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.
On Wednesday, June 25, my uncle and I conveyed to Taylor Wimpey's shunned The Denizen development on Golden Lane two camp chairs and a folding camp cot, together with some scientific mechanisms of greater weight and intricacy. These we placed in the cellar cinema during the day, and planned to return in the evening for our first vigil. We had acquired keys and were able to lock up the cinema, so were prepared to leave our expensive and delicate apparatus - which we had obtained secretly and at great cost - as many days as our vigils might be protracted. It was our design to sit up together till very late, and then watch singly till dawn in two-hour stretches, myself first and then my companion; the inactive member resting on the cot.
The full moon was now high above The Denizen. Through the open window they could see the comforting stars like friendly eyes watching in the sky. One by one the clocks of the City struck midnight, and when the sounds died away the deep silence of a windless night fell again over everything. Only the roar of car engines, far away and lugubrious, filled the air with hollow murmurs. Inside Taylor Wimpey's The Denizen development the silence became awful; awful, he thought, because any minute now it might be broken by sounds portending terror. The strain of waiting told more and more severely on the nerves; they talked in whispers when they talked at all, for their voices aloud sounded queer and unnatural. A chilliness, not altogether due to the night air, invaded the room, and made them cold. The influences against them, whatever these might be, were slowly robbing them of self-confidence, and the power of decisive action; their forces were on the wane, and the possibility of real fear took on a new and terrible meaning...
There was nothing in the bland external appearance of Taylor Wimpey’s luxury apartment block The Denizen to bear out the tales of the horror that were said to reign within. It was neither lonely nor unkempt. It was packed in between the Barbican and Golden Lane Estate, and looked exactly like similar developments aimed at property investors throughout London and beyond. It may not have been aimed at the very wealthiest investors, and so it did not boast a private swimming pool, but there was a private cinema and games room. And yet this apartment block in Golden Lane, externally was extremely similar to dozens of other bland and ugly ghost home developments on the City fringe, was entirely different, horribly different. Wherein lay this marked, invisible difference is impossible to say. It cannot be ascribed wholly to the imagination, because persons who had spent some time in The Denizen, knowing nothing of the facts, had declared positively that certain flats were so disagreeable they would rather die than enter them again, and that the atmosphere of the apartment block produced in them symptoms of a genuine terror...
“Now I understand, when I died I was on Tao’s balcony, but when I was sent back to earth and came back to life I was on Feng’s. That accounts for my sense of confusion and loss of memory. But now my act of communist witchcraft must be completed, so that the ghosts of Cripplegate’s dead possess the bodies of The Denizen’s ghost home investors, and this cursed building and it occupants are finally destroyed!”
“Feng what's the matter? What's this murder Edgecombe’s told me about? Good grief! What’s that anti-Masoist rant written in Tao's blood on the wall? Shake in you shoes bureaucrats! Stalinists denounced by the ultra-left indeed! No wonder Lenin branded left-wing communism an infantile disorder! My God, this whole building has such terrible feng shui! I wish I'd never bought an over-priced so-called luxury apartment in The Denizen.”
At the foot of my bed stood the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She was tall with a face like Lu Xun and the brow of a banana tree ghost . She had the sweetest pair of eyes I’d ever seen. But there was something in them I didn’t understand. It wasn’t just bewilderment, it was as if she looked out at the world from inside a dream. The woman regarded me with a curious sort of wonderment and my manhood stood to attention beneath her delirious gaze. “Where am I? Have we met before?” “I don't think so. But don't be alarmed. You are quite safe. You must have been sleepwalking." “But where did I drift in here from?” “That is a question you will have to answer. Do you live in The Denizen?” “The Denizen?” "We’re in The Denizen!” I cried. “This is a luxury apartment block in the beating heart of the ancient ward of Cripplegate, just outside the original walls of the City of London, an area historically notorious for its cony catchers, bawdy houses and molly houses.”