Denizen of the Dead is a protest against property speculation and a new take on the genre of haunted house horror fiction — in which investors’ ghosts homes really are haunted and those who buy them come to horrible ends. The book itself is a talisman that defends our communities against developers and it also features Spell Series by the w.o.n.d.e.r. coven. The symbols of this living spell are a lock and key designed to dismantle the neoliberal project and overdevelopment as represented by Clarendon Court — a block of 99 luxury flats on Golden Lane in London EC1 that replaced 110 social housing units for key workers and with absolutely no social or affordable housing on site. All the stories in the anthology are set in this ‘City fringe’ safety deposit box in the sky, which is nearing completion and should be ready for ghost flat owners to take ‘possession’ of within a few weeks.
Category: Golden Lane
Feng flew into Heathrow to spend a couple of days shopping in northern Europe. He was staying in his investment flat in Golden Lane, which he'd bought several years before and which lay empty for most of the year. He just had the odd night in the place when he was holidaying in London. After a hard day at Harrods, Feng returned to Golden Lane to get a good night's sleep. However when he reached the spot where the luxury apartment block had stood when he'd left in the morning there was nothing there. He starred slack jawed into empty space.... there was no more Denizen, not even a trace or shadow of a ghost home....
I bought a luxury apartment in Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen but I was forced to abandon it. When I moved in most of the other flats were empty. The concierge told me more than fifty percent of those who’d bought into this investment block hadn’t even bothered to pick up their keys. There were 99 flats in the development but mine was the only one with a live in owner. Despite being surrounded by ghost homes I regularly heard footsteps in the corridor leading to my apartment. Whenever I went to investigate no one was there. At times I heard people whispering in Middle English, talking as if they still inhabited a London that had existed hundreds of years ago. Shadows and inexplicable movements appeared in my peripheral vision. I was returning to my flat one night when something flashed before me in the hallway, then disappeared. It was gone in a second but it was the shadow of a woman wearing a long old-fashioned dress. That’s when I moved out. I could stand it no longer.
Little Sonia was playing in Fortune Street Park shortly before she vanished recently. The lost child was last seen running across Golden Lane towards the site of Taylor Wimpey's The Denizen. We've just finished pouring concrete to create the shell of this luxury apartment block. I've now found Sonia's name written in remembrance on the living room floor of every flat. Clearly the inscriptions were made before the concrete set. The name was written in reverse and from below...
Not a window was broken/ And the paint wasn’t peeling,/No balcony sagged -/And yet there was the feeling/ Once past reception/And out of the hall/These were the homes of/No one at all/ No one who breathed/Nor laughed, nor ate/Nor said “I love,”/Nor said “I hate.”/Yes something walked/Along the stair/Something that was/And wasn’t there./And that is why keys/Wait at reception/For apartment owners/Who’ll never collect them/For something walks/Along the stair –/Something that is/And isn’t there.
Some will remember that inexplicable affair in Bunhill Fields eight weeks ago, where permission for a burial was obtained by a businessman whose wife had committed suicide. Getting approval had cost a fortune. On each occasion the coffin was found in the course of a few days again protruding from the ground. After the third attempt, in order that the thing should not be talked about, the body was buried elsewhere in unconsecrated ground. Where it was secretly buried was just inside the iron gate of Fortune Street Park. This was the body of the woman who had committed suicide in the ground floor apartment I’d been given in The Denizen. Her name was Julia Li.
“I think you’ll be comfortable. It’s only a one bed apartment, we have six dwellings in Taylor Wimpey's The Denizen but if we put you in one of our bigger flats you’d be sharing it with others. Most of the year they're all left empty but when we visit London we like to have a lot friends with us. Originally we only had five flats here but we were able to buy the sixth one cheaply and fully furnished after a woman committed suicide in it. Would you like to go and see it now? By Yanluo, I believe that you are right, and that we are going to have a thunderstorm. How dark it has become.”
As I returned from round the back of the Jewin Welsh Church which abuts part of the west side of The Denizen, I caught the hooning whistling of Chan's luxury apartment, coming down strangely through the stillness of the night. It had a queer note in it, low and constant, queerly meditative. Once I'd climbed onto the balcony I was able to see the floor in the middle of the living room was puckered upward in the centre into a strange soft-looking mound, parted at the top into an ever changing hole, that pulsated to that great, gentle hooning.
I slipped out of my room and made my way to The Denizen. Keeping my revolver handy, I made my way up to the floor on which Jason’s flat was situated. I hung a protection belt of garlic around my neck and the smell of it seemed to fill the corridor and give me assurance. It is a wonderful protection against the more usual Aeiirii forms of semi-materialization, by which I supposed the whistling might be produced. Though at that period of my investigation I was quite prepared to find it due to some perfectly natural cause, for it is astonishing the enormous number of cases that prove to have nothing abnormal in them. In addition to wearing the necklet, I had plugged my ears loosely with garlic and as I did not intend to stay more than a few minutes in the luxury apartment, I hoped to be safe. When I reached the door and put my hand into my pocket for the key, I had a sudden feeling of sickening funk. But I was not going to back out if I could help it.
I have been spending the last few weeks at The Denizen, a luxury apartment block built by Taylor Wimpey in Golden Lane, just inside the border between the City of London and Islington. I got an email about a month ago from a Mr. Jason Chan, who it seemed had bought an investment property in the building, and on staying in it for a few days while holidaying in London, found that he had purchased a very peculiar piece of real estate. His flat in The Denizen has got a most infernal whistling in it, sort of haunting it. The thing starts any time, you never know when, and it goes on until it frightens you. It's not ordinary whistling and it isn't the wind. Wait till you hear it.