I'm currently writing something heavily influenced by dreams where objects, people, topography, animals and plants might start to change form, gradually or rapidly at any time. It's been boiling away under the surface for a while. I'm planning to take a while over it. Anyway, this is what I have so far, with a few seeds of things that will develop later. Watch out for future updates:


The woman walking, confident, dense black hairs where eyes should be, swept sideways. She sees.

Translations: people, places. Night by night the world remakes.

A young man slowly comes back to himself. He is sitting on an embankment above a footpath by a river. On the footpath on the opposite bank of the river a dog runs away from and back to the slower family accompanying. Jumping up and running away again. For a moment that stretches minutes past the three, four, five seconds it actually lasts the dog running, the young man's heartbeat and thoughts, and random words: No Roadway, Osprey, Hydropol, are one. It feels like flight. With an effort the young man separates them, recognises the words from signs elsewhere, and refocuses. Slowing a potential panic he knows exactly where he is, who he is, remembers leaving the shared house he lives in. But he cannot remember how he got here. He knows the route he most likely came by, but has no memory of the walk. There is an ache on the back of his right wrist. He decides on a direction, stands and sets off.

Narrow stone steps up, with a sharp left at the top, which used to open to the wide approach of a rail station, now enters a narrow alleyway.

Two naked men either side of a shop window crouch, lean forward, smear the glass with blood from cuts at groin and inner elbow. A contactless, wild and intimate sexual act.

There is a new door in the apartment. It should open into the neighbour's apartment but instead opens to a stairwell climbing through several floors. Some are filthy, wet and mossy, dark. Some are bright and richly decorated. Some are near derelict and open to the air, half indoors, half out, a hillside beyond. The geography is impossible. One floor is a corridor where torn plastic curtains hang in place of doors, each granting admission to its own small room. In each room a toilet, most of them blocked. At the top you enter a busy open air market elsewhere in The City.

Between places, overhead. Above the trees, houses, office towers, and hills we fail to see spaces, except where objects occupy or divide.

In the fog, shapes. With no firm outline, no detail, no scale, they change. An uncertain lump is a cat, a burnt and rusting car, a gravestone, or something different.

Face in the mirror, disarticulating, separating, becoming a meaningless collection of discrete individual features, shuffled. But not moving, not changing.

At the shift from wake to sleep words detach from the objects they associate with. A man talks about his biscuits, meaning his fingers. There are others.

Footprints in the communal entrance hall. Just the right heel, dogshit or something similar tracked in from the carpark at the rear, past the ground floor apartments and onto the stairs, fading at each step. Scuff with a toe, it is not as hard and dry as expected. Nor is it dogshit. Mud? Part-decayed leaves? Closer, but more gelatinous. And harder to dislodge from the floor than expected.

When he heads into woodland, away from the river now, the young man notices the ache in his right wrist again. He had put it down to holding his hand awkwardly while he sat, to the random firing of a sensation with no cause, or perhaps an accidental bump of his wrist during his walk to the river that he still cannot recall. But the ache is more localised, more painful than before, if a little dull now. He looks and sees a wart. Or not. It is more baroque, like a fleshy lichen. Flat, leaf-like structures radiate from a central point. The whole at most half a centimetre across. And from the centre a cluster of branch-like structures rise three millimetres or so. Also fleshy. He presses them, and while he cannot tell whether it is the branches or the nerves in the wrist below reacting, it feels like they have sensation. There is nothing he can do immediately, so the young man chooses to ignore the growth.

When the world around you changes enough, topographically, emotionally, the light, you learn to cope with it. A new city; places that shift and vanish; waking up as someone else; the language in your conversations slipping out of focus and becoming incomprehensible; memories suddenly in conflict with who and where you are; becoming adrift in place and time. This is alarming to some, while for others it is nothing, normal.

The woman with hair where her eyes should be, Mike, lives in the tower of a converted church. Rather she had the church converted to apartments, lives in one, rents out the others, and spends most of the time she is at home in a space high in the tower she had set aside and converted into a small library. Here she can read or look four directions over The City.

A faint sound like rain on trees or the crackle of loudspeakers in the yard of an industrial building. But it is dry and there are only houses here.

A fox pauses while crossing a street. It feels the ground breathing or shifting. This happens from time to time.

On a side street cars are half-absorbed into the road, the pavement. Or in places the pavement is glass, metal, doors and windows extended down and across. Elsewhere cars grow together with trees and street furniture.

If you think too hard about the changes in topography around you it is easy to get lost. Better to set out with no plan or only a vague sense of destination. In places you might still need to loop, repeat sections until a route offers itself. Animals are largely less troubled by changes.

There are localised areas of freezing cold and unusual heat around The City. Pavements, ignored scrub behind half-broken brick walls, corners of industrial units. Some permanent, others temporary, transient.

The young man and his friends sometimes talk about how The City and people within it change and transform. They speculate that in some ways time has accelerated and what seems dramatic is normality at a faster pace.

Jo and her mother are talking when her mother says, "What's that?"
    "What?" Jo asks, then notices. When she speaks something like coloured smoke, like petrol in a puddle, rises and twists from her mouth. She runs a finger through it, and rather than swirling away unfelt it clings, has weight. She wonders for a moment if her words are taking on physical form, but dismisses the thought immediately.
    Jo looks at her fingers, touches her lips with her other hand, there is no residue from the smoke, now dispersing. She breathes out, but there is no smoke this time. Jo says, "I don't know, what is that?", and again the words, or sounds, or whatever the cause lead to the same ink-in-water effect, coloured cloud emanating, changing shape. This time Jo's mother reaches into it, reacts at the weight and drag, and looks at her fingers where no trace can be seen.
    "Maybe I should see my GP," says Jo. Her mother frowns,
    "I'm not sure they'll be able to do much."


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