All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015


I turned the corner and there before my eyes was a vast chamber with four massive cast iron valves high up on the wall. There was the constant sound of rushing water and the air was hot and damp with a heavy metallic odour.

I felt as though the walls were beginning to close in, my breath clogged in bloodied lungs, a white hot fear pierced into freezing black coldness within me.

He sat lounging in a giant chair with lavishly dressed men and girls on either side, a lizard on hs shoulder. Moths flew about - or were they butterflies? He was smiling, almost to himself, with a slightly puzzled look - not concerned, but interested in a cruel uncaring way like a cat with prey. The people around him were all looking at me.

I felt myself led forward. There was laughter and whispering but as he straightened a silence fell and his companions looked toward him.

Hello pilgrim

I'm in hell

Not yet

Who are you?

Don't you know?

I don't know anything. I know that I'm done with this - I'm out of it. All of it - I'm going to tell the world about you

He raised an eyebrow.

And who would listen Pilgrim?

The police, priests, the authorities?

Another smile.

It's no good old sport - you know it's really no good

How can you be like this? It's me, me you're talking to. Me

And this is Me my dear

And in that moment, I suddenly saw him as he truly was: completely other, almost alien, capricious as they say the Olympians were - not evil, just entirely amoral.

I'm leaving


I'm getting out of here - I'm going home

And where would that be then old sport?

I turned and walked back towards the entrance - but there was no entrance.

Let me go

But there's nowhere to go my dear. Don't you know?

Know what?

His companions were sniggering again, all looking at me and each other with exaggerated caricatured sympathetic expressions. He silenced them with a wave.

It's no good my dear. You really have to give it up

Give up what?

All this ... disbelief. It just won't do any more


Do I really have to spell it out?

Laughter broke out again.

Spell what out?

He stopped smiling. Looked directly at me.

You're dead

The heat and coldness in me intensified to an unbearable pitch.

I'm not dead, I'm not dead

He was smiling again, shaking his head, mocking but almost gentle once more.

I'm afraid you are old sport

You've been dead for years..


Anonymous said...

What a powerful piece. Really chilling.

It's like a nightmare. How horrible would it be to hear that?

Cygnus said...

How dark and enchanting. Sounds a lot like the eerie stuff I enjoy writing in my own spare time.

It seems like it should scare me, but it's actually quite wonderful. Oddly comforting, even.

What is death, but transcendent life?

*Smiles and disappears, leaving a white dragon feather to light your way in the darkness*

Daria said...


spillyjane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
spillyjane said...

come bearing my self-designed TRTW-inspired socks: L'Amour et la Morte socks...or, the pattern to produce them, at least. Actual socks are a definite possibility though, should they be desired. I am open to suggestion.

Sally said...

Chilling and intense...Edgar Allan Poe would be proud.

Sally said...

PS spillyjane, love the L'Amour et La Morte socks, perfect for walking about underground, following the River Fleet and such, heheh.

clerkenwell kid said...


these are genius.

Just perfect for a walk on a cold day with a loved one throughout the graveyards of Marseille

I'm sending them onto Antique Beat with your permission

spillyjane said...

Thanks so much! Yes, please send them on to Antique Beat, by all means!

Cygnus said...

Hello again, Mr. Coates!

I have another drawing for you. I know that you like nightingales, so I made you into one, using George Fort's style.


clerkenwell kid said...

Now that Cygnus is absolutely bloody marvellous! Thankyou. You flatter me sir!

Sally said...

Wow Cygnus - that is AMAZING!!!!!!!

A very good likeness, I think, you clever thing.