I was blindfolded and I don’t know how long I’d been tied to my bed. I was drifting in and out of consciousness when Crippen’s ghost appeared to me. My bedroom door was open and a spectral form stood on the threshold, looking in at me.
“What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be dead!” I demanded.
“I came here to tell you that Woo Gam is the only woman I ever loved. And I want to tell you that dying for her at the moment of orgasm is an ecstasy you can only dream of, whereas I’ve experienced it!”
“But she came through my window last night. I will surely die for her too, and the last shall be first!”
“You’re only half in love with easeful death, whereas I’ve passed on. You don’t know what you’re talking about!”
My conversation with Crippen’s ghost rambled on in this way for quite some time. Until my shoulders were shaken.
“Rise from the dead ye little head!” I couldn’t see her but it was Woo’s voice. My avenging angel had come back for me!”
“Kill me, I’m rotten.” I said
“Here’s some news,” Woo replied ignoring my request, “Tao’s brother Chan turned up at The Denizen shortly before I arrived. The concierge offered him condolences over his brother’s death and Chan beat him black and blue. I called an ambulance and the management of the block are sending someone to take his place.”
“They had some differences over blockchain.”
“I didn’t come here to chat about cryptocurrencies. I’m going to give you some food and drink; then I’ll tie you back down to the bed.
That’s what happened and after I’d been blindfolded again I began to hallucinate. I was in the City Road with a lady when we saw Chan. My companion saw him first. I glanced in the direction she was pointing. His outline was a little obscured by the mist but I could still recognise him. I quickened my steps and shouted after the man. His back was turned to me but he seemed to have seen us. He darted into the road and sprang into a passing cab. To pursue and leave the lady was out of the question. I was puzzled not only by Chan’s flight, but by the rapidity with which it had been performed. I saw that my companion had suddenly grown white. The hand she placed on my arm was trembling. Through the fog on the City road there came the sound of a woman’s laughter. It was the same curious laughter I had heard in Chiang Tao’s Denizen apartment – soft, low, musical; yet within it a quality which was pregnant with horrible suggestion. At the sound my heart stood still.
In my visions boys were shouting out the biggest news story of the day. The news was flashed across digital display screens. ‘The Denizen Murder. Incredible Claims of Communist Witchcraft and Cannabalism.’ It was lucid dreaming and I could see that Tao had come back from the gates of hell. He was naked when I confronted him with and had demons emerging from his mouth and anus . He told me that Woo had taken possession of his soul before killing his brother. She’d dressed Chan’s corpse in Tao’s clothes, and given the mutilated state of the body no one could tell the difference between them. Tao’s role was to play his half-brother. He was to infect Dance Square with the demonic curse that played over The Denizen. The blight of ghosts flats bought by investors in the City fringe was to be cured one development at a time by selected members of the damned being moved through them. Before long every rich scumbag who’d bought into these schemes would be burning in hell for their sins.
I was in the service of more than one lady. I was bound to them and bound hand and foot. Woo was standing before me in a passage but at the end of it behind a door was a greater power, the force she served. A Druid idol that had been buried thousands of years ago at the site of a rotted woodhenge. Everyone knew the ancient Britons constructed stone circles and that the most famous of these was Stonehenge. But equally important were the woodhenges and at all such sites rituals were conducted to ensure that esoteric primitive communism would return with a vengeance when class societies became utterly decadent. A workman from Hounslow had uncovered the idol while working on the construction of Heathrow Airport. Coming as he did on his maternal side from a long line of cunning women and witches, Bill Mason, recognised the significance of the fetish as soon as he found it in 1945. He kept it for himself and before long the International Communist coven coalesced around it.
Eventually I found myself in a large barn-like room, the walls an uncertain shade of grey. The floor was bare. At one end was a wooden dais. This and a large skylight overhead, suggested the space had once been an artist’s studio. A tall screen covered with crimson silk stood upon the dais. This screen was the first object that caught my eye. I wondered if an artist’s model were concealed behind it. There were two small tables, one at the side against the wall, the other in the centre of the room. Dirty bottles and glasses were on both.
I did not know what to expect. I had a vague anticipation of incredible horrors. What I saw caused a shock of surprise. The removal of the screen revealed an idol, an ancient British goddess. It was mounted on what looked like a bronze pedestal, a metre and a half from the floor. The figure was more than four metres high. It showed a woman squatting on her haunches. Her arms were crossed upon her breast, her fingers interlaced. It was a brilliant scarlet and its maker had managed to impart to it a curious suggestion of life. But the mystery of the murders was to be found beneath the Goddess, she only inspired them. Various power tools sat beside her. They had been adapted with blades added so that they were perfect weapons for killing ghost home owners.
“I am so glad that the drugs I gave you,” Woo said as she removed my blindfold, “combined with the recordings you’ve been hearing have begun to open up your mind. Do you now understand why the highest forms of proletarian magic entail eating the rich? But fully liberate your brain I must perform a trepanation. A small hole will be drilled into your forehead to open the third eye and enhance your powers of clairvoyance.”
Woo was wielding a battery operated power drill. The instrument penetrated the bone at the top of my forehead. Once the hole was made a very hard, clean sliver of wood that had been treated by fire and herbs was slid down so that it just entered the cavity. I felt a stinging, tickling sensation in the bridge of my nose. It subsided and I became aware of subtle scents that I couldn’t identify. Suddenly there was a blinding flash. For a moment the pain was intense. It diminished, died and was replaced by spirals of colour. The projecting splinter was being bound into place so that it could not move.
“You are now one of us, Feng. Or at least part of the Men’s Auxiliary, since until you are man enough to become a woman you cannot serve the Goddess as a full member of the International Communist Coven. But I must test you to determine whether you now see capitalist social relations as they really are! I want you to say out loud the first words that come into your head.”
“The whole discussion now underway on revolutionary forms in China boils down to the judgement to be made of the historical phenomenon of the ‘appearance’ of industrialism and mechanisation in huge areas of the world previously dominated by landed and pre-capitalist forms of production. Constructing industrialism and mechanising things is supposedly the same as building socialism whenever central and “national” plans are made. This is a mistaken thesis.”
“Having finally understood the capitalist world and how class society functions, it’s time to get your groove on.” Woo informed me.
I knew now that my fate was the same as Chan’s or Tao’s. Whichever of the brothers had actually survived, would be left to watch the death of Dance Square, just as I would see the demise of The Denizen. The zombified and decaying proletarian bodies of all the prostitutes and criminals of Jacobean Cripplegate were already shuffling through my building. When property investors visited their residential assets they’d be attacked and have their brains sucked out through their arseholes. As the building emptied and fell into disrepair, Hwang Jang Lee organised the Occupy Central Street movement. The slogan “Hong Kong & City of London, one struggle for democracy” proliferated on walls in the area.
From the abutment where my apartment windows had once been, I watched the fatal dawn. The sun was hugely greater than it had been. Its lower edge seemed almost to touch the far horizon. As I watched I imagined it drew closer. The green radiance that lit the frozen Denizen grew steadily brighter. I saw that the sun was changing shape and shrinking. Gradually, as the world moved on, it seemed the sun had vanished. The Denizen moved into black shadow and all was night. Night, black, starless, and intolerable.
There came a glow that told of the coming light. It grew, tardily. Then the first ray from a Green Star lit the world. It fell upon the great ruined structure of The Denizen. Years appeared to pass slowly. Sucked up from the earth, The Denizen had almost reached the centre of the sun’s disk. There I would die not in an act of erotic high frenzy but as the victim of relentless proletarian witchcraft which being a rising historical force had outflanked both money and high magick.