended not to fall over of their own accord. In fact they seldom did anything beyond standing there indifferently, especially where so much effort went into protecting the immaculate sense of shiny corporate stasis. So it made no sense for it to be the concrete, glass and steel of the office block which was toppling. Instead it must have been him. But that was how he knew he was going mad. Logic was starting to stand separate from what he could believe. And what he found he could believe now was that the building was slowly inching towards the horizontal, while he stood frozen and vertical in a fog of confusion before it.

Strangers were passing by doing nothing to help. Again he knew what logic made of them. A bustling mass of individuals masquerading for the duration of the London rush hour as suited and sterile echoes of the business ideal. Nothing odd in that, nothing beyond the familiar daily routine. No reason to see anything else. But for the madness, which was morphing them into a string of disembodied faces. Each one sweeping past, oblivious to the buckling foundations of their surroundings but acute in their mockery of him and his growing distance from sanity. They were staring and they were leaving. Again, that made sense. He was the one fixed in place as an inconvenient barricade to their flowing escape from the city. Why wouldn’t they cast him odd looks? In the bustle of the metropolis that was what you did to evade the unexpected and illogical. But that made no difference to what he saw in them. Judgement, or fear, or untoward attacks. A stream of faces contorted by some incomprehensible emotion that seemed, for no sane reason, to revolve around him.


My latest work, No Cure for Shell Shock, is a collection of short stories and poetry. It’s available as an eBook and a paperback here.

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