magine a castle. The kind your parents saw in squeaky spring cinemas that
could only play one film at a time. The kind of castle Christopher Lee could
brood around in. Imagine barbicans and battlements, towers and turrets,
bodies swaying in gibbets. That kind of castle. Not a friendly place. Why are
you here, so early in the morning?
As if in answer, the drawbridge lowers. Down comes powdered rust like snow. Someone must have gone in the back to open it. Graffiti has been splashed across the two wooden doors, made illegible with time. The doors yawn darkly inward. You think about turning around. Any sane person would. But a distant sound draws you forward. The jolly lilt of a flute.
Imagine ceilings too high for any ladder, windows only a giraffe could reach. You feel small and insignificant, as you always do, only more so. And there in the middle of the floor: a mountain. Not a mountain, a boot.
You circumnavigate the toe. Imagine the herd of cows that would need slaughtering, the hide stretching and drying and tanning and stitching, to make a boot of this size. Imagine the foot that slips inside it, causing earthquakes with each step. Imagine the ankle, the calf, the knee and up, way up, to the head like a small planet looking down at you. A hand closing around you, bringing you closer to an abyss of teeth like whitened tombstones. Flesh and bone ground to a fine red paste.
Imagine all that.
But instead all you find is a half circle of three chairs pulled up in front of a fireplace, the fire long since cold. A man, with his back to you, rocking. Just a man, not a giant. White hair, sagging skin. Rocking, rocking. Of his own accord or just the slow dying force of a pendulum, it’s impossible to tell. A wood recorder lies on the floor next to the chair. Imagine the song you could play with that. Sweet, sad. Friendly.
Remember when you were a minipop, and you saw that film, you know, the one you loved that never had a sequel? Well, let's say it did. And it was just like you imagined it, only a little bit worse.