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....
Category: The Denizen
I was dead. I should not have been walking through Fortune Street Park and across Golden Lane. Drawn to Taylor Wimpey's luxury apartment block The Denizen by the siren song of Plague Pit Annie. I should have been in the underworld preparing for my next incarnation, not being lured to an investment flat I'd bought but never seen. I was dead and I had no use for any of my worldly possessions. But the siren song of Plague Pit Annie drew me through the entrance of The Denizen and up the stairs to my apartment. I'd never collected the keys to this flat and I didn't need them now. The concierge didn't see my long fingers nails and longer hair as I passed right through him. The concierge didn't see me at all. Plague Pit Annie knew I was close by and drew me in with her song. She greeted me, informed me I was to take her place in my apartment, and then she disappeared into the medieval plague pit beneath the building. Now for all of eternity I am damned to reside in an investment apartment I'd bought off-plan sight unseen.
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...
I rented a flat in Taylor Wimpey’s The Denizen on Airbnb. I fancied a break in a luxury flat on the fringe of London’s financial district. I liked the name of the street the apartment was on, Golden Lane. My boyfriend came home drunk from the nearest Wetherspoons pub, The Masque Haunt on the corner of Old Street and Bunhill Row. He didn’t like the strange wallpaper in our holiday home so he started to peel it from the wall. Under every section was a name and date. When I got back from Spa Nails on Fortune Street, I instantly forgot I’d just been pampered and shouted at my better half we were gonna have to pay for the damage. Then I got curious and used the internet to look up one of the names. It belonged to a missing person who’d vanished on the date scrawled beside their name on the wall. I checked more names and they all belonged to missing people. I notified the police who sent out a forensics team. They told my boyfriend he hadn’t been removing wallpaper - he’d been pulling down human skin.
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In the charming place in which he found himself there were so many sympathetic faces that he felt more than ever convinced of the certainty of making himself heard. It was a bad blow, at first, to find that he had not been arrested for murder; but Yao, who had come to him at once, explained that he needed rest, and the time to “review” his statements; it appeared that reiteration had made them a little confused and contradictory. He needed to rest in his quiet Denizen apartment, surrounded by empty ghost flats.
In the first morning hours, he rose from his comfortable bed in his Denizen apartment and looked out of his window at the awakening activities on Golden Lane—at the street-cleaners, bin men, and the other dingy workers flitting hurriedly by through the sallow winter light. Oh, to be one of them—any of them—to take his chance in any of their skins! They were the toilers—the men whose lot was pitied—the victims wept over and ranted about by altruists and economists; and how gladly he would have taken up the load of any one of them, if only he might have shaken off his own! But, no—the iron circle of consciousness held them too: each one was chained to his own hideous ego. Why wish to be any one man rather than another? The only absolute good was not to be.
It was after midnight when Yao left Zhang’s Denizen apartment in Golden Lane. His hand on his friend’s shoulder, as he turned to go—“Criminal justice be hanged! See a doctor, see a doctor!” he had cried and with an exaggerated laugh had pulled on his coat and departed. Zhang turned back into his Taylor Wimpey investment property. It had never occurred to him that Yao would not believe his story. For three hours he had explained, elucidated, patiently and painfully gone over every detail—but without once breaking down the iron incredulity of the lawyer’s eye. At first Yao had feigned to be convinced—but that, as Zhang now perceived, was simply to get him to expose himself, to entrap him into contradictions.
To the guest in his Denizen apartment, Zhang told his story simply, connectedly. It was the perfect tale to recount on the benighted site of Taylor Wimpey’s Golden Lane luxury apartment development. The foundations of the new building had disturbed an old plague pit, and The Denizen had been constructed right opposite the old city mortuary. He began with a quick survey of his early years—the years of drudgery and emotional privation. If he’d been 15 years older he could have had fun with the Red Guards. He’d always liked girls but they didn’t like him. He was incapable of a romantic relationship. That’s why sex toys had become his master-passion.