A New Build
They pulled the old place down around 3 years ago now. It was shabby and dilapidated. The lifts had stopped working some time in the eighties, and the stairwells had a permanent aroma of detergents and urine. So much so in fact that whenever I travel to a city with an underground train system it immediately feels like I’m home. The dark shadows the building had created became home to the secrets going on in a community. Late night trysts, drug taking and more sinister elements. Watchers. Waiting for the unsuspecting.
It started ten years ago. A neighbour from the far side of the block went missing. It was the postman who raised the alarm when the post started piling up on the far side of the door. Then they found pieces, shredded and rotten in the basement where the rubbish is collected.
Police told us all to be calm; it was a one off incident. We had no reason to be afraid. They would catch whoever had done this. But they didn’t. Two months later it happened again. This time it was closer. This time we saw what had been done. Mrs Brown from two floors down. She looked as though she had been through a shredder. Strips of who she used to be discarded in the court yard and the centre of the block. Like horrific strips of spaghetti.
This time there was outcry. The police tried their hardest to calm fears but we had seen what had happened. They had patrols that would walk the block, which for a time was calming. That was until one night a two man patrol failed to report back at the end of their shift. They too were found.
That was when people started to leave. Well, those that had the means. Those of us who were left were trapped by circumstance. Ours (as were the vast majority of the flats) was council owned. We begged to be re-homed, but with so many others requesting the same there was nothing that could be done. Me and Mum and hundreds of others were trapped. And the killings continued.
Most of the residents by this time had got together patrols of a sort. They would gather together at set times to escort people to and from the bus stops down the road, to the shops, to work. But still they continued. Once I was watching a patrol and Dave, a huge mountain of a man who lived just down from us disappeared. He had been at the rear of our group. One minute he was there the next… mess and gore.
In the end the government stepped in. There had been so much violence and the police seemed completely unable to find evidence that would point to anyone. Apart from the mess left behind they left no trace. We all suspected, but no one official was going to admit it. This wasn’t a person. There was a thing, and it was killing us all.
In the end there was only one thing to do. Secretly the residents where informed of the plan. The troops came at dusk and escorted us all, a floor at a time out and to a safe area half a mile from the block. Families where then shipped off to temp accommodation, as the flats were set alight. The soldier’s formed a perimeter to ensure nothing got out.
I waited to watch my home, my old life go up in flames. I listened to the screams as the flames rose. I listened to shouts and gun fire, then a sound that will stay with me for the rest of my life. A deep rage-filled bellow that made the very ground beneath out feet seem to shake. Then silence. Even the crackle of the fire seemed to fade in the moments after that.
So now here we are. A new building raised from the ashes of all that horror. I watch them peel away the protective scaffolding, revealing the new modern block. Primary colours, wood and glass. It looks magnificent. All the time though I hear the sound. I know. It will never die. It will always be with me.