From the Archive

Somewhere in the tower block, a man is crying. Sometimes a staccato whimper so slight that, if not for its signature rhythm, it would be lost amongst the sullen creaks and rattles of underloved, overused pipes. Sometimes a rich howl that floods the dank, peeling hallways and pours out into the gutter night.

I stretch my neck out over the balcony edge as far as it will go. The evening sits on my skin, warm, still and sticky. The tower looms over me, glumly alone, a monolith resigned to its drowned tar pit deep, forever sliding down and down.

I cannot discern the direction. It is a sound buried behind all others. Neighbours: heard, not seen. Muffled murmurs of life.

Doors slam.
Keyboards tap.
The lift hums and clanks.
Water drips…drips…drops.

They cough in their sleep, their dreams, their nightmares. I go to join them. And still, somewhere in this building, awake for all time, a man is crying at the dark.

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